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, December 24, 2014

L. A. Time Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 Don Gagliardo

Theme:  All is calm, all is bright.  The circled letters, in order, spell the word NIGHT; and each letter is silent in both of the down and across words in which it appears.   If you didn't get the circles, I don't know how you'd deal with it.

Silent N:
20 A. Spreadsheet figure : COLUMN TOTAL.  Typical spreadsheet math.
6 D. "Ave Maria," e.g. : HYMNA religious song.

Silent I:
25 A. Take by force : SEIZE.  Suddenly and Forcible take hold of something.
11 D. Stereo components : RECEIVERS.  They convert broadcast signals into visible or audible form.

Silent G:
33 A. Prosecutors, at times : ARRAIGNERS.  They bring someone [a perp, perhaps] before the court to answer a criminal charge.
10 D. Station identification letters : CALL SIGN.  Unique alphanumeric designations of transmitting stations.  They are used in commercial radio, amateur radio, transportation and the military.

Silent H:
37 A. Cheering word : RAH.  Perhaps shortened from hooray/hoorah, 'cuz we're just that lazy.
32 D. Present day? : CHRISTMAS.  The day when Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus.  The Magi brought him gifts, and so we give each other gifts.  The "present" day can be either today, Christmas Eve, as we celebrate with the Bumpa clan, or Christmas day, as we celebrate with my mom and sister.

Silent T:
54. Clever remark : MOT.  Actually BON MOT,  the French designation for a witticism.
32 D. Present day? : CHRISTMAS.  Making a second appearance, 'cuz - why not?  It's that kind of day.

And the unifier:
55 A. Classic 6-Down suggested by this puzzle's circles : SILENT NIGHT.

One might quibble, perhaps, with the degree of silence some of these letters actually present.  But let's just go with it.  Who but hard/soft G Don Gaglairdo could so exploit the vagaries of the English language, to bring us such a brilliant and timely construction?  This is his present day present to all of us.

 Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, happy to present you with Don's holiday greeting, and a whole bunch of music.


1. Flexible lunch hour : ONE-ISH.  More or less 1 O'clock, kinda, sorta. 

7. PC speed unit : M-SEC.  Milisecond.  1/1000 second.

11. D.C. United's __ Stadium : RFK.  Named for former attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

14. Marvel Entertainment parent company : DISNEY.  Entertainment empire.

15. Cinders of old comics : ELLA.   Here is her introductory panel from 1925.  You might need to blow it up to make it readable.  Read more here.  Turn her name around to suss the inspiration.

16. Reef dweller : EEL.  Any of 800 species of elongated, mostly predatory fish.

17. Needing to be bailed out, maybe : IN A JAM.  Some sort of tough spot, possibly jail.

18. "Double, double, __ and trouble": "Macbeth" : TOIL.  "Fire burn and cauldron bubble." Witches' incantation.

19. DCIV ÷ IV : CLI.  Roman numerals.  604/4 = 151.   How did the Romans ever master division?

22. Individual : SSN :: corp. : __ : E I NEmployer Identification Number.

23. Hospital fluids : SERA.  Fluids separated from clotted blood, unlike plasma, which comes from unclotted blood.  Did anyone besides Marti know that?

24. "Impressive!" : OOH!  Like this puzzle.

27. Happen afterward : ENSUE.  Does this imply cause and effect?

29. Capital on the Dnieper River : KIEV.    Capital and largest city of Ukraine.  I've heard they have a Great Gate there.

30. Tot's recitation : ABC'S.   1-2-3's, too.

38. Nod from the maestro : CUE.  Indication you can start playing now.  And much appreciated after 179 bars of rest.

39. Short or gross measure : TON.   A short TON is the 2000 lb. measure we are used to in the U.S.   A gross TON is the same as a long TON, 2249 lbs. 

40. See 59-Across : RAP.
59. With 40-Across, trumped-up charge : BUM.  A BUM RAP is a false charge resulting in a miscarriage of justice.

41. Ones making the rounds? : BAR TENDERS.  Mixologists preparing rounds of drinks.  Clever!

44. "The Thin Man" pooch : ASTA.  Movie dog.

45. Dot on un mapa : ISLA.  A Spanish island.

46. Capital of Senegal : DAKARUn Mapa.

48. Debate subject : ISSUE.  Topic under discussion.

50. Bon __: Comet rival : AMI.  Scouring powders.

51. Sports fan's factoid : STATistic.

60. Holiday purchase : TREE.  Yo, Tannenbaum!

61. Remove all doubt : BE SURE.

62. A, in Oaxaca : UNA.  Spanish indefinite article.

63. Gremlins and Matadors : AMC'SAmerican Motors Corp. automobileS from the past.

64. Lustrous fabric : SATEEN.   A fabric made with satin weave structure using spun yarn instead of filament.

65. Mag staff : EDS.  Abbreviated editors.

66. "... be good for goodness' __!" : SAKE.    Pam provides the details, with  a little help from her friends.

67. Determined ahead of time : PRESET.


1. Like many Keats poems : ODIC.   He wrote the most ODIC of odes.  Fortunately, most of them are neither odious nor oddities.

2. Bogotá boys : NINOS.  Those boys speak Spanish

3. Online transaction : E-SALE.   A unit of E-Tail.

4. Harms : INJURES.

5. Crew member : SEAMAN.  In the Navy

7. Copycat : ME-TOOER.  Conveniently constructed, but a welcome reprieve from the ubiquitous APER.

8. A deadly sin : SLOTH.  For those too lazy to indulge in gluttony and lust.

9. Oscar-winning director Kazan : ELIA.   Gentleman's Agreement, On the Waterfront.

12. "__ Navidad": Feliciano song : FELIZ.   Merry Christmas in Spanish.

13. Kevin of "Dave" : KLINE.

21. Took the show on the road : TOURED.

26. Poetic time of day : E'EN.  Even I know this is evening, thus eventually evening me with all of you.

28. Post-workout destination : SAUNA.  Steam bath.

29. Mall stand : KIOSK.

30. Wall St. hedger : ARB.  Slothful way of indicating an arbitrageur,  one who attempts to profit from price inefficiencies in the market by making simultaneous trades that offset each other and capturing risk-free profits.

31. Cote cry : BAA.

34. Transport in an Ellington classic : A-TRAIN.   The quickest way to Sugar Hill in Harlem.

35. Informant : RAT.

36. Hotel amenity : SPA.

38. Instruments that sound similar to glockenspiels : CELESTAS.  But with a softer and more subtle timbre.  It was invented by Auguste Mustel in Paris in 1886.  Tchaikovsky was the first major composer to use it in an orchestral setting, first in The Voyadova, then - most famously  - in the Sugar Plum Fairie's dance in The Nutcracker.  You can hear one starting at about 6:40 of this video.

42. The Tigers of the Ohio Valley Conf. : TSU.  Tennessee State University.

43. Attorney general under Ronald Reagan : ED MEESE.   Not related to Mickey, as far as I know,

44. Entertainer : ARTISTE.

47. Equally hot or cold? : AS NEAR.   I don't quite get this one.

48. Inspire deeply (with) : IMBUE.  As with a particular feeling or quality.

49. In good shape : SOUND.  Hale and hardy.

50. Smart guy? : ALECK.   My comrade at arms.

52. Fits of fever : AGUES.   Fever and shivering.

53. French hens count : THREE.   You know the song.

56. "__ la Douce" : IRMA.  The story of a Parisienne prostitute.

57. Recipe meas. : TBSPTaBle SPoon.  Alternatively, to make out with the cook.

58. Hiker's shelter : TENT.  Portable lodging.

Beautiful start to the holiday with this brilliant puzzle from Don G.  Hope you all enjoyed it, and are happy and healthy and ready to dive into the new year.

Cool Regards and Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanzaa, Fabulous Festivus, a not very Saturnine Saturnalia, or whichever near-solstice celebration you prefer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, November 27, 2014 Matt Skozcen

Theme:  I'M OUTTA HERE.  But first, I have a puzzle to blog.  The second word of each two-word theme answer is a synonym for "makes an exit." But in each theme fill, the word of interest is used in a different sense.

17. Titillating passages : JUICY PARTS.  Interesting sections of salacious literature.  Feel free to make DF jokes. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

28. "You're the Top" musical : ANYTHING GOES.  A phrase meaning something like "without limits."  This is the only instance where the target word is a verb in fill context.  The others are all nouns.  On we GO.

Cole Porter Classic

 47. Indulgent desserts : BANANA SPLITS.  So many possibilities.   But we'll just go bananas with sliced bananas, ice cream scoops and assorted toppings.  SPLIT is the slangiest of these synonyms.

63. October tourist attraction : FALL LEAVES.   Those things that fall off of trees, leaving them bare.  When Fall leaves, Winter is coming.

Try as I might, I could make nothing of JUICY ANYTHING BANANA FALL.  Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, ready to go all the way with Matt's puzzle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Test Post

28. "You're the Top" musical : ANYTHING GOES.  A phrase meaning something like "without limits."  This is the only instance where the target word is a verb in fill context.  The others are all nouns.  On we GO.

Cole Porter Classic

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, November 12, 2014  C. C. Burnikel

Theme: DATA MINING.  Can't do any better than the reveal this time.  The word DATA is hidden amidst two or three (!) words in each theme answer.  

17. Progressive Era muckraker : IDA TARBELL.  "She depicted John D. Rockefeller as crabbed, miserly, money-grabbing, and viciously effective at monopolizing the oil trade."   My kind of girl.

25. "Pretty darn good" : NOT BAD AT ALL.  A little bit better than faint praise.

37. Assume a military posture : STAND AT ATTENTION.  I'd say this grid spanner is even better than NOT BAD AT ALL.

50. Waved from the curb, perhaps : HAILED A TAXI 

And, of course, the unifier.  61. NSA surveillance activity ... or, the process needed to dig out the info hidden in 17-, 25-, 37- and 50-Across? : DATA MINING.  You can read about the NSA activity here.  For sure, you have to dig into the theme answers to dig out DATA.

Hi gang, It's your humble servant JazBumpa, also your driver on today's TAXI ride, while C. C. navigates.  Buckle up and let's see if we can get to our destination without any mishaps; though I do expect a SNARL.


1. Union foes : REBS.  Union vs REBel forces, American Civil War.

5. Sing like Joe Cocker : RASP.  Take it away, Joe.

9. Cowl wearer : MONK.  A religious ascetic.  Not this guy.

Song is mislabeled.  Should be EPISTROPHY

13. '90s-'00s Lakers great : O'NEAL.  Shaq.

15. Kevin's "A Fish Called Wanda" role : OTTO.

16. __ sprawl : URBAN.  City expansion

19. Walk away : LEAVE.  Here's your hat.  Don't let the door it you in the . . . [SLAM!]

20. Charms : ENAMORS.  Aha.  I had GLAMORS [perhaps from rereading A Dance With Dragons] but here "charms" is a verb, meaning "becomes endearing to." 

21. Grain Belt st. : KANsas.

23. TV diner owner : MEL.  Did he go with the Flo?

24. "Spring forward" letters : DSTDaylight Savings Time.  We are now fallen back on Nightdark Savings Time.  Winter is coming.

28. Carte start : A LA.  Make sure you get your A LA before the carte.  This is the normal way of ordering in a restaurant, where each item or combination is individually priced, as opposed to a fixed price - limited menu scheme.

29. Settle up : PAY. Either way, you have to exchange money for goods and services rendered.

30. More unusual : ODDER

31. Hobby shop wood : BALSA.

33. "Terrific!" : COOL.

34. With 26-Down, fashionable footwear : UGG.  See 26 D.

42. Child-care writer LeShan : EDA.

43. Stirs in : ADDS.  Kitchen talk

44. Sunburn-causing emission, for short : UV RAY.   Short wave length, high energy.

45. Driving __ : RANGE. Where you practice your golf shots.

47. Readers of MSS. : EDS.  Editors and Manuscripts.

49. Corp.-partnership hybrid : LLCLimited Liability Company.

54. One of four in Minnesota: Abbr. : SYLlables.

55. Chicago trains : ELSELevated urban rail system.

56. Sun. address : SERmon.  Stay awake, now.

57. Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior : THE MAGI.  The three wise guys men of The Christmas Story.

59. In again : RETRO.  Something from the past redone, only better.  We hope.

64. Sink down : DROOP.

65. Villainous : EVIL.

66. Proofreader's mark : CARET.   An inverted V-shaped grapheme used to indicate where a punctuation mark, word, or phrase should be inserted in a document.

67. Store : STOW. Put away.

68. "Good shot!" : NICE.  What you might hear after due diligence at the driving RANGE.  Gary?

69. "One more thing ..." : ALSO.  But wait - there's more  .  .  .  Now, on to the verticals.


1. Louis XIV, par exemple : ROI.  King of France

2. Ran over : ENDED LATE.  Ran over the clock, perhaps in A TAXI - which mught be why it DROOPS.  Or am I confusing things?

3. Vegetarian side : BEAN SALAD.

4. Occupied, as a booth : SAT AT.

5. Cocktail named for a Scottish hero : ROB ROY.  A manhattan analog, using sweet vermouth with Scotch in place of the rye whiskey.  Not on my list.  I don't mix Scotch with anything.  Tin Man - do you concur?

6. Bikini tryout : A-TEST. Not in a dressing room.  Bikini was a ring-shaped coral archipelago in the Marshall Islands where Atomic bomb testing was conducted.  Is there anything left atoll?

7. Mo. town : ST. Louis.

8. Bikini feature in a 1960 hit : POLKA DOT.  And a clecho!

9. Field fare, briefly : MRE. Meal Ready to Eat, for soldiers in the field.

10. 2009 Peace Nobelist : OBAMA.  Barak.

11. Orange variety : NAVEL.

12. Mournful ring : KNELL.

14. Fast flight : LAM.  Escape.

16. Radii-paralleling bones : ULNAE.  Bones of the lower arm.

18. Gossipy Barrett : RONA.  Columnist, born Oct 6, 1936, and still goin'.

22. Bewilder : ADDLE.

26. See 34-Across : BOOTS.

27. Network with the slogan "Not Reality. Actuality." : TRU TV.

28. Core muscles : ABS. Abdominals.

29. Knee protector : PAD.

32. Traffic problem : SNARL.  Too many vehicles and not enough road.  See?  Told ya so. [You'd almost think I had inside information]  Now tell that guy behind me to lay off the horn.

33. Officer-to-be : CADET.  West Point student.

35. Unlikely tomboy : GIRLY GIRL.  Here is Gloria at cold and windy Pensacola beach exactly one year ago today with granddaughters Lauren (L) and Abby (R).  Lauren is for sure a GIRLY  GIRL.  Abby most definitely is not.

36. Pair on a football field : GOAL LINES. Lines that must be crossed to score in American football.

38. "Storage Wars" network : A AND E.

39. Boston Bruins' home : T D GARDEN. Named tor T D Bank, a subsidiary of Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank.

40. Letters after mus : NUs.  It's all Greek to me

41. Lincoln Ctr. site : NYC. New York City.

46. Man of fables : AESOP.  Also Greek.

47. Sigh with relief, say : EXHALE.  Out with the bad air.

48. Carpe __ : DIEM.  Seize the day.

50. Grazing groups : HERDS.  Cattle

51. Wide awake : ALERT.

52. Insistent words from a sandbox : IS TOO.  Is Not.  [etc.]  Kid talk.

53. Commonly dusty room : ATTIC.  Top floor.

54. Capital of Yemen : SANA'A.  Yeah.  I had to look it up, too.

58. Open __ night : MIC.  For amateur comics.

60. Ticket word : ROW. Also seat.

62. Bird: Pref. : AVI-. I wanted ORN-

63. Sporty Pontiac : GTO.  Gran Turismo Omologato.  [Grand Touring Homologated.]

NICE ride with C.C. today, and a classy classic way to end it.  Would somebody please get the garage door for me?

Cool regards!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 Allen E. Parrish

Theme: RHYMES WITH BOOZE:  Four chosen theme entries in pinwheel array all rhyme with CHOOSE, and all are spelt differently.  Not much more to say about it.  Let's round them up.

20 A. Classic country song with the lyric "I've lived my life in vain" : BORN TO LOSE.  Here's a more urban version of the saddest song ever.

58 A. Writer/director known for his coming-of-age films : JOHN HUGHES.  The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, etc.   I guess he liked Molly Ringwald.  Here he is [center] with Molly and Matthew Broderick.

11 D. Deduction on many paychecks : UNION DUES.   Contrast 1 D.

34 D. 24/7 information provider : CABLE NEWS.   Whether this is news or infotainment is open to interpretation.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, your tour guide for today.  Straightforward theme.  The cleverness is in finding alternative ways of representing the sound of OOZE.  And then fitting them into the grid, of course.  Rather an unusual grid, too, with two theme entries in the vertical.  This leaves the center region without a long horizontal entry.


1. Part of 10/29/14 : SLASH.  Oh.  Starting with a self-referential clue.  How nice.

6. With the bow, to a violist : ARCO   As distinguished from pizzicato, or plucked.

10. "The Godfather" novelist : PUZO.  Mario. 

14. Its strings are tuned in perfect fifths : CELLO.  A perfect fifth is an interval such as A to E. Cello strings are tuned to C, G, D, and A.  The vibrational frequencies are in the ratio of 3:2.  Other perfect fifths: Pinch, Johnnie Walker, Talisker, Lagavulin.

15. Gulp (down) : WOLF.  Here, unlike in Winterfell, WOLF is a verb.

16. Alternative to Windows : UNIX.  Computer operating systems.

17. Geometric products : AREAS.  Regions enclosed by shapes.

18. Patron saint of Norway : OLAF.   Ólafr Haraldsson, (995 – 29 July 1030.)   Not the most saintly saint ever.

19. Evening, informally : NITE

22. Pass the welcome mat : GO IN.  Enter and sign in, please.

23. Gambler's method : SYSTEM.  An attempt to outsmart the random arrangement of the cards, and overcome the statistical advantage enjoyed by the house.  Good luck with that.

24. Image handlers, for short : P R MENPublic Relations, aka spin.

26. "Clueless" actress Donovan : ELISA.  Not as clueless as I am on this clue.  But I see she played Amber in both the movie and TV series.

29. Ice cream treat : SUNDAE.  A scoop or two, covered with flavored syrup and/other other optional toppings, limited only by your imagination.  Suitable for any day of the week.


32. L x XLVIII : MMCD.  Roman Numeral math.  How nice.  50 x 48 = 2400. 

35. Support for a weak joint : TAPE.

37. Deforestation remnant : STUMP.  Bottom part of a tree trunk.

38. __-Locka, Florida : OPA.   Per Wikipedia, Opa-locka is a city located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 15,219. The city was developed by Glenn Curtiss and was based on a One Thousand and One Nights theme. Opa-locka has the largest collection of Moorish Revival architecture in the Western hemisphere. Its streets have names like Sabur Lane, Sultan Avenue, Ali Baba Avenue, Perviz Avenue and Sesame Street. Opa-locka has an area of 4.2 square miles (11 km2) and is located in the northwestern area of Miami-Dade County, Florida.

39. Manners expressed in letters : P'S AND Q'S.  I don't think this is quite right, and it took me a long time and lots of perps to suss.  Per the Urban Dictionary, the expression comes from the days of printing presses, when type was set one letter at a time.  Since the the press letters were reverse images, it was easy to confuse the mirror image lower case letters p and q.  So, mind your p's and q's means pay attention to details. Also, this just sounds better than saying, "Mind your b's and d's.

41. Queen Victoria's realm, e.g.: Abbr. : EMPire

42. Kibbutz teacher : RABBI

44. Steady fellow : BEAU.  As in courtship.

45. U.K. mil. awards : DSOsDistinguished Service Order, generally presented to officers ranking Major and above..

46. Buzzard's grippers : TALONS.  Bird claws

48. Big name in appliances : AMANA

50. Les __-Unis : ETATS.  United States in French.  How nice.

52. California wine region : SONOMA.

56. Newsletter choice : FONT.  A selected type face and size.

61. Genesis son : ABEL.  Brother and murder victim of Cain. 

62. Golden rule word : UNTO.  More Bible

63. Showy flowers, for short : GLADs.  Gladiolus.

64. "Deadliest Catch" narrator Mike : ROWE.   This is another TV show I've never seen, or even knew about.

65. Not quite dry : DAMP.  Not quite wet, either.

66. Eagle's hideaway : AERIE.  In Old Latin, a level piece of ground, but in English, probably via medieval French, an eagle's [or other raptor's] nest high in a tree or on a cliff.  Funny how that works.  Or for American Eagle, this.

67. Place for private dining? : MESS.  Military jargon, and a clever misdirection.  Privates are low ranking, and eat in the mess hall.  Is cleaning up the mess corporal punishment?

68. First name in mysteries : ERLE Stanley Gardner, American lawyer and author, of Perry Mason fame.

69. Political essay : TRACT, aka monograph, a short treatise on a single topic, often political, or religious. 


1. Picket line crossers : SCABS.  Union busting.

2. "Bad, Bad" Brown of song : LEROY.

3. A's and Jays : ALERsAmerican League baseball teams, the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays.

4. Not on the level : SLANTED.   Literal.

5. Inexpensive lodging : HOSTEL

6. Missing reveille, perhaps : AWOL Absent Without Official Leave.

7. Chewy candy brand : ROLO.

8. Purse fastener : CLASP.

9. Bids : OFFERS.

10. Strong-smelling : PUNGENT.  A fellow with stinky word plays is a PUN GENT.

12. Rigatoni alternative : ZITI.  Pasta by any other name.

13. Field team : OXEN.  Former bulls.

21. Drops : OMITS.  Leaves out.

25. Rumple, with "up" : MUSS.  The other kind of mess.

27. "Born From Jets" automaker : SAAB.  Per Wikipedia: "Svenska Aeroplan AB (aktiebolag)" (Swedish for "Swedish Aeroplane Company Limited") (SAAB) was founded in 1937 in Trollhättan, with the merger of Svenska Aero AB (SAAB) and Linköping based VASJA the headquarters moved to Linköping. The style "Saab" replaced "SAAB" around 1950.

Originally manufacturing aircraft, the company sought ways in which to diversify its business. In the late 1940s the company began manufacturing cars at its Saab Automobile division was based in Trollhättan. The first car was the Saab 92; full-scale production started December 12, 1949, based on the prototype Ursaab.

Probably more than you wanted to know.

28. Sleep __ : APNEA.  Suspension of breathing.

30. Arsenal supply : AMMO.  Bullets, frex.

31. "Love & Basketball" actor Omar : EPPS.

32. Media mogul Zuckerman : MORT.  U.S. News and World Report, among many other things.

33. Film-rating org. : MPAAMotion Picture Association of America.

36. Mild cheese : EDAM.   I keep waiting for Stilton or Jarlsberg.

39. Colada fruit : PINA.  Actually, Piña, Spanish for pineapple.    The piña colada, made with rum, piinaple juice and coconut cream is the national drink of Puerto Rico.

40. Suppress : QUASH.  Stifle.

43. Pop holders : BOTTLES.  Here in the midwest, carbonated soft drinks, known as sodas in other places, are called pop.

45. Pendant earring, say : DANGLER.  It hangs and swings.

47. Children's hosp. co-founded by Danny Thomas : ST JUDE.  The patron saint of hopeless cases.

49. Chewy candy : NOUGAT.  A confection of honey or sugar with roasted nuts and whipped egg whites.

51. Sub tracker : SONAR SOund Navigation And Ranging, a system for detecting underwater objects by  emitting a sound and tracking the echo.

53. "BUtterfield 8" novelist : O'HARA.  John.  His 1934 novel was made into a movie in 1960.  Elizabeth Taylor won her first Acadamy Award for her leading role as Gloria Wandrous.

54. Physician at the front : MEDIC.  Military Dr.

55. It's a good thing : ASSET.

56. Growing concern? : FARM.  Clever clue.  Concern, as in business, growing as in vegetables.

57. Double-reed woodwind : OBOE.  Here they are, along with a couple of cor anglais, playing Swan Lake.  In less capable hands, the oboe sounds more like a duck.

59. Standard Web page code : HTML. Hyper Text Markup Language.

60. "You wish" : NOPE.  Slangy denials.

There you have it.  Rather a nice romp with a musical sub-theme and some tasty treats along the way.  Hope it was satisfying.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014 Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme: PO BOX.  The theme answers are all two word entries beginning with the letter P and ending with the letter O, so that the P and O BOX in the other letters - a type of book end theme.

18 A. System with a Porte de Versailles station : PARIS METRO.   The rapid transit system of Paris, France, with 16 lines consisting of 133 miles of rail and 303 stations.

25 A. Instrument using rolls : PLAYER PIANO.   A mechanically driven piano whose playing is controlled by perforated paper rolls.  Sales peaked in 1924, then fell off as phonograph record and radio broadcast music became more common.

47 A. In the U.S., it has more than 950 stations : PUBLIC RADIO.  Radio broadcasting whose primary mission is public service.  Funding sources include license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.

63 A. Pasta sauce ingredient : PLUM TOMATO.  A type of oval tomato well suited for sauce making because it is denser and has fewer seed compartments than other tomatoes. Roma is a well known variety. 

And the unifier - 55 D. Many a bus. address, and a literal hint to 18-, 25-, 47- and 63-Across : P. O. BOX.  A Post Office BOX is a locked box with a unique address located at a post office.  Many countries do not have door to door delivery, and this is the only way residents can receive mail.

 All the theme answers are straight forward, in-the-language phrases with easily recognizable meanings.  No humor or twists this time.

Hi gang, and rabbit rabbit.  JzB here.  Let's see what the rest of this posting has for us.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Trolling The Cosmos for Breadcrumbs........

Heteromost presents a scenario where we are put in a position to ask an allegedly unlikely wise savant, "What is the universal truth."

Our task is to fabricate his answer.

Certainly, this can not be given in any straightforward manner.  It must be as enigmatic as an ancient prophecy whose meaning can only be teased out with deep and inspired thought.

Such a task is beyond me, of course.  But why let a detail like that get in the way?

So, from the mouth of our sage, these words:

yes life is precious
but alas not all of it
what does your heart say

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Carpe Diem #569, Corn

an insect buzzes
up against the corn stalk
on the cob a web

Carpe Diem #569, Corn

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #6, Lizard

Today's challenge is to write a haiku in 5-7-5 form about a lizard.

I like working in the structured format.  Here's version 1.

patient orb weaver
waits for the next fat insect
then comes the lizard

Best laid plans of mice and spiders.   But the last line too closely echoes my apple haiku, and I don't want to get into a rut. Plus, "fat" is superfluous - it's just in there to hit the syllable count.

Then I remembered first-third line interchangeability, so I wanted to bring that into it.

spider's epiphany
as then next insect arrives
the lizard is pleased

Lizard might be pleased, but I'm not.  Spider's epiphany is a reach too far, and somehow this just doesn't sit right.

trapped insect panics
in orb weaver's silken threads
lizard licks his lips

Well, that's better, I think.  Not good, perhaps, but better.

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #6, Lizard

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Carpe Diem #568, Apples

I just read Kristjan's JUST READ post, then read the prompt for this post.  Help me if I've got this wrong, but I think Jane Reichold's apple haiku are way off the mark.  Are they stark and detached observations, or do they depend on sentimentality?  Only the first of the three can possibly be viewed as a brief moment in time.  Like the other two, it is a vivid image, but I see no deeper meaning there, or even a particularly sparkling insight.  The second one strikes me as being both twee and trite - very unlike the CROW haiku of Basho.  The third is the best.  It might have a deeper meaning [though I can't tease it out] and a touch of irony, but it seems to have two caesura when there should only be one.  Am I too harsh, or flat out wrong?  Let me know in comments.

one apple hangs where
leaves have abandoned the branch
now comes the squirrel

Carpe Diem #568, Apples 



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #26,

In this episode, Jen of Blog It Or Lose It tells us -

Rather than elaborate upon the poem, I’d like to know what the poem means to *you*.  

Can you envision the stars, the brown grass at the trees' feet, the liberation of being "leafless"? 

What thoughts come to mind when *you* read the poem? 

           By Sarah Teasdale

ONE by one, like leaves from a tree,
All my faiths have forsaken me;
But the stars above my head
Burn in white and delicate red,
And beneath my feet the earth
Brings the sturdy grass to birth.
I who was content to be
But a silken-singing tree,
But a rustle of delight
In the wistful heart of night,
I have lost the leaves that knew
Touch of rain and weight of dew.
Blinded by a leafy crown
I looked neither up nor down -
But the little leaves that die
Have left me room to see the sky;
Now for the first time I know
Stars above and earth below.


Instead of literal stars and grass, what I see in this poem is someone coming to an epiphany - shedding ideas and concepts that are comfortable, sheltering and familiar, but blind one to the actual realities of life.

This could be getting over a love-is-blind fascination and seeing the object of one's affection as a real person with perhaps some stellar attributes, but also feet of clay.  Or it could be the death of love.

It could be the escape from a religious cult.

It could be zen enlightenment.

It could be loosing the blinders of hide-bound political ideology to see the consequences of bad policy.

In any event, what this poem means to me is coming to a new realization about some aspect of life in the real world that results from shedding whatever was binding and blinding one.

in that stark moment
of pain loss and confusion
suddenly I saw 

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #26


Monday, September 22, 2014

Carpe Diem "Analyze that haiku" #2, "seeking for relief"

seeking for relief
aching of a broken heart -
love isn 't forever

© Chèvrefeuille

Analyze the haiku, try to tell the story behind the haiku ... let the given haiku come to life ... see it in front of your eyes ... feel it with all your senses ... be part of the haiku ... maybe it helps to read the haiku aloud more than twice ... try to come in touch with the haiku. Share your thoughts, your analysis with us all ... and try to write/compose a new haiku with the story you analyzed from the haiku.

I could make this very personal.

Instead, though, I'll talk about a scene from the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. [You can see my review of it here]  Emily Watson [Julianne Moore] is driving slowly down a residential street with her husband Cal [Steve Carell] in the passenger seat, when she confesses to him that she is having an affair with David Lindhagen [Kevin Bacon], and now wants a divorce.  Cal's response is to open the car door and spill out into the street.

The rest of the convoluted plot weaves a web of relationships and proto-relationships involving Cal and Emily's family members.  One of the major sub-plots is Cal's attempt to find relief through an extended series of brief and meaningless affairs.

Through it all, though, he never gets over his love for Emily - at least not within the scope of the movie's time line.  Her feelings are not so clear.  So - though love isn't necessarily forever - it could be.  Then again, maybe not.

though that thing happened
I can't pinpoint the moment
I fell out of love

Carpe Diem "Analyze that haiku" #2, "seeking for relief"


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Carpe Diem #563, River

Black River, Michigan, July 2014

From Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse:

[...] "It is this what you mean, isn't it: that the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future?" [...]

 Siddhartha's lesson
the river is without time
yet the sea beckons

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 Gareth Bain

Theme: COCONUT - what else?  The first word of each two-word theme answer relates to something derived from the fruit - which botanically is a drupe, not a nut - of the COCONUT tree, cocos nucifera.

 16. *Butcher's appliance : MEAT GRINDER.   A device used make big chunks into small chunks for burgers and sausages.  COCONUT MEAT  is the rich white lining that is contained within the shell of a coconut.

 24. *Prankster's balloon : WATER BOMB.  You can get your friends as mad as wet hens.  Here are instruction for making one out of paperCOCONUT WATER is the clear liquid inside young, green coconuts.  It has been marketed as a natural energy drink.

50. *Allowance for the cafeteria : MILK MONEY.  Literally, money to be spent on MILK, or figuratively for the entire lunch.  COCONUT MILK is a rich, high fat liquid extracted from grated COCONUT MEAT.

 57. *Monet work : OIL PAINTING.  Made with oil based rather than water based paints.

COCONUT OIL, derived from dried COCONUT MEAT is used as a cooking oil and flavoring in South-east Asian cooking, and in beauty products. 

And the unifier -- 36. Fruit that can be the source of the starts of the answers to starred clues : COCONUT.  So many uses for this versatile, healthful and nutritious tropical fruit.

Hi gang, JzB here, once again united with Gareth on a Wednesday.  Seems like old times. Let's see what he has in store for us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Carpe Diem's "Remember This Music?" #1

Nate gets a hit, June, 2014

In August 2002, my daugher Karen had her first baby, My grandson Nathaniel.  We call him Nate.  While Karen was pregnant, an ultrasound revealed that Nate had transposition of the great arteries - his pulmonary artery and aorta were hooked up in reverse.  So instead of having a complete circulatory system, he had two closed loops.  Life expectancy with this condition is only a few hours.  But it is correctable, so Nate was born at Mott's Children's Hospital at the university of Michigan.  The neo-natal cardiac staff was on high alert, and as soon as he was born performed a radical procedure - opening a hole in the wall between the ventricles to allow mixing of the two blood streams - that stabilized him temporarily.

When he was a week old, he had open heart surgery to reverse the misplaced piping.  Everything went well.  He is now a smart, healthy 12-year old.

When he was very little, I wrote this song for him, and arranged it for big band.  Since he was tiny and turned blue, it's a minor blues.  The melody has two motifs.  Each is played, then repeated upside down - the reversal.  In the middle, the melody is taken apart and passed around the band - that is the surgery.  Then the recovery, and we take it on home.  The bass riff at the beginning and ending represent a heart beat.

That's me on the trombone solo.

This is too emotionally intense for me to write a good renga, but here it is anyway.

a child is born
not built according to plan
little boy blue

in the first hours of life
they must pierce his tiny heart

oxygen revived
he lives to see the dawn
waiting surgery

at one week pipes reversed
all is well now go and live

Carpe Diem's "Remember This Music?" #1

Carpe Diem's "Time Glass" #2 a time-challenge "Buddha"

 © Chèvrefeuille

seeking nirvana
in the lap of stone buddha
a fallen flower

Carpe Diem's "Time Glass" #2 a time-challenge "Buddha" 



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Carpe Diem #561, Harvested Fields

In theory, the ideal haiku captures an instant in time, not a scene that might endure for a week or a month.

But with some topics - such as today's prompt - that restriction cannot hold.

autumn blooms
soft white cotton balls
a harvest field

brown harvest field
the balls of white cotton
polka dots

These cotton balls and brown stalks will endure until they are hidden by snowfall or scattered by the winds, a time of finite but unknowable duration.

 harvested fields
lie in wait for next year's crop
but first the winter

Carpe Diem #561, Harvested Fields

Carpe Diem Sparkling Stars #5, Kishu's "a crow passes"

Inspirational haiku

aki no kure  karasu mo nakade  tori keri

an autumn evening;
without a cry,
a crow passes

© Kishu

 The goal of CD's "Sparkling Stars" is similar to our regular CD-Specials: write a haiku inspired on the given one and in the same mood, sense and spirit as that given one. So to write an all new haiku ... you need to become one with the scene and the feeling it gives you ... be part of the scene ... live the scene and become inspired.

my response

after the battle
autumn crows busy at work
no time to cry out

Carpe Diem Sparkling Stars #5, Kishu's "a crow passes"

Friday, September 12, 2014

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Squared #2, Björn Rudberg's "Loon is calling"

Bjorn has composed a truly wonderful haiga to be used in this Tan Renga Squared challenge.

The goal is first to write a two line continuation (Tan Renga,) and then follow up with two more stanzas of 3 and 2 lines.  The last stanza should have a connection to the first.

The deeper meaning that Bjorn's haiku evokes for me is sadness as I consider the tragic fates of people I have known who slipped into dementia.


evening mist
memories are fading
loon is calling                                                    (Björn)

across the once placid lake
a slowly fading ripple                                  (JzB)
ancient songs of love and want
deeper darkness falls                                   (JzB)

into the gathering mist
loon flies never to return                         (JzB)

OK.  This is melancholy.  But I think I came close to capturing my own emotional reaction.


Carpe Diem goes "Full Circle" #3, Mirror

The challenge is to write four haiku with the given words, one per line, in the order presented

Here are the 12 (twelve) words for this new episode:

1. mirror
2. leaves
3. rain
4. butterfly
5. chrysanthemum
6. breeze
7. stars
8. clouds
9. ocean
10. daisies
11. cow shed
12. secret
I'm also trying to achieve vivid images, a brief moment in time, 1st-3rd line interchangeability, and maybe even a deeper meaning, with variable success.


orb weaver's mirror
a puddle in the wet leaves
reflecting the rain


butterfly quivers
in chrysanthemum petals
could it be the breeze


stars sneaking a peek
through thin wind-tattered clouds
moon spies the ocean


bliss in the daisies
behind the old cow shed
farm hand's secret


Bonus - I got out of sequence, so this:
 aim of autumn breeze
with moon and stars revealed
clouds scutter past