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 30, 2015

L. A. Time crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Michael Dewey

Theme: Having a go at it -  or - disappointing Yoda.  The last word of multi-word in-the-language phrases are all synonyms for striving to achieve something.

17 A. It may lead to an acquisition : TAKE OVER ATTEMPT.  One corporation ATTEMPTS to take over another.

28 A. Coalition : JOINT ENDEAVOR.  Working together for a common goal.  Rather a different shade of meaning, as compared to ATTEMPT.

48 A. With "the," one's best shot : OLD COLLEGE TRY.  This is a wild and desperate ATTEMPT to achieve something, perhaps with a bit of showboating along the way.

62. Sincere intention to be fair : GOOD FAITH EFFORT.  This is actually a legal term, relating to "what a reasonable person would determine is a diligent and honest EFFORT under the same set of facts or circumstances." Troutt v. City of Lawrence, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61641 (S.D. Ind. Aug. 8, 2008)

As I see it, all except JOINT ENDEAVOR carry some implication of failure, realized after the fact. Does that seem right?

Hi, gang, JazzBumpa here.  Nicely constructed theme, with a couple of grid-spanners.  The rest of the puzzle lies before us.  Shall we do or not do?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 Kurt Krauss

Theme: DIVESTITURES, being the opposite of mergers, in which companies come together.  For today's theme, they come apart. To make sense of this, let's part with tradition and start with the unifier.

38 A. Went different ways ... or what each of six sets of circled letters literally represents : PARTED COMPANY.   Anyone who has an Ex or two can relate. But here, COMPANY means a profit oriented business organization.  In the grid, COMPANY names are bookends in the theme fill, PARTED by the central letters.   The letters in the names are indicated with circles in the grid.  If you didn't get them, then the whole thing was probably baffling.

18 A. WWI aircraft : TRIPLANE.  A fixed wing aircraft with three vertically stacked wing planes.  TRANE COMPANY makes heating and air conditioning units for homes.

20 A. They may coordinate with floor mats : SEAT COVERS.  Automotive interior accessories.  SEARS is a chain of department stores founded in 1886

29 A. Bedstead part : FOOT BOARD.  Bedstead is a word you don't see every day.  It is the framework that holds the box springs and mattress.  At a minimum, there will be a head board, FOOT BOARD and side rails of some nature.  FORD is a venerable maker of automobiles and light trucks.

45 A. In the opposite order : VICE VERSA.  Silly me.  I thought this was about DF poetry.  But no, it's a reversal.  You can call me collect and VICE VERSA the charges.  VISA is an American-based multi-national financial services company.  Per Wikipedia, they "do not issue credit cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers; rather, Visa provides financial institutions with Visa-branded payment products that they then use to offer credit, debit, prepaid and cash-access programs to their customers."   

58. Some deal closers : HAND SHAKES.  One of my musician friends just got stiffed on a HAND SHAKE agreement.  His advice, and I think our in-house legal staff would concur, is to always get it in writing.  HANES is probably best known for their undergarments, but they also make other types of clothing for men, women, and children.

62. Hit-by-pitch consequence : DEAD BALL.  Baseball.  DEAD BALL is a type of official time out, when the ball is not playable, and runners may not advance farther than they are forced.  In the hit-by-pitch situation, the hit batter is awarded first base.  A runner on that base advances to 2nd base, but no farther.  Runners on other bases stay put until play is again commenced.

Each company name consists of either 4 or 5 letters.  The 4 letter names are parted 2 and 2, while the 5 letter words are parted either 2 and 3 or 3 and 2 - as close to the middle as you can get.  The six theme entries are arranged symmetrically, with the unifier in the middle.  It's a pretty elegant construction.

Hi, Gang - Jazzbumpa here.  Let's see what else we can find.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, November 18, 2015 Gary J. Whitehead


17. Lose it : HAVE A CONNIPTION.   Equivalent slang expression.

24. Lose it : HIT THE CEILING.    Equivalent slang expression.

35. Lose it : GO APE.   Equivalent slang expression.

41. Lose it : THROW A TANTRUM.  Equivalent slang expression.

55. Lose it : FLY OFF THE HANDLE.   Equivalent slang expression.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, having way too much fun with this one.  Lots of anger in this theme.  Let's see if we can stay on an even keel.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - November 4, 2015 Kurt Krauss

Theme:  DUPES.  The first word of each theme answer is a synonym for some kind of easily targeted victim.  

16 A. *Sneaky blow : SUCKER PUNCH.  A SUCKER is a gullible or easily deceived person.  The related PUNCH is a cowardly hit, often from behind, delivered to an unsuspecting opponent.  

55 A. *Peanuts : CHUMP CHANGE.  A CHUMP is a foolish or easily deceived person.  CHUMP CHANGE, aka peanuts, is an insignificant amount of money.  But, insignificant to whom?  YMMV.

10 D. *Place for brooding : PIGEON COOP.  Nice word play.  Brooding is the hatching of birds' eggs, and, in another context, thinking deeply about some troublesome matter.  A PIGEON is someone easily swindled, or the victim of a con man.  Cf Bernie Madoff.

26 D. *"Walkin' After Midnight" singer : PATSY CLINE. Ms Cline provides our theme song.  

A PATSY is someone taken advantage of, either by cheating or taking the blame for something. Again, YMMV, but for my money this is the only theme answer that really closely corresponds to the unifier fill.

35 A. Easy mark ... and a hint to the starts of the answers to starred clues : FALL GUY.   A scapegoat.   I don't really see a FALL GUY as an easy mark for a swindle - though all the other theme entries do fit that description.  So the whole thing seems a bit askew to me.  Or am I being too persnickety?

Hi Gang - JzB here, taking the FALL on another Wednesday.   My nits aside, this is a nicely constructed puzzle, with a pinwheel theme arrangement and the unifier in the middle.   Let's take a spin and see what else we can uncover.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Al Hollmer and C. C. Burnikel

Theme: ON THE BEACH.  The first word of common two-word phrases is, as we shall see, also the name of a specific U. S. BEACH.

Today's Theme Song

17 A. Dodge Chargers, e.g. : MUSCLE CARS.  These are American made high-powered two door vehicles that not only look the part, but perform it as well. 

MUSCLE BEACH, located at the south side of Santa Monica Pier, is known for its gymnastics and physical fitness activities.

25 A. Hyundai's home : SOUTH KOREA.  The country of origin for this vehicle.  At this point you might think we had an auto-related theme, but it was not to be.  

SOUTH BEACH is a major entertainment destination, high rent district and jet set playground on Florida's Atlantic coast near Miami.

35 A. Warm underwear : LONG JOHNS.  Full body underclothing.

LONG BEACH Is a city in Los Angeles County, CA.  Can anyone figure out why it is so named?

49 A. Easter season feast : PALM SUNDAY.   This is a moveable feast falling the Sunday before Easter and marking the beginning of Holy Week.  It celebrates the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem on a donkey, symbolizing peace.

PALM BEACH is the easternmost town in FLA, located on a 16 mile long barrier island.  

And the unifier -- 60 A. Shindig by the shore, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 25-, 35- and 49-Across : BEACH PARTY.

Hi gang, Jazzbumpa here, playing life guard today.  Happy to have the unifier, since I was asea without it.  Interesting entry by our fearless leader, along with long-time Corner regular and nautical expert, Al, aka Spitzboov.  Congrats on your first puzzle, Al!  Now, let's all have a stroll along the BEACH, get some sand between our toes, and see if we can avoid getting it in other places.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Six Word Saturday

Just got back from eastern Pennsylvania.

[only a six hundred mile drive]

[we have three grandchildren living there]

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 Howard Barkin

Theme: TIME OUT FOR HOCKEY SEASON.  And just in time, as the first of the regular season openers occur tonight, with the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary flames hosting the Vancouver Canucks. Seven more games follow on Thursday.  My beloved Red Wings don't open until Friday, when they host the Maple Leafs [which I saw referred to as a dysfunctional organization with a psychotic fan base] now led by former Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.  

Today's theme entries are all hockey infractions.  Hockey is a rough, physical game, but there are limits, at least in theory.  For a minor penalty, the offending player is given a 2 minute time out, and his team mates must play a man short, either for the duration, or until the other team scores.  For a major penalty, the duration is 5 minutes and the team with the man advantage may score as many goals as they are able to. The team with the man advantage is said to be on the power play.  

17 A. Sleeping in the great outdoors, e.g. : ROUGHING IT.  AKA camping.  Not a lot of fun in the rain.  After camping with me one time, the LW made a strong case about the virtues of indoor plumbing.  In my role of excellent husband, I take such things very seriously.  The ROUGHING penalty involves excessive physical contact.

23 A. Making sense : HOLDING WATER.  Indicates a sound concept, by analogy to a bucket that does not leak.  The HOLDING penalty involves grabbing the opponent's body, equipment or clothing.

38 A. Fair odds : FIGHTING CHANCES.  This indicates a possibility of success, given sufficient effort.  The FIGHTING penalty is the only major on today's list.  Often they cancel, since it generally takes two to tangle; but uneven numbers sometimes participate, and actual melees have been observed at times.  With this kind of variability, it is possible for one or both teams to end up one or two men short while the penalties are served.

49 A. Airport agent's request : BOARDING PASS.  This is what gets you onto the plane.  The BOARDING penalty involves pushing an opponent violently into the wall surrounding the skating surface, while he is facing the wall.  This is often a blind side hit.

And the unifier -- 60 A. Hockey punishment for the starts of the longest across answers : PENALTY BOX.  This, also known as the sin bin, is where the time out is served.  

There are many more ways to go wrong in a hockey game, and you can read about them here.  And it can get a whole lot worse.  The Shark's infamous repeat-offending goon Raffi Torres has now been suspended for half the season due to a brutal hit to the head of Anaheim Ducks player Jakob Silfverberg in a pre-season game.  Torres received three penalty calls on the spot, and the longest suspension in hockey history after the league review.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here to referee this match.  Let's strap our skates on and get going.

1. Great Salt Lake component, to a chemist : NACL.  NaCl outside the all caps world of puzzles, is the chemist's symbol for sodium chloride, common table salt. I know this 'cuz I are one.

5. Moved for a better view, in a way : SAT UP.  More of a posture adjustment than a movement.

10. Lucy's partner : DESI. Lucille Ball and DESI Arnaz.  He is known to have had many other partners [in a DF kind of way,] a serious drinking problem, and a tendency to smoke way too many Cuban cigars. 

14. Fairy tale villain : OGRE.   

15. Yoga position : ASANA.   

16. Pair in a loaf : ENDS.  I take it this is referring to the heels on a loaf of bread

19. Big East or Big South org. : National Collegiate Athletic Association

20. Generation : AGE.  With baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and millenials, this is the AGE of generations.

21. Org. recommending flossing : American Dental Association.  

22. Like many stunts : RISKY.   If they were safe, they wouldn't be stunts.

28. In the past : AGO.

29. Start of a spelling rule broken by deists? : I BEFORE E.   The word "deists" cleverly illustrates the breaking of the given rule.  I'm very cool toward self-referential clues, no matter how clever.

33. Flooded : AWASH.  Inundated, and one of the dreaded a-words.

36. Bring __ a substitute : IN AS.  Rather an awkward partial.

37. Co-star of Burt in "The Killers" : AVA.  Ms. Gardner plays Kitty Collins opposite Mr. Lancaster's Ole "Swede" Anderson in this suspense thriller based on a story by Ernest Hemingway.
42. Prefix with fold : TRI-.  Three panels and two folds, common in poster boards, pamphlets, and paper towels.  

43. "I get the idea!" : OK, OK.  Seems a bit impatient.

44. Skeptical : LEERY.

45. Guard : SENTINEL.

48. Korean automaker : KIA.  The name more or less translates as "Coming out of Asia."

54. Adolescent sidekick : ROBIN.  The Boy Wonder, associated with Bat Man.

57. Indifferent response : MEH.

58. "I did not need to know that" : Too Much Information.

59. Letter-shaped building part : I-BAR.  Metal beam with an I-shaped cross section.  Not this guy.

64. Narrated : TOLD.

65. "State of Affairs" star Katherine : HEIGL.

66. Clanton foe : EARP.  As I reported here, back on May 13th,  The EARP brothers, Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt along with Doc Holliday were on one side against Billy Claiborn, Ike and Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury. The combatants were only a few feet apart, and the incident was over in a matter of seconds.  It took place at a narrow vacant lot next to a photographer's shop, not at or adjacent to the eponymous corral. Probably the most famous gunfight in the history of the old west, but it was not well known to the American people until 50 years later.

67. Jazz finale? : ZEES.   A call out to me?  I suspect not, since it is a self-referential description of the last two letters of the word.

68. Schmoes : DOPES.  Stupid or obnoxious people.

69. Leaf support : STEM.  Plant life details.


1. Ravi's musical daughter : NORAH.

2. Disco era suffix : A GOGO.  Term borrowed from the French, originally meaning something like "in abundance," later indicating a suggestive style of dancing.

3. Mean : CRUEL.

4. Wing alternative : LEG.  Chicken or turkey parts.

5. Flatly denied it : SAID NO.

6. Hit __: experience delays : A SNAG.  Anything holding up progress.

8. One at the front? : UNI-.  At the front = prefix.  

9. Butter serving : PAT.  

10. "Meet the Parents" actor : DENIRO.

11. Contents of some envs. : ENCS.  Enclosures enclosed in envelopes.  So much redundency; so few words.

12. Neb. neighbor : SDAK.  South DAKota.

13. "Do as __ ..." : I SAY.   I hear this in my dad's voice.

18. __-Ashbury: San Francisco section : HAIGHT.  Hippy hang out, back in the day.

22. Court official : REFeree.

24. Smidgen of spice : DASH.  Ask the Mrs.
25. Take the top medal : WIN GOLD.  Olympically speaking

26. By surprise : ABACK.  Unexpected way to be taken.

27. New Age musician John : TESH.  John.  I'm not linking.

30. Compete in a heat : RACE.  Heats are the preliminary rounds.  What were you thinking?

31. At any time : EVER.

32. "Nothing to it!" : EASY.

33. Siesta hrs. : AFTS.   Afternoons.

34. Charging cable, e.g. : WIRE.

35. Not fer : AGIN.   Down-homish vernacular for pro and con.

36. Graphic novel artist : INKER.  Not an adult getting paid to color, as you might expect.  The INKER interprets and embellishes the original pencil drawing.  The colorist applies color.

39. Isle of Mull neighbor : IONA.  Inner Hebrides islands.  Iona is a small island just west of Mull, home to about 200 people.  It is known for it's tranquility and natural beauty, and serves as a location for religious retreats and tourism.

40. Land : ALIGHT.  

41. Tide type : NEAP.  The tide just after the first and third quarters of the moon, when there is the least difference between high and low levels.

46. Classic Fords : T-BIRDS.   The T stands for THUNDER.

47. Accelerator particle : ION.   Used in high energy physics.

48. Mournful tolls : KNELLS.  The ringing of bells, as at a funeral.

50. Physical likeness : IMAGE.   A picture or sculpture.

51. Chance to swing : AT BAT.   Baseball, not Hockey's FIGHTING penalty.  Every time a player completes a turn batting, that is considered a plate appearance.   There are several events in which a plate appearance happens, but not an AT BAT  These include a base on balls, hit by pitch, sacrifice bunt or fly, and some other rare occurrences.  Most batting stats are based on AT BATs. 

52. Three-ingredient treat : S'MORE.  Graham cracker, chocolate and toasted marshmallow.  A treat best enjoyed around a camp fire while ROUGHING IT

53. Common dinner hr. : SIX PM.

54. Nabisco cracker : RITZ.

55. Concert reed : OBOE.  Most common X-word music maker.  The orchestra tunes to it.  

56. About 500 pounds of cotton : BALE.  Heavy.

60. Scholar's deg. : PHD.   Doctor of Philosophy in some specialized field.

61. Want-ad abbr. : EEO.  Equal Employment Opportunity.   Refers to laws prohibiting discrimination.

62. Quick drink : NIP.  Or a sip.  Take your pick 

63. Aye or hai : YES.  That's agreeable, in both Scotland and Japan.

Do you say aye or hai to this puzzle?   I have my nits, but won't call any major penalties.   Here's hoping your team wins all its games - unless they're playing my team, of course.   Now it's time for me to skate off into the sunset.

But first an aside, re: the Oxford comma.  In my usage, it occurs when I'm demarcating a list of multi-word phrases, as in the DESI comment at 10 A, but not when I'm demarcating a list of single word items.
Cool [on ice] regards!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednseday, September 23, 2015, Jerry Wildenberg

Theme: Vowel progression.  The theme words have A, E, I, O, U, and even Y as their respective second letters, in each case surrounded by the letters L and N.

18. Aggressive property seizure : LAND GRAB.  Usually on a large scale, by a government, rich developer or trans-national corporation.

23. Red Square shrine : LENIN'S TOMB.  His embalmed body has been on display there since shortly after his death in 1924.

32. Pet hair picker-upper : LINT ROLLER.  A spindle-mounted roll of one-side adhesive paper used to pick up fibrous materials.

42. Green Hornet's great-uncle, with "The" : LONE RANGER.  Britt Reid, aka the Green Hornet, is the son of the LONE RANGER's orphaned nephew Dan Reid.  He's a newspaper publisher by day, and an incognito crime fighter by night.  Both characters originated at Detroit radio station WXYZ during the 30's.

52. Stretch between new moons : LUNAR MONTH.   Equal to 29.53059 days.

61. Sharp-sighted : LYNX EYED.  Similar to eagle-eyed or hawk eyed.  I was not at all familiar with this phrase, but it is legit.

Hi gang, It Jazzbumpa, your progressive host for today's linguistic excursion.  This simple theme is elegantly executed.  Let's see what else we can find.


1. Radiated joy : BEAMED.  With a smile that brightens your whole day.

7. "Hi and Lois" pooch : DAWG.

11. Fair grade : CEE.   Assuming the teacher grades fairly.

14. Smithy fixtures : ANVILS.  An ANVIL is a flat topped iron or steel block upon which metal objects can be hammered and formed.

15. Literary pen name : ELIA.   Charles Lamb first used this pseudonym for an essay on the South Sea House, where he had once worked.  He borrowed the name from an Italian coworker.

16. Half of a steep price? : ARM.   The other half is a leg.

17. Refused : SAID NO.

20. Video game pioneer : ATARI.

21. Unit to plow : ACRE.  Down on the farm.

22. Church section near the altar : APSE.   Oh-oh: religion. 

25. Suffix with church : GOER.   I thought it was two words, but the clue is correct.

26. Disdainful chorus : BOOS.  Sometimes accompanied by hisses.

27. Golden Fleece ship : ARGO.   Mythical ship named for it's builder, Argus.  In it, Jason and his crew, known as the Argonauts, sailed from Iolcos in search of the golden fleece. 

29. Campaign funding org. : PAC.  Political Action Committee.  Of which we may not speak.

37. Cope with change : ADAPT.  Don't get left behind.

40. Long-jawed fish : GAR.   Several species inhabit the waters of eastern North America, Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

41. Farm machinery giant : DEERE.  Nothing runs like a Deere.

45. Hit hard : RAM.

46. First-year law student : ONE L.   Also a novel about one at the Harvard Law School.

47. Word on some doors : PUSH.

50. Ship leader: Abbr. : CAPT.   I wanted CAP'N!

58. Away from port : ASEA.   Sailing, like Jason and the Argonauts.

59. Lots : A TON.   After the LAND GRAB, the developer was able to sell A TON of lots.

60. "Gone With the Wind" family name : O'HARA.  Gerald and Ellen and their daughters Katie Scarlett, Susan Elinor [Suellen,] Caroline Irene [Carreen] and three younger brothers who died as infants.

63. '80s-'90s Mets pitcher nicknamed "Dr. K" : GOODEN.   Dwight Eugene Gooden also played for the Yankees, then Cleveland, Houston and Tampa. The nickname comes from analogy to basketball's Dr. J. - Julius Irving, and the letter K, the standard baseball symbol for a strike out.   He led the National League in K's in as a rookie in 1984 and again in1985.  His later career was marred by drug and legal problems. He retired before the 2001 season with a record of 194-112.

64. Stan of Marvel Comics : LEE.   Stanley Martin Lieber [b Dec. 28, 1922] is an American writer and publisher of comic books, actor and television host.  He co-created Spiderman, The Hulk, and many other characters. 

65. Only : MERE.

66. Ancient Chinese divination text : I CHING.   Read all about it.

67. Violinists' sect. : STR.   Strings.

68. Binding vows : I DO's.    Marriage.

69. Summer wear : SHORTS.  Short pants.

1. __ reader: grade school text : BASAL.   Highly organized texts containing short stories, excerpts and original material, designed to improve reading skills.   The metabolism series only uses a minimal amount of energy.  [Full disclosure: I just made that up.]

2. Related maternally : ENATE.  A Latin-derived word.  Paternally related is AGNATE.

3. Birdlike : AVIAN.   Also from the Latin.  Any bird-brained relative is AVIATE.

4. Central vein of a leaf : MID RIB.  AKA primary venation.

5. Weather-affecting phenomenon : EL NINO.   This year's looks to be pretty large.  Expect warmer and drier winter conditions in the northern U.S. as far east as the Great Lakes basin; and cooler, wetter conditions for most of the South and up the East Coast almost to New England.

6. Brit. military decoration : DSO.   Distinguished Service Order, awarded for meritorious service, especially during combat.

7. Big name in auto parts : DELCO.  Originally Dayton Electrical Engineering Laboratories Co., founded by Charles Kettering and Edward Deeds in 1909.

8. Apprehension : ALARM.   The dreads.

9. Place to get a Cab : WINE BAR.   Cabernet Sauvignon. And after an evening there, take a taxi home.

10. Wander (about) : GAD.  Traveling in search of pleasure rather than a destination.

11. One sharing a ride : CAR POOLER.  Usually to and from school or work.

12. Rub off : ERASE.

13. Dying fire bit : EMBER.  Only you can prevent forest fires.

19. Honkers on the ground : GAGGLE.   A flock of five or more geese, not in flight.  In the air, they are a skein.

21. Punctuation in email addresses : AT SIGN.  This thing: @.  Technically, it is called "the commercial at."  It also has several nicknames, including snail and whirlpool.

24. Costa del __ : SOL.  The sun coast, comprising the towns and communities along the southern Spanish coast in the province of Malaga.

28. "The Twilight Zone" creator Serling : ROD.

29. Buddy : PAL.

30. Brouhaha : ADO.  It can be about nothing.

31. Kitchen gadget with a magnet : CAN OPENER.

33. Pester : NAG.

34. Rock-boring drill : TREPAN.  Used for sinking a shaft into the ground.  The term also refers to drilling holes in the cranium for medical purposes - a practice that goes back to neolithic times.

35. Historical period : ERA.  The ERA of TREPANATION continues.

36. Dream letters : REM.   Rapid Eye Movement.

38. Binoculars brand : PENTAX.

39. Otto minus cinque : TRE.   Italian numbers.  Also, 8, 5 and 3 are Fibonacci numbers.  Fibonacci was Italian.  Coincidence?  I think not!

43. Ameliorated : ALLAYED.  Improved something that is bad, as compared to relieved suspicion, fear or worry.  Near miss on the correspondence. 

44. Play about robots : RUR.   By the Czech writer Karel Čapek. R.U.R. stands for Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti (Rossum’s Universal Robots).  The play premiered in 1921, and introduced the word robot to the world.   Rossum's robots were artificial people made from synthetic organic material, capable of independent thought.  In the end, they revolt and destroy humanity.  I doubt that the phrase "I'll be back" was spoken.

48. Kiss : SMOOCH.

49. Sounds of seasonal joy : HO-HO-HO.   Santa calling.

50. Phones : CALLS.   Santa doesn't usually do it this way.

51. Up to this moment : AS YET.

53. Unborn, after "in" : UTERO.   Within the uterus.

54. Points of connection : NODES.

55. Apex antonym : NADIR.   High and low points, respectively.

56. Lott from Mississippi : TRENT.  Career politician from 1968 through 2007; since then a professional lobbyist, and a near-clecho with 59A.   This month, I am plagued by politics.

57. Puts on a hook : HANGS.

62. Brit. recording giant : EMI.

63. Enlistees, briefly : GI's.   Initialism for Government Issue, referring to army soldiers and air force airmen, and occasionally marines and sailors when the yare not ASEA.  Originally, the reference was to Galvanized Iron in the military inventory and supply records for such metal equipment as trash cans.

Well, that wraps it up.  We were able to progress all the way to the end.  Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Cool Regards!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, September 9, 2015, Pawel Fludzinski and Amy E. Hamilton

Theme: It's another Wednesday, By Cracky!   We are presented with beautifully common two-word phrases, beginning coincidentally with B and C.  Is this a bold concept?  

20 A. *Competition won by a knockout? : BEAUTY CONTEST.  I have to admit I love this brilliant clue.  In one sense, a knockout is physically incapacitating one's opponent in a combat sport.  in another it's lady of beguiling charm.

36 A. *Certain cutlet : BONELESS CHICKEN.  As the name suggests, this is a cut of chicken with the bones removed.

53 A. *Nonviolent revolution : BLOODLESS COUP.   A Coup [d'état] is the sudden overthrow of a government, usually by a group of insiders.  It's bloodless if done by non-violent means.

4 D. *Dressing with Buffalo wings : BLUE CHEESE.  Blessedly cool to balance/contrast the heat of buffalo chicken.

31 D. *Arm-strengthening reps : BICEP CURLS.  The barbell is curled upward from waist level to the chest.

Big contraction

And the unifier -- 66 A. Recently retired NCAA football ranking system, and, as a plural, a hint to the answers to starred clues : BCS.    Acronym Finder lists 106 various things, from Bar Code Scanner to Bangladesh Civil Service that might be indicated by the abbreviation BCS.    But, with the beginning of football season we have the somewhat more topical BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES. This was a system in place from 1998 through 2013 that used 5 Bowl games involving 10 of the top rated college football teams in a vain attempt to define a national champion.   Whether this was worth doing is a topic I'll let remain undiscussed.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here - though with symphony season back in session perhaps I should be Classical Bumpa, at least for today.  [Wait - that's backwards.  Oh, well.] At any rate, we have five long horizontal and vertical two-word theme answers, one a grid spanner, with the initials B and C.  We needn't go back to Old Testament times, nor will our excursion take us to British Columbia, Boston College, nor Baja California.   Let's see if we can blithely conquer this puzzle, before conceding.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Are we having fun yet?  Here we have in-the-language phrases that otherwise have nothing in common reimagined as descriptions of showing disrespect to a variety of otherwise innocent objects. For some reason, being made fun of is never fun.  Go figure.

17. Make fun of boxing gear? : KID GLOVES.  These are GLOVES made from the soft, supple skin of young goats.   Handling something with KID GLOVES means giving it very gentle treatment.  To KID can mean a variety of things from mock and tease playfully to deceive. Be careful if you do that to boxing GLOVES.

25. Make fun of Harleys? : RIDE BIKES.  Harleys are popular American-made motorcycles with many riders.  To RIDE is to ridicule or harass with carping criticism, a bit harsh for "make fun of."

38. Make fun of sweater styles? : MOCK TURTLE NECKS.  These are articles of clothing made with a collar folded over to form a tube, with both edges of the tube fastened to the garment at the neck line.  One can make fun of real TURTLE NECKS, where the tube is twice as long, folded over, and only fastened at one end of the tube.

50. Make fun of tunes? : PUT ON AIRS.  This phrase means to act in a haughty manner, pretending to be superior.  In a different sense, AIRS are songs, and one could make fun of them.  But to "put on" means to deceive or mislead, for amusement or to make someone or something look better than it is.

62. Make fun of Porky and Petunia? : ROAST PIGS.   To roast someone is to hold an event with that person is guest of honor; and a series of speakers subject him or her to [ostensibly] good natured ridicule.  To ROAST a PIG is to cook the entire animals over an open fire

Hi gang, JazzBumpa reporting for duty.   This is a fun-making theme, but a bit loosey-goosey in terms of exact correspondence to the verb in the clue.   Well, I'm not going to make fun of it.  Let's see what other fun is in store.


1. Moments, briefly : SECS.  Not brief moments of DF, though those can be fun, but SECondS, briefly.

5. God with a bow : AMOR.  AKA Eros, AKA Cupid.  Could inspire a brief moment of DF.

9. Like some elephants : ASIAN.   They are smaller, less wrinkled, and more hump-backed than their African counterparts, with different anatomical features in the head and face.

14. Jai __ : ALAI.   Popular X-word puzzle game, played in a closed space using a ball and large, curved wicker baskets.

15. "Game over," to Kasparov : MATE.  The end of a chess game, when the losing king cannot escape.   Garry Kasparov (b 1963) is a Russian former world chess champion and political activist.

16. Forrest's shrimp-loving friend : BUBBA.   From the movie Forrest Gump.

19. Lusitania sinker : U-BOAT.  The Lusitania, launched in 1906, was the world's largest passenger ship.  It was torpedoed and sunk on May 7, 1915, six days out of New York, bound for Liverpool, killing 1198 passengers.  It was 11 miles off the coast of Ireland in a German-declared war zone, and sunk in 18 minutes.  This event was influential [a straw, if you will.  Vide infra - see 61 A.] in bringing the U.S into the war two years later.

20. StyleBistro and Slate : E-ZINES.  Electronic magaZINES.

21. "Into the Woods" (2014) director Marshall : ROB.   He is a stage and screen director and choreographer, who won several awards for directing "Chicago" in 2002.  "Into the Woods" involves an original story of the baker and his wife, which is used to tie together several otherwise unrelated fairy tales.  Also last Wednesday's theme clip.  Am I in a rut?

23. Schlep : TOTE.   v.  To haul or carry a burdensome load.  That's no fun at all.

24. Arles article : LES.  "The" in French

27. "Gigi" novelist : COLETTE.   Also French.   Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (28 January 1873 – 3 August 1954) was a novelist, journalist, actress and mime.

30. Barcelona-born muralist : SERT.   Josep Maria Sert i Badia (21 December 1874 – 27 November 1945)

31. org. : A D A.   American Dental Association.

32. Line from the sun : RAY.  Beam doesn't fit.

34. Ristorante desserts : GELATI.   Italian ice creams.

42. Came afterward : ENSUED.

43. Roller in Vegas : DIE.  Spotted cubic gambling device.

44. Low digit : TOE.  I wanted "TWO."

45. Lively dance : REEL.  For real!

47. Adopt, as a cause : ESPOUSE.   Does anyone here ESPOUSE polygamy?

54. Ga. neighbor : ALAbama.  

55. Numbered musical piece : OPUS.

or perhaps

56. Colorado native : UTE.  Native American.

57. Human rights advocate Sakharov : ANDREI.  (May 21, 1921 – December 14, 1989)  Russian nuclear physicist, and later dissident and human rights activist, earning him state persecution and a Nobel peace Prize.   The Sakharov prize, awarded annually by the European Union for dedication to human rights and freedom is named in his honor.

60. "¿Cómo __?" : ESTAS.   Spanish "How are [you?]"

64. Requests for Friskies, maybe : MEOWS.   Cat food brand.

65. Half of zwei : EINS.   From 2 to 1 - a German division.

66. Rules, to GIs : REGS.  REGulations.

67. Proverbial reason for a break? : STRAW.   Only if it's the last one on the camel's back.

68. Schedule opening : SLOT.   An open space between occupied spaces, figuratively or literally, from Old French esclot, the space between the breasts.

69. Bone, in Rome : OSSO.   Modern Rome, not ancient, but derived from the Latin ossum.  Also Monday's 39 D.   Is it time to bone up on my Italian?


1. Benefit : SAKE.   Often for Pete, though I don't know why.

2. 16th/17th-century Eng. queen : ELIZ.  ELIZabeth.   Looks like an odd Abrv.

3. Eldorados, e.g. : CADILLACS.  Automobiles.

4. One of the Declaration of Independence's 56 : SIGNEE.   One who signs on, not someone who gets signed on. 

5. "Famous" cookie guy : AMOS.   Wally AMOS learned cookie baking from his aunt.  Later in life, as a talent agent with the William Morris agency, he would often send cookies to celebrities he wanted to woo.  In 1975 he left it all behind and became a cookie entrepreneur.

6. Big D cager : MAV.   Dallas MAVerick professional basketball player.

7. "SNL" alumna Cheri : OTERI.   (b 1962) This frequent crossword gal was on SNL from 1995 to 2000.

8. Patches, as a lawn : RESODS.  I wanted RESEEDS, but that has to many letters.

9. __ Dhabi : ABU.  Middle East country.

10. Foreign film feature : SUB-TITLE.   English translation of foreign-language dialog. printed near the bottom of the screen  Not sure what it has to do with titles.

11. Discontinued Apple laptop : I-BOOK.  Sold from 1999 to 2006.

12. Let up : ABATE.

13. Archibald and Thurmond of the NBA : NATES.  Archibald played on several teams from 1970 to 1984.  Thurmond played with 3 teams from 1963 to 1977

18. For fear that : LEST.  This word comes to us from Old English, via Middle English. I have no idea how LEST - which literally means "The less that" got transmogrified into "For fear that" - but that is commonly how it is defined.  We don't do A, lest B happen.  It is a preventive, and fear has nothing to do with it.  /rant.

From   "before 1000; Middle English leste, contraction of the lesse the, thi les the; late Old English the lǣste, earlier thȳ lǣs the, literally, whereby less that ( thȳ instrumental case of the demonstrative and relative pronoun, lǣs less, the relative particle.)

22. "Saturday Night Fever" group : BEE GEES.

25. Raise : REAR.  Take care of and support until mature.  Also, a horse REARS by raising up on its hind legs, but I can't find a connection between these meanings.

26. Machine gun partly named for the Czech city in which it was designed : BREN.  First designed and manufactured in Brno, Moravia, this gun was popular with the British armed forces from the 30's through 1992.

27. Showed up : CAME.  Arrived at an event.

28. Take too much of, for short : O.D. ON.  Over-dose, figuratively, as on chips, in yesterdays 39 A.  

29. "Doonesbury" creator : TRUDEAU.  Gary, purveyor of a classic politically oriented newspaper cartoon.

33. Pay stub abbr. : YTD.  Year To Date.

35. Insurance risk assessors : ACTUARIES.   They use mathematics, statistics and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs.

36. Ring stats : TKOS.  Technical Knock Outs.  These occur in boxing matches when it is determined that the match can not safely continue.

37. "Understood" : I SEE.   Got it.

39. "Rashomon" director : KUROSAWA.  Akira KUROSAWA (1910-1998) was a highly influential film maker who directed 30 films over his 57 year career.  Rashomon is a 1950 Japanese movie which uses the plot device of having several characters provide contradictory versions of the same incident.  It won several awards and is considered on of the greatest films of all time.

40. Many a "Divergent" reader : TEEN.  "Divergent" is a trilogy of dystopian young adult novels set in post-apocalyptic Chicago.

41. "It's all false!" : LIES.  Accusation of mendacity.

46. Petrol measures : LITRES.  British spelling of metric units for automobile fuel.

48. Huff and puff : PANT.  Should be huff OR puff.  Together, they are a pair of pants.

49. One who knows the ropes : OLD PRO.  Way back when I was young, an OLD PRO told me that youth and skill were no match for old age and treachery.

50. Sonnets, say : POEMS.   A literary form using meter, rhyme, imagery and other devices to evoke meaning beyond what is in the mere words.

51. Unexpected victory : UPSET.  So called because the favored team is toppled, thus UPSETing the natural order of things, or alternatively because of the way they feel about it.

52. Sylvan Learning employee : TUTOR.   Franchised and corporate supplemental learning centers that provide personalized learning programs for primary and secondary education students.

53. Work on, as a stubborn squeak : RE-OIL.   When one OILing simply isn't enough.

57. No. 2 : ASST.  ASSistanT.  

58. Frittata ingredients : EGGS.  An Italian dish similar to an omelet or crustless quiche, incorprating a variety of other ingredients such as meat and cheese.

59. "That __ last week!" : IS SO.  This awkward partial belongs in an assessment that something ephemeral has become quickly outdated.  

61. Sacramento-to-San Jose dir. : SSW. South-SouthWest

This is so 1968

63. 365 días : ANO.  Years in Spain, sadly lacking the tilde.

Well, we had some retro music, an eggy treat, and I got to carp a little bit.  That's about as much fun as I can handle in one day.  Hope you don't MOCK me for it.

Cool regards!