Mar 17, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018, Alan Olschwang


Another worthy Saturday puzzle! I fell for the bait and switch mode as the entire top tier fell easily after which I found I was in for a real fight. The triple stack of grid spanners was very impressive and helpful. I was so proud I got 39. Event on a fall highlight reel : INTERCEPTED PASS with
 I _ T _ _ _ _ P _ _  D P _ A _. 
Interestingly, those spanners made for a disproportionate number of Down clues as the 45 cells of the spanners didn't leave room for the usual number of horizontal entries.

Here is an interview in 2009 with Alan conducted by C.C. where he reveals he is a retired lawyer who developed his love of crosswords by watching his Dad do them in ink so he, of course, eschews using a pencil.

I hope this St. Patty's Day finds you in fine fettle and that you got the same pleasure out of the puzzle that I did!

Let's start with the wonderful stacked grid spanners:

29. Hose : PAIR OF STOCKINGS - Each Radio City Rockette here is sporting a lovely PAIR OF STOCKINGS! 

38. "Mom," e.g. : SITUATION COMEDY - Of all the SITUATION COMEDIES available, Alan chose this one

39. Event on a fall highlight reel : INTERCEPTED PASS - Some think this Malcom Butler INTERCEPTED PASS was the most important of all time as it won Super Bowl XLIX (I'm not sure why 49 is not IL). Some also say it was the dumbest play call in history.

Here's the balance of the former barrister's clues 


1. Surfers' banes : WIPEOUTS - Talk about spectacular!

9. Figures in Spanish skating : OCHOS - Figure 8's. Cool cluing!

14. Caught : IN A SNARE

15. Concord, for one : GRAPE - Not a PLANE as it turns out

16. NBC slogan that covered "Hill Street Blues," among others : MUST SEE TV - When I watched this scene from Hill Street my jaw dropped when Belker delivered this "best ever TV line" starting at 1:00. Worth the wait!

18. Took on cargo : LADED

19. Orchestra area : PIT

20. Some functionally limited applications : SHAREWARE - SHAREWARE all kids were playing in the late 70's - Lemonade Stand

22. WWII camp : STALAG - Some thought Hogan's Heroes set in STALAG 13 came out too soon after WWII

26. Feature of some lights : LESS TAR

27. NL West team : ARI - ARIZONA Diamondbacks

28. Wee : SMA - Here  is SMA in a Burns stanza with an explanation I truly needed!

40. Zebra kin : ASS - Speaking of kin that are ASSES...

41. "Blueberries for __": kids' book awarded a 1949 Caldecott Honor : SAL - Last Saturday SAL was the name Jack Kerouac took for himself in On The Road.

42. Newsletter editor's filler : CLIP ART - My first, although limited, access to images  for my files

47. Has an online chat with : SKYPES - We SKYPED our granddaughter in Grenoble, France last year. That sill amazes me!

51. Like evil villains : REDUNDANT - e.g. Absolutely essential, Fewer in number, Merge together... Others?

54. Skeletal start? : EXO - Great lobster meat lies beneath one which requires a nutcracker to break through 

55. Sluggish : INERT

56. One who's not at all graceful : SORE LOSER

60. Put on : STAGE - Speaking of losers...

61. Popular Canadian beer : LAKEPORT - New to me

62. Opposite ends : POLES

63. License requirements, perhaps : EYE TESTS - It took about 15 seconds for me last year. Not what you would call an exhaustive process


1. Timid types : WIMPS

2. Arctic inhabitant : INUIT

3. Ristorante regular? : PASTA

4. World-record finish? : EST - The margins of victory for Usain Bolt, the FASTEST man in the world, in successive Olympics

5. Switch statuses : ONS - Switches have ONS and OFFS I guess. C.C. would call this "gluey fill" as it is less than desirable but is necessary to hold the puzzle together

6. Gulf states fed. : UAE - United Arab Emirates

7. Tijuana trio : TRES - Por favor, dénos TRES margaritas (Please give us three margaritas)

8. Newborn mentioned in Genesis 4:25 : SETH - Said to have been born after the death of his brother Abel 

9. Gives more than the once-over : OGLES

10. Crows' crops : CRAWS - Like this gull, a crow has a Crop or CRAW where excess food is stored for later digestion or feeding young

11. Attacked : HAD AT

12. Work often with subtitles : OPERA - My favorite aria with Italian and English subtitles

13. Where the same questions are asked annually : SEDER - A ritual Jewish passover feast held on the 15th of Nisan

17. 1989 Firth/Bening movie : VALMONT - Also a huge world-wide manufacturer of center pivot irrigation systems 10 minutes from here in Valley, NE

21. Log onto after a crash, say : REACCESS - Computer speak

23. "CSI: Miami" actress Eva : LARUE - Did Lash have grandchildren? 😏

24. Like the arena after the home team's winning goal : AROAR - Our old friend Marty hated the "A" words

25. Present with many options : GIFT CARD

28. Timetable listings : STOPS - I once asked a concierge in downtown Chicago what STOP I should look for on the Red Line to get out for the Cubs game. He looked at me and said, "If can't figure that out, you're the dumbest SOB in world! Just get out when everybody else does!" Uh, it was the Addison Ave. STOP.

29. Meas. checked at a garage : PSI - The low PSI warning light led me to find a nail in my tire last month

30. River to the Rhone : AIN - Europe seems full of rivers that are full of water and vowels

31. Former comm. giant : ITT

32. Shuteye sessions : SIESTAS

33. Brownie maker : KODAK - The camera of my ute!

34. Suggest : IMPLY

35. "Great Public Schools for Every Student" org. : NEA

36. Whse. filler : GDS - Hey, those are my initials as well as an abbr. for GOODS

37. __ admin : SYS  SYStem Administrator

42. Like fresh lettuce : CRISP

43. Slow tempo : LENTO - Not LARGO I guess

44. As good as it gets : IDEAL - Don't let IDEAL get in the way of possible

45. Completely cleanse : PURGE - His name is synonymous with that word to me

46. Asks for a hand? : ANTES - Ya gotta pay to play!

48. Monterrey jack : PESOS - Ah the euphemisms for money

49. Apply : EXERT

50. Gets ready to file : SORTS

52. NCAA 'Cane's rival : NOLE - The Seminole Nation Of Florida fully supports the use of SEMINOLE as Florida State's athletic nickname. Below tribe members are shown with the FSU homecoming king and queen

53. Airplane platform? : TRAY

57. Supplement, with "out" : EKE

58. Give leave : LET - I give you leave to comment on Alan's fine puzzle

59. "... thus wide I'll __ my arms": "Hamlet" : OPE - So spoke Laertes 


Tabhair do thuairim dúinn! (Please give us your opinion! in Gaelic)

Notes from C.C.:

Tried many times still could not reach Argyle yesterday. His friend Jennifer said Argyle had the phone off the hook by accident. She also said Argyle is still very tired and still groggy from medicine, but he's stable and doing OK. I'll update you when I have more news. Miss you, Santa!