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, June 25, 2014

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

 Wednesday, June 25, 2014  Matt Skoczen

Theme: ALL THAT BLOWS IS NOT THE WIND.  The first word of each theme answer can follow the word BLOW, yielding a common, in-the-language phrase.

17 A. *Bit of formalwear : TOP HAT.  To BLOW one's TOP is to get very angry.  But nobody could be angered by Fred Astair showing us the entire formal outfit.

 18 A. *Interrupt : HORN IN ON.  This implies a forceful and unwelcome inerruption or coercion -- or something a trombonist might happily do.

39 A. *Scandal management ploy : COVER UP.  You can run, but you can't hide.  I'm sure you can think of an example or two.  Seems like somebody always BLOWs the COVER, though.

60 A. *Less intense workout after a workout : COOL DOWN.  Self explanatory, I hope.  After working on my feeble high register, I COOL DOWN by playing low notes.  BLOWing one's COOL is similar, but perhaps less severe than BLOWing one's TOP.

11 D. *Psychologically manipulative tactics : MIND GAMES.   A series of deliberate ploys planned to achieve some advantage or superior position.  To BLOW one's MIND is to make a particularly strong impression.

33 D. *Snoop : NOSE ABOUT.  I'm not sure this is a common phrase, but the meaning is clear enough.  As for BLOWing one's NOSE - well, it's allergy season, s'nuff said.

And, of course, the unifier. 62 A. Lose when you should have won, and a hint to the start of the answers to starred clues : BLOW IT.  But viewed from the other side, it's a clutch come-from-behind victory.  It all depends on whose ox is being gored.  But why am I thinking about Joe Nathan?

Hi gang, it's JzB, your humble resident trombonist and frustrated Tigers fan, in case you haven't guessed by now.  Today we have a very rich and well-executed, perfectly symmetrical theme, with horizontal and  long vertical crossing entries.  Did it BLOW your MIND?  Let's see if I can lead the way through without BLOWing IT.


1. Looking at the stars : GAZINGAstronomy perhaps. Star gazing can also imply absorption in chimerical or impractical ideas, or the quality or state of being absentminded. How do you spend your nights?  

7. Dog star's first name? : RIN.  RIN Tin Tin.  And I'm Sirius.

10. Singing an olde-fashioned love song? : SMIT.  Derived from "smite" to strike forcefully - yet another kind of BLOW.  Here, pierced by Cupid's arrow -- but --
I've heard of being SMITTEN, but not being SMIT,
There are old-fashioned love songs, but this doesn't quite fit.
So SMIT can be today's odd SMITTEN nit.

14. Saudi neighbors : OMANIS. To the East.

15. Poetic preposition : ERE.  I've heard this before

16. Opera set in Egypt : AIDA.  Premiered in Cairo in 1871.  The story of a love triangle between AIDA, an Ethiopian Princess captured and enslaved by the Egyptians; Ramides, an Egyptian military commander torn between duty and his love for her; and Amneris, the Pharaohe's daughter, whose love for Ramides is unrequited.  "In fact, a perfect opera."

20. Wear a long face : MOPE.  I have granddaughters who have raised this to the level of high art.

21. Lucrative way for a handicapper's bet to pay off : TENFOLD.  A long shot winning at 10-1 odds.

22. Supply with weapons, old-style : ENARM.  The erstwhile arms race, as 'twere.

24. Letters for the Queen Mary : HMSHer Majesty's Ship.

25. Numeral : DIGIT.  Any number, suitable for counting on your fingers.

28. Mideast ruler : EMIR.

30. Delaware tribe : LENAPE.  Also known as the Delaware tribe.  Because of displacements from their native territory along the Delaware River watershed, they are now mainly located in Ontario, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma.

31. "General Hospital" extra, for short : LPNLicensed Practical Nurse

34. Territory in dispute between Russia and Ukraine : CRIMEA.   The OTHER Crimean war occurred from 1853 to 1856.  Either way, a sad story.

37. FBI agent : G-MANGovernment Guy.

38. U.N. workers' rights agcy. : I. L. O.   International Labor Organization.

41. Memphis-to-Nashville dir. : ENE. East North East.

42. Condé __ Publications : NAST.  A mass media company headquartered in New York, and famous for its many magazines.  Read all about it.

44. Like Enya's music : NEW AGE.   Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin has shown up as fill so many times in puzzles I've blogged.  It's refreshing to see her in a clue.  As a music genre, NEW AGE is rather bland and amorphous, intended to inspire relaxation, optimism and NEW AGE spirituality, sadly characterized by a conspicuous absence of trombones.  It probably will not BLOW your MIND.

45. Emulated Miss Muffet : SAT.  On a tuffet.  Said Miss Muffet to the Spider:  "Get out of my whey!"

46. Vigor : ENERGY

48. Open carriage : SHAY.   It seems this is a back-formation from chaise, taken as plural.

50. Jazz player, briefly : NBA- ER.  As you can well imagine, this had me entirely down the wrong track.  I hold this fill in the same high regard that I hold NFL-ER, AL-ER, and NL-ER.  Which, I suppose, makes me a nitter.

51. "__ seen enough!" : I'VE.  Well placed fill, IMHO.

53. Stavros superior, in '70s TV : KOJAK.  Another famous show I never watched.  But I still know "Who loves ya!"

57. "Star Wars" weapon : BLASTER.  Which makes me wonder why the Imperial troopes even bothered with their totally ineffective armor.

59. Mandlikova of tennis : HANA.  From the '80's.

64. Molokai neighbor : MAUI.  Islands.

65. When repeated, a Kenyan rebel : MAU.  The MAU MAUs revolted against British occupation in the 50's.

66. Puccini's "La __" : BOHEME.   More opera.  It's premier was in  Turin in 1896, conducted by Arturo Tuscanini.  The Bohemians were the dirty hippies of a by-gone time. 

67. Times in the p.m. : AFTSAFTernoonS.  Also, I'm guessing, the best time to go to the back of a boat.

68. Suffix with Canton : -ESE. Food, language, people.

69. Quarters : ABODES.  Living quarters, not fourths of things.


1. "I dunno" : GOT ME.

2. "There's __ Out Tonight": 1961 hit : A MOON.  When you get tired of Star GAZING, you can go MOONing.

3. Rock legend Frank : ZAPPA.  Pappa of Dweezil and Moon Unit.

4. Response from the next room : IN HERE.  Where are you, Pappa?

5. Singer Peeples : NIA.   Virenia Gwendolyn Peeples is also an actress.

6. Clock-setting std. : G.S.T.  Greenwich Sidereal Time. More astronomy.

7. Sew up again : REHEM.  A HEM is a narrow cloth edge folded over and sewn to provide a finished look and prevent unraveling. REHEMing a dress or skit would make it shorter.  Selena Gomez demonstrates.

8. Presses : IRONS.  Next step after REHEMing.

9. Indoor ball brand : NERF.  The trademark for this line of polyurethane foam game and play products introduced in 1970 is in all caps.

10. Asea : SAILING.  Literally out on the waves.  Another frequent filler turned refreshingly into a clue.

12. Words often said in front of a priest : I DO.  Not always.  We got married in the Courthouse in Dearborn.  As it turned out, not the best VENUE.

13. Brown shade : TAN.  Can be confusing at times

19. Plant stem joint : NODE.

21. Flourish : THRIVE.

23. DL x IV : MMCC.  Erstwhile 550 x 4 = 2200.

26. "Brusha, brusha, brusha" toothpaste : IPANA.  Takes me back to my 'ute.

27. Maxim : TENET.  Core belief.

29. "The Twilight Zone" plot device : IRONY.  In this sense, dashed expectations, often associated with a plot twist.

30. Chuckle : LAUGH.  HA!

31. Flax fabric : LINEN

32. Something to fall back on : PLAN B.  If you BLOW plan A.

35. Litter sound : MEW.  Kittens.

36. Pencil topper : ERASER.  Mistake eliminator.  Necessary with Sudoku.

40. Busiest type of season : PEAK

43. Ivy support : TRELLIS

47. Alum : GRAD. Alumnus and GRADuate.   A former student who made the grade

49. Start of a pirate's refrain : YO HO HO.   And a bottle of rum.  Absolutely no ice, though.

51. "__ a dark and stormy night ..." : IT WAS.  Does any story actually start this way?

52. Locale : VENUE.  Place where something happens.

54. Yakked : JAWED.  Gabbed.

55. Cartoon genre : ANIME.  The concept seems a bit muddled, but I guess I know it when I see it.  It can look like this.

56. Beckinsale and Chopin : KATES.   Kathrin Romary Beckinsale (b. 1973) is a British actress.  Katherine Chopin (nee O'Flaherty, 1850 — 1904) was an American author of short stories and novels.

58. A few : SOME.  Not many.

60. Awards often co-hosted by Carrie Underwood: Abbr. :  C.M.A.  Country Music Awards.  No link.  I'm not a fan.

62. Mgr.'s degree : B.B.A.  Bachelor of Business Administration.

63. Toss : LOB.  A soft throw.

We made it.  A couple of nits, but nothing to BLOW your COOL over.  I had a lot of fun with this one, and hope you did, too.

[Not BLOWN] Cool regards!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

L. A Times Crossword puzzzle Blogging

Wednesay, June 11, 2014  Gail Gabowski

Theme:  Verkehrs-marmelade.   Decades ago, when I was in German class, we invented this Teutonic psuedo-portmanteau for today's hidden word theme.  To dispel whatever mystery there might be, let's start with the unifier.

64A. Rush-hour headache, components of which are hidden in the answers to starred clues : TRAFFIC JAM.   Of course, here JAM means a condition of being stuck and unable to move, not a confection made of smashed fruit cooked with sugar.  Lets check out the components.

17 A. *Big name in veggie patties : BOCA BURGER.   The original vegan version is mostly soy protein and wheat gluten, but there are variations.  The hidden word is a CAB, aka Taxi, a ride for hire.

40 A. *Certain surfer : WEB USER.  We're all WEB USERS on this BUS.   WI FI?  WI not?

11 D. *Passé reception aid : TV ANTENNA.   Gone the way of the rotary phone.  Now it's cable, U-verse or satellite.  You might even get reception in your VAN

35. *Steamy gallery display : EROTIC ART.  Putting a CAR into EROTIC ART is a somewhat different take on auto-eroticism.  I wasted a few good moments trying to find something worth posting, and finally had to settle for this.

Hi gang,  JzB here.  Let's get it in gear and see if we can motor through this puzzle without mashing up too much fruit.


1. Finch or falcon : BIRD.  One would probably eat the other.

5. Heart-to-hearts : TALKS.  Serious buisness

10. City southwest of Bayeux : ST LO.  Timely with the 70th anniversary of D-Day this past week.  The town was reduced to rubble by the fighting.

14. Actor Ladd : ALAN.  Appeared mainly in westerns and film noir, where he was often paired with Veronica Lake.

15. Intermediary : AGENT.  Cut taker.

16. It bakes the cake : OVEN.   Hot spot.

19. Great __ : DANE.   Going to the dogs.

20. Invite for : ASK TO.   Our two oldest grandchildren got asked to Prom for the first time this spring.  [Back in the day, it was THE Prom but not so now.]  They are both Juniors, and Danny's date had to ASK him, because she's a Senior.

21. Land in the ocean : ISLE.   Speck of land, not a splash.

22. "Fire" bugs : ANTS.  Ants work so hard.  Why would anybody fire them?   The stinging omnivorous variety also popped up in C.C.'s puzzle the last time I blogged.

23. Get one's back up about : RESENT.  Odd, phrase that.  Any INPUT from out linguists?

25. Went for a rebound, say : LEAPT.   Pretty much the antithesis of this.

27. Letter flourish : SERIF.   With Serif.   Sans Serif.  Check under the R and the F.

30. Like some omelets : TWO EGG.  Breakfast!

33. Borscht base : BEET.   As they once said on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, when it come to Borscht, you can't beat soup!

36. Sch. with 110 NCAA titles : UCLAUniversity of California, Los Angeles

38. Snorer's problem, perhaps : APNEA.  A momentary lull in breathing, while asleep.  The most effect preventive is insomnia.

39. "__ Town" : OUR.  Play about early 20th century Americana by Thorton Wilder.  Oscar was Wilde, but Thorton was Wilder.

42. Time out? : NAP.  Out, as in asleep.  Potenital apnea venue.

43. Pledge of fidelity : TROTH.  Solemn pledge, and that's the truth.

45. Chef's protection : MITT.  Hand in glove, as we say here  in MI.

46. Take the risk : DARE.  Dare to be [fill in the blank.]

47. Blowhard's output : HOT AIR. Nope.  No politics.

49. Playground comeback : DID SO.   Did not!

51. Feedback : INPUT.  Do you input my output, or is there too much FEEDBACK?

53. Unattached : SINGLE.  Unmarried.

57. Clock sound : TICK.  We have ways of making you tock!

59. Spot for a 42-Across : SOFA.  Not for me.  phooey on SOFA NAPS.  I do it right, and take me to bed!

62. "Even so ..." : STILL.  Bu, anyway .  .  .

63. Berry promoted as a superfood : ACAI.  There are no known health benefits that are specific to this fruit.

66. In a dilemma : TORN.  Could be a clash of ideas.

67. Actress Lenya : LOTTE.  Wife of Kurt Weill

68. "La Dolce Vita" setting : ROME.   Doesn't really seem that sweet.

69. One opposed : ANTI.  The anti-bellum are opposed to war.

70. College paper : ESSAY.   Write on.

71. Timeline component : YEAR.


1. Elephant in picture books : BABAR.

2. "Guess you beat me" : I LOSE.  Something the Tigers are saying far too often these days.

3. Clothing store fixtures : RACKS

4. Paternity suit procedure : DNA TEST.  The most reliable method to prove or disprove if there s a parent-child relationship.

5. Sigma follower : TAU.  It's all Greek [letters] to me

6. Business opening? : AGRI-   Bah!

7. Chair parts : LEGS.  I see.

8. Solemn ring : KNELL.  Ask not for whole the bell KNELLS.

9. Main drag, e.g. : STREET. You know its a small town if Main Street is the main street.

10. Picnic drink : SODA POP.  Carbonated.

12. Advanced : LENT.  An advance of money is a loan.

13. Tip jar fillers : ONES.  Dollar bills.  Different sense of the word SINGLE.

18. Dog biscuit shape : BONE. As if the dog cares.

24. "I can't deny that" : TRUE.  It's a fact

26. Wage __ of words : A WAR.   A long argument.

28. Long-range weapon, for short : ICBM.  Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile for long.

29. Gin or tonic : FLUID.  Any liquid. These two work together rather well.

31. Paraphernalia : GEAR.  Stuff.

32. Hang open : GAPE.  As a mouth

33. The pair : BOTH.  The one and the other one.

34. Continental cash : EURO.

37. Piedmont wine area : ASTI.

40. Prepare quickly, with "up" : WHIP.

41. LAX data : ETDS.  ETD or ETA always takes perp help.

44. Beachwear portmanteau : TANKINI.  A portmanteau of TANK top and biKINI, refering to an article of swim wear consisting of a TANK top [imagine that] and biKINI bottom.

46. Comforting words : DON'T CRY.  I don't see a lot of comfort here.

48. Prepare quickly, with "up" : RUSTLE.  As in dinner.

50. Emphatic Spanish assent : SI SI!  We all say "SI SI!" to C.C.

52. Pamplona runners : TOROS.  That's a lot of bull.

54. WWII enlistee : GI JOE.  Before he became an action figure and then a cartoon character.

55. Andean hauler : LLAMA.  South American humpless camelid.

56. Wabbit hunter : ELMER. Fudd.

57. "Toodle-oo!" : TATA.   Bye, now.  No - wait.  Four more to go.

58. Screen image : ICON.  Kinda-sorta.

60. They may be saturated : FATS.  The ones from animals and avocados.

61. Colgate-Palmolive shaving lotion : AFTA.

65. Baldwin's "30 Rock" co-star : FEY.  Tina.

There We made it to the finish line.   Hope you all enjoyed the trip.

Cool regards!