LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Dec 2017, Thursday

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Constructed by: Mark McClain
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Wise Off

Today’s themed answers are common phrases that end in the letter Y. However, we’ve taken the Ys off (sounds like “WISE OFF”) in order to match the clue. It’s important to note that Mr. McClain has also managed to avoid the use of the letter Y in the clues themselves:

  • 61A. Make smart remarks … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : WISE OFF (sounds like “Ys off”)
  • 19A. *Award-winning defense unit? : TOP FORT (from “top forty”)
  • 31A. *Manchester hospital hookup? : ENGLISH IV (from “English ivy”)
  • 38A. *Either of a historic PGA pair? : ARNIE’S ARM (from “Arnie’s Army”)
  • 49A. *Enforcer of greenhouse gas restrictions? : CARBON COP (from “carbon copy”)

Bill’s time: 9m 25s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ZESTA (Vesta)
  • AZERA (Avera)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4. LeBron’s hometown : AKRON

For much of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fasting growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron’s growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name “Akron” comes from the Greek word meaning “summit”. Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The city earned the moniker “Rubber Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, as it was home to four major tire companies: Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone and General Tire.

Basketball player LeBron James (nicknamed “King James”) seems to be in demand for the covers of magazines. James became the first African American man to adorn the front cover of “Vogue” in March 2008. That made him only the third male to make the “Vogue” cover, following Richard Gere and George Clooney.

9. Pet food brand : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

13. Discontinued iPod model : NANO

The iPod Nano was the successor to the iPod Mini and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There were seven versions of the Nano, until it was discontinued in 2017.

14. Saltine brand : ZESTA

Zesta is a line of saltine crackers made by Keebler.

F. L. Sommer & Company of St. Joseph, Missouri starting making wafer thin soda crackers in 1876. The crackers were later marketed as Saltines, due to the baking salt that was a key ingredient. The company subsequently lost trademark protection of the term “saltine”.

17. Divisions politiques : ETATS

In French, an “état” (state) is a “division politique” (political division).

21. Sculler’s blade : OAR

A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …

23. Capri suffix : -OTE

A Capriote is a native of the Isle of Capri.

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.

24. Trattoria menu suffix : -INI

A trattoria is an Italian restaurant. In Italian, a “trattore” is the keeper of said eating house.

25. Chaucer offering : TALE

Geoffrey Chaucer was an English author. He is often referred to as the father of English literature because he established vernacular English as a legitimate language for artistic works, as up to that point authors used French or Latin. Chaucer’s most famous work is actually unfinished, a collection of stories called “The Canterbury Tales” that were all written at the end of the 14th century.

27. “Stagecoach,” for one : OATER

The term “oater” that is used for a Western movie comes from the number of horses seen, as horses love oats!

“Stagecoach” is a classic 1939 Western movie directed by John Ford. The film tells the story of a stagecoach full of passengers that wends its way through dangerous Apache territory, and is based on a 1937 short story by Ernest Haycox called “The Stage to Lordsburg”. Famously, actor John Wayne plays the fugitive Ringo Kid, in what turns out to be his breakthrough movie role.

31. *Manchester hospital hookup? : ENGLISH IV (from “English ivy”)

One might see an intravenous drips (IV) in an intensive care unit (ICU).

The species of flowering plant Hedera helix is variously referred to as common ivy, English ivy, or usually just plain “ivy”. “Hedera” is the generic term for “ivy”, and “helix” is Greek for “spiral, twist, turn”.

34. Multichannel : STEREO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

36. Saturn SUV : VUE

The VUE is a compact SUV made by General Motors under the Saturn brand from 2001 to 2009. The VUE was the best-selling of all Saturn models.

37. One of the Nereids : IONE

In Greek mythology, Nereus and Doris had fifty daughters, and these were called the sea nymphs or nereids. The nereids often hung around with Poseidon and were generally very helpful creatures to sailors in distress. Mainly they were to be found in the Aegean, where they lived with their father in a cave in the deep. Some of the more notable names of the nereids were: Agave, Asia, Calypso, Doris, Erato, Eunice and Ione.

38. *Either of a historic PGA pair? : ARNIE’S ARM (from “Arnie’s Army”)

Arnold Palmer was one of the greats of the world of golf. He was very popular with many fans of the game, and his followers were usually referred to as “Arnie’s Army”. Off the course, Palmer was an avid pilot, until his latter years. He resided in Latrobe, Pennsylvania for much of the year and the local airport is named in his honor: Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

44. Pioneering ISP : AOL

AOL was a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the 1980s and 1990s. The company does still provide dial-up access to the Internet for some subscribers, but most users now access AOL using faster, non-AOL ISPs.

49. *Enforcer of greenhouse gas restrictions? : CARBON COP (from “carbon copy”)

I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle?

52. Three-time Wimbledon champ : EVERT

Chris Evert is a former professional tennis player from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Evert has the best winning percentage in professional tennis, man or woman worldwide, losing less than 10% of all her matches.

54. One of the three bears : PAPA

The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was first recorded in 1837, in England, although the narrative was around before it was actually written down. The original fairy tale was rather gruesome, but successive versions became more family-oriented. The character that eventually became Goldilocks was originally an elderly woman, and the three “nameless” bears became Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

56. Mai __ : TAI

The mai tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum. “Maita’i” is the Tahitian word for “good”.

57. Arctic coast explorer : RAE

John Rae was a Scottish explorer who took on the task of searching for the ill-fated Franklin Expedition of 1845. The Franklin Expedition was itself searching for the elusive Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Rae stirred up much controversy back in England when he reported evidence of cannibalism among the ill-fated Franklin explorers.

63. Mosque figure : IMAM

An imam is a Muslim leader, and often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.

65. Big name in craft stores : JO-ANN

Jo-Ann Stores operates the Jo-Ann Fabrics and Jo-Ann Etc. retail outlets. The original store was opened in 1943 by two couples: the Reichs and Rohrbachs. That first store was actually a cheese shop in Cleveland. Over time, the cheese was dropped in favor of fabrics and the Jo-Ann name was introduced. The name was chosen by combining the names of the daughters of the two couples (Joan and Jacqueline Ann).

67. Response to being slain, in texts? : ROFL

Rolling on Floor Laughing (ROFL)

He or she slayed them, broke them up, made them really laugh.

68. Khartoum’s river : NILE

Khartoum is the capital city of Sudan, and is located at the point where the Blue Nile and White Nile meet.

71. Notable deed : GEST

Our word “gest” meaning a great deed or an exploit has been around since about 1300, and comes from the Old French word “geste” meaning the same thing. These days “geste” can also mean “gesture”.

72. Saratoga action : RACES

The Saratoga Race Course is a thoroughbred horse racing track located in Saratoga Springs, New York. The track was opened way back in 1863.

Down

1. British nobleman : BARONET

The British title of baronet has been awarded since the 14th century. The present-day hereditary baronets data back to 1611 when James I basically sold the title, awarding it to gentlemen of good birth who were willing to pay for the upkeep of thirty soldiers for three years.

4. Korean sedan to be discontinued in the U.S. after 2017 : AZERA

The Hyundai Azera was the name used worldwide for the model known as the Hyundai Grandeur in its homeland of South Korea. The Azera was produced from 1986 to 1992.

7. Director Preminger : OTTO

Otto Preminger was noted for directing films that pushed the envelope in terms of subject matter, at least in the fifties and sixties. Great examples would be 1955’s “The Man with the Golden Arm” that dealt with drug addiction, 1959’s “Anatomy of a Murder” that dealt with rape, and 1962’s “Advise and Consent” that dealt with homosexuality. If you’ve seen these films, you’ll have noticed that the references are somewhat indirect and disguised, in order to get past the censors.

8. “Hidden Figures” org. : NASA

“Hidden Figures” is an excellent 2016 film based on a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. Both book and film tell the story of female African American mathematicians who worked for NASA during the Mercury and Apollo programs in the 1960s.

9. “__ Maria” : AVE

“Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary” in English) is the prayer at the core of the Roman Catholic Rosary, which itself is a set of prayers asking for the assistance of the Virgin Mary. Much of the text of the “Hail Mary” comes from the Gospel of Luke. The words in Latin are:

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

The prayer has been adapted as a hymn. The two most famous musical versions of “Ave Maria” are by Charles Gounod (based on a piece by Bach) and by Franz Schubert.

10. Enclaved African land : LESOTHO

Lesotho is an enclaved country that is completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa(RSA). The nation was ruled as a British colony from 1868 until 1966 under the name “Basutoland”. Basutoland regained its independence in 1966, and became the Kingdom of Lesotho.

11. Tofu nutrient : PROTEIN

Tofu is another name for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that … bean that has curdled. Tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally I love tofu, but my wife, she absolutely hates it …

22. Louis XIV, par exemple : ROI

Louis XIV is perhaps the most famous of the kings (“rois”) of France and was known as the Sun King (“le Roi Soleil”). Louis XIV was king from 1638 to 1715. That reign of over 72 years is the longest reign of any European monarch.

28. “I, Robot” writer : ASIMOV

Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”. Asimov wrote three autobiographies, the last of which was called “I, Asimov”, which was published in 1994, two years after his death.

30. Champion swimmer/actor Buster : CRABBE

As an actor, Buster Crabbe was best known for playing Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Before taking up acting, Crabbe was a championship swimmer. His crowning achievement in the pool must have been winning the 1932 Olympic gold medal for the 400 meter freestyle.

32. Director Van Sant : GUS

Gus Van Sant is a movie director (among other things) who has been nominated twice for an Oscar, for “Good Will Hunting” in 1997 and for “Milk” in 2008.

39. Biennial games org. : IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894, and has its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The first Winter Olympic Games was held in 1924, in Chamonix, France. The Winter and Summer Games were held in the same year until 1992, after which they were staggered so that we have an Olympic Games every two years.

40. Flightless birds : RHEAS

The rhea is a flightless bird that is native to South America. The rhea takes its name from the Greek titan Rhea. It’s an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.

42. Metro area SSE of Casper : LARAMIE

A French (or French-Canadian) trapper named Jacques LaRamie came to the area surrounding modern-day Laramie in the late 1810s, one of the first Europeans to visit. One day he disappeared without trace in the backcountry, but his name survives as it’s used for the Laramie Mountains, Laramie River, and ultimately the city of Laramie, Wyoming.

The Wyoming city of Casper was established just a few miles east of the former site of Fort Caspar, which gave the settlement its name. In turn, Fort Caspar was named for US Army officer Caspar Collins, who was killed in 1865 at the Battle of the Plate Bridge Station. “Platte Bridge Station” was the name of the trading post that had existed at the site of Fort Caspar.

51. Plains tribe : PAWNEE

The Pawnee people, now of Oklahoma, refer to themselves in the Pawnee language as “Chaticks si Chaticks”, meaning “Men of Men”.

60. Forum attire : TOGA

In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

62. Lackawanna’s lake : ERIE

Lackawanna is a city in New York State, located on Lake Erie. Lackawanna was in the news in the early 2000s with the arrest of the “Lackawanna Six” in 2002. The group of six Lackawanna residents were found guilty of providing “material support” to Al-Qaida.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Not insignificant : BIG
4. LeBron’s hometown : AKRON
9. Pet food brand : ALPO
13. Discontinued iPod model : NANO
14. Saltine brand : ZESTA
15. Action word : VERB
16. Words after an estimate : … OR SO
17. Divisions politiques : ETATS
18. Those, to Pablo : ESOS
19. *Award-winning defense unit? : TOP FORT (from “top forty”)
21. Sculler’s blade : OAR
23. Capri suffix : -OTE
24. Trattoria menu suffix : -INI
25. Chaucer offering : TALE
27. “Stagecoach,” for one : OATER
29. Birdcage feature : PERCH
31. *Manchester hospital hookup? : ENGLISH IV (from “English ivy”)
34. Multichannel : STEREO
36. Saturn SUV : VUE
37. One of the Nereids : IONE
38. *Either of a historic PGA pair? : ARNIE’S ARM (from “Arnie’s Army”)
41. Neatnik’s opposite : SLOB
44. Pioneering ISP : AOL
45. Warm-weather wear : SHORTS
49. *Enforcer of greenhouse gas restrictions? : CARBON COP (from “carbon copy”)
52. Three-time Wimbledon champ : EVERT
53. Directive : ORDER
54. One of the three bears : PAPA
56. Mai __ : TAI
57. Arctic coast explorer : RAE
58. Consume : EAT
61. Make smart remarks … and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : WISE OFF (sounds like “Ys off”)
63. Mosque figure : IMAM
65. Big name in craft stores : JO-ANN
67. Response to being slain, in texts? : ROFL
68. Khartoum’s river : NILE
69. Match : AGREE
70. “Would __?” : I LIE
71. Notable deed : GEST
72. Saratoga action : RACES
73. PC panic button : ESC

Down

1. British nobleman : BARONET
2. Motivate : INSPIRE
3. Mess (up) : GOOF
4. Korean sedan to be discontinued in the U.S. after 2017 : AZERA
5. Whistling vessel : KETTLE
6. Nation surrounding 10-Down: Abbr. : RSA
7. Director Preminger : OTTO
8. “Hidden Figures” org. : NASA
9. “__ Maria” : AVE
10. Enclaved African land : LESOTHO
11. Tofu nutrient : PROTEIN
12. Watch : OBSERVE
13. Custom on some cruises : NO TIPS
20. Multiple-choice choice : OTHER
22. Louis XIV, par exemple : ROI
26. Wrap around : ENVELOP
28. “I, Robot” writer : ASIMOV
30. Champion swimmer/actor Buster : CRABBE
32. Director Van Sant : GUS
33. Where ewes can hang out : LEAS
35. __ even keel : ON AN
39. Biennial games org. : IOC
40. Flightless birds : RHEAS
41. Making a touchdown : SCORING
42. Metro area SSE of Casper : LARAMIE
43. Major hassles : ORDEALS
46. Updates the plant : RETOOLS
47. Rush hour report topic : TRAFFIC
48. Suppress : STIFLE
50. Vein contents : ORE
51. Plains tribe : PAWNEE
55. Source of hard and soft lumber : PINES
59. A bit cracked : AJAR
60. Forum attire : TOGA
62. Lackawanna’s lake : ERIE
64. Ran into : MET
66. __ welding : ARC

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16 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword Answers 7 Dec 2017, Thursday”

    1. BEQ: 33 minutes, 1 error involving a mushroom. And one error on BEQ’s part for a clue. Themeless. I don’t know but I’m wondering since BEQ is asking for donations if he’s consciously easing off a bit for the time being.

      @Dave
      I had a thought on a test we could do regarding yesterday’s conversation. BEQ’s been posting grids longer than Croce has. I’m half curious enough to go ahead and pull a themeless from around the time you notice Croce getting tougher (or earlier) and seeing how BEQ stacks up then. Might be interesting to see if it’s a trend for most instead of just Croce.

      1. @Glenn …

        Interesting. I sort of misunderstood your post yesterday. I thought you were suggesting that what I think I see in the Croce puzzles is an artifact of my changing familiarity with them, rather than an actual change in the intrinsic difficulty of the puzzles.

        I started doing BEQ puzzles at the beginning of September and hadn’t tried to do any of his earlier ones because the links he provides make it a bit difficult to download them. I now see how to do it by editing the URL, so I will pick up a few of them and see how my solving times on a representative sample compare to my more recent times. (Might take me a while to get to it, though.)

        Speaking of BEQ … Today’s took me 15:58, with one error involving the entries for 50A and 50D: due to unfamiliarity with a certain product that I’m no longer in the market for, I was tricked into thinking that a foreign spelling was required for the first and I was unsure of the second, so I used a wrong letter at the intersection.

        What was BEQ’s clue error?

        1. @Dave
          I was noting in your observations over time that particular thing and wondering of it in my own observations. How do you tell the difference between your own skill and the actual difficulty of the puzzle? Comparisons help with other solvers you know (like last Thursday’s WSJ slow time, it was good to see your time and know it was a difficult puzzle and not necessarily just my skill set). But I wonder if there’s a way to objectively tell.

          I think a lot of people remember back to how hard the puzzles were for them and don’t recognize their skills have gotten better. Like for me, I pulled 9 of the hardest (for Bill) LAT puzzles that have occurred since I started here and only DNFed one of them with 3 left. So I can’t really conclude that any of the LAT puzzles were harder back then or not, if I want to objectively look at it.

          But I was just observing that the older NYT puzzles that I’ve done seem mostly harder than the newer ones I’m doing. Coupled with your observations, I was just wondering if that was a trend among all setters or not. I don’t know how you’d objectively tell outside of doing what you did with Croce’s puzzles, but I do have to wonder given a few of the experiences I’ve had in doing older puzzles.

          FWIW, I pulled this one as a test. Half-way back is as good as any. I agree it’s hard to navigate for his older puzzles – I just ended up turning the bot loose on about 300 of his themeless grids a few months ago. As well, I notice someone commented today on his blog about doing puzzle #100 and thinking it was harder.

          The clue error was 15A (it’s a topic of study of mine). Gnosticism is more accurately an early perversion of Christianity – more or less a completely different faith.

          1. @Glenn …

            Measuring the objective difficulty of a puzzle is a big topic, with lots of weird aspects. My skill set varies a lot with time and mood. I sometimes have remarkable flashes of insight, but I have equally remarkable blind spots. Anxiety is a great enemy: if I begin to worry about being irrevocably stuck on a hard puzzle, it makes the puzzle ten times harder, so I have tried to find ways to stay relaxed and keep my emotions out of it. If I’m worried that there’s a mistake in a part of the puzzle that I’ve declared finished, I have a lot more trouble making progress, even in totally disconnected parts of the puzzle, because my psyche begins telling me, “You’ve already messed this puzzle up, so why bother with the rest of it?” (On half a dozen of the harder Croce puzzles, I actually used Google to verify that the finished parts were correct, alleviating the stress and immediately leading to progress in completely unrelated parts of the puzzle.) So … I may be a nut case … ? … but I think there is a kind of Zen aspect to doing crosswords … ?.

            I’ve downloaded ten BEQ puzzles from a year ago and put them in my queue. Once I’ve done them, I’ll look at the stats to see how they compare to recent BEQ puzzles. (And maybe I’ll try some from further back, as well.)

            And, yes, I wondered a little about that Gnosticism clue …

          2. @Dave
            DNF on #546 (the one I posted before) after 64 minutes with 2 errors, about 95% complete. I wouldn’t say this one is any different than any of the others I’ve done recently. I tracked down Themeless #10 and Themeless #100 and will attempt those eventually. One thing I will say is that the guy actually blogged a ton (not just posted puzzles) back in those days. Several interesting reads.

            Oh, and you will have to think dirty on a handful of his clues – part of how I DNFed that last one.

  1. I can say that I finished without looking anything up! I did however have to use the check button a few times. ? The bottom half came easily but the top slowed me down quite a bit. So overall, a typical Thursday puzzle for myself.

    Have a great day everyone!

  2. LAT: 16:22, several minutes of which were spent, after getting the silent treatment, in trying to figure out what letter to put at the intersection of “_ESTA” and “A_ERA”. I finally gave up and used Google to fill in the “Z”. (I think I’ve seen ZESTA before, but I don’t remember ever having seen AZERA.)

    Newsday: 11:42, no errors, unremarkable. WSJ: 29:24; I was more than a little slow in coming up with a theme that was more or less required to solve the puzzle.

    And … I did eleven Matt Jones puzzles, dated 05/18 through 07/27. (Note: possible spoilers ahead!) My average time was 14:24 and I had errors on three of the puzzles: ENYA in place of ELSA on 05/25 (dumb!), four squares unfilled on 06/22 (a puzzle with a “non-words” theme and several pop culture references outside my ken … but I did guess correctly at SNOZZWANGERS, DINGLEHOPPER, and most of KWYJIBO!), and REGAN instead of NEGAN on 07/27. Fun puzzles … mostly easy, but with an occasional really-off-the-wall moment … ?

  3. Very challenging puzzle, as is appropriate for Thursday. I had doubts whether I would complete, and slowly limped home. The theme was beyond my ken. But, I guess I enjoyed it. My time was way up there.

    For flightless birds, I had kiwis and emus and ostrichs. I must read up about Rheas. and fix a picture in my mind. I think I’ve come across this as a first name amongst some women. (?)

    Thank you Bill, for all the explanations ! Made my day. I had never heard of Wise Off, and it didnt make any sense, but now I understand. The cluing was pretty intricate. I thought Manchester ( – by the sea –
    ) referred to a recent Hollywood movie, highly rated, that I haven’t seen yet. I thought that movie had to do with depression, caused by alchoholism.

    Jeff, if you can read this …. from yesterday …. have a safe journey …. don’t drink the water … and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do ( thats pretty much everything – ).

    Its curious that Doris ( the mother god ) had fifty daughters, one of whom was named … Doris. ( Doris junior ?, the nymph )

    Jo-Anns is my wife’s favorite store – bar none – for her various craft supplies…. and yarn and cloth for sewing. Latest interest, stone sculpture/”paintings”. Fifteen years ago, I actually met, and was acquainted with Alan Rosskamm who was the family founder’s son, or son-in-law, and CEO for some time. The store went through atleast two big booms, and one big bust – and was finally sold out to a hedge fund, as currently. I love the stores, although I haven’t been in one for the last five years ….
    Its too bad, such big-box stores have been so badly affected by this ‘online’ shopping trendy menace …..

    Have a nice day, folks, and onto to Friday !

  4. Difficult for me. Did not figure out the theme. Googled 6, 3 of which were sports. The others were NANO, RSA, LARAMIE. Educational.

    Don’t have a check button on my Flair pen.

    Women would tend to know ZESTA.

    Jane Drees Blando

  5. I faintly remembered Zesta, because it is the cheaper alternative to the main national brand of saltines as Nabisco’s ‘Premium’ brand, and Sunshine Biscuits’ Crispy brand.
    Now, why would Zesta be so well known to women ? Because 1. its cheaper ? 2. they secretly snack on it to lose weight ? 3. Its the cracker that Wendy’s hands out with their chilli ?

    I don’t know, because I’m not a woman. Curious.

  6. Moderately tough Thursday done at a leisurely pace after a long long day; probably an hour with one error. I went through the alphabet and finally decided on C or Z and went with C, at everyone’s favorite intersection. I’m in touch with my feminine side but I guess it didn’t help.

    I did dawdle a bit in the NW until I changed latCH to PERCH and that helped a lot.

    @Carrie – I spent a few weeks down in Ojai and Santa Barbara working with a commercial beekeeper in 2008, just for the experience. We were in those orange and avocado orchards and up part way on the road to the upper valley. It’s sad thinking that those beautiful areas are in danger. I hope where you are, you aren’t getting too much smoke…cough…cough.

  7. Hey y’all!! ?
    No errors. Took me awhile to get the theme. What the heck is WISE OFF?? Vidwan, I’VE never heard that either. I have heard “pop off” in the same context, so I guess they’re related.
    Dave! The older BEQs you downloaded — did you choose “hard” ones or did you mix it up? It’s funny– I tried doing his​ Monday puzzle and couldn’t get very far at all! Finally noticed it was labeled HARD. So I clicked on EASY and got a very doable gríd — from two years ago! Maybe it was random, or maybe he’s only done “hard” and “medium” puzzles lately. ?
    My family members in Ojai are safe — but my nephew lost his house and small farm. He and his girlfriend also had an aromatherapy business, and everything there is gone — all their stock of products. They lost everything. It’s pretty hard to believe. And he was volunteering, doing search and rescue with the sheriff’s department, while his own house burned down! Unbelievable. What an amazing kid — and I didn’t realize it til this happened! ?
    Most of central Ojai was spared — my brother’s house is okay.
    Dirk! Yes, there’s lots of damage to that upper valley area. Here in LA, no fires near me, but I keep thinking that I smell smoke! Probably my imagination…?
    Be well~~™?

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