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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 C. C. Burnikle

Theme: Not until you see the whites of their eyes.

Let's start with the unifier.  21 D. No-parking areas, four of which are formed, in a way, by the answers to the starred clues :  FIRE LANES.

Each theme answer can follow the word FIRE, yielding an in-the-language noun or two-word noun phrase. The LANES result from the left-right symmetry of the placement of the theme answers.  Two LANES are formed by the theme fill along the vertical edges, and two more LANES are located at the fifth column in from each vertical edge.   Each LANE is made up of three theme answers, so we have a puzzle that is unusually rich in both theme density and number of theme fill entries.

A typical grid has a small number of horizontally-placed long theme answers.  This one has a large number of vertically-placed short theme answers.  Lets sniff them out.

 1 D. *Rocking good time : BALL.  Have a BALL with this puzzle.  A FIREBALL is either,  literally, a ball of fire, a projectile filled with explosives, or a bright meteor.

5 D. *"Holy smokes!" : MAN.  An expression of surprise or dismay.  Don't have a cow.   A FIREMAN is someone whose job is usually [but not always] putting out fires.

10 D. *Frighten : ALARM.  But don't be ALARMed.  A FIRE ALARM is a warning device in case of fire.

14 D. *Cyber Monday event : SALE.  The Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday is used as an e-tail marketing ploy.  A FIRE SALE originally referred to goods deeply discounted due to FIRE damage.  Now it's any sales event at steeply discounted prices, though often occurring under financial distress.

23 D. *Attack forcefully : STORM.  Often a full frontal assault.  A FIRESTORM is a large, powerful FIRE that burns so hot that it produces strong winds.  Less literally, it refers to a raging controversy or strong and sudden outburst.

25 D. *Delivery vehicle : TRUCK.  A FIRE TRUCK does not [usually] deliver FIRE.

34 D. *Authority : POWER FIRE POWER is the destructive capacity of your military arsenal

37 D. *Gem : STONE. Precious or semi-precious mineral matter.   FIRESTONE is the lone proper noun in this conflagration, the name of a tire and rubber company.. 

52 D. *Smoking gun, e.g. : PROOF.   Refers colloquially to a bit of incontrovertible incriminating evidence.  FIREPROOF means impervious or resistant to damage by fire.

55 D. *Down Under gem : OPAL FIRE OPALs, so named because of their vibrant color display, were first discovered in Australia in the second half of the 19th century.

62 D. *Secret to crack : CODE.  A word of many meanings, here indicating a system of symbols used instead of words or letters to conceal the meaning of a message.  In another sense, a FIRE CODE is a set of standards established and enforced by government for fire prevention and safety in case of fire.

66 D. *Picnic invader : ANT.  Frequent cross word invader as well.  FIRE ANTs are fiercely stinging omnivorous ants native to South America.

This is the second puzzle this month by our own dear  C.C., and I have been fortunate enough to blog them both.  Raising the coincidence quotient another notch, both of these puzzles have four vertically placed theme elements, and a centrally placed vertical unifier.  Plus, you could be burnt by both themes  High marks for creative, original and consistent thinking.

Lets put on our asbestos underwear, delve into this puzzle, and see if we can avoid being charred.


1. Islands north of Cuba : BAHAMAS.  A string of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Florida.

8. Earl Grey pouches : TEA BAGS. Flavored with oil of bergamot. My go-to tea.

15. Fruit that's a source of cosmetic oil : AVOCADO.  More oil.  Watch out, this stuff is flammable

16. Hay fever drug brand : ALLEGRA.  The LW is struggling this week.  How are you doin'?

17. Beirut's country : LEBANON.  Middle-eastern coastal country nestled snugly between Israel and Syria.

18. Chicago mayor Rahm : EMANUEL

19. Belt holder : LOOP.   Also Chicago's commercial core

20. Luftwaffe foes of WWII : RAFRoyal Air Force.  Airborn FIRE POWER.

22. Red Cross training course : TRIAGE.  The assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.

23. LPGA star __ Pak : SE RI.  Will she talk on your i-Phone?

24. Veep before LBJ : RMN.  Vice Prez in the 50s.  AKA Trickie Dickie.

25. Plot surprises : TWISTS

29. Sushi topper : ROE.  Fish eggs.  Yum?

31. Snack on the trail : GORP.  Disgusting sounding name for a trail mix of peanuts, raisins and M&Ms.

35. Aptly named laundry soap : RINSO.  One of the first mass-marketed soap powders over 100 years ago.  It was unable to compete with Tide in the 50's, was modified as Rinso Blue, and was eventually rebranded as Surf.  Rinso brand is still marketed in other parts of the world, but Rinso Blue is now sold exclusively to Smurfs.

36. Roman goddess of agriculture : CERES.  And eponym for the largest body in the asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter - a rock and ice [not FIRE] ball 590 miles in diameter.

38. Letter after pi : RHO.   If you rho, rho, rho your boat, will you get to eat pi?

39. Answering to : UNDER.   This works in two senses.  In an organization you are under the person you answer to, and if you answer to an assumed name, you are UNDER an alias. 

40. Birmingham's st. : ALAbama.

41. 2007 Heisman Trophy winner : TEBOW.  Tim, a University of Florida QB who went on to a flash-in-the-pan career with the Denver Broncos before being traded to the Jets, then the Patriots who cut him last August.  He is now a college football analyst for ESPN.

43. Half of CDII : CCI  402/2 = 201.  Bach sometimes included his musical signature in compositions.  What could C C I mean?

44. It may be precious : METAL.  Especially a certain gold ring.

46. Zinc __ : OXIDE.  Opaque sun block

47. Capsize, with "over" : KEEL.  The keel is on the bottom of the boat - until it KEELs over.

49. Harry Potter pal : RON.  And your humble blogging trombonist.

50. GM security system : ON STAR. You can use your smart phone to lock your car.

51. Therapists' org. : APA. American Psychiatry Association.

53. Munich article : EINE. Meaning a, an or one.

55. Takes place : OCCURS.

58. Home of Absolut Vodka: Abbr. : SWEden.

59. Like "le" in Fr. : MASCuline.

63. Talk openly about, as one's feelings : POUR OUT.  Could be a heated conversation.  Maybe the Tin Man can come up with an alternate clue.

65. Emphatic denial : I SAID NO. Could be prt of a heated conversation

67. Existing independent of experience, in logic : A PRIORI.  Instead, relating to or derived by reasoning from self-evident propositions.

68. Type of oil : LINSEED.  Yet another flammable oil, this one is colourless to yellowish, obtained from the dried, ripened seeds of the flax plant, and used in paints, varnishes, inks, soaps, and surface protectants.

69. Visa penalty : LATE FEE.   Worse than interest.

70. "Hmm ..." : LET'S SEE  .  .  .   Are we there yet?  Nope - a ways to go yet.


2. Small Chevy model : AVEO.  Offered from 2004-11.

3. Handbag brand with a bindle-toting icon : HOBO.

4. Put __ on: limit : A CAP.  I wanted A LID.

6. Is crazy about : ADORES.

7. Echolocation device : SONAR.  Originally an acronym for SOund Navigation And Ranging.

8. __ kwon do : TAE.   Martial art

9. Shade provider : ELM TREE.  Sadly retro

11. Actress Annette : BENING.

12. Mexican water : AGUA.  To put out the fuego.

13. 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Maddux : GREG.  BASEBALL! He's the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons.  Read more here.

26. React to a shot : WINCE.  Hypodermic or basketball?  You be the judge.

27. Typical Sundance film : INDIE.  Independent.

28. Madison-to-Nashville dir. : SSE.

30. Like much lore : ORAL.  Passed down by word of mouth. 

32. Once around : ORBIT.  A circuit of the FIREBALL.

33. '70s sitcom spin-off : RHODA.  From the Mary Tyler Moore show

36. "The Censor" of Rome : CATO.  Marcus Porcius Cato, the elder, holder of many offices in Roman government.  As Censor he was responsible for maintaining the census, supervising public morality [from which we get our modern word censorship], and overseeing certain aspects of the government's finances.  Probably not invited to many BALLs.

42. Strait's "All My __ Live in Texas" : EXS. Which is why he resides in Tennessee.

45. Sign of a changed sheet : ERASURE.  Sheet of paper.  Common when I attempt sudoku.
48. "House" star Hugh : LAURIE.

Well, I had a hot time.  Hope you made it through without burning up your eraser.

Hot regards!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, May 14, 2014  C. C. Burnikel

Theme: We all have our ups and downs; even the center of our solar system. I hope you got to see the circles in the puzzle, since they are crucial to discovering the placement and meaning of this clever and original theme.  The word SUN is contained in four symmetrically-placed, multiple-word vertical theme answers, alternating in retrograde and prograde arrangement, giving us two each of  SUN RISE and SUN SET.  I guess that makes this some sort of a concealed rebus, but I'll set aside my usual disdain in deference to this beautiful construction.

Here are the theme entries, presented from left to right in the grid, rather than numerical order, to preserve the rise and fall.

3 D. Pageant for under-20s : MISS TEEN USA.   This year's pageant will be at 8:00 p.m. on August 2nd at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, many hours after SUNrise.  

32 D. Admits defeat : SAYS UNCLE.  Otherwise the victim's arm could get twisted until SUNset.  This expression might go all the way back to ancient Rome.

9 D. Like our secret : BETWEEN US.  Shhhh! Don't tell anyone.  At least not before SUNrise.

25 D. Cheating victim's cry : THAT'S UNFAIRA fair person would never let the SUN set on such an outrage.

And the centrally placed unifier, 14. "Fiddler on the Roof" song suggested twice by this puzzle's circles : SUNRISE, SUNSET, which then naturally becomes today's theme song.

A nice, elegant touch is that at each rotation of the SUN, the word is broken at the first letter encountered in reading, N for the rises and S for the sets.  Looks like North and South, rather than East and West.

This is not a startlingly unusual grid, but, upon closer inspection, it does seem a bit out of the ordinary.  The symmetrically placed horizontal 6 and 8 stacks near the top and bottom don't leave room for a more typical theme placement.  The 13-letter vertical unifier is not an axis of symmetry.  The only symmetry in the grid is 180 degree rotational, around the center square.  Let's see what else is in orbit.


1. Downfall : DEMISE.  From Late Middle English via Old French, and ultimately Latin.

7. Msg. to squad cars : APBAll Points Bulletin.  Note Abrv. in Cl. & Ans.

10. Luxury resort amenity : SPA.

13. "Savages" director Stone : OLIVER.  Not my kind of movie, but here is the trailer.

14. Unsportsmanlike sort : SOREHEAD.  Bad loser.

16. Egyptian president during the Suez Crisis : NASSER.  Gamal Abdal, Jan 15, 1918 - Sep 28, 1970.  He died of a heart attack shortly after the conclusion of the Arab League Summit Conference.

17. One-piece garments : UNITARDS.  Leotards with legs.

18. Golf Hall of Famer Ernie : ELS.   He is one of six golfers to twice win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

 19. "Death in Venice" author : MANN.  Thomas.

21. Bugs on a highway : VWs.  Beetles.  In August you might see monarch butterflies.

22. Wobble : TEETER.  Weebles TEETER, but they don't fall down.

24. Gossip : YENTA.  Yiddish.

27. See 26-Down : SEA.   Plus:  26 D. With 27-Across, one end of the Dardanelles : AEGEAN.  The Dardanelles is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the AEGEAN SEA to the Sea of Marmara.

28. Bird: Pref. : AVI-. So why isn't AVI-brained a common expression?

29. Tie up : TETHER.

31. Still-life pitchers : EWERS.

33. __ Martin: Bond's car : ASTON.

35. Dating service datum : AGE.

36. Summer of songs : DONNA.  Summer is hot.

37. Narc's org. : DEADrug Enforcement Agency.

38. Peso spender's pronoun : USTED.  You, nominative case, formal.

40. __-turn : NO U.  Ixnay on the ooeyay.

41. Brewery supply : YEAST.   Hops, barley, malt.

43. "What a shame!" : SO SAD.

44. Size up : ASSESS.  Want to ASSESS these asses?

46. Beehive State college player : UTE.

48. Attila follower : HUN.  Atilla ruled the Huns from 434 until his death in 453.  This great warrior died of a nose bleed on his wedding night.  The recent report that his grave had been found turned out to be a hoax.

49. Overact : HAM UP.  And 45 D. Overact : EMOTE.  Crossing clechos share the M.

50. Big name in antivirus software : NORTON.

52. "Dear Yoko" subject : ONO.  Song from the Double Fantasy album.

53. Rise precipitously : SOAR

54. Coat lining : FUR.  Silver is for clouds

57. Treatment for burnout : REST CURE

61. "Confidence in Motion" car : SUBARU.  

63. Has a knack for : EXCELS AT

64. Online order confirmations : E-MAILS

65. Designer of Hong Kong's Bank of China Tower : PEI.   Ieoh Ming Pei (born April 26, 1917) is a Chinese born American architect who likes sweeping lines and cantilevered structures.

66. Brain scan letters : EEG. ElectroEncepheloGraph

67. Far from abundant : SPARSE.   I had SCARCE.


1. "Ta-da!" : DONE.  Did you get the Ta-da?

2. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL.

4. Drips in the ICU : IVs. Intensive Care Unit and  Intra-Venous.  Note Abrvs.

5. Terse meeting request : SEE ME.  Usually not good news.

6. Editorial slips : ERRATA.  Mistakes in copy.

7. Chicago Loop's __ Center : AON.  Skyscraper completed in 1974, originally the Standard Oil Building

8. In on : PRIVY TO.

10. Inspiring lesson, perhaps: Abbr. : SER.  Sermon.

11. Spot for notes : PAD.  Is your i-Pad a note pad?

12. Website clutter : ADs.

15. "It __ hit me yet" : HASN'T.  And maybe it won't

20. Place name meaning "snow-covered" : NEVADA.  Spanish.

23. Draw wages : EARN.  I'm very disappointed that I couldn't find a picture of a cartoonist literally drawing wages.

27. Logo on some sports bras : SWOOSH.

30. Funny Foxx : REDD.  Of Sanford and Son fame.

31. Writer Ferber : EDNA.  August 18, 1885, July 16, 1968.  She wrote Giant, So Big, Showboat and Cimarron.

34. Skin picture : TATTOO.

39. NYC gallery district : SOHOSouth of Houston Street.

42. Champion, as a cause : ESPOUSE.

47. Deletes : ERASES.

51. "You're fired!" speaker : TRUMP.  The Donald.

55. Bing results, briefly : URLs.  Internet search engine.

56. Stratagem : RUSE

57. GOP member : REPublican.  No politics.

58. Program file suffix : EXEcutable.

59. "Nova" subj. : SCIence.

60. Tattered tee, maybe : RAG.  Re-use for old clothes.

62. Pipe up in the pasture : BAA.  "Is it ewe?" Tom asked, sheepishly.

An excellent puzzle by our own fearless leader.  Hope you all enjoyed this cirque du soleil.