Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

Copyright Notice

Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, August 18, 2010, Dan Naddor

Theme: ALTERATIONS. The second word of each two word theme answer indicates someone or something that causes some sort of transformation, in plural form.

16. Some den boxes : CABLE CONVERTERS. "Den box" gave me pause. This is the box that allows your old non-cable-ready TV to hook up to cable. CONVERTERS can also change thier religions, or transform things.

22. Hookups to many electronic devices : POWER ADAPTORS. They change the voltage from line current to whatever your device requires.

35. Jacob Riis et al. : SOCIAL REFORMERS. They try to make things better.  Riis' cause was the impoverished of New York City, 100 years ago.

44. Currency pros : MONEY CHANGERS. They'll convert your Sheckles to Denarii - for a price.  But the pros have their cons, and might get chased out of an inappropriate venue by an activist SOCIAL REFORMER, who might even try to CONVERT them.

55. Insurance investigators : CLAIMS ADJUSTERS. Per Wikipedia, they "investigate insurance claims by interviewing the claimant and witnesses, consulting police and hospital records, and inspecting property damage to determine the extent of the company’s liability."   Otherwise, an adjustment is often a small scale fine-tuning, as to your radio dial or 6th cervical vertebra.

Hi gang, it's JazzBumpa, the Toledo Trombonist, blessed to have a Dan Naddor puzzle to share with you. Today, Dan gave us three grid-spanning theme answers, plus two more at 13 letters each, making for an extremely dense and rich blend. With 36 blocks (4 cheaters,) 74 words, and an averages length of 5.11, this is technically very close to a Thursday puzzle. Difficulty seems about right for a Wednesday, though.  I chunked through in 14:43. I had a feeling we were due for one of Dan's, but didn't recognize this as his style. The cluing seems a bit straight-forward, not the normal Devious Dan Delights. But this is a superb puzzle: the theme is tight and coherent, and the long down fill is exquisite.


1. "The Facts of Life" actress Charlotte : RAE. By me. I never watched.  I think she's the one in the middle.

4. Swiftly : APACE.  Fast enough to walk abreast - so to keep pace.

9. Just __: minimal amount : A DAB. This was a slow fill for me. Could be A TAD, or A BIT, without the perps.

13. Dual-purpose room shape : ELL. Kitchen and dining room, perhaps. But for kitchen and bathroom, I'd say, "ELL no!"

14. Raptor's gripper : TALON. Frex, an eagle's claw, or this.

15. Academy freshman : PLEBE.  Probably derived from PLEBIAN, the class of Roman common citizens of lower status than Patricians.

19. Mimi's "mine" : AMOI. Oh, my.  Alliteration for a foreign word seems pretty standard, the French name clues the language.

20. Clown for the camera : MUG. Occasionally a kid will do this.

21. Pounce on : LEAP AT.   Maybe you should look first

25. Solar wind particle : ION.

26. "Alley __" : OOP.  Ally OOP was a cartoon cave man.  He gives me an eary feeling.  Or it can be something quite uplifting.

27. Yale or Harvard : IVY. The Ivy League Schools, offering lots of tradition, and very expensive educations.

30. Form 1040 IDs : SSNS.  Social Security Numbers. Somewhere out there is an identity thief who wants yours.

32. Hammer-wielding god : THOR. It seems to me I've blogged this god before. Then again, what the Valhalla do I know.

34. Gave the boot : AXED.  In Valhalla, you get hammered.

38. Fruity pastry : TART.  They can be interesting and quite appetizing.  The first two pictures here give some hint as to the variety.

39. Community word : OURS

40. "Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you" speaker : YODA. From Star Wars the saga, a character sagacious he is; speak this way he does. More attention he should have in ESL class paid.

41. Go downhill fast? : SKI. Our cabin last week was on SKI View Drive at an elevation of 2900 feet, and the way up was SKI Mountain Road. I was concerned about going downhill fast, without SKIs.

42. Course taught bilingually: Abbr. : ESL. English as a second language. Part of the cosswordese nouveau.

43. Dorothy Gale's state: Abbr. : KAN. Dorothy from Kansas, the reference from the Wizard of Oz:  "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." The mean elevation of Kansas is 2000 feet. Toledo is 615.

51. Card carrier : MEMBER. Some organizations have membership cards so you can prove you belong. I am a card carrying MEMBER of the flat-landers.

53. Sound from a wowed crowd : OOH. Or from the view on Ski View Drive.   The parking lot of Ober Gatlinburg was 400 feet below us.

54. Do in : SLAY

58. Shrewd : CAGEY

59. Helmsley dubbed "Queen of Mean" : LEONA. She is the hotel owner who opined that, "taxes are for little people."   Riis would have had a thing or two to say to her.

60. "__ lost!" : GET. My response to Leona.

61. Specks in la mer : ILES. Islands.  Or in the stream, perhaps.

62. Op-ed piece, e.g. : ESSAY.

63. Timeline divs. : YRS. Years.  Abbrv in cl & ans.


1. Postgame summary : RECAP.

2. Crockett's last stand : ALAMO.  Not our Crockett.  Davey from Tennessee.  The Alamo was the site of a 13 day siege and final assault that left all but two of the defenders dead.  You can learn more about it here.

3. Be rude in a crowd : ELBOW. I needed perp help for this one. A rude person can use his elbows as weapons or pry bars to get ahead of the little people.

4. Enjoyed a blue plate special : ATE. I enjoyed some ice cream with a couple granddaughters this evening.

5. Pellet gobbler of old games : PACMAN.  You can play here.

6. For all to hear : ALOUD.  Are we allowed to say ALOUD ALOUD?

7. Line dance : CONGA.  Let Gloria show you how.

8. Ltr. holder : ENV. Envelope.  Anoth. Abrv.

9. Rite site : ALTARA rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act or process.  The altar is a designated place or structure for such religious activities.  It also echoes "ALTER," a much too subtle hint at the theme.

10. Threw overboard : DEEP SIXED. Maybe one of our sailors can fill us in on this colorful phrase.

11. __ Kadabra: foe of the Flash : ABRA. No idea, but it was an easy guess.

12. Blue ribbon-worthy : BEST. First prize at the county fair is often a blue ribbon.

15. Before surgery, briefly : PRE-OP. People get so nervous here, they take drugs to calm down.

17. What to do after making your metaphorical bed : LIE IN IT. No sympathy here. Deal with the consequences of your actions. Nice combination, though.

18. Corrida combatant : EL TORO. The bull in the bullfighting ring. Alas, poor bull - you never win.

23. Parks in '50s news : ROSA. ROSA Parks refused to give her seat on the bus to a while man, and this caused a national ruckus. In my life time. Wow.

24. Vanishing sounds : POOFS. Does a disappearing magic dragon go POOF or PUFF?

28. Designer Wang : VERAHere is her style.

29. Gridiron gains: Abbr. : YDS. Yards. There are 100 between the opposite goal lines.

30. Overcharge, slangily : SOAK. Another colorful phrase. Anybody know where it came from?

31. Practice grid game : SCRIMMAGE. The NFL pre-season practice games are shown on TV.  Better as fill, IMHO.

32. With sincerity : TRULY

33. Part of H.R.H. : HER. HER ROYAL HIGHNESS - the Queen. We aren't supposed to have any here.  Except for LEONA, I guess.

34. Surrounded by : AMONGST. AMONGST and AMIDST sound so archaic.

35. Oft-numbered rtes. : STS. Streets, I guess. But STS are usually named, not numbered.

36. They aren't champs : LOSERS. And their RECAPS aren't much fun, either.

37. "You've Got Mail" co-star : RYAN. Meg RYAN. I wanted to fit in a first name, and that just wasn't working.  Looks like her plastic surgery was no great success, either.

42. Bad guy : ENEMY. But I'm his ENEMY, too. Does that make me a bad guy?

43. Islands VIP : KAHUNA.   Again, from Wikipedia:  Kahuna is a Hawaiian word, defined in the Pukui & Elbert (1986) as a "Priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, minister, expert in any profession."

45. Big Apple awards : OBIES. Annual Off Broadway awards bestowed by The Village Voice, and another part of crosswordese nouveau.

46. Cryptographers' creations : CODES. Software developers, too.

47. Orange-roofed eateries, for short : HOJOS. Howard Johnson's.  Here is one of Howard's finest moments.

48. Poem of lament : ELEGY. Now is when we need Clear Ayes.

49. Not as easy to come by : RARER. Dan's puzzles are getting RARER.

50. Handicappers' methods: Abbr. : SYSTS. Systems.  This relates to wagering on sports, I'll bet.

51. 13th-century date : MCCI. My memories of that year are quite vague.

52. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL.  And a frequent flyer in crosswords.

56. Pub pint : ALE

57. "Come to think of it ..." : SAY.   And I say this was a fine solving and blogging experience.


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