Friday, September 24, 2021, Margit Christenson

 Title: Speak up, no need for all the hemming and hawing.

I am pleased to welcome the debut LAT puzzle from a Nurse Practitioner from New Mexico for whom September seems to be a special month. Her first published puzzle was September 23 2020 a NYT with a picture ( a wonderful mini-me pic with her child) and some comments. And now a year and a day later...

The first thing that jumps out is that this is not a traditional Friday; three themers and a reveal that was more confusing than helpful for me. Also, Fridays average about 32 black squares and this has 38 such squares. It also has some very nice non-theme fill ...SOUP MIX, TENNIES, TOOTSIE, WRITHED, BOATDECK, STUNTMAN, EUROVISION, and LABELMAKER. The ones in green have never been in the NYT, the ones in red have never been in either LAT or NYT. But, this too is a bit outré, as two of the themers are only 8 letters long and you are not supposed to have fill longer than themers.  Which are:

15A. Otolaryngologist's colleagues?: EAR DRUM(8). A eye, ear,  and throat doctor ends up a musical instrument.

26A. Solid vestment choice?: THE WHITE ALBUM (13). An ALB  (from the Latin albus, meaning white), one of the liturgical vestments of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist churches, is an ample white garment coming down to the ankles and is usually girdled with a cincture (a type of belt, sometimes of rope similar to the type used with a monastic habit. The WHITE ALBUM is the ninth studio album and only double album by English rock band the Beatles, released on 22 November 1968 was a musical tour de force.


43A. Rodent reduction measure?: VOLUME CONTROL (13).

57A. Minuscule biters, and a clue to understanding 15-, 26- and 43-Across: NO SEEUMS (8). They are all over the place.

Little Devils 

1. Acid: LSD. The drug of choice for a generation. 

4. Pine product: SAP. Pine tree sap is used by the tree to transport nutrients. Pine tree sap uses include glue, candles and fire starting. Pine sap is also used for making turpentine, a flammable substance used for coating objects. (gardening know how).

7. Swell: BULGE. Not a battle this time. 

12. First name in pharmaceuticals: ELI. The HISTORY.

13. Irritated, with "on": WORE. A simple but deceptive clue.

14. 90% of Earth's volcanic rock: BASALTROCK

17. Reach for rudely: GRAB AT.

18. Home-away-from-home vacation: R V TRIPThe BEST 

19. Departure notice?: OBITuary.

21. Historic period: ERA. Or you can wash your clothes.

22. PIN points: ATMS. I love this combination.

24. Big name in databases: ORACLE. Greek history and...

30. Water in the Seine: EAU. Oh no not again!

31. Rejoices: EXULTS. Exult means "to rejoice" or "to be openly happy about."

32. Foot specialist?: BARD. Wonderful clue/fill and CSO to our resident poets OKL, Moe and the rest.

35. Like burnt coffee: ACRID. Sometimes, it makes the coffee better.

37. Member of a noted sailing trio: NOD. Are you Winken and Blinken?

38. LGBTQ activist George: TAKEI. Lt. Sulu.

39. Hershey toffee bar: SKOR. Seen it too often

40. Home of The Trop: ST. PETE. The home of the Tampa Bay professional teams.

42. Clean Water Act org.: EPA

46. One getting smashed at a bash: PINATA

47. Big Island coffee region: KONA.

48. Faux follower: PAS.

49. Servers at affairs: URNS. Coffee or tea I hope and not ashes.

51. Donation drop-off site: TIPJAR. Lame.

55. Afghanistan's national airline: ARIANA. Unkown, not a grande clue.

59. They take things in stride: STOICS.

60. Nice ways to say yes: OUIS. The French silly pun.

61. Patel of "Lion": DEV.

62. __-pop: electronic music genre: SYNTH. The GENRE.

63. Test for M.A. seekers: GRE. Graduate Records Examination.

64. Medium claim: ESP. More - Extra Sensory Perception.


1. Not a nice look: LEER. No capital N here. 

2. Pole, e.g.: SLAV.  The LINK.

3. Gossip: DIRT.

4. Lipton product: SOUP MIX. PICTURE

5. Branch or limb: ARM.

6. Currency of 25-Down: PESO.

7. It may be closed at last call: BARTAB.

8. Winner of the most medals at the 2020 Olympics: USA. A quick clue after this delayed event. 

9. Tiny office printer: LABEL MAKERAnother best 

10. Screen problem: GLARE.

11. Sundance's sweetie: ETTA. Butch was never jealous. PICTURE
Read all about it. LINK.

13. Squirmed: WRITHED.

14. Certain break-dancers: B-GIRLS. Got me, " a woman who entertains bar patrons and encourages them to spend freely."

16. Attract: DRAW attention.

20. Where hands may be brought together: BOAT DECK. Deck hands work on the boat deck.

23. Double, often: STUNTMAN. The insurance on big stars has gotten too expensive so even the macho morons need stunt doubles.

25. Birthplace of Gloria Estefan: CUBA. Born September 1, 1957, Havana, Cuba. 

26. Poured-over leaves: TEAS. Another nice clue

27. Cybersecurity concern: HACK. Hacking is an attempt to exploit a computer system or a private network inside a computer.

28. 2021 musical contest held in Rotterdam: EUROVISION. This old CONTEST discovered ABBA.

29. Get away to get together: ELOPE.

33. Default result: REPO

34. Old phone feature: DIAL. You need the soap to wash your hands after words.

36. Decrease?: IRON. Iron out tension? Got me

38. Sneaks: TENNIES. Cute tennis shoe reference.

40. Hindu teachings: SUTRAS. Kama, kama Chameleon?

41. __ Roll: TOOTSIE. Not Dustin Hoffman?

44. Set in motion: LAUNCH. I love launch parties.

45. Format for much '80s music: TAPE

46. Bash: PARTY.

48. Word with hall and press: PASS. I pass on using those examples.

50. Make out, in Britain: SNOG. I heard in 70s and 80s importrd BBC shows.

52D. "Hey __": classic hit: JUDE. See 26A.

53. Iowa college town: AMES. Not to be confused with Ed.

54. Request on an invitation: RSVP. Again, too much too soon.

56. River isle: AIT. Hey a new way to say eight."

58. Collective pronoun: OUR. Last fill and time to say good night.

Thank you Margit, you look and sound like a lovely person and we would enjoy having you join our band of puzzle solvers and wits led by our founder the inimitable Zhouqin Burnikel, the only bite here is some humor. Thank to all who read. Lemonade out.