LA Times Crossword Answers 23 Jul 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gareth Bain
THEME: Ay, it’s EY … each of today’s themed answers are common phrases that include a word ending with “ay”, except that the “ay” has been changed to “ey”.

17A. Cats’ request on seeing birds through the window? LET US PREY (from “let us pray”)
25A. Attention-getting craze? HEY FEVER (from “hay fever”)
41A. Ottoman ruler’s pier? THE DOCK OF THE BEY (from “The Dock of the Bay”)
52A. “L.A. Law” actress’ work period? DEY SHIFT (from “day shift”)
66A. Optimistic Spanish ruler? REY OF HOPE (from “ray of hope”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 19s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Pros handling returns CPAS
Certified public accountant (CPA)

5. Nos. that affect connecting flights ETAS
Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

14. 1979 DownBeat Hall of Fame inductee, familiarly ELLA
Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

The DownBeat Hall of Fame is located in the Jazz Club at Universal Studios in Orlando. Administered by “Down Beat” magazine, members of the Hall of Fame are selected by polls of critics as well as readers of the magazine. The first inductee was Louis Armstrong, back in 1952.

16. “Spider-Man” director RAIMI
Sam Raimi is a very successful director and producer, responsible for the “Spider-Man” series of films among others, and TV series’ such as “Xena: Warrior Princess”.

17. Cats’ request on seeing birds through the window? LET US PREY (from “let us pray”)
“Let us pray” (“Oremus” in Latin) is a phrase oft used in the Roman Catholic and some other Christian traditions.

19. Brother of Miriam AARON
In the Bible and the Qur’an, Aaron was the older brother of Moses and was a prophet. Aaron became the first High Priest of the Israelites.

According to the Bible, Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. It was Miriam who hid baby Moses in a basket at the side of the river to avoid being killed as a newborn Hebrew boy.

23. Suffix with Capri -OTE
The island of Capri off the coast of Southern Italy has been a tourist resort since the days of ancient Rome. Capri is home to the famous Blue Grotto, a sea cave that is illuminated with sunlight that’s colored blue as it passes through the seawater into the cave. Natives of the island are known as “Capriotes”.

24. Actress Kunis MILA
Mila Kunis is a Ukrainian-born, American actress, who plays Jackie Burkhart on “That ’70s Show”. Fans of the cartoon series “Family Guy” might recognize her voicing the Meg Griffin character. In ”Black Swan”, Kunis plays a rival ballet dancer to the character played by Natalie Portman. In her personal life, Kunis dated Macaulay Culkin for 8 years.

31. Bavarian article EIN
“Ein” is an indefinite article in German.

32. Kid-lit detective __ the Great NATE
The ‘Nate the Great” series of children’s novels was written (mainly) by Marjorie Sharmat. Nate is like a young Sherlock Holmes, with a dog for a sidekick called Sludge. Some of the books have been adapted for television.

34. Speck IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

37. Dangerous bacterium STAPH
Staphylococcus is a genus of bacteria. Under a microscope it can be seen that the individual bacteria form into clusters like bunches of grapes. “Staphylococcus” comes from the Greek word meaning “bunch of grapes”.

41. Ottoman ruler’s pier? THE DOCK OF THE BEY (from “The Dock of the Bay”)
Bey is a Turkish title for a chieftain. In the days of the Ottoman Empire, the term “bey” was used for many different officials, but traditionally it referred to the leader of a small tribal group. Today “bey” is used very much like “mister”.

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” is song that Otis Redding started composing in 1967 while sitting on a houseboat in Sausalito, on San Francisco Bay. Redding finished the song soon after, with the help of co-writer Steve Cooper. “The Dock of the Bay” was released in January of 1968, just one month after Redding was killed in a plane crash. The song became the first posthumous single to reach number in the US charts. As an aside, Janis Joplin’s recording of “Me and Bobby McGee” achieved the same feat in 1971.

Otis Redding is often referred to as the “King of Soul”, and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.

44. Senate Finance Committee chair Hatch ORRIN
Orrin Hatch is a Republican Senator from Utah. Hatch also quite the musician, and plays the piano, violin and organ. He has composed various compositions, including a song called “Heal Our Land” that was played at the 2005 inauguration of President George W. Bush.

45. Sundance’s gal ETTA
Etta Place is the schoolteacher character played by the lovely Katharine Ross in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

46. Like Gen. Powell RETD
Colin Powell was the first African American to serve as US Secretary of State. Earlier in his career, Powell had been a four-star general in the US Army, as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War. Even though Colin Powell has retired from public service, he is one of the most noted moderate Republicans, often advocating support for centrist and liberal causes.

47. Storm, on the Beaufort scale TEN
The Beaufort wind scale is named after Irishman, Sir Francis Beaufort, a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy. Beaufort was a hydrographer as well as a career navy man.

51. Sign of success VEE
One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V for victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

52. “L.A. Law” actress’ work period? DEY SHIFT (from “day shift”)
The actress Susan Dey first appeared on “The Partridge Family” when she was 17-years-old when she had no acting experience. Years later, Dey won a Golden Globe for playing the leading role of Grace Van Owen in “L. A. Law”.

57. California’s __ Valley: Reagan Library site SIMI
Nowadays Simi Valley, California is perhaps best known as being home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. If you ever get the chance to do so, the library is a great place to visit. There you can tour one of the retired Air Force One planes.

59. Porter, e.g. ALE
Porter is a dark beer that originated in London in the 1700s and is named for the street and river porters with whom it was very popular. Porter is a well-hopped beer made using brown malt, which gives it the dark color.

60. Wind with a wide range OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

61. __-Dazs HAAGEN
Häagen-Dazs ice cream originated in the Bronx, New York in 1961. The name “Häagen-Dazs” is a “nonsense” term, words chosen for its Scandinavian feel that the producers thought would appeal to potential customers.

64. Choir platform RISER
A riser is a platform that elevates a group of people above a crowd, so is ideal for the performance of a choir.

66. Optimistic Spanish ruler? REY OF HOPE (from “ray of hope”)
“El rey” is Spanish for “the king”.

68. Taboos NO-NOS
The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. Cook described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

69. Banjo spot KNEE

I come from Alabama with
A banjo on my knee
I’m goin’ to Louisiana
My true love for to see
Oh Susanna
Oh don’t you cry for me
I’ve come from Alabama with
My banjo on my knee

70. Tennis edge AD IN
In tennis, if the score reaches “deuce” (i.e. when both players have scored three points), then the first player to win two points in a row wins the game. The player who wins the point immediately after deuce is said to have the “advantage”. If the player with the advantage wins the next point then that’s two in a row and that player wins the game. If the person with the advantage loses the next point, then advantage is lost and the players return to deuce and try again. If the one of the players is calling out the score then if he/she has the advantage then that player announces “ad in” or more formally “advantage in”. If the score announcer’s opponent has the advantage, then the announcement is “ad out” or “advantage out”. Follow all of that …?

72. Proverbs SAWS
A “saw” is an old adage, a saying.

Down
1. Animation units CELS
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

4. Riyadh native SAUDI
Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia, and is located near the center of the country. The name “Riyadh” translates from Arabic as ‘the gardens”.

6. Stuff on the street TAR
“Tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call Tarmac.

7. Hebrew alphabet opener ALEPH
“Aleph” is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and “beth” the second.

8. Topic for Strunk and White STYLE
William Strunk, Jr. was co-author of the first editions of “The Elements of Style” back in 1918 (usually referred to as “Strunk & White”). Strunk’s fellow-author was Elwyn Brooks (E. B.) White, the creator of the children’s stories “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little”.

9. Ingredient in the stew étouffée CRAYFISH
“Étouffée” is a Cajun and creole dish made with shellfish, the most famous version being Crawfish Étouffée. Étouffée is like a thick shellfish stew served over rice. The dish uses the cooking technique known as “smothering” in which the shellfish is cooked in a covered pan over a low heat with a small amount of liquid. “Étouffée” is the French word “stifled, smothered”.

11. Russian ballet name KIROV
The Mariinsky Ballet is a company based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was founded in the mid-1700s as the Imperial Russian Ballet, but was renamed to the Kirov Ballet during the Soviet era, in honor of the Bolshevik revolutionary Sergey Kirov. The Kirov was renamed again at the end of communist rule, taking the name of the Mariinsky Theatre where the company was headquartered. The theatre was named for Empress Maria Alexandrovna, who was the wife of Tsar Alexander II.

13. Eatery with its own lingo DINER
Diner lingo, the verbal slang used by the staff, can be very colorful. Here are a few examples:

– Adam & Eve on a raft: two poached eggs on toast
– Adam & Eve on a raft & wreck ’em: two scrambled eggs on toast
– Burn one: put a hamburger on the grill
– Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it: hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion
– Down: on toast
– Whiskey down: on rye toast

26. Put in a log ENTER
The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

27. Savvy about ONTO
The term “savvy”, meaning “understanding”, comes from the French “savez-vous?” that translates as “do you know?”

28. Portrayer of a big scaredy-cat LAHR
Bert Lahr’s most famous role was the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz”. Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Lahr also starred in the first US production of Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot”, alongside Tom Ewell.

The movie “The Wizard of Oz” is full of irony. The Scarecrow wants to be intelligent and discovers he is already very smart. The Tin Man wants to be able to love and finds out that he already has a heart. The Lion thinks he is a coward but turns out to be fearless. And the big reveal is that the Wizard of Oz, who is positioned as all-powerful, is actually just a bumbling and eccentric old man.

30. Soft drink choice COKE
The coca plant is native to South America, similar in appearance to a blackthorn bush. Coca leaves have been chewed for centuries, perhaps even as far back as 3,000 years ago. Chewing the leaves apparently produces a pleasurable, numb sensation in the mouth and a pleasant taste. The most famous alkaloid in the leaf is cocaine, but this wasn’t extracted in its pure form until the mid-1800s. The cocaine was used in a medicines and tonics and other beverages, including the original version of Coca-Cola! Before 1903, a glass of Coke would contain about 9 mg of cocaine. Coca-Cola still uses coca leaves, as the flavor is prized, but the cocaine is extracted before it arrives at the bottling plant.

35. Elmo fan TOT
The man behind/under the character Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

36. Old Spice rival AFTA
Afta is an aftershave in the Mennen range of products that is owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

The Old Spice brand of grooming products was introduced in 1937, originally intended for a female clientele. The first male product hit the shelves in 1938, and today Old Spice is completely focused on products for men.

38. Sal Tessio portrayer in “The Godfather” ABE VIGODA
Abe Vigoda played Detective Sergeant Phil Fish in television’s “Barney Miller” in the seventies, and even got his own spinoff show called “Fish”. On the big screen he played Sal Tessio in “The Godfather” and Grandpa Ubriacco in “Look Who’s Talking”.

39. Folk icon Seeger PETE
The American folk singer Pete Seeger wrote and co-wrote a lot of classic songs. The list includes “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, “If I had a Hammer”, and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”

40. Stevenson villain HYDE
Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was first published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

42. Podunk-like ONE-HORSE
“Podunk” is an Algonquian word, meaning a boggy place (literally “where you sink in mire”). European settlers used the name Podunk for the indigenous people that lived in what is now southern New England. These “Podunks” had no name for themselves as a tribe, and they were christened “podunks” as they lived on relatively marshy lands. Podunk has come to mean “the middle of nowhere”.

43. Footwear for the Step Brothers TAP SHOES
The Step Brothers were a tap-dancing group that started out in 1925. Because of a conflict in name with another troupe, the trio had to change its name to the Three Step Brothers soon after forming. This new name complicated the situation as when a fourth member was added in 1927, they had to bill themselves as the Four Step Brothers.

48. Penpoint NIB
“Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

50. “La Vie en Rose” chanteuse PIAF
“La Môme Piaf” (the little sparrow) was the nickname of France’s most famous singer, Édith Piaf. What a voice this woman had, and what gorgeous ballads she sang. Édith Piaf lived a life that was not without controversy. She was raised by her mother in a brothel in Normandy, and had a pimp as a boyfriend in her teens. She had one child, while very young, born illegitimately and who died at 2-years-old from meningitis. Her singing career started when she was discovered in the Pigalle area of Paris by nightclub owner Louis Leplée. Leplée was murdered soon after, and Piaf was accused of being an accessory to the murder but was later acquitted. During World War II she was branded a traitor by many as she frequently performed for the German occupying forces, although there are other reports of her supporting the resistance movement. Later in her life she was seriously injured in no less than three, near-fatal car accidents, including one with her friend, Charles Aznavour. While recovering from her injuries she became addicted to pain medication, an addiction that lasted for the rest of her life. When she died in 1963 she was denied a Catholic funeral mass because of her lifestyle, but the crowds that turned out for her funeral procession managed to stop all traffic in Paris, the only time that has happened since the end of WWII.

The literal translation of the title to the French song “La Vie en rose” is “Life in pink”, but a better translation would be “Life through rose-colored glasses”.

53. “Middlemarch” novelist ELIOT
George Eliot was the pen name of English novelist Mary Anne Evans. As one might think, Evans chose a male pen name in order that her work might be best appreciated in the Victorian era. Eliot wrote seven novels including “Adam Bede” (1859), “The Mill on the Floss” (1860), “Silas Marner” (1861) and “Middlemarch” (1871-72).

56. Singer __ Marie TEENA
Teena Marie was a very successful R&B singer, born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, California.

58. Taj __ MAHAL
The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the third wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child.

63. Hawaiian goose NENE
The bird called a nene is a native of Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful.

67. Source of pliable wood YEW
Yew is the wood of choice for the longbow, a valued weapon in the history of England. The longbow is constructed with a core of yew heartwood (as the heartwood resists compression) that has a sheath of yew sapwood (as the sapwood resists stretching). The yew was in such demand for longbows that for centuries yew trees were in short supply in Britain and the wood had to be imported from all over Europe.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Pros handling returns CPAS
5. Nos. that affect connecting flights ETAS
9. Like dry mud on cleats CAKED
14. 1979 DownBeat Hall of Fame inductee, familiarly ELLA
15. Beer ingredient MALT
16. “Spider-Man” director RAIMI
17. Cats’ request on seeing birds through the window? LET US PREY (from “let us pray”)
19. Brother of Miriam AARON
20. Obeyed the doctor SAID “AH”
21. Romp PLAY
23. Suffix with Capri -OTE
24. Actress Kunis MILA
25. Attention-getting craze? HEY FEVER (from “hay fever”)
27. “Bravo, señor!” OLE!
29. “Blah blah blah”: Abbr. ETC
31. Bavarian article EIN
32. Kid-lit detective __ the Great NATE
34. Speck IOTA
37. Dangerous bacterium STAPH
41. Ottoman ruler’s pier? THE DOCK OF THE BEY (from “The Dock of the Bay”)
44. Senate Finance Committee chair Hatch ORRIN
45. Sundance’s gal ETTA
46. Like Gen. Powell RETD
47. Storm, on the Beaufort scale TEN
49. iTunes purchase APP
51. Sign of success VEE
52. “L.A. Law” actress’ work period? DEY SHIFT (from “day shift”)
57. California’s __ Valley: Reagan Library site SIMI
59. Porter, e.g. ALE
60. Wind with a wide range OBOE
61. __-Dazs HAAGEN
64. Choir platform RISER
66. Optimistic Spanish ruler? REY OF HOPE (from “ray of hope”)
68. Taboos NO-NOS
69. Banjo spot KNEE
70. Tennis edge AD IN
71. Ring setting STONE
72. Proverbs SAWS
73. Trim on a curtain LACE

Down
1. Animation units CELS
2. Court entry PLEA
3. Skydiving device ALTIMETER
4. Riyadh native SAUDI
5. No-nonsense EMPHATIC
6. Stuff on the street TAR
7. Hebrew alphabet opener ALEPH
8. Topic for Strunk and White STYLE
9. Ingredient in the stew étouffée CRAYFISH
10. Financial rating AAA
11. Russian ballet name KIROV
12. Act badly? EMOTE
13. Eatery with its own lingo DINER
18. Fire __ SALE
22. “‘Tis true!” AYE!
26. Put in a log ENTER
27. Savvy about ONTO
28. Portrayer of a big scaredy-cat LAHR
30. Soft drink choice COKE
33. Works on books EDITS
35. Elmo fan TOT
36. Old Spice rival AFTA
38. Sal Tessio portrayer in “The Godfather” ABE VIGODA
39. Folk icon Seeger PETE
40. Stevenson villain HYDE
42. Podunk-like ONE-HORSE
43. Footwear for the Step Brothers TAP SHOES
48. Penpoint NIB
50. “La Vie en Rose” chanteuse PIAF
52. Fixes, as a heel, perhaps DARNS
53. “Middlemarch” novelist ELIOT
54. Easy kind of question YES/NO
55. Where roads divide FORKS
56. Singer __ Marie TEENA
58. Taj __ MAHAL
62. Bigger than big EPIC
63. Hawaiian goose NENE
65. It’s quite a stretch EON
67. Source of pliable wood YEW

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13 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 23 Jul 15, Thursday”

  1. Reasonable enough Thursday effort for me (completed, 2 errors, 1 lookup).

    The Godfather (and Part II) are extremely highly recommended, if anyone here hasn't seen these movies. It's hard to say exactly how good these movies are – just extremely well done in every way (acting, writing, sets, etc).

    How most people know La Vie En Rose today, popularly.

  2. Up early for a 7:30 a.m. (EDT) conference call. Must be a Sharknado-type day brewing.

    Bill, Our Fearless Leader, here's what some I still think about Dallas. Enjoy it, and say "Hi" to Jerry Jones for us all. 🙂

    On to my hyper-grumble.

    [begin-rant]

    To paraphrase Shakespeare, "O, grid, how do I hate thee/Let me count the ways." (a) total Natick in the NE; (b) overall cluing is way overblown for a Wednesday; (c) when in the world did an attorney work a DEYSHIFT, or any shift? Harvey Specter doesn't; (d) seriously, GB, you're gonna roll with PIAF and ORRIN Hatch (who appeared in several recent grids, btw), and then give me OLE and OBOE? Grr.

    Pookie, with your permission, I'd like to reinstate Gareth to the Constructor Punching Bag, delete Mr. Lim (since he seems to be absent these days), and maybe find a way to sub in Jeff Wechsler. How about it? We can go into the stands like the Boston Bruins did at MSG so long ago.

    [/end-rant]

  3. From yesterday and day-before yesterday. Regarding wooden burr puzzles. Although I am now quite out of it, and I definitely do not intend to monopolize this blog on an irrelevant subject, here is my final post on the matter.

    For a great book on puzzles :- Puzzles old and new, on how to make and solve them – Jerry Slocum and Botermans. THE BIBLE on puzzles. A must-have. ~ $ 15.00.

    Carrie and mtnwest :- Stewart Coffin was the DaVinci of wooden puzzles, including Burrs. His creations are too expensive for a common man. The Burrs in the Google page are constructed by everybody else. You can get much cheaper burr puzzles at Walmart, and online at Bits and Pieces, among many, many other places – including Ebay.

    Also see 'Puzzle World' – a massive, humongous (sp?) web site by John Rausch – this is for free…. and a free download of Polyhedral Dissections – the book. Also Metagrabologust, the online magazine – Ezine (?) .

    Pookie – Our official spokesperson and CIO, I saw a puzzle in the form of a complex musical notation on a page – by for the life of me, I can't locate it, now. ( – sigh, tears. )

    Bill, many, many apologises for this post. Thank you for the indulgence,

  4. @Willie D – When you say in your post above "(b) overall cluing is way overblown for a Wednesday;" All I can say is that I'm glad that I am not the only one to get the day confused on Bill's blog as I did on another occasion since this is a Thursday puzzle! (g)

    I have a real love for these pun filled treats like today. I'm sure it says something about my mental problems. This was just hard enough to be fun but not so hard that I ended up gnashing my teeth and giving myself a brain strain.

    See you all back here tomorrow. Have a great day.

  5. FWIW, I try to not get too much into what I think of the puzzles since I've made it pretty obvious that I get frustrated at my seeming lack of improvement on such things. I figure if people are out there that can do the puzzles successfully (as Bill consistently proves), I really don't have much room to speak, especially when I make stupid errors upon hindsight. Maybe it gets annoying to those who might read this? I don't know.

    That said, my problem corner was the SW, more than the NE, which I breezed through. The lookup was 53-Down (ELIOT), but I didn't know 52-Down or 65-Down. The problem was compounded that I got 68-Across wrong (DONTS instead of NONOS). Then, I had TANSHOES instead of TAPSHOES (stupid error, like I said) for 43-Down, confusing me on 49-Across.

    I don't know where my problems still lie in being able to solve all grids in a reasonable amount of time with no errors. To me, most all of the clues Wednesday-Sunday are pretty illogical to me at first blush. I've been able to see a logic in them when I see the answers, so I've been sticking with it (Bill's suggestion of Amy Reynaldo's book helped). But I can't say I can see a real level of quality in cluing for any grid simply because none of them specifically lead anywhere.

    Anyhow, I felt the need to share all of that. Rant over.

  6. I love Gareth Bain puzzles. Fortunately I'm far enough away that no one can come after me with a baseball bat or something for saying that. But I agree with Tony – I really get a kick out of his clues…NOW. It wasn't always like this. I finished the puzzle without errors, but it took some patience.

    @Glenn – I have to agree. The Godfather just might be my favorite movie of all time.
    And just keep doing what you're doing. When I started these crazy things a couple of years ago I couldn't finish ANYTHING without Google. Later I found Mondays were doable…then Tuesdays…etc. Now I'm up to Fridays and Saturdays being my only Google days….normally. I'd add one piece of acvice – don't worry about doing them in a "good time". I"ve never been anywhere near a Bill time and I don't try. It's better to have patience. Put it down for a while and come back to it. Look at how the letters come together. Often you can guess an answer you don't know just by doing that – even if the crosses don't help. Concentrate on doing them without help – regardelss of the time. Time will improve over time…Now this rambling post is in overtime…

    Best –

  7. @Jeff I'm not worried about time, other than it being a reasonable time. My main concern though is doing them correctly and unaided. The frustration comes more from the stupid stuff and the fact I still DNF early week puzzles sometimes. I can see having to look up 53-Down especially since I know next to nothing about old literature, but the errors are harder to swallow, especially the stupid stuff like 43-Down. Then for the other one (68-Across), I can't really tell if it's one or the other without having the other clues and I didn't. Maybe on one level it's the cluing (52-Down has to do with fabric, I have no idea how 65-Down leads to EON), but like I wrote before I can't say for sure, especially since others are getting those okay.

  8. @ Tony. Thanks…that was my pre-coffee brain talking. I really should go back to doing these things later in the morning. I guess, like Pink Floys, I just needed some TIME. I heard this on the radio this morning and thought about it in our crossword context. 🙂

  9. Well, I sure ERRED on this one. AHA! for Tis true!
    ON A HORSE instead of ONE HORSE. Sheesh!

    "Pookie, with your permission, I'd like to reinstate Gareth to the Constructor Punching Bag, delete Mr. Lim (since he seems to be absent these days), and maybe find a way to sub in Jeff Wechsler."
    Oh, mighty creator of the Punching Bag, you have my blessing!
    Wow! What a hockey brawl!

  10. Not all Staphs are dangerous. The bad one, especially if it gets into the bloodstream, is Staph. aureus (so called because its colonies look golden on agar culture). But our skin is covered with billions of its cousins – the harmless Staph epidermis, which is why when taking a blood culture to look for an infecting organism, it's important to sterilize the skin extremely well to kill off the local harmless germs as otherwise the culture might well grow out Staph epidermis, termed (somewhat paradoxically) a "contaminant" by irritated doctors who want clear-cut "uncontaminated" diagnostic info on the culture result.

  11. For some reason I got this one 100% with RAIMI being the only thing I never heard of.
    I like puns, and, though this idea (ay is ey) was beat to death, I like to beat puns to death.

    I noticed a number of double vowels, though that might have been a coincidence. \

    Lots of informational comments.

  12. I finished another one. I really don't know what's going on here. I did get hung up in the upper left for a bit but that's all.

    On the subject of completion times. I never time myself. I hardly ever just sit and do a puzzle all in one sitting. I always get distracted by one thing or another. 🙂

    @Vidwan827 – thanks for the additional info and links on the wooden puzzles. Those sites look very interesting.

  13. Fun puzzle! I only peeked at Bill's grid for two answers (which, of course, permutated into help on more than just two, but nevertheless…) I got the theme pretty quickly, and it helped. I don't need puns more difficult than these, tho.
    I guessed on the N for ADIN/NENE, and managed to guess right. Good times.
    Let's see what Friday brings! ¡Adiós!

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