The Lighter Side of JzB

Here you will find photos, poetry, and possibly some light-hearted foolishness. For the Heavier Side
of JzB
see my other blog,
Retirement Blues. (There be dragons!)

I claim copyright and reserve all rights for my original material of every type and genre.

Every day visits*
From Moose, Goose, and Orb Weaver
All seized by Haiku

"Why moose and goose?" you may ask. Back on 2/04/13 Pirate wrote a haiku with an elk in it, and I responded with
one with a moose and then included him every day. A few days later in comments Mystic asked "Where's the goose?"
So I started including her with this post on 2/07. A week later on the 14th, Mark Readfern
asked for and received a spider. The rest is history.

*Well, most days, anyway. Grant me a bit of poetic license.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

 Wednesday, October 24, 2012  Gareth Bain

Theme ALL ABOUT A's.   I sometimes worry that constructors might someday use up all the theme ideas, but perhaps there is no bottom to that well.  Today, Gareth came up with a new twist - each theme entry, indicated with a starred clue, has two or more words, and contains exactly three vowels - all of which are A's.  A bit on the abstract side perhaps, but as far as I know, it's quite original.

17 A. *"Ditto!" : BACK AT YA.   A slangy response.

19 A. *1955 Communist defense treaty : WARSAW PACT.  Back in 1955, at the height of the cold war, this was a Russian organized and dominated military alliance involving the Soviet Union, Albania (withdrew in 1968), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany (withdrew in 1990), Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

 37 A. *"I can answer your questions" : ASK AWAY.  Would you like to debate me?

 58 A. *Momentarily forget : DRAW A BLANK.  Maybe I shouldn't have had this debate.

But wait, there's more:

 10 D. *"Wheel of Fortune" host : PAT SAJAKHe loves baseball.  Who knew?

 36 D. *Space cadet's home? : LALA LAND.  Someone who's "out there" and the place he might be from.  I always wondered if this was a reference to Los Angeles.

 And the unifier --  60 A. Like the best bonds, and a hint to the answers to starred clues : AAA RATED.   From the world of high finance.   Or were you thinking of Barry, James, and Ward?

Wow - 6 stacked or crossing theme entries, plus a unifier in an unusual, rather open grid with horizontal and vertical 6-stacks in two corners.  Hi Ho, gang, JazzBumpa here.  Let's see if Gareth's effort is AAA RATED.


1. Brains : SMARTS.  If I had more, I wouldn't have drawn that blank.

7. Like many a reply env. : PPD.  Pre-paid.  (Let me get back to you on that  .  .  .)

10. Low-tech missile : PEA.  Just like the Warsaw Pact, this takes me back to to 50's.  A soda straw makes a decent launcher. 

13. New Age physician : HOLIST.  Holistic medicine.  No half-way measures here.

14. Zeno's home : ELEA.  This town, now called Velia, is in Italy, but Zeno was a Greek philosopher famous for his paradoxes.  He also might have invented the method of proof called reductio ad absurdum.

15. Namibia neighbor: Abbr. : ANGola. Map.  To the best of my knowledge, there is no Namibia, Indiana.

16. Florida export : ORANGE.   A citrus fruit, and eponym for the color.  They ship them out like clock work.

21. Old Russian dynast : TSAR

22. Pulitzer playwright Rice : ELMER.  Awarded for his 1929 play, "Street Scene."

23. The tiniest bit : ONE IOTA.  Used for measuring SMARTS.

25. __ Moines : DES. The capital of Iowa, and home of the caucus, is 487 miles (784 Km) from Angola.

26. Sink, as a snooker ball : POT.  My last fill.  Gareth snookered me with this one.  It is more commonly used in England, perhaps. 

28. Flattering deception : SNOW JOB.   The referent is probably overcoming resistance by burying someone with flattery or false arguments, as they would be buried in a snow drift.

31. Daddy-o : POP.  The paternal parent?  Back in the 50's this was an informal form of address. From the Urban Dictionary we get: "Somewhat equivalent to today's "dude" or "man" but with a much cooler zen-bohemian and/or streetwise hipster attitude."  Also a 1958 (back to the cold war era again) B-movie, accompanied by John Williams' first film score.

33. Marsupial sometimes called a bear : KOALA.  Cute, with a cool zen-bohemian hipster attitude.

34. Friction reducer : OIL.   When it's not on fire.  (Cf 41A.)

40. Map reader's aid : KEY.   Like this.

41. Firefighter Red : ADAIR.  From Wikipedia:  "Paul Neal 'Red' Adair (June 18, 1915 – August 7, 2004) was an American oil well firefighter. He became world notable as an innovator in the highly specialized and extremely hazardous profession of extinguishing and capping blazing, erupting oil well blowouts, both land-based and offshore."

43. Gaming console with a fitness component : WII.  From Nintendo.

44. County in eastern Ireland : KILDARE.  Just to the West of Dublin.

7. R&B's __ Hill : DRU.  Beats me.

49. Peoria hrs. : CSTCentral Standard Time.  Peoria is 218 miles (351 Km) from Des Moines.  Don't you wish you were there?

52. Score tempo : ALLEGRO.  Like the previous link.

54. Opposite of neo- : PALEO.  From a Greek root, meaning "long ago."

56. Fr. miss : MLLE.  Mademoiselle.

62. Dumpster fill : REFUSE.  Nasty, evil smelling stuff, which is why I would refuse to go there.

63. Reunion attendees : KIN.  Nothing could be stated for certain at my last reunion.  It was all relative.

64. Goes down in the west : SETS.  This is referring to the sun.  Now, shall I turn this over to Tinbeni, or the DFers?  Vexing problem.

65. Done for the first time : MAIDEN.   Oh, DF .  .  .  or maybe not.

66. Sew up : END.  Nope - I have all these downs ahead of me.

67. __ de deux : PAS.  A dance for two.

68. Trusty mounts : STEEDS.  Horses.


1. Made an appearance : SHOWED up.

2. Team captain's concern : MORALE.   Keep those spirits high.

3. Morning janglers : ALARMS.  Oh, boy, am I dreading that,

4. Teeth-cleaning step : RINSE

5. Title writer in a John Irving novel : T S GARP.   From "The World According to Garp," John Irving's 4th novel.  I read this many years ago, and still have some vivid memories of certain details, some of which I would like very much to forget.

6. Hasenpfeffer, for one : STEW.  Rabbit stew.  I've never had it.

7. Director's cry : PLACES, everyone.

8. Jam thickener : PECTIN.  Any of a group of water soluble high molecular weight carbohydrates found in ripe fruits that forms a gel with sugar.  Remember that if you're ever in a jam.

9. Black Hills terr. : DAKota.  Also a Dodge pickup truck.

11. "A Day Without Rain" New Ager : ENYA.  Seems as if Eithne Ní Bhraonáin SHOWED up just about every time I blogged.

12. Culture medium : AGAR.  Another vegetable based gel, this time extracted from red algae, and used to grow bacteria.

14. Israeli diplomat Abba : EBAN.  An Israeli diplomat and politician who was born in So. Africa.

18. When one might have a late lunch : AT TWO.  That's just about when we had our lunch on Tues. after running a bunch of errands.

20. "The Chosen" novelist Chaim : POTOK.  That was the first novel of this American  author and rabbi.

24. "The Addams Family" adjective : OOKY.   This stumped me until I got it from perps, but now I think I remember that they're all together OOKY.

27. Special __: military force : OPS.  Operations.  My older step son in in A. F. Special Ops.  I have no idea what he does.

29. Flamenco shout : OLE

30. Shoreline indentation : BAY.  More than an indentation, I'd say.

32. Print maker : PAW.  Not like a back-woods Daddy-o, like that thing at the end of a dog leg.

34. Wine barrel wood : OAK.

35. Dictator Amin : IDI. Nasty fellow.

37. Inland Asian sea : ARAL.   Is it still shrinking?

38. Lehár operetta "The Merry __" : WIDOWLehar's first big success.

39. Breathable gases : AIR.  78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% argon, and smaller amounts of lots of other vapors. (Cf 62 A.)

42. Car at a long light, say : IDLER.  The longest minute of your life.

45. Herbal brew : RED TEA.  Never heard of it, but it's caffeine free, high in antioxidents, and kosher

46. Everglades birds : EGRETS.   Do egrets have regrets?

48. Cheerful : UPBEAT.  Like allegro music.

49. Painter Monet : CLAUDEHere is a gallery.

50. Had an inkling : SENSED.  I had a feeling this would SHOW.

51. Small gifts : TOKENS.

53. Extremists, for short : RADS.  Radicals.

55. 2004 remake starring Jude Law : ALFIEWhat's it all about?

56. Fabricate : MAKE

57. Rested : LAIN.

59. Venus de Milo's lack : ARMS.  Other than that, she seems to be in pretty good shape.  She is a Greek statue from about 130 B.C. and at 6'8' is as tall as Doug Fister, who has an excellent ARM. 

61. Egyptian snake : ASP.  In PALEO times this referred to varieties of venomous snakes in the Nile region.  Traditionally, it was believed that Cleopatra committed suicide by ASP bite.   German researchers have recently concluded that she did herself in with a mixture of hemlock, wolfsbane and opium.

Well -quite a meaty puzzle with rich themeage, lots of learning opportunities and high quality fill.  I'll rate it AAA, and that's no SNOW JOB.  How about you?

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is a fun blog. Light-hearted banter is welcome. Snark is not. If you want to fight, find my other blog.

Play nice, and we'll all have fun.

I like to return visit, when I can - but I need to find you. If you have multiple blogs, please leave a direct link to the appropriate post.