Theme: I wouldn't bet on it. Or - in the constructor's words - OUTSIDE CHANCE. Today we have the unlikely occurrence of the word CHANCE, split in two and occurring at the outside edges of the theme entries, like bookends.
20 A. "Oh, baby, that's what I like!" oldie : CHANTILLY LACE. The Big Bopper, of course. February 3rd, 1959 was the day the music died, when the Big Guy, along with Richie Valens and Buddy Holly went down in a plane crash near Mason City, Iowa. In this video clip he is very much alive.
27 A. Barrier with built-in footholds : CHAIN LINK FENCE. Still can be hazardous to climb over. Watch your step.
45 A. Site of the first Winter Olympics : CHAMONIX FRANCE. 1924. A bit before my time.
And the unifier, 52 A. What a long shot has, and, literally, what 20-, 27- and 45-Across each has : OUTSIDECHANCE. An estimate of the likelihood of an occurrence that is neither probable nor impossible, like the Lions winning their division after losing Monday night due to a 61 yard field goal in the waning seconds of the game.
It's a bit ambiguous because of the placement of the letters "A" in 45 A, but you can read the theme entries as a progression of letters in CHAIN moving from the left to right bookend. This gives the theme another level of elegance.
Hi gang, JazzBumpa here. I think there's better than an OUTSIDE CHANCE we'll enjoy today's outing.
I can't say I love Adrian von Ziegler's music. But it is pleasant and worth a listen. Today's selection, Dreamtide is rhythmically interesting. The Keltic sounding melody is definitely in 5. When it goes to just percussion, a have a very difficult time deciphering the basic pulse. Seems like it goes into 6, but the initial beat is elusive. All of this contributes to the dreamy feeling of the piece. I'm also struck by the elven appearance of the character in the vid picture.
~ 1 ~
float with the elf-maid
on the ethereal tide
of dreamscape rhythms
~ 2 ~ [inspired by bjorn] oh those mocking clouds fabulous frothing fruit frappe make the sky feel blue ~~~
17 A. Line on an envelope : CITY STATE AND ZIP. Part of an address, but not Mr. Lincoln's at Gettysburg.
23 A. Pago Pago's land : AMERICAN SAMOA. City on an island; also the Capital.
40 A. Paul Hogan role : CROCODILE DUNDEE. Australian adventure movie.
52 A. Classic cartoon shout : YABBA-DABBA-DOO. Fred Flintstone.
And the unifier -- 62 A. Zero in Morse code, any part of which will finish the title of the
Oscar-winning song found at the ends of 17-, 23-, 40- and 52-Across :
DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH. If you think of Morse Code in terms of dots and dashes, DAH is the dash.
Hi gang, JzB here, totally in awe of this seemingly nothing theme, and its execution. Until the unifier, I was clueless.
Here is today's theme song, from the 1946 Disney movie, Song of the South.
We were visiting relatives in Florida last week, and drove home over the week end. Sunday was a bad weather day, and we stayed ahead of the worst of it for most of our trip. In the afternoon, we stopped in Toledo to see my mom. That's when the bad weather hit, and we decided to wait it out, rather then drive through it.
The picture, from yesterday's [Tuesday, 11/19/13] Toledo Blade, shows the path of a tornado that swept across the area on Sunday. I've added a red bull's eye, showing the approximate location of my mother's MOBILE HOME, where mom, my sister, my lovely wife and I were when the tornado came through.
The tornado literally leap-frogged two adjacent mobile home parks at approx. 5:45 p.m. and passed right over our heads. We didn't even know it had happened.
We had already driven about 450 miles that day, only to come to rest in the path of a destructive twister.
On a more positive note, Sis made us a nice chicken paprikas.
Theme: VERMILION INTERSECTIONS, or WHERE REPUBLICANS AND COMMUNISTS MEET AND GREET. [I refuse to call this THE RED WEDDING!] The starred clues refer to themed answers indicating various shades of red that cross in the grid, [I dare to report with no trace of embarrassment.]
21 A. *Small fruit first cultivated in Oregon : BING CHERRY. Wikipedia tells us, "The cultivar was created as a crossbred graft from the Black Republican cherry in 1875 by Oregon horticulturist Seth Lewelling and his Manchurian Chinese foreman Ah Bing, for whom the cultivar is named."
58 A. *Vin Scully will be its 2014 Grand Marshal : ROSE PARADE. This New Year's Day festival of equestrians, marching bands and flower-covered floats antedates the Rose Bowl football game by 12 years. The latter was added in 1902 to help fund the former, which is now the province of the Honda motor car company.
12 D. *Chain named for a Stones hit : RUBY TUESDAY, song and restaurant.
Leslie Ann Warren, shown here close to the other suspects - and tantalizingly close to a wardrobe malfunction - stepped in to play Miss Scarlet in the movie version of CLUE when director Johnathon Lynn's first choice, Carrie Fisher, went onto rehab four days before filming started. Whether she had the DT's is unreported.
And the centrally located unifier: 41 A. Humanitarian symbol, and a hint to what happens where the answers to starred clues intersect : RED CROSS.
Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here. Our fearless leader has blended a colorful cocktail for us today, with an unusual 15 x 16 grid design, and intersecting horizontal and vertical entries long with a creative theme. Other possibilities include beets, apples, catchup, Bob the Tomato, Rover, Erik the Viking, Lucille Ball and the Rouge River. Let's see what else she has in store for us.
The challenge this time is to complete a haiku left unfinished by Basho in 1690. The intense difficulty stems from the fact the the first two lines have no obvious connection - in fact it's hard to even relate them to each other in a coherent way.
The first line is so evocative of loss, or at least unfulfillment. Is the wife on a trip, has she left the implied speaker, or died? Has he never had a wife and wishes he did? So many possibilities, and none of them happy. I have a feeling there is something symbolic about the bamboo grass of line two that is outside of my knowledge base. And grass diving - what does that even mean?
So - a tough challenge; but I'm taking it seriously.
Basho's unfinished haiku:
tsuma kou te nezasa kazuku ya .............. missing a wife the bamboo grass dives under .............................
My attempt at completion: missing a wife the bamboo grass dives under her departing steps
"When the Ainu go salmon fishing they always provide a thick willow stick about
two feet long with which to strike the salmon's head and kill it. This stick is
called isapa-kik-ni, "the head-striking wood" .... The Ainu say that
the salmon do not like being killed with a stone or any wood other than good
sound willow, but they are very fond of being killed with a willow stick.
Indeed, they are said to hold the isapa-kik-ni in great esteem. If anything
else is used, the fish will go away in disgust."
~ 1 ~
to my boat - i will kill you
~ 2 ~
placid salmon happy to be put to death with a willow stick
~ 3 ~
eating pink shake the clear sake in my cup whacks like willow wood
I used this picture of the chrysanthemums at my doorstep just a few days ago. It's from Nov. 1, last year. I just took a look at the plant a few minutes ago. There are three or four blossoms open now, and dozens of buds that are not yet ready to pop.
I'm quite taken with the idea of chrysanthemums and a long life.
chrysanthemum dew sipping the fountain of youth for life eternal
My wife's mother died earlier this year. Both of her parents are buried next to her aunt and uncle. Their son, her cousin, died of cancer a couple of months ago. He was a great guy, a wonderful father to his kids, and a loving nephew for my mother-in-law. He is buried just a few feet away. My wife placed pots of white chrysanthemums at their graves. So this haiku is tinged with sadness.
Theme: My mom is one - TWINS. Each starred clue is answered by one of a brace of famous real or mythical twins. The crossing theme answer is the other twin of the pair. Further, one of these twins is indicated by a two-word answer in which the second word is a red herring, while the other is a simple one-word name, clued in a way that should specifically identify the specific set of TWINS in question.
17 A. *Edward Cullen's rival for Bella's hand, in the "Twilight" series : JACOB BLACK. I haven't watched this series, so it took a lot of perp help.
2.D. *Biblical birthright seller : ESAU. JACOB's TWIN. Isaac's non-identical twin sons are both frequent crossword denizens. You know the story.
23 A. *She played Michelle on "Full House" : MARY KATE. Tricky, since the roll was shared by both of these TWINS.
11. *"High Crimes" actress : ASHLEY JUDD. As this point, having only half sussed the theme, I'm thinking - wait! The Judd sisters aren't twins! But MARY KATE and ASHLEY Olsen are. They have since grown up, or at least gotten older.
45 A. *Brother of Helen of Troy, some say : POLLUX. I did not know that.
28 D. *Source of an age-old medicinal oil : CASTOR BEAN. CASTOR OIL, of course. I don't recall ever being subjected to this cure. CASTOR and POLLUX in Greek mythology, present a confusing case. Per Wikipedia: "Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who seduced or raped Leda in the guise of a swan (Greek myths concerning divine sex are often vague on the issue of female consent)." That's more than I can comprehend. Better still, Helen also had a TWIN, the unfortunately named Clytemnestra. CASTOR and POLLUX are also the brightest stars in the constellation Gemini, and a pet products brand.
59 A. *Beach Boys title girl : BARBARA ANN. This takes me back to my ute. But back in the day  this was a hit recording for the Regents. The Beach Boys cover came later.
44 D. *"Today" correspondent __ Bush Hager : JENNA. BARBARA and JENNA are the daughters of former President George W. Bush, and clearly non-identical TWINS. They also got older. Here they are with their mom, former first lady Laura Bush.
And the unifier: 64 A. Target Field team, and each pair of intersecting names in the answers to starred clues : TWINS. C.C.'s home baseball team is not having a good year. They play three games against the Tigers next Mon.- Wed.
It took me quite a while to find C.C.'s wavelength. But wow - eight paired, crossing theme entries, with the horizontal elements in perfect symmetry, plus a unifier stacked below the last horizontal theme fill. Also, two TWIN sets are male and two are female. I don't even want to think about what it took to put this together.
Hi gang, a very impressed JazzBumpa here. Let's see what else C.C. has in store for us the rest of the way.
At that time our granddaughter Rebekka has just landed a role as one of the apple trees in The Wizard of Oz, if you remember that scene. [If not, you can see it and some of my doggerel at the link above.]
My scarecrow ideas for today:
~ 1 ~
to scare a scarecrow the wicked witch need only produce a small fire
~ 2 ~
i am not a crow so why does that stick figure scare me so
~ 3 ~
when i'm in a field after that hitchcock movie the crows scare me