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, August 19, 2015

L A Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, August 19, 2015, Mary Lou Guizzo

Theme - INTO THE WOODS.  The theme answers are the names of trees, but clued differently, of course [though cluing as the trees' woods or fruits is only slightly different] and they are located at the puzzle's periphery, thus surrounding all the other fill.

1 A. Hearth dust : ASH.   That is what is left of the wood when the fire is done burning.  Sadly, the ASH tree is under attack from a green boring beetle.  I thought this might be why fewer baseball bats were being made from ash and more from MAPLE, but that turns out not to be the case.  The word is derived from Latin, via Old English, meaning spear in both languages, which can provide another hint as to one of its uses

4 A. Snapple's __ Madness : MANGO.  A fruity beverage made of kiwi and vegetable juices, MANGO puree and other stuff.  The eponymous tree is tropical and cultivated for its fruit.

9 A. Jet black : EBONY.  A deep black color, named for the wood of the EBONY trees - several species of the genus Diospyros native to Africa and Asia. The wood is used for decorative and ornamental purposes.  

65 A. Syrup type : MAPLE.  Made by boiling down the sap of the tree of the same name.  There are other syrups made from corn and sugar cane, but only pure MAPLE syrup will adorn my pancakes!

66 A. __ Rapids, Iowa : CEDAR.   Iowa's second largest city straddles the CEDAR River, named for the red CEDAR trees that grow in its Minnesota and Iowa watershed.

67 A. C&W's __ Ridge Boys : OAK.  They started in the 40's as country group Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers [I am not making this up] who evolved into the OAK Ridge Boys [because that was where they usually performed,] a gospel singing quartet that changed their focus in the 70's, thus generating several country and crossover hits. Of course many personnel changes occurred over the years.  The tree whose name is at the heart of all this is native to the northern hemisphere.

1 D. Jam fruit : APRICOT.  Well, this could have been just about anything - but as is it is one of my favorites.  Apricot trees are from the genus prunus - bearing fruits with a stone seed at the core.

13. Robin Hood's bow wood : YEW.  Again, the wood and its tree.  "The secret to the Yew bow’s strength and beauty is it’s natural laminate of heartwood and sapwood. The heartwood is where the power comes from, it’s ability to be compressed and return back to its original shape is almost unmatched in any other wood. The sapwood of the tree is superior under tension and protects the heartwood from being able to break, but also adds beauty. This is why some Native North American tribes believe this tree was put on earth for the making of bows and referred to it as the chief of the forest, being a small tree mostly almost vine-like under towering Old Growth forests."

27. Cookie fruit : FIG.   Fruit and tree - an Asian species in the mulberry family, cultivated since ancient times.

39. Trident, e.g. : GUM.  Well - this is different - and confusing.  Trident is a brand name for sugar-free chewing gum.  People have been chewing gum made from various tree bark extracts for millennia. In recent decades, though, natural gums have been replaced by polybutadiene, a synthetic polymer (yum!)  GUM tree can refer to various types of trees from the eucalyptus, angophora or corymbia genera, native to Australia and/or Tasmania.   The American Sweet GUM tree is completely different, native to the southeastern U. S., Mexico and Central America.

46. Poison drunk by Socrates : HEMLOCK.   Here, we have a case of mistaken identity.  Socrates' bane, corium maculatum, is a poisonous biennial herb of the carrot family, also known by several other names such as carrot fern, poison parsley and devil's bread.  These plants contain several chemically similar highly potent alkaloids that attack the nervous system leading to paralysis of resperitory muscles.   The completely unrelated and nontoxic HEMLOCK tree includes several species of the genus tsuga, tall conifers in the pine family, pinaceae.  The crushed foliage exude an aroma similar to that of the poisonous plant, hence the name.

58. Common street name : ELM.   Many American cities once had shady tree-lined streets - hence the name transfer from the tree.  In the mid 20th century, elm growth in North America and Europe was devastated by dutch ELM disease, an affliction caused by three related fungus species spread by the ELM bark beetle.   It's ben a mightmare.

And the unifier: 36 A. Like a shady boulevard ... and like this puzzle, in terms of its 12 border answers : TREELINED.  Which by this time should need no further explanation.

Hi gang, it's JazzBumpa, back after a long hiatus.  Despite what you may be thinking, I was neither lost in the woods nor up a tree.  Wood you like to go exploring in today's sylvan adventure?   I wood, so let's discover if we can find the forest for the trees.

But beware -- there may be danger!


14. Shade of green : PEA.  Like olive drab, but slightly less exciting.

15. Exemplary : IDEAL.  Serving as a good example.  Am I exemplary when I DEAL at the poker game?

16. "Irma la __" : DOUCE.  Sweet Irma, the central character in a 1956 romantic comedy about prostitution, intrigue and moral degradation, starring Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemon.   Sweet, indeed!

17. Flock member : RAM.  Likely to be an old goat.

18. Intimate : CLOSE.  I guess this explains white intimate apparel is close fitting.

19. Trailing : IN TOW.  Pulling something along.

20. Provence pronoun : ILS.  Google translate tells me this means "they."

21. Structures with many layers? : HEN HOUSES.  Would you like more of this kind of yolk?  Do you think I'm egging you on? Are you shell shocked? [Extra credit for anyone who can make a pun involving "albumin."]

23. "My Antonia" novelist : CATHER.  Willa, 1873 - 1947.   After growing up first in Virginia, which her family left in 1882 to avoid a TB outbreak, and Nebraska, she graduated from Nebraska U, thus becoming an official Husker!  She then lived in Pittsburgh for 10 years and finally settled in New York City, though "settled" is probably a bit misleading, since she traveled extensively and spend her summers in New Brunswick.

25. To some degree : SORT OF.   So you might say she SORT OF lived in New York.

28. Situation before a two-run homer : ONE ON.  Baseball! The condition of having ONE runner ON base - any base.  

29. "Barnaby Jones" star : EBSEN.  Buddy (1908-2003.)   I remember him as Holly Golightly's [Audrey Hepburn] abandoned husband, Doc, in Breakfast at Tiffany's, a thoroughly ghastly movie, in a way that only something from the early 60's could be.  But that gives me an excuse to link to this wonderful Henry Mancini song featuring Dick Nash on trombone, from the score album.   Mysteriously, the song is never heard in the movie.

32. Lilly of pharmaceuticals : ELI. (1838-1898)  He was a successful pharmacist, Union army hero in the Civil War, and unsuccessful plantation owner after the war.  He returned to pharmacy and became wealthy by making several advances in the manufacture of medicines.

33. Hardly talkative : TERSE.  And that's all I have to say.

34. Strange: Pref. : XENO-.   From the Greek

35. Take down __ : A PEG.   Reprimand someone for being arrogant.

39. Long-jawed fish : GARS.   No hint that a plural is needed.

42. Order in the court : WRIT.  Clever, but I'm not sure it's correct.  A WRIT is an order issued by a court, but generally sent to a recipient outside of the court.  That may be a lower level court, but still.  I rest my case

43. "Happy Pills" singer Jones : NORAH.  Ravi Shankar's daughter.

47. Game with Skip cards : UNO.

48. Lavish affairs : FETES.   Borrowed from the French, meaning holiday or party.

49. Ambition : DRIVE.  Get up and go.

50. Ally in a TV courtroom : McBEAL.   I totally misread this one, having forgotten about the TV show I might have watched once or twice.

52. Payment for a return : RANSOM.  Of a hostage or kidnapped person.

53. Brunch cookware item : OMELET PAN.

57. Like mil. volunteers : ENL.  Enlisted, I presume.

58. "MacGyver" actor Dana : ELCAR.  Gone for 10 years, now.

60. Get (a ship) ready to sail again : RERIG.   Or, simply to upgrade a ship with new riging.

61. __-pitch softball : SLO.  What justifies dropping the "W" from this word?

62. Second of 13 popes : LEO II.  (611-683) Served as Pope from Aug 17, 682 until his death on June 28, 683.

63. "You beat me" : I LOSE.  

64. Gumshoe : TEC.  DeTECtive.


2. Maritime route : SEA LANE.   Best route across a large body of water, as determined by land masses and prevailing winds.  "Whale road" to Beowulf.

3. Wheel-spinning rodent : HAMSTER.   Do hamsters get caught up in the rat race?

4. Author of "Hawaii," "Alaska," and "Texas" : MICHENER.  James Albert (1907 - 1997)  His novels are too big and sprawling for me.

5. Psychologist Alfred : ADLER. Alfred (1870-1937) founder of individual psychology, a post-Freudian method influential in counseling.

6. Lamp gas : NEON.  It glows.

7. Cut that may need stitches : GASH.

8. Parkay, say : OLEO.   Ersatz butter.  What do Hungarians put on their toast?  Magyarine!  [Actually, we're pretty big on bacon grease.]

9. New Jersey township named for an inventor : EDISON.  Thomas Alva (1847-1931.)

10. Silly blunder : BONER.   Probably derived from making a bone-headed play. 

11. Walk faster than : OUT STEP.   I wanted OUT PACE, which seems more in-the-language.

12. PX shopper : NCO.  Non Commissioned Officer at the Post Exchange.

22. Try to tempt with : USE ON.  You can use all your charms on your next victim.

24. Party throwers : HOSTS.   Etymology, via Wictionary:   From Old French oste (French: hôte), from Middle Latin hospitem, accusative of hospes (“a host, also a sourjourner, visitor, guest; hence, a foreigner, a stranger”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰóspot- (“master of guests”), from *gʰóstis (“stranger, guest, host, someone with whom one has reciprocal duties of hospitality”) and *pótis (“owner, master, host, husband”). Used in English since 13th century.

26. "Hip, hip, Jorge!" : OLE.  Spanish cheer, here presented as a ghastly pun and a reach too far.

29. Wield : EXERT.   As force, as in using a weapon.

30. Prove otherwise : BELIE.   Debunk.

31. Piques : SNITS.  Little anger episodes.   Aren't they cute?

35. Beautify : ADORN.  Decorate.

37. "The Seven Year Itch" actor Tom : EWELL.   Star of the stage play and the movie.

38. Jeopardize : ENDANGER.  As one's marriage, per the above clip.

40. Anti-apartheid org. : ANC.  African National Congress, the ruling national political party of the Republic of South Africa since 1994.

41. 1987 title law-enforcing cyborg : ROBOCOP.

44. Meets, as a challenge : RISES TO.

45. "Anne of Green Gables" community : AVONLEA.  A fictional community on Prince Edward Island

48. Spenser's "The __ Queene" : FAERIE.    Read all about it.

51. Online letter : EMAIL.

52. Mrs. Gorbachev : RAISA.  (1932-1999)

54. Old Norse explorer : ERIC (Eiríkr Þorvaldsson; 950 – c. 1003) The turn-of-the-millennium Norse had spent the previous couple of centuries earning a reputation as nasty people.  Þorvald Ásvaldsson was so nasty that the other Norse could not tolerate him.  He was exiled from Norway and settled with his family on the West coast of Iceland.  Continuing the family tradition, his son Eric - called "The Red" due to his Marxist leanings the color of his hair and beard - was exiled in turn for committing "some killings" in Iceland, ca. 982.  Per Wikipedia, he spent his three years of exile exploring Greenland, and established the first successful Norse settlement there.   Lovely fellow.

55. Marketing leader? : TELE.  TELEmarketing is a rude intrusion.  This type of affix clue always annoys me.

56. Nudge : PROD.  As with an elbow.

59. Pastoral expanse : LEA.  From Middle English for a grass land, and what you might find when you emerge from the woods.

Well, here we are on the lea-ward side, safe and sound.  IMHO we had a successful excursion.  We were able to branch out a bit, and I only barked my shins a couple of times. Hope you enjoyed it, too. [Full disclosure: I used Wikipedia and Mr. Google to root out the information contained herein.]

Cool regards!

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