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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fireblossom Friday - The Distorted Lens

So I've wandered back, at long last, into the Imaginary Garden.

Fitting, since I did just see a real toad on the walkway in front of my house.

Today's challenge: 'So, your task is to write from the point of view of someone who is seeing reality through a distorted lens."

And here it is, if it qualifies.  I have no idea where it came from.


it's you again
coming here

i did not invite you
to fling your fervid finger dance
on my hilltops

to slyly slither your stealthful 
wending way
along my hedge row

nor play your probing game of sinking
for a short while
into my silent secret bog

a short while 
too short
too short

and look at you
how you thrash and flail
spewing ragged steamy breath spasms
until that final gasp
when you heave your heavy ploughman's sigh


are you still here

alright then
kiss me if you must
you must

not there

yes there
more deeply







Afterthought: after reading Hedgewitch's entry, it occurred to me that this might also be about the incubus. A new and intriguing slant, perhaps.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Carpe Diem #1259 Creating Beauty

Here I am, back at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai after another long and inexplicable hiatus.

Can I create some beauty?   You be the judge.

ancient myth of god
from the wet clay of the earth
creating adam


if i place my life
in the mold of your strong hands
how will you form me


rotund symmetry
in the spinning universe
a cluster of stars


That last one might be a haiku.

The others seem more like senryu.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

L.A. Times Crossword - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - Adam T. Cobb

Theme -- Hey, what's in this drink?  Here we have a complex theme: circled letters [and good luck if you didn't get the circles, since the letters are scattered] within the theme entries are anagrams of hidden words.  And better yet, the hidden words are liquid assets [so to speak] of the things in which they are hidden. 

17. Name on a two-liter bottle (and what's inside) : ROYAL CROWN.   ROYAL CROWN, is, of course, a brand name and COLA is the generic name for the product variety.

23. Independently owned suds producer (and the suds in question) : MICROBREWERY.  MICROBREWERIES are independently owned and operated purveyors of craft BEERs and ales.  The quaffs that they offer typically have more flavor and character that what you find in mass produced products from the big, international BREWing companies.  I'm a fan of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale.

38. Where Starbucks began (and a product it popularized) : SEATTLE.  LATTE's are not unique to Starbucks, but you certainly can get one there.  Our wildly over-achieving oldest granddaughter is, among other things, a certified barista and trainer at Starbucks.  A LATTE is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk.

49. Pepperidge Farm treat (and its ideal companion) : MILANO COOKIE.  This is a sandwich COOKIE with a dark chocolate inner layer between two flat biscuits.  It's marketed to adults, but even they can enjoy a nice cold glass of MILK with it.

And the unifier -- 59. What's clued in parentheses for each of four answers, and found in corresponding sets of puzzle circles : MIXED DRINK.  This is an in-the-language phrase indicating a libation made with alcoholic spirits and some sort of mixer, such as some flavor of soda.   Here, the word MIXED is a hint that the letters of the respective DRINKS have been scrambled.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, your host for today's adventure in a glass.   Let's pop a few lids and see how this tastes.


1. Green Angry Birds animals : PIGS.  I dunno.  Never played the game.

5. Salon style : PERM.   Short for PERManent wave.

9. "Jabberwocky" opener : 'TWAS.  This poem by Lewis Carroll is included in Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, from 1871,

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

13. Les __-Unis : ETATS.  United States in French.

15. Eye layer : UVEA.  This includes the iris, which displays eye color.  Brown-eyed people like me have irises pigmented with melanin.  Blue eyed people have no little or no pigment in their irises.  They appear blue due to Rayleigh scattering - the same optical phenomenon that makes the sky appear blue.  Other colors are due to combination effects from various levels of melanin and collagen, which causes Mie scattering

16. "For __ jolly ... " : HE'S A. Good fellow, and I can't deny it.

19. Double-crossers : RATS. Figuratively speaking

20. Like microwavable meals : PRE-MADE.  

21. Valued caches : TROVES.  Have you ever seen the word TROVE not associated with some sort of treasure?

26. Parthenon goddess : ATHENA.  From Greek mythology, the goddess of wisdom, craft and war..

29. "How cool!" : NEATO.

30. Length of most TV dramas : HOUR.

31. WWI battleship Graf __ : SPEE.  Read about it here.

33. Kin by marriage : IN-LAW.  

37. CIO partner : AFL.  The American Federation of Labor merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1955.  The organization is made up of 56 national and international labor unions.

40. __ snail's pace : A TA.   Moving slowly.

41. Note above A : B FLAT.  It's enharmonic equivalent, A Sharp is rare, but I have encountered it already this week.

43. Snoop (around) : NOSE.  Because that is what gets poked into a place, whether it belongs there or not.

44. Blockage : CLOG.

45. Slangy "It's cool" : NO BIG.  I guess the "DEAL" is implied.  Anyway it's not a problem.

47. Currently combusting : ABLAZE.  On fire, right now.

53. Novelist Waugh : EVELYN.  Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh [1903 - 1966] was a prolific English journalist, and author of novels, biographies and travelogues.

54. Scolds harshly : BERATES.  You could be BERATED if your behavior were less than A-rated.

58. Jones with a locker : DAVY.  The origins of the phrase are unclear.  DAVY Jones' locker is the bottom of the sea, where the remains of drowned sailors and sunken ships find their final resting place.

62. Don Juan's mother : INEZ.  I only know this from crosswords.

63. Just : ONLY.  Only this article can do it JUSTice,

64. __ protector : SURGE.  A device to shield your electronic items from potentially damaging power fluctuations.

65. Give a darn : CARE.  Be concerned. There is a lot to CARE about these days.

66. Horseshoes turn : TOSS.  Having your turn at the game of tossing horse shoes.

67. Dijon dad : PERE.  More French.


1. Cop's quarry : PERP.  The PERPetrator of a crime.   Or, in Corner lingo, a word in a puzzle that is PERPendicular to a given word.

2. "Like __ lump ... " : IT OR.  Take it or leave it.

3. Marvin of Motown : GAYE. [1939-1984] He was a singer, song writer and producer who helped create the Mo-Town sound.  Sadly, he was killed by his own father who shot him when he tried to intervene in an argument between his parents.

4. Speech therapist's challenge : STAMMER.  Speech with involuntary pauses and repeated initial consonant sounds.

5. More virtuous : PURER.  Like even whiter snow.

6. President Morales of Bolivia : EVO.  Juan Evo Morales Ayma [b 1959] has been president since 2006.

7. DVR "back up" button : REWind.

8. Chanted word : MANTRA. A word or sound repeated as an aid in achieving a meditative state.

9. Add, as a shrimp to the barbie : THROW ON.  Aim carefully when adding a shrimp to the grill.

10. Go this way and that : WEAVE.   Zig-zag.

11. Autumn bloom : ASTER.  The name is derived from the Greek word for star, due to the shape of the bloom.

12. Flip : SASSY.  Said of disrespectful back-talk.

14. "'And hast thou __ the Jabberwock?'" : SLAIN.  A bonus mini-theme.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.

18. Music box? : CD CASE.  Protective box for music medium storage.

22. Deal with, as loose laces : RETIE.  Which is why I prefer slip-ons.

24. "Almost there!" : ONE TO GO.  I associate this phrase with American football, in a situation when one one yard is needed for a first down.

25. Borscht veggies : BEETS.  I think it was on a long-ago Rocky and Bullwinkle episode when one of the characters said, "When it comes to borscht, you can't beat soup!"

26. Quaker captain of literature : AHAB. Pursuer of the great white whale, Moby Dick.  I didn't recall him being a Quaker.

27. Fashionable Brit : TOFF.  A derogatory stereotype for an aristocratic Brit is what I found.  Perhaps Steve can explain.

28. Ship frame : HULL.

32. Freak out : PANIC.

34. 2016 Best Picture nominee "__ Land" : LA LA.  2016 movie, 2017 Oscar nominee.

35. All-inclusive : A TO Z.  Everything from A cups to Zebras.

36. Salary : WAGE.  Not exactly.  Wages are based on actual hours worked, while a salary is a fixed amount per week or month, irrespective of actual time on the job.

38. Like a path that's cobbled together? : STONY.    My favorite way of thinking about a cobblestone path.

39. Allowed to get out : LEAKED.  As information, not caged animals.

42. Examine in detail : ANALYZE.

44. Go from cloudy to fair : CLEAR UP.  Better weather.

46. Wisecrack : BON MOT.

48. Tweeters : BIRDS.  Not stereo speakers.

49. Physician at the front : MEDIC.  In the military.

50. The first Mrs. Trump : IVANA.

51. Prying tool : LEVER.  A beam or rod pivoted on a fulcrum.

52. Acts like a good dog : OBEYS.  Sits, begs, and rolls over.

55. Lose steam : TIRE.  Get used up.

56. Elec. or mech. expert : ENGR.  Engineers.

57. __-Ball: arcade game : SKEE.   The game is played by rolling balls up an incline and scoring points by having the balls fall into holes with different values.

60. Suffix with concert : -INO.  A concertino is either a composition that is a smaller version of a concerto, or a subsection of an orchestra that is featured in a composition.

61. Big tee sizes : XLS.  Extra Larges.

That wraps another Wednesday.  With the libation of your choice, a toast to all.  It's always 5:00 somewhere.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

L. A. Times Crossword - Wednesday, August 23, 2017 C. C. Burnikel

Theme - We interrupt regular programming to bring you this hot news item - AKA: STORY. The word STORY is devided into bookends in the 3 theme entries, and revealed in the unifier. Them's the BREAKS, I guess.

20. Come out on top : SCORE A VICTORY.  Win an athletic contest.

34. Retail showcase : STORE DISPLAY.  Where merchandise in on view, to make you want it. Here's a famous one.

41. Particle physics concept : STRING THEORY.  This is a theoretical framework which posits dimensional objects called strings, and describes their interactions.  It is a theory of quantum gravity.

56. Reporter's delivery ... and what 20-, 34- and 41-Across are literally doing? : BREAKING STORY.   Fresh from the news room to the on-screen anchors desk.  Mostly these things are political, so no more than that I will not say.

Hi Gang - JazzBumpa here to BREAK down the STORY of this puzzle, and report on what our investigations can uncover.  Hope it's not too shocking.  Item 1 - the constructor is our own hostess, C. C.  Perhaps she will become the most prolific constructor ever.  Item 2 - STORY is broken at the first letter, the last letter, and then as close as you can get to the middle in a 5-letter word.  Nice, elegant touch.


1. Sporty British cars, for short : JAGS.  Jaguars.

5. Omelet option : HAM.  I usually get the veggie omelet with feta cheese.

8. Reef material : CORAL.  Bad news.  Sadly, they are under attack from star fish and the increasing acidity of the oceans. Some day there may be none left atoll.

13. Power co. output : ELECtricity.  Zap!

14. Shaped like an avocado : OVAL.  This is mandatory.

Found somewhere on the internet.

16. Dig deeply? : ADORE.  Love, respect, worship, venerate.  Clever misdirection with the clue.  You are digging with your emotions, not a shovel, and the depth is into your soul, not the ground.

17. Fey with many Emmys : TINA.  Known for her political satire - not gonna do it.

18. Baltic port : RIGA.  The capital of Latvia, on the Baltic sea at the mouth of the river Daugava.

19. "Unbroken" director Angelina : JOLIE.  A 2014 movie about Louis Zamparini, a U.S. olympic athlete and bombardier in WW II, who survived on a raft in the ocean for 47 days, and then was in PoW camps.  In addition to her fame appearing on the silver screen, she has also directed several films.

23. Intends to hit : AIMS AT.   Use your good eye.

24. Sushi roll fish : EEL.  Any of 800 species of elongated fish lacking pelvic fins.  Many also lack pectoral fins.  It has a single fin ribbon running down the back for most of its length.  They swim by generating body waves, and can swim backwards by reversing the wave.

25. "NewsHour" channel : PBS.  Public Broadcasting System.

28. Novelist Rita __ Brown : MAE.  [b 1944] Prolific author of novels, mysteries and screen plays, including the Mrs. Murphy mystery novel series.

29. [I give up!] : SIGH.  AKA: SMH.

32. Vacation location : RESORT.  Would you resort to staying in such a place?

36. Per item : EACH.  Unit pricing.

39. Area for critical patients, briefly : Intensive Care Unit.

40. Diamond great Sandberg : RYNE.  Played 2nd base for the Phillies, briefly in 1981, and then with the Cubs from 1982 until he retired mid-season in 1994.  He came back and played for the Cubs again in 1996-7.  He won 9 gold gloves and made 10 consecutive all star appearances.  He was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2005.

46. Pub quiz fodder : TRIVIA.  Unimportant bits of information.

47. Red Muppet who refers to himself in the third person : ELMO.

48. Bit of toy "ammo" : CAP.  A paper or plastic disk containing a small amount of a shock-sensitive explosive compound.  In a toy gun this simulates the noise and smoke of a real fire arm.

51. Gentle touch : DAB.  As in blotting with a napkin.

52. Okay mark : CEE.  I never felt they were OK.

54. Knuckleheads : IDIOTS.  In slang, a generic term for stupid people - or perhaps those you don't agree with.

60. Humdinger : BEAUT.  A particularly fine example of something, or sarcastically, the opposite.

62. Kitchenware brand : EKCO.  They make all sort of kitchen gadgets: basters, peelers, knives, cutting boards, measuring spoons and cups, etc.

63. Blueprint detail : SPECification.

64. Subject of a certain management class : ANGER.  There's a movie about it that I'm pretty glad I didn't see.

65. They may be choppy : SEAS. In high winds or stormy weather.

66. Fit together nicely : MESH.  Hand in glove.

67. High-maintenance : NEEDY.  Said of a person who requires an excess of emotional or monetary investment in a relationship.

68. "That's the spot" : AAH.  You scratch my back  .  .  .

69. Art Deco luminary : ERTE.  Romain de Tirtoff [1892-1990] a Russian-born French artist known as ERTE from the French pronunciation of his initials*, was a pioneer in art deco.

* Hey, I could be ERTE, too!


1. Goods thrown overboard : JETSAM.  Things that have been jettisoned from a ship at sea, frequently to lighten the ship's load.  Not to be confused with flotsam - things lost from a vessel due to shipwreck or accident.  The difference is significant in maritime law.  Flotsam may be claimed by the original ship, JETSAM is the property of whoever finds it.

2. "Girl on Fire" singer Keys : ALICIA.

3. Biological mapping subject : GENOME.  The complete set of genes present in an organism.

4. Permanent marks : SCARS.

5. Fictional captain Hornblower : HORATIO.

6. Tel __, Israel : AVIV.

7. Christmas trio : MAGI.

8. Persuades with flattery : CAJOLES.

9. Air Wick target : ODOR.

10. Short and chubby : ROLY POLY. Obese - but we are not into fat shaming here.  Also, a terrestrial crustacean of the order isopoda, also known as a pill bug or doodle bug, with the ability to roll into a ball.

11. D-backs, on scoreboards : ARIzona.

12. Jack Reacher creator __ Child : LEE.  Pen name of British author James D. Grant [b 1954.]  Reacher is a fictional character who is a former army officer who drifts around the country getting into dangerous situations.

15. Doily fabric : LACE.  A small ornamental mat of embroidery, lace, or paper that is placed under an item.

21. __ Los Angeles : EAST.  An unincorporated area in Los Angeles County.  At 96.7% Latino, it is the least diverse community in the county.

22. Actress Polo : TERI.  Theresa Elizabeth Polo [b 1969] is an American TV and movie actress.

26. Dietary fiber : BRAN.  Edible broken seed coats from cereal grains.

27. Eye problem : STYE.  Inflammation at the eyelid caused by a bacterial infection of the gland at the base of an eyelash.

30. Determination : GRIT.  It's true.

31. Anne of "Wag the Dog" : HECHE. Anne Celeste HECHE [b 1969] is an American actress, director and screenwriter.

33. Nimble : SPRY. Usually spoken of older people - maybe it's unexpected.

34. Improvised blade : SHIV.

35. Fight that may involve drawing : DUEL.  Using drawn swords or pistols.

36. Started, as a co. : EST'D.   Established.

37. Gillette brand : ATRA.  Introduced in 1977, the first razor to feature a pivoting head.

38. Pegboard game : CRIBBAGE.  A game played with cards in which a peg board is used to keep score.  You can read about it here.

42. "So close, yet so far" : NICE TRY.  A good, but unsuccessful effort, or, ironically, an attempt that was either not good or not a good thing to do.

43. Mother Earth, in Greek mythology : GAEA.  The earth goddess who gave birth to both the Titans and the first humans.

44. "Holy cow!" : OMIGOSH.  Oh my gosh - nice try!

45. Curtain supports : RODS.  Devices used to support curtains, above windows or along showers.

48. Writer for whose father the National Baseball Hall of Fame city was named : COOPER.  Cooperstown, New York is the municipality in question.  Dad from the clue was William Cooper, who founded a village on Otsego Lake in the 1780's.  His son, James Fenimore Cooper wrote many novels, including The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans.

49. Idle : AT REST.

50. Freudian analyst's concern : PSYCHE.  The soul, mind or spirit that inhabits a human body.  To Freud, the the structural model of the mind, or "psychic apparatus" comprises the id, ego, and super ego.

53. __ out: barely makes : EKES.

55. "Who's there?" answer : IT'S ME.

57. Was sorry about : RUED.

58. Furniture chain popular in dorms : IKEA. Our oldest granddaughter is a fan.

59. Sweet Sixteen org. : NCAA.  The National Collegiate Athletic Association sponsors and organizes a single-elimination basketball tournament each spring, involving the 32 champions of division I conferences and 36 at-large teams chosen by a selection committee.  The "Sweet Sixteen" are the teams winning early rounds that winnow the field down to 16 contenders.

60. Prohibit : BAN.

61. Suffix with ethyl : -ENE.  This chemistry suffix indicates a double bond between the 2 carbon atoms in the molecule.  Since your eyes are already glazing over, I'll leave it at that.

OK, folks - that's the end of this STORY.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cool regards!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

L.A. Times Cross Word - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 Richard Monsaythe and C. C. Burnikel

Theme: CATCH of the day.  The last word of 2 or 3-word theme entries is something that can be CAUGHT.  There are a couple of sports references in the grid, but inexplicably, nothing about baseball.  What's up with that?  But, fortunately, that deficiency is correctable.  Here's an outstanding CATCH from last Friday's excellent game between the Tigers and the Orioles.

All Jonathon Schoop [pronounced "Scope"] could do is smile.  Maybe you'll get a smile or two as we proceed.

17 A. *One may follow the wedding dress : BRIDAL TRAIN.  This is the long back portion of a dress that trails behind the wearer.  One can also CATCH a TRAIN, but that is a different matter, so don't get off track

39 A. *Avant-garde : NEW WAVE.  Referring to a new movement or trend in literature music or the visual arts.  I remember the NEW WAVE science fiction of the 1960's, which is now old hat.  To CATCH a WAVE is to latch onto an opportunity.  The source of the phrase should be obvious.

10 D. *Westminster's top canine : BEST IN SHOW.   An award bestowed upon the top dog [so to speak] at the annual competitions presented by the Westminster Kennel Club.  I've already said more than I know about it.  To CATCH a SHOW is to attend a performance, or perhaps watch one on TV. There is an implication of preference, suggesting that you'd rather do this than some other pass time.

29 D. *Harsh and wintry : BITTER COLD.  This is weather that is so COLD that exposure would be unpleasant, or even painful.  But if you bundle up properly, you can revel in it.   Careful, though, so you don't CATCH a COLD; or if you do, keep the tissues handy, drink plenty of fluids and take vitamin C.

63 A. Familiar slogan ... or, based on its last word, what each answer to a starred clue is? : CATCH PHRASE.   A well known phrase, often associated with a particular famous person. Hope you were able to CATCH on to this theme.

Hi Gang, JzB here.  Today we have a puzzle co-constructed by a lady we all know and our Corner companion, Splynter, making his LAT debut.  Congrats to both, and a hat tip to C. C. for her continuing enormous care and generosity. Nice word association theme, and a pinwheel theme entry arrangement, with a central horizontal entry.  Its vertical cross, DRAWS ON, might also have been a theme entry, if you CATCH ON, but it lacked the necessary *.  Also, though CATCH ON is an in-the-language phrase, it doesn't quite fit the pattern, since the other entries are verb - object, and CATCH ON is a verb phrase.  Still, a nice touch.  What other smiles can we CATCH ON to?


1. Heckler's array : JEERS.  Boo and hiss companions.

6. Slender woodwind : OBOE.   It goes like this.

10. Crony : BUD.  Pal.  Homey. Bro.

13. Taxpayer's dread : AUDIT.  An examination of one's tax return by the IRS to assure completeness and accuracy.

14. With 24-Across, Chilean poet with a Nobel Prize : PABLO.

And 24. See 14-Across : NERUDA.  Nobel prize in literature, awarded in 1971 for "for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams".

16. Suffix with Vietnam : -ESE.  Usable with many, though not all nationalities.

19. Total : SUM.  It all adds up.

20. Drunk : SOT. Toper.

21. Pontiac that was Motor Trend's 1968 Car of the Year : GTO.  Gran Turismo Omologato - Grand Touring Homologated.

22. Orchestra overseer : MAESTRO.  The conductor.

26. Places for holsters : HIPS.  On a gun belt.

27. Swedish pop quartet : ABBA.

30. Arnold's crime : TREASON.   Benedict.  He was not a good egg.

33. Stand for a photo? : TRIPOD.  Three-legged camera support.

36. Evaluation for a would-be painter : ART TEST.  Like this.

38. Got together : MET.

41. "The guy over there" : HIM.

43. Makes harmonious : ATTUNES.

45. Frightens : SPOOKS.

47. "Whoa, bro!" : EASY NOW.  Take a deep breath.  Cool your jets.

49. Tiny branch : TWIG.

50. Feudal drudge : SERF.

52. Low-risk govt. securities : T-NOTES are fixed income securities having maturities of 1 to 10 years, backed by the full faith and credit of the U. S Treasury.  Could also have been its companions T-BONDS [20 year] or T-BILLS [52 weeks or less.]  Needed perp help.

55. Strategy : TACTICS.  Well, here is my nit.  These are not equivalent.  A strategy is a large-scale plan, which may involve complex organizational patterns; while a tactic is a short-term, focused measure that might aim to achieve one of a strategy's operational goals.

58. Granola morsel : OAT.

59. 27-Down user's need : PIN. Personal Identification Number.

62. Master : PRO. Ace.

66. Every one : ALL.

67. Poetry Muse : ERATO.  Who is the muse of erotic poetry?

68. __ Hebrides : INNER. An archipelago of 35 inhabited and 44 uninhabited islands off the west coast of Scotland, south of the Outer Hebrides.

69. Knight who played a newsman : TED.  Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore show, played by Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka.

70. Food-growing prefix : AGRO-.  Sometimes with culture.

71. Checked out before a heist : CASED.


1. Quick punches : JABS.

2. Currency since 1999 : EURO.  In Europe, believe it or not.

3. Cut and paste, e.g. : EDIT.  Word processing activities.

4. Freed (of) : RID.  B-Bye.

5. Put on, as a play : STAGE.

6. Decide not to join : OPT OUT.

7. Trivia night locale : BAR.  Locale for drinking games.

8. The Affordable Care Act became law during it : OBAMA ERA.  Barak OBAMA's presidential term.

9. "On the Waterfront" director Kazan : ELIA.

11. Take by force : USURP.  Or to take without legal right.

12. Floor models : DEMOS.

15. __ of a kind : ONE.  I'm unique - just like everybody else.

18. P.O. box item : LTR.  Letter - a communication on paper, composed of words, which are composed of letters.

23. Horse's hoof protection : SHOE.  I have SHOES to protect my feet, even when I'm not horsing around..

24. Afternoon rest : NAP.

25. Makes use of, as experience : DRAWS ON.

27. Bread box? : ATM. Automatic Teller Machine - a cash dispensing device.

28. La __ Tar Pits : BREA.  Located within metropolitan Los Angeles.

31. Off-rd. transports : ATVS.  All-Terrain Vehicles.

32. Pedometer unit : STEP.  Keeps track of your motion, but not your emotions.

34. Taxing task : ONUS. A daunting chore.

35. Reject as false : DENY.  

37. Luau torch type : TIKI.

40. Attended without a partner : WENT STAG.  Attending an event without a companion of the opposite gender, and can be used by or with regard to either gender.

42. Chinese menu abbr. : MSG.  Monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer.

44. Heaviest U.S. president : TAFT.  William Howard, the 27th president of the U. S., serving from 1909 to 1913.   His weight peaked at 335 to 340 pounds during this term.  He was also the 10th Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, serving from 1921 to 1930.   His health was failing as he joined the court, and he undertook a physical fitness campaign that reduced his weight to 244 lbs. in 1929.

46. Extra NBA periods : OTS. Overtimes.  

48. Joyful shout : WOO-HOO.  Yippee!

50. Mar. 17 figure : ST. PAT.  Bring on the shamrocks and Guinness!

51. "Guitar Town" rocker Steve : EARLE.

53. Strike gently : TAP.  Or PAT, depending on which way you are facing.

54. Guiding principle : ETHIC.

56. Zamboni's milieu : ICE.  It's a vehicle used to smooth and freshen the surface in a ice arena.  But riding on one can also be a romantic adventure.

57. "Fame"-ous Irene : CARA.

59. Harsh reviews : PANS.

60. "That makes sense" : I SEE.

61. Stereotypical Geek Squad employee : NERD.

64. WNBA position : CTR.  Center.

65. Genetics lab subject : RNA.  RiboNucleic Acid, a polymeric molecule vital in several intracellular genetic processes.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

L.A. Times Crossword Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Gary D. Schlapfer and C. C. Burnikel

Theme: SCHOOL DAYS.  Various activities that school children may be involved in are indicated by the clues with asterisks.

18 A. *Annual kids' competition aired by ESPN : SPELLING BEE.  A contest to see who can correctly spell obscure words nobody will ever see or hear again.  In the class room version, I hope the target words are more useful.

24 A. *Excursion that may require permission slips : FIELD TRIP.  Visit to a dairy farm, fire station, or some other location that might be of educational interest.  The permission slip allows the teacher and helpers to take the students away from school premisses.

37. *Evacuation exercise : FIRE DRILL.  A practice run for leaving the building in a safe and orderly fashion, so that all occupants can be accounted for.  We had these where I worked, with several thousand people gathering in a number of assigned locations.  As department safety coordinator, I made sure everyone participated.

50 A. *Year-end hurdle : FINAL EXAM.  Year being the school year, not the calendar year.  The last test of acquired knowledge before moving on - or not.

And, the unifier -- 57A. Group lawsuit ... and what each answer to a starred clue is? : CLASS ACTION.  In the lawsuit, a group of people with a common complaint join together to take legal ACTION against some entity. In the CLASS room, it's an activity in which the students participate.

Hi, Gang.  JazzBumpa here for todays lesson. Pretty straight-forward theme - all of these ACTIONS clearly relate to things that students and teachers might be doing, though a couple of them can also occur in other contexts.  You'd almost think that the idea came from someone with inside-the-classroom experience! So - let's put on our thinking caps and see what we can learn.  


1. Place for fuzzy navels : BAR.  This concoction of orange juice and peach schnapps [or many other potential ingredients] might be served in a tavern.

4. Plots of land : TRACTS.   Refers to [usually] large areas of indefinite extent.

10. Animated internet pics : GIFS.  The Graphics Interchange Format was developed in 1987 by Steve Wilhite's team at CompuServe.


14. Whopper, but not a Big Mac : LIE.   Deliberately untruthful statement of some magnitude, not a large hamburger sandwich.

15. Reconciled : MADE UP.  I thought that they had gotten back together, but it was just a story somebody MADE UP. { I loves me the English language!}

16. "You said it, sister!" : AMEN.  Or brother.  Let's be inclusive.

17. Safari find : URL.  Safari is the browser on Apple computers.

20. Kazan who directed Marlon in his first Oscar role : ELIA.  This was Mr. Brando's 4th best actor nomination.  Can you name this 1954 film?  It was also the big screen debut of Eva Marie Saint.

22. Crème de la crème : ELITE.  The ones who are best at something, like ELITE athletes or musicians.

23. Neruda's "__ to Common Things" : ODE.   You can read it here.

27. Not as well-done : RARER.  As a steak, not a task.

29. Not hidden : IN VIEW.  I can see it.

30. Airfield fixtures : TOWERS.  The better to see with.

31. Bridal bio term : NEE.  Referring to her birth [or maiden] name.

32. Reader at Mass : LECTOR.  One who reads a scriptural passage as part of a church service.

36. Pigs out (on), briefly : OD'S.  Over-Doses.  Trivializing a term that otherwise relates to a serious public health problem.

39. Sergeant's address : SIR.  As the Sergeant would be addressed by his underlings, or would address her/his superior officers.

41. Balkan first-timer in the 2016 Olympics : KOSOVO.  Over Serbia's protest, they sent 8 athletes who competed in five events, and took home one gold medal, won by Majlinda Kelmendi in judo.

42. Vandalize : MAR.  Cause damage.

45. Oasis visitors : CAMELS.  And, presumably, their riders.

47. Urbana-Champaign "Fighting" team : ILLINI.  University of Illinois sports mascot.

49. What might make a Cardinal an Oriole : TRADE.  From a National League team to one in the American League.  You knew there had to be some baseball in here somewhere.  A quick google search did not reveal any player-for-player trades between these teams in recent years.

53. Wood cutter : SAW.  Carpenter's tool.

54. Maine college town : ORONO.  Home of the University of Maine.  But why is there never any love for ORONO, Minnesota, in Hennepin County on the north shore of Lake Minnetonka?

56. Understands : GETS.  Comprehends.

61. Homeric outburst : D'OH.  Simpson, not the author of The Iliad.

62. Dynamic leader? : AERO-.  Prefix.

63. Crunchy breakfast : MUESLI.  Ugly sounding word for granola.

64. "Just sayin'," in texts : IMO.  In My Opinion.   Admit it - you have one!

65. Must have : NEED.

66. Out in a hammock? : ASLEEP.  Outdoors, and catching some Z's.

67. Empire St. paper : NYT.  New York Times, a continent away from the Golden State's L.A. Times.


1. Much sushi- and sashimi-grade tuna : BLUEFIN.  Several species of tuna in the genus Thonnus, found in many places around the world.

2. Southwest, e.g. : AIRLINE.  The plane truth.

3. Take over for : RELIEVE.  As a baseball pitcher, perhaps.

4. Corp. symbols : TMS.  Trademarks (™).  

5. Eschew the doorbell : RAP.

Rap, rap.
Who's there?
Hip Hop.
Go away, I hate rap.

6. Like __ in the headlights : A DEER.  Refers to someone with a glazed over expression, or frozen into inactivity by fear, panic or confusion.

7. Ma's strings : CELLI.  There are 4 strings on one CELLO.

8. Showy April bloom : TULIP.

9. Shish kebab holder : SPIT.  A rod or stick upon which the meat is skewered.

10. __ rule : GAG.  A imposed prohibition to speak about a specified topic.

11. "There's nothing to do" : I'M BORED.  I have no idea what that feel like.

12. Birdseed buffets : FEEDERS.  

13. Contemptuous looks : SNEERS.

19. Fiddling emperor : NERO.   Nerō Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus [37-68 A.D.], the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, from 54-68 A.D.  There is much good and bad to be said abut him.  But he certainly did not fiddle, for that instrument would not be invented for another 900 years.  Rumor had it that he sang and/or played the lyre while Rome burned in July of 64 , but he was out of town at the time.  He organized and participated in relief efforts, and made a new urban plan, with wider roads and more widely spaced brick houses.  But he was scapegoated for the fire, and deflected blame on to Christians, who were then brutally tortured and murdered.  Definitely not this guy.

21. Liston opponent : ALI. Sonny and Muhammad [born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.] respectively

25. Where heros are made : DELI.  Sandwiches.

26. Sexy dance moves : TWERKS.  Sexy or downright obscene?  You be the judge.

28. Mil. no-show : AWOL.  Absent Without Official Leave.

30. "Jeopardy!" fare : TRIVIA.

33. VIP with a corner office, perhaps : CEO.  Chief Executive Officer.

34. NFL six-pointers : TDs.  Touchdowns.

35. Guatemala gold : ORO.  Spanish

37. Mister Rogers : FRED. Seen here making sexy dance moves.


38. Take it easy : LOLL.   Just layin' around.

39. Mrs. Smith's rival : SARA LEE.  Purveyors of pre-packaged deserts.

40. "It's not news to me ... " : I'M AWARE.

42. Blended : MIXED IN.  Shaken or stirred.

43. Gray area? : ANATOMY.  Refers to a medical text book of the human body by Henry Gray with illustrations by Henry Vandyke Carter, first published in 1858. The TV medical drama, now in it's 13th season, is GREY'S ANATOMY.  

44. Drummer's sound after a one-liner : RIM SHOT.  Find it here.

45. Med. imaging procedure : CT SCAN. Computerized Tomography combines a series of scanned X-ray images taken from different angles, and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images of bones, blood vessels and internal organs.

46. Some summer births : LEOs.  The 5th Zodiac sign, in the fire group, symbolized by the Lion.

48. Triangle side : LEG.  All triangles have legs.  Some legs have triangles.

50. Prepare to shoot with a Canon : FOCUS.  Camera, not heavy artillery.

51. Maker of chips : INTEL.   With headquarters in Santa Clara, CA, they are not to be confused with Frito-Lay, with headquarters in Plano, TX.  INTEL has many Trademarks.

52. Cacophony : NOISE.  Cacophony traces back to Greek roots meaning "bad" and "sound."   NOISE, via Old French traces back to the Latin word for seasickness, nausea, which does sound bad.

55. Major Hindu deity : RAMA.  The 7th avatar of Vishnu, the Supreme Being in some Hindu traditions.

58. Lawn roll : SOD.  A grassy layer of earth.

59. Bullring cry : OLE.  An interjection used as a shout of encouragement or approval.

60. Puppy bite : NIP.  Playful, one hopes.

OK, kids - CLASS dismissed.  Our own C.C. and Gary gave us a great lesson plan today.  Hope you found it enlightening.  Now go do your homework.

Cool regards!

P.S.  In case you haven't G-spotted that Eva Marie Saint movie cited above, its On The Waterfront.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

L.A. Times Crossword Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Theme:  The RAT's nest.  Each theme answer has the word RAT comfortably snuggled deep inside.

18 A. Swimmer who medaled at five Olympic Games : DARA TORRES.  She competed in 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008.  In 2008, at age 41, she became the oldest American olympic swimmer.  She won silvers medals in her three events that year.

24 A. Subjected to harsh criticism : UNDER ATTACK.  Verbal attack. Topical, but let's not go there.

36 A. Soccer deadlock breaker : EXTRA TIME. Overtime in American Football and basketball.

51 A. Many a Sports Illustrated cover figure : STAR ATHLETE.  Well sure, sports magazine, star athletes - a perfect fit.  Not always how it works out, though.  I was unable to locate an SI cover of DARA TORRES.  So this will have to suffice.

And the unifier -- 58 A. Suspicious comment ... and a hint to what's hidden in 18-, 24-, 36- and 51-Across : I SMELL A RAT.    This is the comment of a suspicious person - perhaps in a noirish movie - rather than a comment one should be suspicious of.  The expression goes back to at least 1851, and might be based on a cat's ability to detect a RAT by scent, even if it is out of sight.

Note that the letters R, A and T are broken across two words in each answer, and, as a nice touch, the break point alternates between after and before the A.

Hi, gang, it's JzB, who actually has been a lab RAT, of a sort, in the distant past.  Let's put on our lab jackets and see if we can find any other RATS in the labyrinth that C. C. has set out for us today.


1. "MasterChef" tools : PANS.  Cooking tools used on the TV show.

5. Street shader : ELM.  The once great shade source on many American streets, long since devastated by Dutch Elm Disease.   Resistant varieties are now available.

8. Very dangerous : TOXIC.   Poisonous - as related to certain substances or persons in relationships.

13. Maker of Anew skin care products : AVON.  

14. Have to have : NEED.  In my marketing class many years ago, I learned that advertisers do not distinguish between wants and needs.  My protest that I need transportation, but want a Porsche Carrera went unheeded.

16. Cuban dance : RUMBA.  The term has long since lost whatever specificity it may once have had, and is applied to many styles of dance and music with a latin flair.  Here is a modern example from Mexico.

17. Fancy wheels : LIMO.  Usually stretch versions of vehicles for transporting partiers, prom goers, bride's maids, et. cet.

20. Apparel : GARB.  Clothes.

22. Exodus peak : SINAI.  The mountain where Moses received the 10 Commandments.  It took no time at all for them to get broken.

23. Actor's rep. : AGT.  Agent.

26. Turn a different color : DYE.  Did you see that red head Harry was with?  Yeah, that's his wife.  I thought he was married to a brunet!?!   He was, but she DYED.

27. Belgian detective played by Ustinov, Welles, Finney and others : POIROT.   Hercule, an Agatha Christie character who appeared in 33 novels, over 50 short stories and one play between 1920 and 1975.

28. Knight in shining armor : SAVIOR.  If being saved from a fire-breathing dragon counts as salvation.

30. Fast Company magazine competitor : INC.   Titles of business oriented magazines.

31. Nobelist Bohr : NIELS.  He received his prize in 1922 for contribution to the understanding of quantum theory.  Some of Einstein's friends thought that Albert was interesting, but NIELS was a Bohr.

35. Pot promise : IOU.  Promise to pay in a poker pot.

39. "Bad" cholesterol, initially : LDL. Low Density Lipoproteins are the culprits; cholesterol gets the bad rap.

41. Battery-free calculators : ABACI.  Not only that, they're also digital!  A competent operator is also lightning quick.

42. Mama bear, in Chihuahua : OSA. Spanish. 

45. Home to about 740 million : EUROPE.  includes Spain.

48. Christmas cupful : EGG NOG.

50. Fort Myers-to-Orlando dir. : NNE.

55. Grazing spot : LEA.  An open field.

56. Oohed and __ : AAHED.  As at babies - human and otherwise.

57. Bottom : TUSH.  The posterior of a person.

61. Connected (to) : TIED.

63. Cook, as dumplings : STEAM.  Or vegetables.

64. "Game of Thrones," for one : SAGA.  A long story of heroic achievement.  GoT is certainly long.  Whether anyone lives long enough to actually achieve heroically is very much up in the air [as are the dragons.]

65. Architect Saarinen : EERO.  [1910-1961] Born in Finland, he grew up in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

66. Fruity desserts : TARTS.  An open pastry, often filled with fruit and/or custard.

67. Butterfly catcher : NET.   At the end of the day, a butterfly catcher records his NET gain.

68. "Got it" : I SEE.  Comprendo!


1. Best bud : PAL.  Amigos, not flowers.  These days: bestie.

2. French city on the Rhone : AVIGNON.

3. Inclined to wander : NOMADIC.

4. Noisy sleeper : SNORER.  Guilty

5. Go "pfft" : END.  Disappear in a puff of smoke?

6. Bare minimum : LEAST.  It's the bare minimum I could do.

7. __ badge : MERIT.  Boy scout's symbol of achievement.

8. Three-horse vehicle : TROIKA.

9. "__ Song": Taylor Swift hit : OUR.   On YouTube for anyone who is interested.

10. Satellite service for road trips : XM RADIO.  They might also play it there.

11. "Pretty please?" : I BEG YOU.   Can I - huh, huh?

12. Furniture wheel : CASTER.  Mounted in such a way that it can roll in any direction.

15. Fox's "X-Files" partner : DANA.  Scully, played by Gillian Anderson, partner of Fox Mulder, played by David Duchovney.

19. Tic __: mints : TACS.  Candy or breath mint?  You decide.

21. Borough bordering Yonkers : BRONX.  The northernmost of New York City's 5 boroughs.

24. Wire service co. : UPI.  United Press International.

25. Butting heads : AT IT.  Vying, perhaps.

29. Go toe-to-toe : VIE.  At it again, maybe.

32. Stretch in history books : ERA. A time period notable for some characteristic.

33. Research site : LAB.  Also home to some RATS.

34. Metro stop: Abbr. : STAtion.

36. Symphonic rock gp. : ELO.  Electric Light Orchestra.

37. "Law & Order: SVU" actor : ICE-T.  Tracey Lauren Morrow.

38. Power : MIGHT.

39. Ambien alternative : LUNESTA.   Sleep aid drugs.

40. Starry-eyed sort : DREAMER.  LUNESTA user?

42. Baby's bodysuits : ONESIES.  Or adults'.

43. "As I predicted!" : SO THERE.  Told ya'!

44. What candles may signify : AGE.  Well - that takes the cake!

45. Volunteer, in a way : ENLIST.  In the armed forces or other organization.

46. Bible book with 150 poems : PSALMS.  I recently had a chance to play this beautiful Russian Hymn based on psalm 74.

47. Footnote shorthand : ET AL.  And others - a list shortener.

49. Muscles strengthened by lunges : GLUTEI.  Is this a mini-theme, or am I getting a little behind?

52. Cries of discovery : AHAS.  Or Eurekas.

53. Showed once more : RERAN.  As a TV show.

54. Maxim : ADAGE.  An old saw.

59. Fast no more : EAT.  Slowly. Eat slowly.  Chew every bite.

60. Parlor art, for short : TAT.  Body art, applied at a tattoo parlor

62. Girl in a forest : DOE.  A deer, a female deer.

That wraps another Wednesday.  C. C. gave a fine puzzle to while away a few well-spent moments. Hope you made it through OK.  Now - who moved my cheese?

Cool Regards!