Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wednesday, October 31 - Ken Stern

Well, this isn't exactly what you'd call spooktacular, but the Halloween theme is among the most clever I've seen.

I'll deviate today by posting the grid at the top, so you can see what's going on. The theme answers contain the letter T--circled in the posted grid. In some of the clues, it stands for TRICK...in the crosses for that clue, it stands for TREAT. It's just too brilliant.

I had the theme cracked at 20A: Professional secrets (TRICKs of the trade). When I tried to read the cross (4D: Stain looseners on washday), I knew where it was going...preTREATments.

27A: Off-site meetings, maybe (reTREATs). I didn't even see this clue. I had 11D: Mid-March honoree as the often-seen ST PAT...it actually is ST PATRICK.

33A: Formal discourse (TREATise), with the best cross of all...33D: Something said while holding a bag (TRICK or TREAT)...which then crosses at 44A: Hockey feat (hat TRICK).

53A: U.N. ambassador under Reagan (Jeane KirkpaTRICK). Couldn't remember her first name, though, and had to rely on crosses. That crosses with 39D: War enders (peace TREATies). Before I realized it was a theme answer, I wanted something that began with CEASE.

65A: Plea (enTREATy)...the toughest one for me...crossed at 49D: Entertainment from a magician (card TRICK).

I need to make this a short post...I got a late start tonight and I have a 7:30 appointment tomorrow. I'll briefly cover the best of the non-theme fill...maybe some of you will chime in with your favorites.

6A: Johnny Fever's workplace, in 1970s-'80s TV (WKRP)...one of my all-time favorite shows.

10A: Amt. at a car dealership (MSRP). A good abbreviation, and not often seen in puzzles. By the way, it's a completely useless number...don't ever pay anywhere near that.

17A: Some horizontal lines (X-axes). Loved it. I think we had axes a couple of weeks ago...as the plural of axis, rather than Lizzy Borden's weapon of choice. If I'm not mistaken, it caused a small stink.

42A: Large, at Starbucks (Venti). I still stumble when I order a drink there. I so prefer our local coffee shop, for many reasons...not the least of which is that their drinks are small, medium and large. This is one of those answers that couldn't have appeared just a few years ago.

47A: Like some old stores (ten cent). Those who didn't remember Bell and Howell yesterday likely won't remember the old ten cent stores...also called the five and dime...or five and ten. When I was a kid, things weren't really ten cents. According to my parents, there was a time when that was the case. We had some great five and tens in downtown West Palm Beach. We used to take the bus (for maybe ten cents) and spend all day shopping and having lunch for just a couple of dollars.

Loved two long answers in the puzzle. 8D: Starboard (right side) and 38D: Like The Onion (satirical).

63A: Honolulu's home (Oahu) makes an appearance two days in a row. I won't bore you with another Oahu picture. Actually, climbing Diamond Head is the only thing we did on Oahu, other than sleep. There's another Hawaii clue in the puzzle...24D: Hawaiian dress (muu-muu). I swore I was going to buy one this last trip, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

46A: Aussie's neighbor (Kiwi) reminds me of fellow blogger Rex Parker, who often refers to his lovely wife, Sandy, as a Kiwi.

As the wife of a CPA, I had to love 67A: Balance sheet listing (asset)...it's the right thing to do.

Also loved the Scrabbliness of 34D: Having bad luck, say (jinxed), which crosses with both 34A: "Choosy moms choose __" (Jif) and 45A: Some urban legends (hoaxes).

Both the clue and answer at 36D: Spunky (feisty) are favorite words. I've been described as both in the past but haven't felt like either recently.

Which reminds me...I had an extremely high blood pressure reading today. We'll be monitoring it for the next week or so. If it continues, we may need to address it with medication...diet alone hasn't cut it. This getting old is...well, I guess it's better than the alternative. Don often says that we're both too old now to die young.

On that note, I'll wrap it up. See you tomorrow. If you come to my house trick-or-treating, you're guaranteed dark chocolate. If you don't show up...more for me!

Linda G


Anonymous said...


I too thought this one brilliant and it had "jinxed" and "Hoaxes" and "Wolfed" which all seem Halloweeny too. Fun.

As to High Blood pressure,if you need meds there are some very mild meds that work well with little side effects. I have high blood pressure too and have been taking Tenormin (generic atenenol) which also has helped with my migraines and with no other side effects. I hope you don't need it but if you do don't worry as they work well with little or no side effects.

MBG said...

I really enjoyed this puzzle, thought it was very clever. I didn't get the theme until HAT TRICK, but then it fell into place quickly. ENTREATY was the hardest for me. I loved HOAXES crossed with JINXED. Was happy to see an old favorite of mine, DELLA Reese who I remember as a singer from the late fifties.

Linda, I sure do remember ten cent stores, only we called them the five and dime. A favorite treat as a child was to be taken to Woolworth's, have a hot dog and coke at the luch counter, and then have your 25 cent allowence to spend. Back then a candy bar cost 5 cents, a Coke was 10. That was a long time ago.

Good luck with your blood pressure, Linda. Medication isn't such a bad alternative. It works.

cornbread hell said...

sincere best wishes for your health. may you be feisty for decades still to come, linda g.

what a great puzzle! the theme rocks. enuf said.
throw in 2 hawaiian bits, a redSOX nod and the WKRP / KLUTE crossing! oh, & add a QUEENED pawn and one of my all time little league coaching phrases, "ride the pine"...sheee-it. that's the best EVER colloquialism.

what a cool puzzle.

(all little leaguers have to sit on the bench now and again. after reading off the starting lineup, i'd always pronounce the rest of the kids (by name) as, "riding the pine."

when the starters were pulled to make place for them it was always, "ride the pine, (whoever was bein' pulled)."
there was never any shame in not bein' a starter. somehow, to ride the pine became a great equalizer among not-so-equal little athletes. don't ask me why or how it worked, but it did. ask my kids. maybe they can explain it better.)

coachjdc said...

Loved this one. Linda, I picked it up at the same spot. MUUMUU should appear more often. Don't recall seeing it before :-)

wendy said...

Is my face red. I had "ride the PINI" and Vente and despite thinking I'd misspelled FEISTY (is it I before E, or not), I got so confused I just left it. Then I asked, what in the cornbread hell (yes I did) is a PINI? Is it that weird vest that refs wear, and that we used to wear when we played softball in school to distinguish between teams? If so, why would you ride it?

Well, it all got cleared up when I got here. (note to self: The thing you wear is a pinny, not a pini.) I blame the coffee clue for the problem: I too get screwed up with Starbucks' size delineators (VENTI? Vente? Veni? Vidi? Vici? Oh who knows), and gave up on it altogether for the pleasures of a fabulous new neighborhood coffeehouse called The Nervous Dog. Best cappuchino I've ever had this side of Manhattan.

Anyhoo, I loved the trick or treat immensely. And ya gotta love a puzzle where KINSEY is an answer. Don't you? But isn't the abbreviation for Tuesday TUES, not TUE?

Happy Hallowe'en to all. Although I celebrate the other Hallowe'en, Walpurgis Night, on April 30, in homage to Procol Harum, whose song by the same name is one of the anthems of my college years.

Linda G said...

profphil, thanks for mentioning WOLFED...that's one I'd neglected that deserved a nod.

cornbread, I hate to admit that I'd never heard the expression, and my dad coached Little League for years. I always had a crush on one of the players...maybe that was part of the problem...going to the games for the wrong reason. Anyway, I had LINE, which made it a little tough to get the cross. Thought it must start with LEAVE. The problem soon fixed itself, although I had no idea why. Thanks for the explanation.

wendy, I'm not familiar with that Procol Harum tune...Whiter Shade of Pale is about all I can remember. I'll check it out later in the day, though. Maybe I know the song but don't recall the name.

Thank you all for the health-related comments and good wishes. I'm sure you'll be hearing more in the weeks to come.

wendy said...

Linda, Repent Walpurgis is not really in the mainstream; it was a cut on their Whiter Shade of Pale album but it never got any radio play as it was a long instrumental. There's a version of it on YouTube minus the great lead guitarist Robin Trower, who, had I been inclined to be an actual groupie in those days, I would gladly have been a groupie for. I went to every Procol concert within several hundred miles in those days. Even today, I come undone when I play the studio version of the song.

Orange said...

Linda, honey, blood pressure meds are for the young. My cousin (same age as me) started when she was 21, while I waited until my early 30s. If your doc prescribes a beta-blocker, it might help you sleep as well as preventing some migraines. Long-term, BP medication is safer than walking around with high blood pressure all the time. Stroke risk, stress on the organs, etc.

Thank you for not buying a muumuu. That would be a marker of old age way more than high blood pressure.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a switch on the block before, the reading of trick one way and treat the other. I did not get that until I had nearly all of the crosses done. And then pre-treatment and tricks of the trade showed me.
As to blood pressure, if diet does not work, exercize, serious exercize, and meditation often do. Personally, I would try that, on a serious level, before I took meds.
Good luck. Even when I don't need help finishing a puzzle, it is alway a pleasure to read your commentary.

Anonymous said...

Linda G,

If you take the meds (which I have been doing for about 10 years) make sure you study interactions with food.

Neither my doctor nor pharmacist knew that I had to avoid potasium rich foods (bananas and raisins) while taking them, I had to find out from the U of M drug info website.

Also, have your doctor, not the nurse, take your BP. Make sure the doctor supports your arm while it is being taken, don't hold it up yourself.

You can get amazingly different readings depending on the technique used.

Unknown said...

There's actually someone else out there who can remember Bell and Howell???

Anonymous said...

I loved this puzzle-pondered for the longest time over block #12 trying to make it a TRICK/TREAT (how could we fit manufacturer's sticker price in there?) but finally figured out it was a trick!

I have been taking BP med for the last couple of years-even had to up the dosage and cut out the diuretic which was causing photosensitivity (in someone who doesn't need that!) but have had no other problems. Was swimming for years before that (a mile a day 5+ times a week) and it's still high without meds. Tried yoga off and on too. Hope you can bring it down without but if not it's good to have meds.

Worked at a 5 and 10 cent store when I was in high school. Did the candy counter, cash register, stocking, etc. Hate to tell you what I earned per hour!

Hope you have fun with your trick or treaters-we had a great time last night! They never have it on a Wednesday here for some reason.

Anonymous said...

cornbread: I never heard of "ride the pine" either, and I'm ancient history.

profphil: high blood pressure is the curse of living a tense life. Try norvasc, avalide, and toprol every day.

Great comments, love this site. Don't get here everyday, but as often as I can

Orange said...

Linda, I think it's only the ACE inhibitors (and not beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers, or other antihypertensive drugs) that can elevate potassium, and that's only in about 5% of those who take it (*waving*). Diuretics tend to flush out potassium, so those folks eat plenty of bananas and take potassium horse pills.

Of course, your next BP reading will probably be completely normal, so we're all running off at the mouth for no reason.

Anonymous said...

It is the ACE inhibitors and I should have qualified that.

My med also has a diuretic component to it ( a potasium trade off?).

I am also diabetic, one symtom of which is getting up to go multiple times a night. I got the diabetis (sp?) under control and finally got years of full night's sleep then the doctor added the diuretic to the BP med and guess what?

And of course one of the questions my doctor asks at each check-up is "do you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom?"

Well no, I didn't until you changed my medication.

I guess I am saying trust your doctor to a point: What do the call the people that graduated last in their class at medical school?

They are called "Doctor".

Linda G said...

Lots of advice from everyone! I'll try almost anything before I give in to meds, but almost everything hasn't been working. Thanks to those who shared that it's not a big deal to be on medication. Today it was 150/90...still not good, but not as bad as yesterday. We'll keep checking it often and see what it averages.

Well, the littlest ones will be here any time, so...later.

Le Master said...


What else are beta-blockers used for? I take them because I get crippling panic attacks, daily. Is it normal for someone my age to have a panic disorder?

Well I just discovered this blog and I love it. I first only knew about Orange's blog, then I recently discovered Rex's, now I found this one. I hope things get better Linda.

Linda G said...

le master, thanks for the kind words and the good wishes. I battled panic attacks for several years, mostly while driving at 75 mph.

Didn't know beta-blockers were used to treat panic disorders...a friend took them for Grave's disease, a thyroid disorder. Sadly, panic disorders can affect anyone, regardless of age. Take care of yourself.

cornbread hell said...

i did this puzzle again today and as easy as it was because i'd done it before i still loved it.

i'll tell you what else is i think is fun. re-reading your commentary and these comments 6 weeks later is Fun.