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, July 20, 2016

L.A.Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, July 20, 2016 Janice

Theme - HIGH TIMES.   The first word of common two-word phrases can follow the word HIGH to make other recognizable, in-the-language phrases.

Lets start with the unifier --  24 D. Top-of-the-line, and what each of the four longest puzzle answers begins with? : HIGH END.   Indicating merchandise with a large price tag, presumably justified by comparable quality or some other mark of desirability.  Let's see how it fits with the theme entries

3 D. Contact skating sport : ROLLER DERBY.   A roller skating race on a track between two 5-member teams.   Each team has a designated jammer, who attempts to score points by lapping members of the other team.  The teams attempt to assist their own jammer while hindering the other teams jammer.  The result is mayhem.

A HIGH ROLLER is a big spender or one who places large bets.

9. Act too quickly : JUMP THE GUN.   An expression derived from racing events, where the start of the race is announced with a piston shot.  One who starts too soon acts too quickly and can be disqualified.

The HIGH JUMP is an athletic event in which competitors jump over a horizontal bar.

27. Kind of tackle made illegal in the NFL in 2005 : HORSE COLLAR.   A dangerous method of tacking consisting of grabbing inside the back of another player's collar or shoulder pads and dragging him backwards to the ground.

To be on one's HIGH HORSE is to act in an arrogant and disdainful manner.

31. Cartoon bird that first appeared in "Fast and Furry-ous" : ROAD RUNNER.  Here's a clip from the 1949 cartoon.

To take the HIGH ROAD is to behave in a morally superior manner, as for example, to avoid being drawn into acting negatively.   Probably not compatible with the previous theme entry.

Hi gang - JazzBumpa here to explore today's offering.  Janice Luttrell has given us a rather unusual grid with a couple horizontal 9-stacks.  But the theme answers are all vertical 10's and 11's.   This inevitably leads to a large number [25] of three-letter fill, due to grid constraints.  But the average word length is 4.92, solidly in the Wednesday pocket.  Why arrange it this way?  Each theme word that combines with the unifier is at the HIGH END of its fill.   So the theme not only works on its own; it also illustrates itself graphically.  Most elegant!

Let's see what other goodies we can uncover.


1. Dropped the ball : ERRED.   Misplaying the ball is one way to make an ERROR in baseball.  Throwing inaccurately is another.

6. Pantry pest : ANT.   They bug me.

9. Puts in a cooler : JAILS.  American slang

14. Successor of Pope John X : LEO VI.   His term ran from ca. June, 928 until his death in ca. February 929.  

15. Like many indie films : LOW BUDGET.

17. "You Be __": 1986 Run-D.M.C. hit : ILLIN'.   Whateva'.

18. Dr. Brown's classic drink : CREAM SODA.   Rated good, not great.

19. Pasadena institute : CAL TECH.   The California Istitute of Technology, a private university specializing in science and engineering.

21. Mysterious power : ESP.   Extra-Sensory Perception.   The ability - if you believe that sort of thing - to acquire information without using the known physical senses, including such psychic phenomena as telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition.

22. Slush Puppie maker : ICEE.   Producer of frozen beverages under the ICEE and Slush Puppie brand names.

23. Little snicker : HEH.   Not to be confused with a small candy bar.

25. Cries out for calamine : ITCHES.   As from a bug bite or other skin irritation.

30. Three times, in an Rx : TER.

31. Notes after do : RE-MI.   In the English language version of solmization, these are among certain syllables assignment to musical scale steps.  

32. Prefix for "time" : CHRONO -.   From the Greek god CHRONOS, a personification of time.

33. __-wop music : DOO.  A pop music vocal style originating in the U.S. during the 50's characterized by close harmonies and often using nonsense syllables in the main line or the accompaniment.

35. Starting device: Abbr. : IGN.   Ignition, for internal combustion engine powered vehicles.

37. Belgian banknotes : EUROS.   All over Europe.

38. Speedmaster watchmaker : OMEGA.  This is a line of CHRONOGRAPH [time display plus stop watch] wrist watches.  They have been worn by U. S. astronauts during NASA's Gemini 4 and Apollo 11 missions.  It is the only watch qualified for extra-vehicular activity.

40. __ Na Na : SHA.  A retro doo-wap singing group, and also their TV show of the same name, that ran from 1977 to '81.   Their name is derived from this song, originally recorded by the Silhouettes in 1957.

Are you picking up some mini-themes?

41. Gypsum painting surface : GESSO.   A mixture of pigment, gypsum and/or chalk with a binder used a primer to prepare a wood of canvas painting surface.

42. Whittled : PARED.  Trimmed down, either literally or figuratively.

43. President pro __ : TEM.   The second highest ranking official in the U. S. Senate, typically the most senior member of the majority party.  According to the Constitution, the Vice president of the U. S. is the President of the Senate.   Theoretically, the President Pro Tem acts in his absence. In practice, though, neither person actually presides over the Senate.   This responsibility is rotated among junior senators of the majority party, to give them procedural experience - or, more likely, because the senior members foist it upon them..

44. Salt Lake City collegian : UTE.   One who matriculates at the University of Utah.

45. Remains in the fire? : EMBERS.  Last glowing bits that will soon be ashes.   Nice play on "remains."

47. Wolfgang's veto : NEIN.   No in Germany - or Austria.

49. Baseball uniform part : CAP.

52. Doesn't go for the green, in golf : LAYS UP.   Deliberately shoots short of the green, or to avoid a hazard, as a safety play, hoping to have a better opportunity on the next shot.

53. U.K. military award : DSO.   Distinguished Service Order, a military decoration awarded to officers for meritorious service in wartime.

54. Buckwheat noodle : SOBA.   From the Japanese word for buckwheat.

55. Earn after taxes : NET.   Take home pay.

57. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" autobiographer Maya : ANGELOU.  [1928-1914]  American poet, playwright and civil rights activist.

59. Writer of medical thrillers : ROBIN COOK. [b 1940] His novels, many of which have become best sellers, sometimes explore controversial topics.

64. Book with interstates : ATLAS.    Book of maps

65. Like California, to a Hawaiian : STATESIDE.   Referring to the continental U. S. from outside the country, or from the detached States.

66. Gape : STARE.   Specifically to do so open-mouthed, as from amazement.  Vide supra.

67. One in a cast : ACTOR.  It's traditional to tell an actor "break a leg" before the performance.  If taken literally, could lead to a double meaning.

68. WKRP's Nessman : LES.  portrayed by actor  Richard Sanders.

69. Pasture groups : HERDS.   Of cattle, presumably.


1. Draw out : ELICIT.  To cause a reaction by one's own action.

2. Tighten, as sneakers : RELACE.  And retie.

4. Party-planning site : EVITE.   Check it out.

5. Use the good china, say : DINE.   As opposed to chowing down, which could just as easily involve paper plates and plasticware, or merely hovering over the sink.

6. Lead-into-gold practitioner : ALCHEMIST.  Using the BASIC principle of purification to achieve gnossis [mystical enlightenment,]  an ALCHEMIST strove to transmute base metals into noble metals, create panaceas, and achieve immortality,   Not sure any was ever successful.

7. Negative connector : NOR.   Neither's companion.

8. Overly cute, to a Brit : TWEE.  What would we say, STATESIDE?  Cutesy?

10. Source of much website revenue : ADS.   Annoyances, to my way of thinking.

11. "Need __ on?" : I GO.   Yes - tell me more!

12. Had no one to catch : LED.  As in a race of some sort.

13. BART stop, e.g. : STAtion.

16. Rudimentary : BASIC.   Or fundamental.

20. Revolutionary Guevara : CHE. [1928 - 1967] An Argentine Marxist revolutionary, diplomat and military theorist who became a major figure in the Cuban revolution. 

26. Dressing holder : CRUET.    A flat-bottomed vessel with a narrow neck, a stopper, and possibly an integral spout.

28. Hall of Famer Slaughter : ENOS. [1916-2002]   His career spanned 1938-1959, interrupted by military service from 1943-5.   He was a 10-time all star and played in the World Series 5 times.

29. Only fair : SOSO.  Mediocre.  

34. Fancy moldings : OGEES. S-shaped double curves.

36. Some first-born children : NAMESAKES.  They are named after ancestors or older relatives.

38. Volkswagen rival : OPEL.  A German auto company that is a subsidiary of GM, headquartered in Rüsselsheim.

39. Doll's cry : MAMA.

46. Short job details? : SPECS.   Here, it's the designation of the job details that is short, not the job itself.

48. Electrified particle : ION.   Hydrogen atom: "I seem to have lost my electron."  Chemist:  "Are you sure?"   Hydrogen atom: "I'm positive."

50. On the train : ABOARD.  On board, probably influenced by Old French.

51. Stops to think, say : PAUSES.  Causes a slight break in the action.

54. Luigi's lucky number? : SETTE.   Seven in Italian.

56. Work very hard : TOIL.  

58. Deep cut : GASH.

59. Zimbabwe neighbor: Abbr. : Republic of South Africa.

60. Non-Rx : Over The Counter.

61. Night flier : BAT.   Effective mosquito controller, too.

62. Olympics skater Midori : ITO.   The first female to complete the triple axel in competition in 1988.  It became her signature move.

63. Neruda wrote one to salt : ODE.   .  .  .  sprinkling vital light upon our food .  .  .

There you have it.   Very nicely done puzzle, with some extra treats inside.  I liked a lot.  Hope you did, too.

Cool Regards!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, July 6, 2016 Vasu Saralathan

Theme: OVEREXPOSURE.  The first word of a two-word phrase is synonymous with the unifier, in each case indicating a person's state of total undress.

18 A. Hairless rodent used in lab experiments : NUDE MOUSE.  This poor critter has a genetic mutation resulting in an ineffective immune system.  This makes it an idea subject for studying the effects of grafted tumors and other tissues, since it has no power to reject them.  It also has no body hair, which is quite remarkable for a rodent - hence it's name.  To me, the word NUDE, in its human context, connotes a kind of innocence that its synonyms lack.

37 A. Basic needs : BARE NECESSITIES.  This phrase implies a condition of having just enough to get by, eking out a sparse existence with nothing to spare.  It's also the name of a retail outlet selling several brands of clothing, lingerie and swim wear, but most famously, this song.

The word BARE feels neutral to me, not implying much of anything about the circumstances nor attitude of the unclothed person.

51 A. Unaided vision : NAKED EYE.  A mode of observing things without the kind of technical assistance that can be provided by lenses, magnifiers, light filters or other devices.  A NAKED person is likely to either have an agenda, or be thrust into an uncomfortable situation by someone who does.  These are my subjective responses.  YMMV, of course. 

Then, the unifier -- 56 A. In a pure and unembellished state, and a hint to the beginnings of 18-, 20-, 37- and 51- Across : AU NATUREL.  As defined in the clue, but also indicating a person in the buff.  Somehow, the phrase makes me think of Brigitte Bardot.   Maybe it's the French connection.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, trying to make sure we all have a decent time. Let's see what we can cover - or, perhaps, uncover.


1. Stock or bond : ASSET.  Financial ASSETS.

6. Hendrix dos : AFROS.   Hair.

11. Gullible one : SAP.  Somebody easily taken advantage of.  

14. Prophet swallowed by a big fish : JONAH.  Biblical story.

15. Party treat : GOODY.  Candy or other sweets.

16. Show on TV : AIR.  Here, show and AIR are both verbs.

17. Just eat up : ADORE.  I suppose, but am not fond of the clue.

20. Muscleman's display : RAW POWER.  Or oiled flesh.   I'm trying to maintain parity, but am having some difficulty with the photo attachments.  You can find examples here, ladies.

22. In the worst way : BADLY.  Positive form equivalent to superlative?  I don't think so.

23. "I don't have all day!" : NOW.  Stat! ASAP!

24. Online trackers : COOKIES.   A server message message stored as a text file by a browser, and sent back to the server at each browser visit.

26. "The Descent of Man" author : DARWIN.  Charles, [1809-1882] an English naturalist, geologist and pioneer in the field of evolution.

30. Chicken or turkey : FOWL.  And after 7 days in the fridge, foul.

31. Panhandle state : IDAHO.  Along with Oklahoma and Florida.  Did I miss any?

32. Hassan Rouhani's country : IRAN.   [b 1948] Lawmaker, academic, diplomat and, since 2013, the 7th president.

33. Maker of HEMNES furniture : IKEA.  Swedish provider of ready-to-assemble furniture, tasty meat balls and lingonberry jam.  They also serve a pretty darn good cheap breakfast.

40. Fish-eating duck : SMEW.   Males are mostly white with some black accents; females are red heads.

41. NERF missile : DART. Could also have been a BALL.

42. Concert sites : HALLS.   I went with ARENAS first, on a bad count.  

43. Unoccupied : IDLE. As a rest room stall.

44. Site of the first "Occupy" protest: Abbr. : WALL ST.   That den of iniquity.

45. Moral : ETHICAL.  Conforming to accepted standards of conduct.

49. Trending : HOT.   Like the latest whatever.

50. Oldest actor to play Bond : MOORE.  Roger. [b. 1927] 

59. "The Easter Parade" author Richard : YATES. [1926-1992] American novelist who achieved critical acclaim, but little commercial success.  In 2008 the movie version of his novel Revolutionary Road earned an Academy Award nomination for Kate Winslet.

60. Fury : IRE.  Anger.

61. Rub off : ERASE. As chalk.

62. Ready to draw : ON TAP. As ale.

63. "Dropped" drug : LSD.  Known as "acid" back in those hippy-dippy days of yore.

64. On pins and needles : ANTSY.  Or on edge, unsettled.

65. Scheme of high interest? : USURY.  Loans at extremely, sometimes illegally, high interest rates. Clever clue.


1. Cracked open : AJAR.  As a door, but, strangely enough, not a jar.

2. Carbonated drink : SODA.  Or pop, in the midwest.   What about where you live?

3. Cause of a school closing : SNOW.  Bad winter weather.

4. Old West marshal : EARP.  Wyatt [1848-1929] of OK Corral fame. 

5. Satirical publication that claims to be "America's Finest News Source" : THE ONION.  It is a-peeling.

6. '60s-'70s veep : AGNEW.  [1918-1996]  No politics!

7. Calling birds count, in song : FOUR.  From the 12 Days of Christmas.

8. Curtain holder : ROD.  And he never gets tired.

9. Wordsworth work : ODE.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,  
The earth, and every common sight,  
To me did seem  
Apparell'd in celestial light . . .

10. It's just one thing instead of another : SYMBOL.  Representation, often by a solid object of something abstract.

11. Medina native : SAUDI.  Site of a man-made disaster this week.

12. Basilica part : AISLE.  Or theater, or arena.

13. Victimizes, with "on" : PREYS.  As one with an ETHICAL deficiency might do to a SAP.

19. Winery wood : OAK.  Used in making aging barrels.

21. Came out on top : WON.  Emerged victorious.

24. Proceed effortlessly : COAST.  Move without using power, as down hill or via momentum.

25. Completely dominates : OWNS.  Or pwns, as in computer games

26. "Mine!" : DIBS.  I called it!

27. Father of Seth : ADAM.  Genesis family.  No religion!

28. Steak order : RARE.  True - I RARELY order steak.

29. "I was nervous there!" : WHEW.  Sigh of relief.

30. "__ Jacques" : FRERE.   Sleepy brother John, in a song.

32. Poker declaration : I CALL.  Indicates matching a bet or raise.

33. Romance lang. : ITALian.

34. While away, as time : KILL.  No mater how much I kill time, it still marches on.

35. Slithery fish : EELS.   Long, slender fish that are members of the order Anguilliformes, and a few other similarly shaped, but unrelated, fish.

36. Deputy: Abbr. : ASST.  Assistant.

38. Historic Icelandic work : EDDA.  Either of two works, known as the Prose EDDA and the Poetic EDDA, set down in the 13th century, containing material going back several hundred more years. They are the main sources of Norse mythology.

39. Cry from a newly grounded teen : I HATE YOU.   The drama unfolds.

43. Lipton offering : ICE TEA.   Will this bring back the ICE vs ICED controversy?

44. Stir-fry pan : WOK.  A round bottomed cooking vessel of Chinese origin.

45. Yahoo! service : E-MAIL.  one of many providers

46. Overseas stints : TOURS.  Deployments.

47. Sharpened : HONED. As on a whetstone.

48. 401(k) kin : IRA.  Individual Retirement Account.

49. Claire and Phil's eldest daughter on "Modern Family" : HALEY.  

51. Untouchables leader : NESS.  Eliot, [1903 - 1957] Prohibition agent, during that dark period of American history.

52. Marino and Patrick : DANS.  Former NFL QB Marino [b 1961,] Sportscaster Patrick [b 1956,] long with my oldest grandson [b 1996.]

53. Rebuke from Caesar : ET TU.  "You too Brutus?!?", to his erstwhile friend and assassination co-conspirator.

54. Class ring datum : YEAR. As of graduation.

55. Best Female Athlete, e.g. : ESPY.  Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award, presented by ABC TV, and formerly by ESPN.   This year's candidates are Breanna Stewart [UConn Basetball,] Elena Delle Donne [Chicago Sky Pro Basketball,] Katey Ledecky [Swimming,] and Simone Biles [Gymnastics.]

57. Java server : URN.  Big pot.

58. Source of a metaphorical smell : RAT.  Indicating that something is not right.

Well, that's it.  Hope you got through without losing your shirt or getting caught with your pants down.  I made it - barely.

Cool regards!