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 24, 2016

LA Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, August 24, 2016, Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme: WITH APPROPRIATE ACTIONS.  The word WITH is inserted into familiar 2-word phrases, yielding a new 3-word phrase.  In each instance, the first word, originally functioning as a noun, is verberized in a way that is synonymous the verb "tweak" in its respective clue.  "Tweak" means to make some kind of adjustments to something.  As an exercise, the interested reader might want to reimagine yet another set of meanings, in which the first words are reverted back to noun status.  Thus endeth my longest ever theme exposition.

17. Tweak some violin holders? : FIDDLE WITH CASES.  Musical instruments are fragile and have specially designed cases to protect them.  One may tweak them, I suppose.  And violins are FIDDLES, so it's all good.

27. Tweak some church chimers? : TINKER WITH BELLS.  So - what does this bring to mind?  TINKER BELL or Quasimodo?  And what does this say about you?  No need to answer.

49. Tweak some ski parkas? : MESS WITH JACKETS.  A MESS JACKET is a formal waist coat.  One may tweak it, but the connection to skiing is lost on me.  

63. Tweak some business outfits? : MONKEY WITH SUITS.  Remember dress for success - navy blue suit, white shirt and rep tie?  [Too often worn by human rep-tiels, but that's another story.]  This is known in the vernacular as a MONKEY SUIT.  You can change his coat and alter its pants.
Well, these are cleverly constructed, and all four theme answers are grid-spanning.  Three of the four make a tight set.  Maybe there's a point to MESS JACKET that I'm missing; but it doesn't seem to quite fit the pattern.

Hi gang - JazzBumpa here.  Let's FIDDLE WITH this puzzle, see if anything rings a BELL, and hope it's not a MESS that makes MONKEYS of us all.


1. Just open : AJAR.   Opened slightly, not recently.

5. Hot under the collar : ANGRY.  Perturbed.

10. Loot from a heist : HAUL.  Slang for a robbery and the stolen goods.

14. Dainty trim : LACE.  Comes in many styles and designs.

15. West Indies volcano : PELEE.   On the Island of Martinique, 4583 foot elevation.

16. Site of Napoleon's first exile : ELBA.   Able was I ere I saw ELBA.

20. Maker of many kitchen rolls : ALCOA.  Aluminum foil, that is, not little bread-like items.

21. Wall St. deal : Leveraged Buy Out.   This is the purchase of a controlling share of a company, by its management or an outside investment firm using borrowed money.

22. Baking soda targets : ODORS.   Keeps your fridge fresh.

23. Like used fireplaces : ASHY.  A word you may well never see again.

25. Tach nos. : RPMs.  Revolutions Per Minute, a measure of the rotational speed of a mechanical component.  In an automobile, the RPMs of the crank shaft are displayed by the tachometer.

34. Brit. record label : EMI.  Originally an acronym for Electronic and Musical Industries.

35. A few bucks? : DEER.  Male animals of the family Cervidae.  Finding this answer did not take a lot of doe.

36. Fuss over : DOTE ON.  Treasure, cherish and be uncritically fond of.

37. Part of a sitcom farewell : NANU.    Poignant clip.

39. Pulled off : DID.  Accomplished

41. Spot for a 48-Across : SOFA.   Not a NAP spot for me.  Puts a crook in my neck.

42. Representatives : AGENTS.   A person who acts on behalf of another.

45. Nintendo rival : SEGA.  They went out of the game console business in 2001, but remain the world's most prolific arcade producer.

48. Short snooze : NAP.  Not for me.  I sack out for at least an hour.

52. __ helmet : PITH.  AKA the sola topi, a light weight cloth covered head covering made originally from the pith of the sola, an Indian swamp plant of the pea family.  Cork-like substances from other plants may also be used

53. Pre-coll. catchall : EL-HI.   Referring to ELementary and HIgh school education, my dear Watson.

54. Torch job : ARSON.  The crime of burning down a bulding.

57. And such: Abbr. : ETC.  And so on, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Abbr. for ET Cetera, from Latin for "and the rest."

59. Trims, as a lawn : EDGES.  Along the walkways, ETC.

66. Arctic formation : FLOE.  A sheet of ice that calves off a glacier.

67. Transparent : SHEER.  Rather like LACE.

68. Scientology guru Hubbard : L. RON.   Famous writer and highly influential charlatan.  Notably, he briefly commanded two ships during WW II, but each time was relieved of this duty because his superiors found him to be incapable.

69. Like most fairways, daily : MOWN.  Short cut grass.

70. Some Parliament members : LORDS.   House of Lords and House of Commons.

71. A whole bunch : TONS.  Slang for lots and lots.


1. NATO alphabet starter : ALFA.  This exists so that "critical combinations of letters and numbers can be pronounced and understood by those who exchange voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of language barriers or the quality of the communication channel."   See the whole series here.

2. Monopoly corner : JAIL.  Neither Free Parking, Go nor the awful Go To Jail square fit.

3. Adapter letters : AC-DC.  Alternating and Direct electrical Current.

4. New Jersey's state tree : RED OAK.   Michigan's is Eastern White Pine.  I'll let you guess Ohio's.

5. Chest thumper : APE.

6. One recently hitched : NEWLYWED.   Successful chest thumper, perhaps.

7. Smooth-talking : GLIB.

8. Parting shot : RETORT.   Not necessarily parting.  Could be any sharp or wittily incisive response.

9. Slangy "Sure" : YEH.  Uh-huh.

10. Hands-free devices : HEADSETS.   Devices that hold earphones and a microphone in place on a user's head.

11. To boot : ALSO.   Originally, something extra thrown into a bargain, from Old English bōt, meaning "advantage" or "remedy."  Ultimately of Germanic origin.

12. Lyft rival : UBER.  Both are app-based ride sharing protocols connecting passengers with available drivers.

13. Scottish miss : LASS.  A young lady,  Not to be confused with Swiss Miss, a chocolate-flavored drink.

18. Performed light surgery on? : LASED.   Performed surgery with a laser.

19. Jazz club performers : COMBO.  Small group of musicians.

24. Eur. power until 1806 : HRE.  I had no idea that the Holy Roman Empire existed that long.  It reached its greatest geographic extent in the 13th century, and had been losing bits and pieces since.

26. Third deg.? : PHD.  After B.S [everyone knows what that stands for;] and MS [more of the same;] comes PHD [Piled Higher and Deeper.]  The cynical view is that one advancing in specific studies gets to know more and more about less and less, until s/he knows everythign about nothing.

27. Midmorning hr. : TEN AM.  Time for a coffee break.

28. Reflection : IMAGE.  What you see in the mirror.  But the mirror sees you!

29. Little League teams : NINES.  For a baseball team at any level, the synecdoche is a NINE.

30. Like Oscar Wilde : IRISH.  Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde [1854-1900] was a playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet.  His most famous works are The Importance of Being Earnest and The picture Of Dorian Gray.  He spent time in prison for being homosexual, a crime at that time. After his release he felt London for Paris, where he died, destitute.

31. Big name in spaghetti westerns : LEONE.  Sergio, [1929 - 1989] an Italian film producer, director, and screen writer, made famous in the mid 60's by his low budget, Italian-made movies about the American old west starring Clint Eastwood.

32. OK for dieters : LO-FAT.  Or lo-cal.  Needed perps to tweak my answer.

33. Breaks like a branch : SNAPS.  As a branch from a tree in high wind.  Or, sometimes, even the trunk.

38. Implied : UNSPOKEN.  Or, at least, not spoken of directly.

40. Down in the dumps : DEJECTED.

43. Shipping department supply : TWINE.  To tie things up.

44. Lab order? : SIT.  Command to a Labrador Retriever.

46. Milk purch. : GALlon.   Note Abrvs. 

47. Feels the pain : ACHES.  Remember when Bill Clinton said, "I ACHE with you?"

50. "My Generation" band : THE WHO.   KIDULTS?

51. Portmanteau for a grown-up who hasn't yet grown up : KIDULT.   Not familiar with this term.  But my motto is,  "What I lack in youth, I make up for with immaturity. " I did grow up once, didn't like it, and I'm never doing it again.  So maybe I qualify.

54. Switch on a boom box : AM FM.  Note that "switch" here is a noun not a verb.  Toggling it actuates either of two different radio frequency bands.

55. Caramel-filled candy : ROLO.  Shaped like an inverted bucket, this candy is chocolate coated caramel.

56. Put one over on : SNOW.  An attempt to fool or mislead somebody.

58. Stadium ticket specification : TIER.   A seat grouping at some range of elevation. 

60. Copter's forerunner : GIRO.  More formally, autogiro or autogyro - a type of aircraft with both a powered propeller, as in a typical airplane, and an unpowered set of rotor blades that rotate in the slip stream to provide lift.   One was first flown in January, 1923.  The first operational helicopter was built in Germany in 1936.

61. David Cameron's alma mater : ETON.  Any hint of a 4-letter British school, plug it in.

62. Three-part figs. : SSNS.  Social Security Numbers, portrayed as 123-45-6789.

64. Monogram on some pricey handbags : YSL.  The initials of Yves Saint Laurent.  I never understood why putting some foreign guys name or initials on an article could inflate its purchase price by some high multiple.

65. Store door nos. : HRS.  Hours that they are open for business.

That wraps it up. I had my nits, but this is a fine puzzle, brought to you by two of the best names in the field. Hope you enjoyed it.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, August 10, 2016 C. C. Burnikel

Theme:  TURN AROUND -- NOPE, JUST KIDDING.  The circled letters, when reversed, spell a synonym for teasing somebody.  I don't recall seeing a circle puzzle on a Wednesday before.  That more often occurs later in the week.  But other aspects of the construction lean more toward early week, and the difficulty felt about right for a Wednesday, so it all averages out.

Recognizing the theme requires locating the target letters, then reading them backwards to find the theme word.  This could be quite a problem if you didn't have the circles in your grid.  Let's have a look.

17 A. Spread some gossip : DISH THE DIRT.  Slangy expression.  I think RIDE goes a bit beyond good-natured teasing into domineering or harassing territory

24 A. Hybrid toaster oven snacks : PIZZA ROLLS.  A variation on the won ton - pierogi theme, this mini dough pillow is filled with PIZZA flavored food-like substances.  To RAZZ someone is to tease them playfully [though one may always wonder about motivation.]

38 A. He has a nest at 123½ Sesame Street : BIG BIRD.   This fowl is large, but not foul.  To RIB someone is pretty close in meaning to RAZZING them.

52 A. Stayed on : HUNG AROUND.   Loitered or lingered.  RAG, to me, seems closer to RIDE than to RAZZ or RIB, so we have a kind of symmetry.

And the reveal -- 63 A. Young player on the rebound ... or, in another way, what each set of circles in this puzzle represents : COMEBACK KID.  Indicates an athlete who showed promise, faded, then regained his former prowess.  COMEBACK is a coded hint that the theme entry is to be read retrograde, while KID is a synonym for the thus revealed words.   So our reveal takes the form of a cryptic clue.  I'll admit that it took me a few minutes to suss this one.  Fiendishly clever concept put forth by our fearless leader.

Hi, gang.   JazzBumpa on duty.  Lets see what else is in store.  Is there any more teasing hidden in today's entry?


1. Divers' destinations : REEFS.   Coral formations that are habitat for many types of underwater life.

6. Japanese cartoon art : ANIME.  In Japan, the word refers to any animation.  Most other places, it refers to a more or less specific cartoon genre associated with a style that originated in Japan. Examples.

11. "Shoot!" : ASK.  Slangy way to encourage a question.

14. Send to cloud nine : ELATE.   Make someone happy.

15. Sir Arthur __ Doyle : CONAN.  Late night host or barbarian warrior?  Nope - the author of the Sherlock Holmes tales.

16. Traffic court letters : DWI.  Driving While Intoxicated.   A serious and dangerous traffic violation than can cost you a lot of strife and dollars.  Don't do it.  And I'm not KIDDING!

19. Chow fixer? : VET.  This chow is a dog, and fixing means neutering it to prevent the appearance of unwanted puppies.

20. Emphatic affirmation : OH, YES I DO.    Imagine someone jumping up and down while clapping.  Now imagine the last time you saw a four-word fill consisting of only 8 letters.

21. Paperless tax return option : E-FILE.   File electronically, and hope you don't get hacked.

23. Original "Veronica Mars" airer : UPN.  United Paramount Network.  A TV network that ran from 1995 through 2006, when it was replaced by the CW, a joint venture venture between CBS and Warner Brothers.

27. Surrealism pioneer Max : ERNST.  [1891 - 1976]  German painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet.  Gallery here.

29. That being the case : IF SO.  Then some conclusion ensues.
30. "... Mr. Tambourine Man, __ song for me" : PLAY A.   Bob Dylan.

32. __ standstill : AT A.   Like rush hour traffic.  Your oxymoron for the day.

33. Birch or beech : TREE.    Deciduous trees of the families Betulacaea and Fagacaea, respectively.

37. Buns and flips : DOs.  Hair styles.   A bun is a gathered style, while the flip is loose and turned up at the ends.

42. Actress Gardner : AVA.

43. Racing legend A.J. : FOYT.  [b. 1935] Retired American driver with 159 wins in a variety of motor sport genres.

45. "Later!" : BYE.  See ya'!

46. Absolute : UTTER.  Complete and total, as in, for example, a lack of milk.

48. Sharif of "Doctor Zhivago" : OMAR.  Michel Dimitri Chalhoub [1932 - 2015] an Egyptian actor, fluent in Arabic, English, Greek, French, Spanish and Italian.  He was also an avid horse racing enthusiast and one of the world's top-ranked contract bridge players.

50. Prophets : SEERS.  Predictors of the future.

56. Dutch banking giant : I N G.    Internationale Nederlanden Groep, involved in all aspects of banking, plus insurance and asset management.

58. Homeric epic : ILIAD.  Set during the Trojan war, a 10-year siege of Troy [aka Ilium] in what is now the Anatolian region of Turkey.

59. Philips electric toothbrush brand : SONICARE.

62. "Teen Wolf" network : M T V.   Originally Music TV.  Now, I have no idea what the M is supposed to stand for.

66. Iron source : ORE.  Rust filled DIRT, that the miners must dish out.

67. Go off-script : AD LIB.  Speak or perform in an improvised manner.   Would I ever do that?

68. Mix : BLEND.  Co-mingle.

69. Baby goat sound : MAA.   What - no love for paa?

70. Like mosquitoes : PESTY.   I had pesky.  Made my grid like the next fill.

71. In disarray : MESSY.   Not neat and tidy.


1. Second try : REDO.  A do over, and for some, a Mulligan.

2. Philanthropist Yale : ELIHU.  [1649 - 1721] A British merchant, president of the East India Company settlement at Madras, and benefactor of the university for which he is the Eponym.

3. "No sweat" : EASY PEASY.  A piece of cake.

4. 1862 Tenn. battle site : FT. HENRY.  Site of the first important victory on the western front of the American civil war for The Union forces and General U. S. Grant.

5. Match makers? : SETS.  In tennis and other sports, a match is divided into some number of sets.  The winner of a designated number of sets wins the match.

6. Nailed the test : ACED IT.  

7. Brand for serious last-minute preparation : NODOZ.  Caffeine supplement to forestall drowsiness.

8. Italian food ending : -INI.  As in tortellini, etc.

9. Tarnish : MAR.  Inflict damage on.

10. Comes in : ENTERS.

11. Pain reliever sold in Liqui-Gels : ADVIL.  Brand of ibuprofen.   Some people swear by it.  This is called ibuprofenity

12. "Peachy" : SWELL.  Groovy, man.

13. Windy weather fliers : KITES.

18. Arms-akimbo joints : HIPS.  I would have preferred elbows, but they don't fit.  "Akimbo," indicating a hands-on-hips posture, does not look and feel like a native English word, but it does trace back to Middle English "in kenebowe, " "kene" meaning [among other things] sharp, and "bowe" meaning bent.  So it's all good.

22. Arch site : FOOT.  The longitudinal and transverse arches of the FOOT are formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones.   The arched construction is inherently stronger than a level arrangement, and aids in supporting body weight.

25. Oft-baked pasta : ZITI.  In the form of large tubes.

26. Miles away : AFAR.   Proper location for loving in a pure and chaste manner.

28. Arrest : NAB. To grab, therefore to catch someone in the act or aftermath of wrong doing.

30. Adobe file format : PDF.  Portable Document Format - an electronic file form that is compatible across a variety of platforms and operating systems.

31. Head of a pub? : LOO.  Compatible British words indicating a tavern and a comfort station.

32. Prez on a fiver : ABE.  Lincoln [1809-1865] the 16th President of the United States.

34. Rodent-eating reptiles : RAT SNAKES.  Common in North America, these snakes feed primarily on rodents and birds.  Though they can grow quite large, they are docile and make lovely pets.

35. Day before a big day : EVE.  The day before Adam's RIBBING was the EVE of Eve.

36. Shucker's unit : EAR.   Of corn.  Rather like my earie humor.

39. Letter-shaped beam : I-BAR.  Named for it's cross-section profile.

40. Pita sandwich : GYRO.  Pronounced yeeroh, not homophonic with the the first two syllables of a spinning disc-plus-axis device.   The meat is a dense lamb-based meat loaf cooked on a vertical spit.  It is served on a pita with diced tomatoes and tzatziki sauce [made from yogurt and cucumbers.]  IMHO, the Senate Coney Island in Livonia has the best GYROS in the Detroit metro area.

41. Deserving : DUE.   That which one has earned.   Frex.

44. Frat party wear : TOGA.   What could I possibly add?

47. Barely flow : TRICKLE.  But more than seep or ooze.

49. Wild : MADCAP.  Like a TOGA party.

50. Hoity-toity : SNOBBY.  Like a social climbing elite wannabe.

51. Flamboyant Dame : EDNA. Everage.  One of the on-stage alter egos of Australian comedian, author, actor, artist and satirist John Barry Humphries.

52. Handmade bleachers sign : HI MOM.   This year's Hall of Fame Football Classic got cancelled because of field conditions, but 3 years ago it occurred on my Lovely Wife's birthday, and her son Doug, who was in attendance, did this, taking it up a level --

I captured this fuzzy image from the TV screen

53. Hyper : ULTRA.  Taken to the highest level.

54. Skin "Creme" in blue tins : NIVEA.    The blues.

55. Workout buff's motto opener : USE IT.   Or lose it!

57. Impish looks : GRINS.   Do any of these qualify?

No granddaughters were harmed in the making of this photo

60. SALT weapon : ICBM.   The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks/Treaty started with a meeting between LBJ and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin 1967. Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles and defensive weapons [ABMs] to counter them were items of concern.  President Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev signed the ABM Treaty and interim SALT agreement on May 26, 1972, in Moscow.

61. Whirlpool : EDDY.  If my name were EDDY, I wouldn't travel in those circles.

64. Metered praise : ODE.  Laudatory poem.

65. Portland Timbers' org. : MLS.  Major League Soccer.

Well, that wraps up another Wednesday.  Hope you were able to tease out all the answers, between my lame attempts at humor.

Cool regards!