THURSDAY, Jan. 24, 2008 - Matt Ginsberg (FICTIONAL C.I.A. UNIT ON "ALIAS")

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "HIT THE" Jackpot (63A: Words missing from the answers to the eight starred clues)

Either the puzzles have been uncharacteristically easy this week, or all that Friday NY Sun puzzle training is really beginning to pay off. I did this puzzle lazily this morning, over cereal, tea, and MSNBC's "Morning Joe" (which I am finding sickly addictive this campaign season). I ran into only a few places where I hesitated even for a moment, and those places ended up being very minor stumbling blocks. I had PIÑATA (13A: *Party game) as my first theme answer, and I thought "That's an odd answer to the clue ... there's a "game" called "PIÑATA?" ... well, OK." Then I had CAMPAIGN all filled out before I ever even saw the clue, 19A: *Vie for votes, and I thought "CAMPAIGN ... that's the answer right there ... what other verb phrase is there?" Then, from crosses, CAMPAIGN TRAIL became the clear answer, and instantly I got the theme: HIT THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, HIT THE PIÑATA, Ta Da! Off to the races. The puzzle was a cinch from there on, with all the other theme answers being Remarkably easy to get - very familiar phrases one and all:

Theme answers:

  • PIÑATA
  • CAMPAIGN TRAIL
  • 15A: *1961 chart-topper for Ray Charles ("Road, Jack") - before I got the theme, I had "JACK," and since Ray Charles had a hit with "BlackJACK," I was a little confused. Switching iTunes to Ray Charles ... now.

I sat there with two tens
I thought I'd have some fun
The dealer hit 16 with a 5
Just enough to make 21
Hey hey hey yeah yeah
How unlucky can one man be?
Well, every quarter I get
Yeah blackjack takes it away from me.


  • 37A: *Get off to a quick start (ground running)
  • 55A: *Get it exactly (nail on the head)
  • 62A: *Shoot perfectly (bull's eye)
  • 31D: *Fail (skids)
  • 28D: *React to gunfire, maybe (floor)

I'm going to call a pop culture foul on the puzzle today. I rarely do this, as you know, because I [heart] clues about movies and TV and pop music and the internets. Today, however, there is an arbitrarily arcane and unnecessary trivial TV focus. I mean, getting to CBS via "Dukes of Hazzard" is one thing (59D: "The Dukes of Hazzard" network) - that's the kind of dated TV reference you can get away with in a puzzle. Once. But to throw in completely unnecessary references to two more defunct shows that many solvers will never have watched in the first place. That's a bit much. How badly do you have to love Steve Austin to use 9D: California hometown of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman as your clue for OJAI? And how much must you hate your readers that you would include an abbreviation of a fictional governmental agency, from a T.V. show that was never a big hit and isn't even on the air anymore. Surely there is some other way to get APO than 49A: Fictional C.I.A unit on "Alias".

Today is a good day to beef up your crossword-solving arsenal. AYN (23A: Rand who asked "Who is John Galt?") and OCHS (9A: Phil who sang "Draft Dodger Rag") are going to come up over and over and over, and answers like OTC (over-the-counter - 6A: Not Rx), JAGR (42A: Hockey great Jaromir), and ORAN (6D: Algerian port in "The Plague"), while less common, show up enough to be worth filing away for future reference.

What else?

  • 35A: "Mother of all rivers" (Mekong) - good one; haven't seen this river in a long time. MEKONG is the name of a local Vietnamese restaurant where I have had both delicious and borderline inedible food.
  • 41A: Hair net (snood) - OK, "slacks" and "snell" have a rival for Worst Word in the Language.
  • 43A: Swell place? (sea) - took me Way longer than it should have (i.e. multiple seconds). I had the -EA and the only word I could think of was PEA! "PEAS make a POD swell ... but ..." Speaking of POD: 54A: Escape _____.
  • 59A: Vein locale (coal mine) - another one that took way too long. I kept waiting for ORE to appear somewhere in the answer, so I had the right kind of vein, at least.
  • 61A: Classic Studebaker whose name means "forward" in Italian (Avanti) - I just had this answer in another puzzle. Feels as if I've seen it a number of times. Yet another "learned it from crosswords" answer.
  • 11D: Stomach acid, to a chemist (HCL) - HDL ... LDL ... nope, don't know this.
  • 20D: 10 Benjamin Franklins (grand) - this clue wants to be street but isn't. I don't think I've ever heard anyone add the "Franklins" part. These bills are usually just "Benjamins" (and even that phrase feels a bit dated by now). Plus, the better answer here, if we want to stay appropriately colloquial, is ONE G.
  • 39D: Inappropriate (unapt) - wow this word sucks. I'm sure I've complained about it before. First of all, I want INAPT, not UN- (that is, when I "want" this word at all, which is never). I had the UN- and wrote in UNFIT (a much better answer, IMOO).
  • 43D: Mrs. Woody Allen (Soon-Yi) - no matter how much I love his films (and I love "Manhattan" something awful), and no matter how strongly I believe that people have been overly harsh on him of late, I can't see SOON-YI's name without feeling a little icky.
  • 53D: Walter who wrote "The Hustler" and "The Color of Money" (Tevis) - ???? Complete mystery to me. Thankfully, I never saw the clue.

Happy Thursday,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

62 comments:

Spencer 9:01 AM  

I didn't know OJAI, despite having watched those shows when they originally aired. But c'mon. What other 4-letter California city can you think of? It was a gimme.

rick 9:37 AM  

Enjoyed today's puzzle and I share your nits (talk about icky).

Walter Tevis also wrote "The Man Who Fell to Earth" later made into a movie with David Bowie.

If you haven't read him I highly recommend him. "Mockingbird" is particularly haunting.

Kathy 9:48 AM  

Funny, I got Ojai immediately from the shows, which I loved when a mere lass. Every time I see it in a puzzle I think of Steve and Jamie! For a good laugh, youtube the shows--the Fembots one is a classic. Bad '70s tv, yes! Midnight at the Oasis....

I did watch Alias (on DVD) and couldn't figure out how SD-6 would work in the puzzle. But that was the early years before SD-6 was taken out and they all went to the APO (a division of the CIA).

Guess that's what's fun about pop culture and why we can [heart] it--everyone has a different niche.

Kathy

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

The second time I've seen "Star Wars, briefly" (SDI) and decided to ask the unholy question, what is "SDI"?

Karen's Mom 9:50 AM  

Catching the theme early with CAMPAIGN TRAIL and PINATA was a big help for me, too.

Incidentally, happy birthday to Karen who should hit her crossword solving peak with this major birthday -- just in time for the 2008 ACPT!

Alex 9:51 AM  

Easiest Thursday EVER! And by EVER! I mean that I remember which probably isn't very reliable.

I almost broke the 10 minute barrier.

I also did not know OJAI but guessed it just for being four letters.

The only real pause was in the T cross of OUT (Unsafe?) and STDS (the usual amts.). It took me several looks before I was able to parse out how Unsafe = Out and it being a baseball reference. I can just imagine (not really) a bored umpire making a close call of "Unsafe!" at first.

Karen's Mom 9:52 AM  

I'm pretty sure that it's Strategic Defense Initiative.

PhillySolver 9:53 AM  

Where is the clue for *FAN?

I am just learning that the * means something is missing and I guessed the construction with Ray Charles tune and 8 letters was best suited for ROADJACK. Once that was in I flew through the puzzle. BTW, I am now doing it online(last night about midnight after Trivia Night), but have to figure out how you check the answers when you are done. Fortunately, I did not have to guess at any letters today so I appear to match the answers posted here.

AERIALLY seems as odd as UNAPT to me. Also, as a soccer fan, I am happy to see the real phrase used rather than the shortened OLE answer I keep running across.

dk 9:57 AM  

SDI is as karen's mom sez..

I so wanted gold mine and unapt is just bad.

Can we get a word "heck" as a hot place to ban these items and a certain female sitcom character whose initials are AB

Alls well that ends well and the puzzle was fun.

Norm 10:04 AM  

karen's mom is correct about SDI. Originally proposed by Reagan. Called "Star Wars" derisively in the beginning. And, I have agree to agree with Rex about APO. Didn't remember the name of the girl Woody Allen married; could care less. APO should be traditional crosswordese (e.g., military mailing address) with that weird of a cross.

Jim in NYC 10:21 AM  

Rex wrote: 41A: Hair net (snood) - OK, "slacks" and "snell" have a rival for Worst Word in the Language.

Funny, I've always felt "swatch" and "swank" were up there with those worst words. Is there something about 2-consonant combinations beginning with "s"?

I also tried SD-6 at 49A for a few minutes, for sadly, I had never heard of "APO". At the beginning, I was an avid Alias fan, loving all its intrigue, double-crosses and the Hot Girl Who Kicks Butt. Then it got just too ridiculous ("Hey, gang, I just checked that new spy satellite, y'know? And that bad guy, y'know? Well he's left Berlin and now he's in Mexico in a really cool Ford Focus!!") and that was the end of Alias for me. R.I.P.

Orange 10:23 AM  

And for those who weren't around during the Reagan era, the Strategic Defense Initiative was called "Star Wars" because its goal was to create a missile defense system involving something like satellities blowing up missiles high in the air so they couldn't blow up on American soil. Because the Soviets fired so many missiles at us, of course. Had to think outside the box to protect ourselves. What's that? The U.S. did not suffer from Soviet missile attacks? Then maybe SDI was a big ol' waste of money.

Leon 10:32 AM  

Never heard of snood, but there is even a snood.com out there.

Check this out: Pinata party disasters.

voiceofsocietyman 10:37 AM  

There was a lot I liked and admired about this terribly flawed puzzle, but it was definitely the most frustrating one I've ever almost completed.

As you noted, Rex, there were some uglies (SNOOD, UNAPT, OTC, SDI, APO, NNE, OJAI, PST, and HCL come to mind...did I miss any?), but worse yet were the crosses with 2 or more weirdies, like OCHS and HCL (which I got). I didn't get:
ORAN/OTC
PST/TEVIS
UNAPT/PST (I also had UNFIT)

Then there was the poor cluing:
*Unsafe (OUT). Too cute. Maybe "Not safe."
*10 Benjamin Franklins (GRAND). The "10" suggests that the answer should be A THOU or maybe the name of the prez on the $1000 bill. Or, if there were space, A GRAND. It just needs the article.
*What's up? (SKY). Similarly, the article is missing. Should be THE SKY. And why is there a question mark in the clue?
*Targets (AIMS). It's ok, but I didn't like it. Feels linguistically wrong. Maybe "Goals"
*Gets all ditzy (SPACES). Shouldn't that be SPACES OUT?

And wasn't it nice to see STDs in the puzzle?

Chip Ahoy 10:37 AM  

bottle
gas pedal
ceiling
brick wall
sore spot
high note
bong
PayPal button
deck
floor
highway
net
spot
trail
lights
catwalk
hay
streets
slopes
stores
brakes
market
books
the U.S.
the rocks
the screen
the track
the beach
panic button
forums
target
on the head

just now heard hit the ground.

Liked the theme, got it, like bang, pretty much anything can be hit.

PhillySolver 10:54 AM  

According to reporter, editor, writer, and author Willard R. Espy, the ten ugliest-sounding words in English, excluding indecent words, are FRUCTIFY, KUMQUAT, QUAHOG, CREPUSCULAR, KAKKAK, GARGOYLE, CACOPHONOUS, AASVOGEL, BROBDINGNAGIAN, JUKEBOX.

A national association of English teachers once identified this list of words as the ugliest: CACOPHONY, CRUNCH, FLATULENT, GRIPE, JAZZ, PHLEGMATIC, PLUMP, PLUTOCRAT, SAP, and TREACHERY.

rick 10:59 AM  

I've always like CACOPHONY just for its odd stresses.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Rex, not sure if you need this but HCL = Hydrochloric acid (not an abbreviation, but a chemical formula)

jae 11:33 AM  

This was enjoyable although I agree with Rex's nits (e.g. UNAPT). OJAI was a gimme but not APO (I would prefer the standard "military address" clue).

SDI is not only a waste of money, it doesn't work. I still don't know why Clinton didn't kill it.

HCL is hydrochloric acid.

50sKid 11:45 AM  

My recollection of the DSI/Star wars question: The owners of the copyright (Lucas?) objected to the use of 'star wars' by the Reaganistas -- so they came up with Strategic War(s) Initiative.

Rikki 11:54 AM  

Fast and fun for a Thursday. Have to disagree with you, Rex, on snood. That word cracks me up. Snood. It's intrinsically funny. Well, to me. I guess it's really subjective. Out of Philly's list of ugly words only phlegmatic and flatulent are ugly to me. Pustule isn't that pretty a word either. But snood? It sounds like something you'd name your pet rock. The fact that in addition to being a hair net, it is the flap of skin that hangs off a turkey's nose makes it all the more amusing. Snood. *chuckles*

Leon... I was laughing so hard, my husband came upstairs to see what was wrong. Ooof.

Soon-Yi = ick (though I love Woody Allen, too); Dolly=cloned ewe=eeeew

Only one song to sing today, but it's a good one. Anything by Ray Charles is a winner. Hit the road Jack, and doncha come back no more no more no more no more. Hit the road Jack, and doncha come back no more.

Philly said * means something is missing. Is that so? Or is it just used to tie the clues together in some way that will become apparent in the puzzle?

karmasartre 11:56 AM  

I thought it was pretty easy for a Thursday, mainly because the theme answers fell so readily. Didn't know APO from Apu or Alpo for that matter. I enjoy those moments when I have DAK and am waiting to see if its N or S. Re. DFossey, I tried to remember Rex's blurb on the various Diane spellings, a sort of who's-who of Dianes, but I still came up with DyAN. Easy enough to fix with the cross.

On the perverted front, for a split nano-second, I wanted PBS for the "The Dukes of Hazzard" network. Just because.

And the office pool is laying 2-to-1 odds that Emily will pick up on TOETAG.

Jim in Chicago 11:57 AM  

Same quibbles as others today, for the most part.

Is the game really called "hit the Pinata"? I've never really heard it called anything in particular.

UNAPT is really ugly, and it took me a long time to figure out that OUT is UNSAFE as in baseball, I guess.

On the theme side, I got SKIDS first and I was off and running.

Pete M 12:05 PM  

I thought the grid today seemed a bit unusual; the layout of the black squares was somehow not as aethetically pleasing as usual. Also, not often that we get rows of four three-letter words in a 15x15. Overall, though, the puzzle was quite enjoyable, if a bit easy for a Thursday. :)

Pete M 12:08 PM  

Pardon my typing... aesthetically.

joaneee 12:08 PM  

I would add SQUAT to the list of ugly words. SNOOD has always come first for me - sounds so.....nasal.

doc John 12:08 PM  

Hey, I got OJAI right away! In its defense, they did make reference to it many times during the show, once even showing a street sign saying something like, "Ojai, birthplace of Astronaut Steve Austin".

Had no idea about APO, though, and just hoped to get it through the crosses.

Like an earlier poster said, everyone's pop culture differs.

Why is MEKONG the ["Mother of all rivers"]? Amazon would have fit into the space, too, but fortunately I had some crosses filled in to let me know that that wasn't the case.

To beat a dead horse: HCl- Hydrochloric Acid

Fave clue: [26D. Ticker tape letters?]- EKG

BT 12:23 PM  

This was my first Thursday completion ever, so all you who have "it was too easy" comments just hush up.

I'll celebrate with a verse from a 1987 Prince song - one with a seriously funky rythm:

Baby make a speech, Star Wars Fly
Neighbors just shine it on
But if a night falls and a bomb falls
Will anybody see the dawn?

paul in mn 12:36 PM  

The APO/SOON YI crossing was brutal for me. I went through the alphabet twice before that fell. I think I must've tried to repress the memory of Woody and Soon Yi. * shudder *

I also stumbled over the TEVIS/AVANTI crossing as those were both unfamiliar to me, but in retrospect I should've fairly easily been able to guess the V in Avanti from the word origin clues.

The theme did seem to fall particularily quickly for a Thursday, but it was enjoyable.

Wade 12:45 PM  

In a beer-sodden grad school discussion about who was the smartest person who ever lived, a friend of mine submitted that the honor should go to whomoever it was in that initial development meeting about the "Six Million Dollar Man" who determined that the way to make it look like Steve Austin was running 60 miles an hour was not to speed up the film but to sloooooowwwww it dooowwwwnnn.

Ah, grad school. . . .

Agreed that this is the easiest Thursday I've seen. I got the theme early and finished in just under 7 minutes.

Slow Solver and Proud of It 12:56 PM  

Am I the only one who wanted a star before 32 Across? I'd like to HIT Lynne and rest of the Bush administration.

Parshutr 12:59 PM  

I'm way too old - When I saw "Mrs. Woody Allen" I thought of -- sequentially -- Harlene Rosen and Linda Lavin -- before I thought of Soon-Yi Previn, adopted daughter of Andre and Mia.
Andre - 4 wives, including Anna Sophie Mutter
Mia - married to Frank Sinatra, then to Andre Previn, who's just-previous wife wrote a song entitled "Beware of Young Girls" about Ms. Farrow...so, what goes around, comes around as far as Soon-Yi & Allen Koenigsberg, aka Woody Allen...
So I, happily married to wife #4 for lo these 16 years, don't get icky at all about marriages, divorces, affairs of the rich and famous. I do fantasize about the Allens and Scarlett J., though...

Doug 1:07 PM  

I only got "OJAI" because of the crosses. I was amazed how fast I did this one, I don't time myself, but it certainly felt like the fastest Thursday puzzle ever, hardly had to stop and think on this one. Sometimes I think you're just on the same wavelength with certain constructors.

Doug 1:10 PM  

I blew through this thing and yet I just...could...not...get...the...CE.

I lived in Thailand for 4 years and did not know the Mekong river was the "mother" of them all. So without that one as well as a big blank on SKIDS, I closed down the PC last night an unhappy man. Was it N or S DAKota? Also couldn't get the G in EKg for some reason, and the D in SNOOd? I just thought I'd made some juvenile mistake because SNOOP was surely the only word that fit?

Can someone explain 8D CARRY, which had a clue about a canal. I got the answer through crosses, but couldn't figure out how it related to the clue!

karmasartre 1:14 PM  

Doug -- TV cable services "carry" channels.

Wade -- welcome back.

puzzlemensch 1:16 PM  

The fictional CIA Unit in Alias was SD-6. What does APO have to do with anything, except to complete the cross??

PuzzleGirl 1:17 PM  

@doug: 8D clue is "Have as a channel." It's a television reference, not a canal reference. (E.g., "Hey do you guys carry the Big Ten Network on the TV in the bar? There's a sporting event I'd like to watch.")

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

The nickname "Star Wars" was always a pejorative. Ted Kennedy popularized the term. To my knowledge, it was never used by the Reagan Administration to promote SDI. They certainly would have been foolish to do so.

Issues of practicality aside, it was certainly clever and perhaps necessary to justify a large spending increase for the Pentagon by emphasizing the defensive rather
than offensive. By dubbing it "Star Wars", critics change the focus from defense to bellicosity.

Byron

Rex Parker 1:19 PM  

Yes, Wade, welcome back. I was going to delete your comment, for old times's sake, but thought that might not be taken in the spirit in which it would have been intended.

:)

rp

PS why can't I punctuate "old times'[times's / time's?] sake" with any confidence?

deion 1:20 PM  

thought maybe i was just ON today...but, sounds like most of y'all were too...so i suppose this was just an easy Thurs, alas.

Rex Parker 1:22 PM  

@Byron,

I thought "Star Wars" was intended more to cast SDI as fantasy than to emphasize its "bellicosity" (mmm, love that word) - although I guess it does both.

rp

Jim in NYC 1:33 PM  

puzzlemensch, SD-6 wasn't a CIA unit, it was an independent unit that was pretending (to all but the evil insiders) to be part of the CIA.

As soon as SD-6 went defunct, all of its non-evil operatives were immediately absorbed into the real CIA (a bit of preposterousness that added to my disenchantment with Alias).

According to previous posters, the CIA unit that absorbed them was called APO, but I can't personally vouch for that.

Fergus 2:11 PM  

Other four-letter California towns that come to mind are Lodi (subject of a great CCR song) and Weed (which might apply more appropriately to certain other places), located right near Whiskeytown.

This was one of those puzzles where sussing out the little trick led to a hug expanse of the fill. My grid was pretty sparsely populated until I HIT THE SKIDS.

And speaking of ugly words I'll nominate Zooid as a contestant.

jae 2:13 PM  

@doc john -- wikki tells me that MEKONG roughly translates to "mother of all rivers"

jls 3:02 PM  

rikki -- >Philly said * means something is missing. Is that so? Or is it just used to tie the clues together in some way that will become apparent in the puzzle?

i get the feeling it's more the latter than the former; the star indicated "something missing" today -- but doesn't always. to wit -- the puzzle from 9/26/07:

>THEME: Broadway musicals - 13 starred clues all have answers that are titles of famous Broadway musicals

and thx, jae for the mekong explanation!

cheers --

janie

LincParker 3:04 PM  

George Lucas brought a lawsuit against the use of "Star Wars" to refer to SDI in 1985. He lost; the judge rules that "star wars" had become part of the public lexicon.

could be wade 3:14 PM  

Thanks, Rex. I was going to tell you to put ASOK in it but thought that joke might not go over well.

Whiskey and crossword puzzle chatboards don't mix.

I'd go for "old times' sake" on the rationale that it's for the sake of more than one old time and the plural possessive takes an apostrophe but not an additional "s" (whereas a singular that ends in s does get another s, as in "Charles's friend" and "Burns's poems". Those examples are from Strunk & White, which I just checked (apostrophes are rule 1). They confuse matters by saying that Jesus and ancient proper names that end in "es" and "is" get different treatment. No idea where they came up with that.)

jannieb 3:17 PM  

More stuff that I hate to admit that i "know": In the later seasons of Alias, the re-formed CIA unit was called Authorized Personnel Only (APO) - the writing on the doors to their secret headquarters. SD-6 was the phony unit formed by Arvin Sloan.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

I got OJAI right away. As an eight-year-old SMDM fan I thought they were using some weird nickname for Ohio on the show but I knew they were supposed to be in California, so I looked it up at the time and it stuck with me.

My least favorite part of this puzzle was PST (Calif. setting). Are there very many circumstances in which this is a "setting"? When you get a new computer, I guess, but don't you set the time zone (i.e., Pacific Time) in one place and then tell it to follow daylight savings in another place?

green mantis 3:31 PM  

Boogie. I can't stand that word. Like, I have to go wash my hands now.

Isn't that funny about Jesus? I remember that. He gets all the special treatment.

Rikki 3:32 PM  

Rex... I think the majority vote would be for old times' sake.

Parshutr... any man over the age of eighteen who takes nude photos of his legal or implied stepchild decades his junior without her mothers' knowledge, never mind the questionable behavior with his seven-year-old stepchild, gets a big ick in my book.

Janie... that's what I thought. Thanks.

doc John 3:33 PM  

Thanks, Jae. Having "mother of all rivers" be the actual translation of MEKONG makes it fall into place for me. I'll have to remember that one!

chefbea 4:18 PM  

Leon - thanks for the pinata party disasters. that is a riot!!!

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

Thanks to all for the SDI explanation. I always learn from you sages.

Karen 5:52 PM  

Hi Mom, thanks for the birthday gift! (*Three* cranium-crushing crossword compilations.)

I got Ojai from a couple crosses, it leapt up from the dusty recesses of my brain. Important because I did have trouble finding the theme, I was looking too hard.

Leon's youtube made me laugh. So did Emily's photo of a rocket/cat combo.

anon3.20, (time) setting is often used as a clue in various tricky ways, which is annoying because the central letter may be a D or an S. Monday clues will usually tell you which season. Think of setting a watch.

Anonymous 6:21 PM  

I think a better answer for "10 Benjamin Franklins" would be "a Grover Cleveland." Or, more likely to be feasible within a grid: clue "Ten Benjamins", answer "One Grover".

Michael 8:04 PM  

Like most of the rest of you, I found this easy. I knew "Dian" Fossey but was taken aback a bit by the clue "naturalist" but after googling see that of course it is ok. Among the easy for me answers were ochs and tevis, though I can see why they might be hard for others. The only answers that were totally news to me were"mekong" for "mother of all rivers" and escape "pod." But I have to say that hockey great "Jagr" Jaromir was lodged in a remote, seldom-accessed part of my brain.

Kim 11:06 PM  

After one quick run through I had solved very little of the puzzle and thought this might be one of my worst Thursdays ever (HCL acid in stomach was churning!). Then I got the theme with (HIT THE) GROUND RUNNING and that's exactly what happened! I finished the puzzle quickly (for me) and it turned out to be my best Thursday ever! HOORAY!!! No one in my family can understand why I am so happy but I know you guys can - so thanks!

Orange 12:10 AM  

Wade, as I understand it, Strunk and White pulled a lot of their rules out of their as's.

Fergus 12:51 AM  

That's some punctuation, Orange.

Anonymous 8:25 PM  

Three fortnights later.......

I work for a rather large brewing company headquartered in St. Louis. Naturally hair coverings are required in a food plant. It makes me cringe when someone says to my colleagues "here are your beard snoods." Can't decide whether to wretch or laugh.

Waxy in Montreal 10:24 PM  

Way too easy for a Thursday. The Ray Charles chart-topper made the theme a gimme.

Notice from Wikipedia that a company in Mexico is still manufacturing 150 Avantis a year. Amazing car - owned a Stood ( in the late sixties - has to be the most unapt car ever built. Hmm, maybe should have been called a Snood.

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