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Crossword puzzle is published by the Los Angeles Times. It consists of puzzles drawn on a large grid with black and white squares.
The LA times crosswords are solved by the readers. The time allotted for solving the puzzle is 3 hours. Black squares with black letters indicate the alphabetical order of words within a word list.
So lets get started…
Stuck in the Middle
Today is the 6th appearance of constructor Dan Margolis on the
Corner, and here’s a
bit of bio
from a review of his first four puzzles for that “other newspaper”.
As this is a Thursday, this puzzle should have a theme, but Dan
seems to have hidden it well. There are no clearly identifiable themers,
no stars, no circles, no reveal, and no real pattern discernible in the
cluing. However the usual suspects, the 4 longest fills, seem to contain
what statisticians might call a “measure of central tendency“, in this case the
MEDIAN, which is the value separating the HIGHER half from the
LOWER half of a data set, e.g. the count of clues in this puzzle.
20A. Often euphemistic words for lacking employment:
IN BETWEEN JOBS. The good news is that
the number of people in this situation continues to go down
(at least on the day this review was written).
27A. Manhattan attraction:
The park first opened for public use in the winter of 1859
. It was designed by
Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed the
neighborhood about 4 blocks from my home. Central Park has hosted many
events over the years, including this one (here are the lyrics):
44A. Rounding third base after starting at second, say:
For Rush there was just no goin’ back
(here are the lyrics):
53A. Just plain folks:
MIDDLE AMERICA. I used this 2
weeks ago and it feels just right for this clue:
| American Gothic|
Grant Wood 1930
Just in case you were holding your breaths, the median value for the total clue counts in this puzzle is 37.5. The total number of clues was 74, thus 37 are below the median and 37 are above it. Where the below and above values are equivalent, the MEDIAN is the average of the two.
Now on to some useful
1. Guttural interruption: AHEM.
5. Hook or Kirk: Abbr.: CAPT. The dastardly pirate and one of
9. Logician’s “E”: ERAT. As in Quod Erat Demonstrandum –
Latin for “which was to be demonstrated.” The
Legal Information Institute defines this as “Often abbreviated as
‘Q.E.D‘., the statement may appear at the conclusion of a text
to signify that
the author’s overall argument has just been proven” (emphasis
added). Don’t believe that for a moment! In the words of a
former President, “Trust, but verify”.
13. Rope fiber: SISAL. One of three common fibers for making
rope, the others being HEMP and JUTE. SISAL is the
strongest of the three. HEMP can be pretty strong too, but not as
15. Confidently say: AVER.
16. Earned: MADE.
17. Vintage hue on a photo app: SEPIA.
18. Digital media brand: ROKU. Pretty much all we watch these
days. ROKU carries all of the major content providers (a.g.
ACORN, BRITBOX, HBO, NETFLIX, etc.) and charges a nominal monthly fee to get them
to you. There may also be a monthly fee for some of the content
19. Plains people: OTOS. Also spelled OTOES, also called
North American Indian people of the Chiwere branch of the Siouan linguistic
family, which also includes the languages of the closely related Missouri and Iowa
23. __-pitch softball: SLO.
25. I-5 state: ORE. The fill for this was not in vein.
26. Liberia neighbor: GUINEA.
Guinea is a country in West Africa, bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for the
Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, in the southeast. The reserve protects a forested mountain range rich
in native plants and animals, including chimpanzees and the viviparous
toad. On the coast, the capital city, Conakry, is home to the modern Grand
Mosque and the National Museum, with its regional artifacts.
31. Petri dish gels: AGARS. Derived from red algae, AGAR is
used not just for microbiological cultures, but in Asia as an ingredient in
desserts, as a laxative, an appetite suppressant, as a substitute for
gelatin, a thickener for soups, etc.
32. Former Romanian president: ILIESCU. Ion Iliescu (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈon iliˈesku]
(listen); born 3 March 1930)
is a Romanian politician and engineer
who served as President of Romania from 1989 to 1996 and from 2000 until
| Ion Iliescu|
Looks like a Positive guy
36. Buster Brown’s dog: TIGE. Hand up if you remember
the cartoon, which first appeared in 1902. TIGE, was an
American Pit Bull Terrier, thought to be the first talking pet to appear in the comics, and, like that
of many of his successors (e.g. HOBBES), his speech goes unnoticed by
adults. Here’s Buster Brown and Tige (Tige’s the one on the
I recall only the Buster Brown who appeared in the early TV show
Andy’s Gang. My meme from that one was “Plunk your magic twanger,
37. Flat sign: TO LET. The Brit equivalent of “Apartment to Rent“.
39. Alternatively: ELSE.
Mosaic piece: TESSERA. A TESSERA is an individual
MOSAIC piece. This art form dates back
at least to 3500 BC. Perhaps mosaics began as a way of recycling broken glazed
pottery. By cutting the shards into regular shaped pieces, they could be
re-assembled as images on walls. Some of the most beautiful mosaics in
the world are made from “micro-tesserae”, e.g. the images on the walls of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which are
virtually indistinguishable from oil paintings. Here is “The Altar of the Navicella”, which derives its name from the Gospel
narrative of Jesus walking on the water. Peter is on the left, sinking in the waves as his faith fails
him. This mosaic was copied from a painting by Giovanni Lanfranco
| The Altar of the Navicella|
43. Pricing word that rhymes with its opposite: STEEP rhymes with
47. Axis foes: ALLIES.
Lest we ever forget.
51. Guffaw sound: HAR.
52. Cue preceder?: PEE. PEE and CUE are homophones
for the letters P and Q.
57. Cream additive: ALOE. A frequent crossword additive, with three
58. It may be wild: RICE.
Buying, cooking, and recipes.
59. Union station?: ALTAR. The number of ways that constructors can
hitch this fill into a crossword is amazing.
62. Midday refreshers: NAPS.
63. Inland Asian sea: ARAL.
The depletion of this lake began in 1960
due to the diversion for agricultural use of the two main rivers feeding it.
64. Hospital cry: NURSE.
65. “Time spent with __ is never wasted”: Colette: A CAT. Hello
66. P.D. ranks: DETS. DETECTIVES, an abbreviation
implied by the clue.
67. Thai money: BAHT. The
like the pound, originated from a traditional unit of mass. Its currency value
was originally expressed as that of silver of corresponding weight (now defined
as 15 grams).
1. Jenny’s offspring: ASS.
HINNY didn’t fit.
2. Hustle, quaintly: HIE.
3. Threat to national security: ESPIONAGE. More than we know, I
4. Water __: MAIN.
5. “Breaking Bad” bad guys: CARTEL.
6. Swear: AVOW.
7. Short dog, for short: PEKE.
10 Fun Facts about the Pekingese. This puzzle is starting to go to the dogs.
8. 1969 film remade in 2010 with Jeff Bridges in John Wayne’s role:
9. Smiley face with hearts for eyes, e.g.: EMOJI. 😍
10. Betray: RAT ON.
11. Sun-dried brick: ADOBE.
12. Thompson of “Westworld”: TESSA. Rumor has it that “Westworld”
is pretty racy. As we don’t subscribe to HBO, I’ve never seen it.
14. Hercules’ dozen: LABORS.
Commit these to memory. One of them is bound to show up in a puzzle one day.
21. Historic time: ERA.
22. Zap: NUKE. I had a lot of nightmares about being
NUKED when I was a child, but it wasn’t by a microwave oven.
23. Shoo relative: SCAT. SCAT has a lot of other meanings,
some musical, and some that don’t smell so good.
24. Kosher: LEGIT. This usage is slang for OK or
legal. The term from which it’s derived implies “fit or proper as it relates to Jewish dietary law”.
28. “__ chic!”: TRÈS. You can still get a FIR if you omit
29. Dish from which paella evolved: PILAF. Here’s
a recipe for RICE PILAF
(you can even use 58A). Here’s one for
PAELLA. It’s more involved, but makes a great MAIN course for dinner
30. Sierra Nevada, e.g.: ALE. I prefer “60 min. Dogfish IPA” myself. I’d take you to their website, but they discriminate against
draft age Cornerites who are not yet old enough to drink alcohol.
33. Genesis son: SETH. SETH was Adam and Eve’s 3rd son,
born after CAIN the eldest, who murdered his brother ABEL.
Things did not get off to a good start in Genesis.
34. The “her” in Shakespeare’s “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her
infinite variety”: CLEOPATRA. From Anthony and Cleopatra,
quoting Enobarbus, a friend of Mark Antony, implying that Cleopatra is
overwhelmingly attractive to men not so much because of her beauty as because
of her fascinating unpredictability and range of moods. Richard Burton found
that out the hard way.
35. “I can help”: USE ME. I’m not touching this one.
37. Buzz-creating promo: TEASER AD. IMHO, all ads are
TEASERS, some are just BUZZIER than others.
38. The NBA’s Magic: ORL. Orlando Magic. Circa 12/4/2021
it looks like
they could use more Magic.
40. Duel tool: ÉPÉE. Another piece of vowelful fill often
inserted in crosswords, but you wouldn’t want one inserted in you. You get
extra credit if you fill les accent aigus.
42. Kid-lit poet Silverstein: SHEL.
Sheldon Allan Silverstein
(September 25, 1930 – May 10, 1999) was an American writer, poet, cartoonist,
songwriter, and playwright. He was best known for his cartoons, songs, and
43. Iraqi neighbor: SYRIAN. The citizens may be neighbors,
I’m not so sure about the states.
45. Slangy alternative to walking: WHEELS.
46. Swiss river: AAR.
The AAR (or AARE) river
is a tributary of the High Rhine and the longest river that both rises and ends
entirely within Switzerland.
47. Range name: AMANA. ANDES didn’t perp.
48. New Hampshire state flower: LILAC.
49. Parkinson’s treatment: L DOPA. Looks simple enough, but it’s a
very important player in he metabolism of the brain:
l-DOPA is an amino acid
that is made and used as part of the normal biology of some plants and animals,
including humans. l-DOPA is the precursor
to several neurotransmitters essential for brain health. Synthetically
manufactured L-DOPA can partially compensate for the failure of the body to
produce adequate amounts of the natural substance, which leads to
50. Latin “in other words”: ID EST i.e., “That is to say”.
54. Suffix for the rich: AIRE. A MILLION here, a
BILLION there, and pretty soon you’re talking
55. Future doc’s exam: MCAT.
The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®)
is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess one’s
problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of
natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and
principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.
56. Black card, maybe: CLUB.
60. Bat wood: ASH.
61. No longer working: Abbr.: RET. Don’t let anyone tell you that
when you’ve retired you won’t have anything to do! My secret is to take a
62A every day.
Here’s the grid:
There weren’t very many opportunities for music in this puzzle, so I’m
exercising my reviewer’s license to finish with this Italian/English paean to
happy endings (here’s an all English translation).
And as always, special thanks to Teri for proof reading and constructive
Notes from C.C.:
Happy birthday to the incomparable Hahtoolah (Susan), whose posts always
brightens our days. Behind her witty comments and funny links, there are hours of hard work. Thanks for all you do, Susan!
#Thursday #December #Dan #Margolis
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