Friday, March 29, 2020, Alan Massengill and Jeff Chen


Title: Follow the circles from end to end.

We have another new collaboration featuring regular constructor Jeff Chen and noob (newbie?) Alan Massengill who already has two solo Universal puzzles published. Jeff has about 70 puzzles in the LAT of which I think 27 are collaborations. He also has 111 NYT publications, of which 70 are joint efforts. That qualifies him as HOF mentor. This primarily a visual puzzle, which once you see one of the theme answers, fills fairly easily for a Friday. Not much in the way in new fill, E-FILED, being the only introductory word. There some sparkles in the fill like AWESOME, DESSERT (this time) LOAN OUT, PARTIAL (a CWD nono) PETALED, SWISHED, FAULKNER and  HINT HINT. I hope Jeff or Alan will stop by to tell us more about this puzzle and constructor.

On to the theme:

17A. Feeling upon being stretched thinUTTER EXHAUSTIO(15). THIN is stretched from the second letter to the last.

26A. Earth-shattering realization: THE AWFUL TRUTH (13).
EARTH is broken up.

44A. Cutting-edge fashion icon: COUTURE DESIGNE(13). Designers create their fashions by cutting up cloth.

59A. Exhibit widespread political appeal: WIN BY A LANDSLIDE (15). WI and DE = WIDE which are spread far apart.

Next.

Across:

1. OTC drug overseer: FDAFood and Drug Administration.

4. Like a honeymoon couple's bed, perhaps: PETALED. Or this...

11. It may be brown or blonde: ALEASH was my first thought. That was a seed planted by Monday's puzzle.

14. Realty unit: LOT. I like this better than "acre."

15. "Killer, dude!": AWESOME. Surfer talk.

16. Proponent's preposition: FOR. This and the next are just definitions.

20. Ill-suited: INAPT.

21. Two-time Seth MacFarlane title character: TED. Why not.

22. Browses: SURFS. The other surfer,

23. Duplicity: DECEIT. No comment, too political.

25. Charges: SETS AT.

30. Actor-for-actor movie studio exchange: LOAN OUT.  READ and discuss.

31. Closest buds, for short: BFFsBest Friends Forever. The "s" is like an appendix in the human body. Followed by...

35. Open parenthesis, in some emoticons: FROWN. ಠ╭╮ಠ is what is listed in Unicode Emoticons. Also, 6D. Row of emoji, perhaps: TEXT.

36. Spiced tea: CHAI. This is generally a blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. There are variations throughout the world.

40. Cook in fat in a closed pot: BRAISE. This is to fry lightly and then stew it slowly in a closed container. Braising is used with larger or whole pieces of meat and very little liquid.

42. Cary Grant's chin dimple et al.: TRAITS. Our Charlotte has a chin dimple. Do you find them attractive or awful?

48. Zeppelin leader?: LED. Musical interlude? No Stairway today.

49. Spare tire makeup: FAT. A little deception, but men of our age do fight the battle of the bulge.

50. Hoops hanger: NET. They hang at each end of the court. Also, they make the sound in 53A. Sank perfectly, as a jump shot: SWISHED.

51. Jan. honoree: MLKMartin Luther King, Jr.

56. Top 40 song, e.g.: HIT.

62. Taiwanese tech giant: ACER.

63. Surprises in bottles: GENII. Back again.

64. Tip jar deposits: ONES. These days I see mostly quarters.

65. Tijuana Brass leader Alpert: HERB. Musical interlude. Hell yeah.

66. Fiat: EDICT. Not a car but from the Latin for "let it be done," the word fiat is a binding edict issued by a person in command. It can gain an almost Biblical aura of authority, like a movie Pharaoh saying, "So let it be written, so let it be done." Or Picard,  "make it so."

67. ASAP in the ER: STAT. It is more compelling the As Soon As Possible. It comes from the Latin and is an abbreviation of the word statim, which has the meaning "instantly/immediately."


Down:

1. Word with gender or lighter: FLUID. I knew lighter fluid but had not run across gender fluid which is a gender identity. A gender fluid person may feel male on some days, female on others, both male and female, or neither. A gender fluid person might also identify as genderqueer.

2. ISP suffix: DOT NET. Many of these mixed answer spelling out punctuation.

3. Stick on: ATTACH.

4. Not all there: PARTIAL. The dreaded crossword faux pas.

5. Farm female: EWE. Only you...

7. ESPY Courage Award namesake: ASHE. Arthur has had a great career in puzzles. His hair was neither ash brown nor blonde.

8. Unit to be washed: LOAD. Sunday was a wash day for us.

9. Layer of dark green eggs: EMU. An Emu egg is the equivalent of approximately 10 chicken eggs. The shell has a beautiful teal color (sometimes darker in color) and is prized as a decorative piece. We recommend using a chisel and hammer or dremel-type tool to get into the egg. Emu eggs make an incredible omelet or frittata. Also, irritating commercials if you ask some.

10. Napoléon, for one: DESSERT. This was not a tribute dessert but the cake initially named mille-feuille (which means a "thousand layers" in French) was brought to Russia in the early 19th century and was widely cooked during the festivities after the victory against the French army of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1812.

11. Something never done before: A FIRST. This collaboration for example.

12. Exfoliating sponge: LOOFAH. Loofahs — sometimes spelled luffas — are popular shower accessories used for cleaning and exfoliating your skin. No relation to sea sponges;  natural loofahs are made from a gourd in the cucumber family.

13. Bond villain Blofeld: ERNST. He has appeared, played by many actors, in SEVEN Bond films. Can you name them?

18. Dueling sword: EPEE.

19. Fantasia hippo's outfit: TUTU.

24. BOGO offering: TWOFERHYACINTH

25. Evel doings?: STUNTS. Knievel- take that Robbie.

27. Not even close: FAR. Literal again and in a logical place.

28. Card game whose name is spoken during play: UNO. My maternal grandmother, may she rest in peace, traveled with a deck in her purse.

29. Dirty: LOW. Down rat!

31. English channel: BBC.

32. To and __: FRO.

33. Only Mississippi-born Literature Nobelist: FAULKNER.

34. Browsing target: SITE.

36. Animal house: CAGE.

37. Comment with a wink and an elbow: HINT HINT.

38. Consumed: ATE.

39. Med. country: ISRael.

41. Like bubble baths: SUDSY. And generally covering bouncy boobies. Unlike...

43. Cantaloupe coverings: RINDSNutrition but then boobies can be melons.

45. Submitted returns online: E-FILED.

46. Water brand: DASANI. For some reason, my least favorite of the bottle brands.

47. Cultural, as cuisine: ETHNIC.

51. [Blown kiss]: MWAH.

52. Causes of some head-scratching: LICE. Very literal.

54. Minimum __: WAGE. The new reality.

55. Revise: EDIT.

57. A light bulb may symbolize one: IDEA.

58. Sample: TEST.

60. "Hang on a sec," in texts: BRBBRight Back.

61. __ Alamos, NM: LOS. We finish with Los Alamos and its  National Laboratory (LANL) is probably the most famous federal government laboratory. Synonymous with both clandestine and well-known paradigm-shifting research, it is most recognized as serving as the birthplace of the atomic bomb.


I am outta here after another week having fun and with a new twist on an old concept. Thank you, Alan and Jeff,