Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Scott Atkinson

Theme: DUCK-LING fling. Five common English words that can serve double duty as either nouns or verbs are adorned with a diminutive LING suffix, yielding another common English language noun, now in an off-beat, humorous diminutive form. Some of them are still verbs, as well.

17A. Very narrow fissure? : CRACKLING. N: 1) As per the clue, 2) A bit of fried pork or goose fat; V: producing a series of snapping noises.

26A. Landfill in a toy city? : DUMPLING. N: 1) As per the clue, 2) A lump of dough cooked in liquid.

38. Minuscule tattoo? : INKLING. N: 1) As per the clue, 2) A hint, 3) A vague notion, 4) (plural) An Oxford University literary discussion group whose members included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; V: Communicating in an undertone or whisper (obsolete.)

40A. Dollhouse dress adornment? : BOWLING. N: 1) Tiny BOW, as per the clue, 2) A game in which one knocks down wooden objects with a rolled ball. V: Playing that game.

49A. Where to wear a training bra? : BUSTLING. N: Per the clue, A, AA, or AAA miniscule bosom. (Dare I?) V: Moving energetically.

62A. Very young hobo? : TRAMPLING. N: Son of ON THE ROAD, perhaps. V: Treading in a heavy-footed, damaging manner

And the unifier, 67A. Waterfowl whose young inspired this puzzle's theme : DUCKS. Baby DUCKS are DUCKLINGS.

Wow! Six theme entries, plus a unifier, and very complex wordplay, with layered double, and sometimes triple meanings, a rich musical sub-theme, and a bit of DF. I am AGAPE, but will not DUCK out on you. Lets DUCK INTO the puzzle and see what we can find.


1. Birthday secret : WISH. We make our wishes known. Otherwise, you get what you get.

5. "Back in Black" band : ACDC. Of all the bands that (tried to ) sound like Led Zeppelin, I preferred Led Zeppelin.

9. Visibly amazed : AGAPE. Jaw-droppingly so.

14. __ Domini : ANNO. Latin: In the year of Our Lord.

15. Bodybuilder's supplement : WHEY. Dairy-based protein source.

16. Hand-dyeing craft : BATIK.

19. Vintage violin : AMATI

20. Michael Moore health-care film : SICKO. Unavoidably political, ergo: no comment.

21. Melody : TUNE. We opened the Jazz Fest with this TUNE. Hardest Big Band Chart I've ever played. I have a video posted on Facebook. If you're on and interested, send me an email, and I'll send you a link.

23. Rock 'n' roll middle name : ARON. Alvis ARON Presley

24. Didn't sell : KEPT.

28. CIA part: Abbr. : AGCY. Central intelligence AGENCY.

30. Arthur Fiedler et al. : MAESTRI. Pl. of MEASTRO - orchestra conductors.

32. Hamm of soccer : MIA. From the U.S Gold Cup Championship Team of a few years back.

33. Ryder rentals : VANS. TRUCKS doesn't fit.

34. Where eaglets hatch : AERIE. Alternate spellings of this word always leave me feeling eerily up in the air.

42. Opposite of perfect pitch : NO EAR. OK. But TIN EAR is more idiomatic.

43. Composer __ Carlo Menotti : GIAN. 20th Century Italian-American composer.

44. Transp. group in the Loop : CTA. CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY

45. Pago Pago people : SAMOANS

48. Did a farrier's job : SHOD. Installed horseshoes. A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses' hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves. Now you know.

52. Lacking spice : TAME

54. Chain selling stacks : IHOP. International House of Pancakes

55. Clue in a case : LEAD

57. Dip for a chip : SALSA

60. Mila of "Black Swan" : KUNIS

64. "Fear of Flying" author Jong : ERICA

65. Sneaky trick : WILE. In theory, perhaps.

66. Luke's sci-fi sister : LEIA

68. Black stone : ONYX

69. Enjoys a smorgasbord : SUPS


1. WWII auxiliaries : WACS. Pl of WOMEN'S ARMY CORPS.

2. Calvary inscription : INRI. L. abbrv. "Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews." Calvary was the site of the crucifixion.

3. Twinkie or Ding Dong : SNACK CAKE. Empty calories.

4. Game with sticks : HOCKEY.

5. Pointy tool : AWL

6. Slip in a pot : CHIT. Slang for an IOU

7. Strips of leaves : DENUDES. Remember Agent Orange?

8. Swan constellation : CYGNUS. Use your imagination.

9. The N.Y. Nets were its last champion : ABA. American Basketball Association

10. Warren Harding's middle name : GAMALIEL. You all knew that - right?

11. Asteroids maker : ATARI. Ditto.

12. Spike for a mountaineer : PITON. Drive it into a CRACKLING.

13. Squeezing (out) : EKING

18. Keystone character : KOP. BUSTLING Bumbling gendarmes from the silent movie days.

22. Ambulance VIP : EMT. EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN. Note abbrv in cl & ans.

25. Bur. of Prohibition employee : T-MAN. Treasury Department officers out to collect alcohol taxes.

27. Shrimp relative : PRAWN. What's the difference?

28. Key with no sharps or flats: Abbr. : A MIN. Now this is tricky. A MIN is the relative minor of C MAJ - both with four letters, but no sharps or flats.

29. NFL Hall of Famer Marchetti : GINO. Old time Baltimore Colt.

31. Zambia neighbor: Abbr. : ANG. ANGOLA - also a city in Indiana.

33. Like megapopular web videos : VIRAL. Slang term, meaning passed from person to person, like a virus

35. Cardinal who was a foe of the Musketeers : RICHELIEU

36. Wild about : INTO. How long has it been since anyone asked you: "Are you INTO C B?"

37. "Zounds!" : EGAD. Slang from across the pond.

39. Unwanted playground game teammate : LAST PICK. Yes. That would be me.

40. Recycling vessel : BIN

41. Brewer's kiln : OAST. Crossword stalwart.

43. Yuri who was the first to orbit Earth : GAGARIN. Russian Cosmonaut.

46. Wire measure : MIL. Thousandth of an inch.

47. Punch sequence : ONE-TWO. Take that, and that . . .

48. Some tees : SMALLS. T-Shirt sizes.

49. Pedaled : BIKED. This guy gave his girlfriend a bicycle. Then she peddled it all over town.

50. Freedom, in Swahili : UHURU. Didn't we just see her last week?

51. Part of SST : SONIC. Super SONIC Transport

53. "Antony and Cleopatra" killer : ASP. Slithery crossword stalwart.

56. Tyne with a Tony and Emmys : DALY. The name is familiar, but not the face.

58. Salon sound : SNIP. Cutting hair

59. "What __!": "How fun!" : A GAS. Groovy slang, man. Far out!

61. Palindromic airline : SAS. Scandinavian Airlines System International, if you have an INKLING to travel.

63. Tex-__ cuisine : MEX. Burritos, fajitas, chile con carne, etc. OK. Now I'm hungry.
Fine, intricate puzzle. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I.



Note from C.C.:

Here are a few more "Hard to Believe" pictures from another blog regular. I'm afraid her captions will give her name away easily. I just adore the third picture. She looks gorgeous!

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