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 26, 2018

L.A. Times Crossword December 26, 2018 David Poole

Theme - It's In The Cards -- You Can Bet On It.  The final letters of the theme answers spell out the names of playing cards that, when taken together, will surely give you the winning hand.  And they are presented in ascending order  - a nice, elegant touch.

17 A. Bullied: BROW BEATEN.  Intimidated, coerced, pressured, terrorized, usually into doing something.  The card rank and hand description explanations will follow.  Vide infra.

23 A. Breakfast fare: FLAPJACK.   Here in the U.S. this is another term for the pancake, and that is the intended sense of the clue.  In the U. K. this terms refers to a tray-baked bar made of rolled oats, butter and brown sugar - which sounds like a pretty good granola bar.

29 A. "12 Years a Slave" director Steve or "Bullitt" star Steve (not the same person): MCQUEEN.  Steven Rodney McQueen [b 1969] is a British film director and screen writer.  Terence Steven McQueen [1930-1980] aka "The King of Cool" was nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Sand Pebbles.  He appeared in several block-buster films, and is probably best know for Bullit.  He lived hard and fast and passed too young at the age of 50.  This pair of QUEENs also gives us a small branch off the main theme.

43 A. Stirring up, as resentment: STOKING.  literally, to STOKE means to add fuel to a fire. So, by extension, the word also means to fire up emotions - especially those that are hot anyway, like resentment or anger.

47 A. Commoners: POPULACE.  A collective noun for the inhabitants of a region or country.  A "commoner" is an ordinary person, without rank or title.  It's a bit of a stretch to see equivalence here.

And the unifier:  54. What's hidden at the ends of 17-, 23-, 29-, 43- and 47-Across--if all are in, say, 38-Across: ROYAL FLUSH.  In poker, hands are ranked in reverse order of the probability of their occurrence. Thus, the least probable holding in any round of play will be the winner.  A STRAIGHT is any hand containing five cards in order, say 3-4-5-6-7, frex.  A higher ranking hand is a FLUSH, in which all of the cards are in the same suit. Next, in ascending order are the full house - three of a kind plus a pair; and four of a kind. Ranking above all of them is the STRAIGHT FLUSH - five cards, not only in order, but also all in the same suit.  Within a suit, cards are ranked by their numbers, with face cards above, and the the ACE highest of all [usually.]  So, a STRAIGHT FLUSH consisting of TEN, JACK, QUEEN, KING, and ACE of any suit, aka a ROYAL FLUSH, is the highest ranking example of the least likely, and therefore most powerful holding.

Plus, we get a nice, centrally-located theme extra -- 38 A. See 54-Across: CLUBS.  These are cards in one of the four suits in which a ROYAL FLUSH might occur; the others being diamonds, hearts and spades.

In each of the major theme clues, the hidden card name has a completely different meaning than it does in the context of the unifier - another nice touch.  So - a really well constructed puzzle.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here wishing you all a happy Kwanza, Boxing Day and/or feast of St. Steven.  Let's see what other gifts this puzzle offers.


1. Campus VIP: DEAN.  the head of faculty in a department

5. __ East, Chicago-based pizza chain: GINOS.  Started in 1966 by two taxi drivers.

10. Remove politely, as one's hat: DOFF. Late Middle English contraction of "do off."  Contrast "don," as, frex, gay apparel.

14. Entreat: URGE.  Attempt to convince someone without resorting to actual BROWBEATING.

15. "__ Mio": O SOLE. A Neapolitan song written in 1989 by Giovanni Capurro, Eduardo di Capua and Alfredo Mazzucchi, and usually sing in the original Neapolitan language.  The title translates as "My Sunshine."

16. Malevolence: EVIL.

19. Word processor command: SAVE.

20. World Golf Hall of Famer Aoki: ISAO.  [b 1942] He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.

21. Used TurboTax, perhaps: E-FILED.  Submitted your tax return electronically.

27. Actor Mineo: SAL.  Salvatore Mineo, Jr. [1939-1976] was an American singer and actor nominated for Acadamy Awards for best supporting actor in Rebel without a Cause and Exodus.

28. Take to a new planter: REROOT.  Plant in a new pot?  To reroot means to generate a new, identical plant from a stem cutting.  Not the same thing at all.

33. Farewell that is bid: ADIEU.  Buh-bye.

34. Pumps and platforms: SHOES.  Different shoe styles.

36. Sorbonne article: UNE.  I suppose it means "The."

37. Black-plumed pond swimmer: COOT.  Coots are small water birds that are members of the rail family, Rallidae. They constitute the genus Fulica, the name being the Latin for "coot".  Coots have predominantly black plumage, and—unlike many rails—they are usually easy to see, often swimming in open water. They are close relatives of the moorhen. [Wikipedia]

39. "__ glad to!": I'D BE. Expressing eager willingness to do something - without being BROW BEATEN.

40. Hung. neighbor: AUS.  Hungary and Austria, two Eastern European Countries.

41. Gives the heave-ho: BOOTS.  Kicks out of something

42. Rebuke: SCOLD.  Harsh verbal criticism - could also involve BROW BEATING.

45. Solid alcohol: STEROL.  A complex organic alcohol, C17H22O, found in plants and animals.  It is the eponym for a class of chemical compounds with related molecular structures.  Cholesterol is one example.

46. Circle segment: ARC.

49. Like Dagwood's wife: BLONDE.

52. Ottawa-based flying gp.: RCAF. Royal Canadian Air Force.

53. Material flaws: RIPS.  Tears and/or holes.

60. "Fantastic Beasts" actor Miller: EZRA.  [b 1992] Portraying Credence Barebone.

61. Twitter troublemaker: TROLL.  One who invades comment sections for the purpose of disrupting conversations and causing general mayhem.  Also found on FaceBook and Blogs.

62. "Off the Court" autobiographer Arthur: ASHE.  Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. [1943-1993] was an American professional tennis player who won three Grand Slam titles.

63. __ and means: WAYS.  The methods and resources at someone's disposal for achieving something.  Also the name of the chief tax writing committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

64. Gumbo pods: OKRAS.  The edible seed pods of a flowering plant of the mallow family.

65. Cameo stone: ONYX.  A variety of the silicate mineral chalcedony having parallel bands of various colors.


1. Name: DUB.  Provide an unofficial or nickname to someone or something.  Traces back via late Old English, meaning to make someone a knight, to Old French adober - to provide with armor.

2. Throw wildly, say: ERR.  In baseball, any mishandling of a batted ball by a fielder is considered to be an error.

3. Fourth word in the "Star Wars" intro: AGO.  "A long time  .  .  . "

4. Part of four state names: NEW.  - Hampshire, -Mexico, -Jersey, and -York.

5. Attacks: GOES AT.  A physical or verbal attack.  May involve BROW BEATING or actual BEATING about the head and shoulders.

6. Fashion designer Mizrahi: ISAAC.  [b 1961] An American fashion designer, TV presenter, and eponym for a line of clothing since 1987.

7. Unacceptable: NOT OK.  Incorrect, inappropriate, inadmissible, or simply not good enough.

8. World Cup cry: OLE.  Among Spanish-speaking fans.

9. Grows old: SENESCES.  Not just that, but deteriorates with age.  As old as I am [and to be honest, that's pretty old] I don't believe I have ever encountered this word before, and had to rely completely on perps.

10. Arnaz-Ball production company: DESILU.  Founded by the husband and wife team of Desi and Lucy, best known for the TV shows I Love Lucy, Star Trek and The Untouchables.

11. Racecourse shape: OVAL.

12. Dave Brubeck classic "Take __": FIVE.  In the unusual time signature of 5/4, it was originally released on the 1959 album TIME OUT, which featured other songs in odd or mixed meters, and is the only song on the album written by Paul Desmond.  Two years later, it became a hit, and is the biggest-selling jazz single ever.  According to Desmond, "It was never supposed to be a hit. It was supposed to be a Joe Morello drum solo." Yes, I have played this song -- improvised using the 4th mode of the harmonic minor scale.  Might not have been your choice.   It worked OK.

Pretty aggressive tempo in this live performance

13. Took off: FLED.  Or FLEW.  Needed perp help.

18. Exquisite trinket: BIJOU.  Something small and elegant,  French - from Breton bizou, finger ring, from biz, finger.

22. Web help pgs.: FAQSFrequently Asked QuestionS.

23. Skirmish: FRACAS. A noisy disturbance, brawl or quarrel, from Italian fracassare, to make an uproar.

24. Escorted to the exit: LED OUT. Or SAW OUT, needed even more perps.  Does LED OUT suggest the exit might not be voluntary?

25. Melodic passage: ARIOSO.  A solo instrumental or vocal piece occurring in an opera or oratorio.

From Cantata No, 156 by J.S. Bach

26. Auden, Blake or Coleridge: POET.  Versifiers.

29. Tough crowds: MOBS.  An large, unruly, disorganized crowd, that might be prone to causing trouble, mayhem or violence.

30. "Why I Live at the P.O." author Welty: EUDORA.  Eudora Alice Welty [1909 - 2001] was an American short story writer and novelist who wrote about the American South. Her novel The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Welty received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the South. [Wikipedia]

31. As a whole: EN BLOC.  Doing something all together, or separately, but at the same time.  More French.

32. Acupuncture tool: NEEDLE.  Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body. It is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine. The theories and practices of TCM are not based upon scientific knowledge, and acupuncture is a pseudoscience. [Wikipedia]

34. Tough going: SLOG.  Like a trek, but worse.

35. Crude shelter: HUT.  A small, roughly constructed structure serving as poor-quality lodging.   Alternatively, a place to get pizza.

38. Any one of Bach's Brandenburgs: CONCERTO.  The Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach are a collection of six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, in 1721. [Wikipedia]  It is unlikely that the Margrave would have had the complement of musicians necessary to perform these works, so they sat unused for a long period.

There's no such thing as too much Bach

39. Most sparsely populated Eur. country: ICELand.  I have a little difficulty considering this remote island nation to actually be a part of Europe.

41. Owl or osprey: BIRD.  Raptors, to be more specific.

42. Odds and ends: STUFF.  This and that.  Things.

44. "Dust in the Wind" band: KANSAS.

Bach did NOT write this in 1977

45. Stone chips: SPALLS.  We also use that word for chips and flakes off of glass or ceramics.  Anyway, potato chips might be less crunchy, but they taste better.

47. Richard who played "The Wiz" in 1978: PRYOR.  [1940-2005] American stand-up comedian, actor, and social critic.

48. City west of Daytona Beach: OCALA.  'Cuz "De Leon Springs" doesn't fit.

49. Make, as beer: BREW.  Via a process of soaking, boiling and fermentation.

50. Oscar winner Minnelli: LIZA. [b 1946]  Judy Garland's daughter.  The oscar is for her performance in the 1972 movie Cabaret.

51. Nashville venue: OPRY.  The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee founded on November 28, 1925, by George D. Hay as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM.

55. Mork's planet: ORK.  Mork was exiled to Earth from ORK, where humor is not permitted.

56. Vientiane language: LAO.  Lao is the language of Laos.  Vientiane is it's capital and largest city.

57. Org. with admirals: USNUnited States Navy.

58. Far from forward: SHY.  Reserved, timid or nervous in the company of other people.

59. Jinx: HEX.  A jinx is a curse or spell cast on someone to cause bad luck.  A Hex is more general, and not necessarily negative, but potentially much more severe.

I had some nits wit the cluing, but overall, a fine puzzle and a fun, rather challenging solve.  Hope you didn't think it was NOT OK.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Jeff Stillman

Theme - TEA SET 

-- OR --

JUST TEASING.  Several TEA varieties cross each other in this well brewed array.

17 A. Indian town in the Himalayas: DARJEELING. Once a summer resort for the British Raj elite, with Mt. Kanchenjunga in the background.  It is famous for the distinctive black tea grown on plantations that dot its surrounding slopes.

3 D. Like some shampoos: HERBAL.  These shampoos are infused with HERBS, based on traditional holistic medicine concepts, to cleanse the hair and maintain a balance among body, mind and spirit.  HERBAL TEAS are made from HERBS, spices and other plant materials, generally not including traditional tea, nor containing caffeine.

37A. There's always a hole in one: GREEN.  On a golf course, the GREEN is the target area, and the goal is to sink your ball into the hole in the fewest number of strokes.  Best, of course, is a hole in one.  GREEN TEA is made from the leaves and buds of Camellia Sinensis plants, like ordinary oolong and black TEA, but without the withering and oxidizing processes.

11 D. Massage therapy oil type: LAVENDER.   The distillate of this small, aromatic evergreen shrub of the mint family is used perfumes and to promote relaxation and healing.

LAVENDER TEA is made from the purple flower buds. It is purported to be relaxing, promote sleep, reduce inflammation and promote healing

68 A. Treated, as a sprain: ICED.  This can help to minimize swelling, reduce bleeding and reduce muscle spasms and pain.  ICED TEA can be any variety of tea served over ice.  Might I recommend LAVENDER when you have a sprain?

40 D. William IV's prime minister: EARL GREY.   Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, was a prominent Whig politician and served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830 to 1834, which tenure saw the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832 and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1833. In 1808, he also succeeded his uncle as third Baronet, of Howick. [Wikipedia]

The so-named TEA is flavored with oil of bergamot, a variety of orange grown in France and Italy.  It is my afternoon TEA of choice.

And the unifier: 66 A. Pay attention to detail ... and, homophonically, what three pairs of puzzle answers do: CROSS THE TS.  Along with cross -- I mean dot -- the eyes, to make everythign complete and tidy. Here the three pairs of TEAs cross, so the double meaning is clear.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, and not yet in my cups. So, armed with this bracing set of brews, let us venture forth, T's dotted and I's crossed, to solve this puzzle's remaining mysteries.


1. Israel Philharmonic music director Zubin: MEHTA. [b 1936] He also founded the Bombay Symphony.

6. Hook-shaped ski lift: J-BAR.  Pushes you uphill by the butt.

10. Calculator button: PLUS.  Addition function

14. Common Era starting date: ONE AD.  One C. E. I would think.  YMMV.

15. Hebrides language: ERSE.  A Gaelic tongue.

16. Low-tech leaf-blower alternative: RAKE.

19. "Best Song __": One Direction hit: EVER.

Watching this is optional - 6+ minutes

20. Flow's partner: EBB.  As of tides, frex.

21. The "P" of rock's ELP: PALMER. Along with Emerson and Lake.

Because Karn Evil 9 takes a half hour

22. Badlands landform: MESA. Table land -  an isolated flat-topped hill with steep sides.  MESA is the Spanish word for table.

23. Angles: SLANTS.  I have mine.  What's yours?

25. Spring singer: ROBIN.  This bird is traditionally the harbinger of Spring.

27. Prefix with graph: TELE-.  The long-distance transmission of textual or symbolic (as opposed to verbal or audio) messages without the physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus semaphore is a method of telegraphy, whereas pigeon post is not.

28. Glass of public radio: IRA. [b 1959] Ira Jeffrey Glass is an American public radio personality and the host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life.

31. Dug up dandelions, say: WEEDED.  Removed weeds from the lawn or garden

34. Scout's discovery: TALENT.  Some person with performing ability.

38. Hot state: IRE.  Hot under the collar.

41. Spy film poison: CYANIDE.  Polonium TEA would be more topical.

43. Record label for Pink: RCA.

Probably not Ira

44. Facebook option: SHARE.  Copy a post to your own page.

46. Surfer's gadget: REMOTE.  Channel surfing, not in the English Channel -- Traditional tool for couch potatoes, and now also everyone, since modern TVs don't have any dials.

48. Gourmet mushrooms: MORELS.  Morchella, the true morels, is a genus of edible sac fungi closely related to anatomically simpler cup fungi in the order Pezizales. These distinctive fungi have a honeycomb appearance due to the network of ridges with pits composing their cap. Morels are prized by gourmet cooks, particularly in French cuisine. [Wikipedia]

50. D.C. bigwig: SENator.

51. "Unique everything" website: ETSY.  Where people sell their craft items.

55. Peruvian pack animal: LLAMA.  South American camel analog.

57. Not quite spherical: OBLATE. Flattened at the poles.  Which one could also say of a candidate who loses in a landslide.  Wow - that election was really OBLATE!

59. Hence: ERGO.  Logically following.

61. Divination: AUGURY.  The interpretation of omens or signs to predict the future.  I interpret a red octagonal sign to mean I will be stopping soon.

64. Med. centers for former soldiers: VA'SVeteran's Administration facilities.

65. Actress Sorvino: MIRA. [b 1967] She won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite.

69. Some jewelry stores, informally: KAY'S.  AKA Kay Jewelers

70. Chill-causing: EERIE. weird, spooky and frightening.

71. Small dogs: TOYS.

72. Lightly burn: SEAR.

73. Brings into harmony: SYNCS.  From SYNCHRONIZES.


1. Disinclined to brag: MODEST.  Unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's abilities or achievements.

2. Provide power to: ENABLE. Grant or concede the authority or means to do something.

4. __ Mahal: TAJ.  Monument in Agra.

5. Highly skilled: ADEPT.  Proficient at some activity.

6. Take shape: JELL.  Firm up

7. Fedora feature: BRIM.  The protecting edge at the bottom of a hat.

8. Ed with Emmys: ASNER.  In categories of Lead Actor,  Supporting Actor, Guest Actor, and Outstanding Single Performance.

9. Sprout anew: REGROW.  Like hair or fngernails.

10. English football's __ League: PREMIER.  We call it soccer.

12. Luau strings: UKES.

13. Blood bank fluids: SERA.   Plural from of the clear liquid that can be separated from clotted blood.  The term "serum" also is used to designate any normal or pathological fluid that resembles serum as, for example, the fluid in a blister.

18. How a cinch is done: EASILY.

24. After-tax amount: NET.

26. Give rise to: BEGET.

29. Stern: REAR.  Back end of a boat.

30. Two of Henry VIII's wives: ANNES.  ANNE of Cleves and ANNE Boleyn.  Also, three Catherines and a Jane.

32. Common Market initials: EECEuropean Economic Community.

33. Genetic matter: DNA.

35. Big name in fast trains: ACELA.  Amtrak service along the North-East corridor.

36. Umpire's cry: TIME.   Granting a brief time out to either the batter or the pitcher.  Not the cry one would think of first.

38. Dogma: ISM. Suffix that has become an informal stand-alone.

39. Greek consonant: RHO.  Strangely, "your boat" in Greek - το σκάφος σας -  has no RHO.

42. Certain angels: DONORS.  Patrons.

45. Winds new film into: RELOADS.  As a movie reel.

47. Ribbonlike fish: EEL.   Slippery, too.

49. Slaps sharply: SMACKS.  Not SPANKS.

52. Bar: TAVERN.  Place to get a drink that is probably not ICED TEA.  [Except, perhaps, for Long island]

53. Harsh criticism: STATIC.  Angry or critical talk.

54. Toadies' answers: YESSES.  Sycophants' fawning agreements.

56. Subtle glows: AURAE

58. Hard-drive units: BYTES.  Memory units

59. Put forth: EMIT. Let out, produce or discharge something.

60. P.R. part: RICO.  The other part is PUERTO.

62. "La maja desnuda" painter: GOYA.

63. Cold War letters: USSR.  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, aka, the 20th Century Russian Empire

67. "Hold it!": HEY.  Just stop right there.  Because we're done!

There you have it.  That wraps up another Wednesday.  Hope all your letters were in order.  Now - anyone for a nice cuppa?

Cool regards!