Friday, April 9, 2021, David Alfred Bywater


Theme: Take the FIFTH

Hello Cornerites, Chairman Moe here after a two-week hiatus from blogging. And wouldn't you know that the puzzle I got to recap was a bit crunchy; though once I saw the "reveal" (66-Across: What's taken in some court proceedings, and also (in two ways) from the answers to starred clues: FIFTH), I knew that the constructor meant "take the FIFTH letter from the entries" and you'll spell the word FIFTH!

Not on board? Well, let's look ...

17-Across. *French cheesemonger's luggage?: BRIE CASES. Put the letter "F" next to BRIE and you form BRIEFCASES. F is the FIFTH letter in the entry, which has been "taken" to form a punny phrase.

Brie cheese does have a "case", so to speak . . . I call it a "rind". And I am one of those who eats it! Yes, the bloomy rind is completely safe to eat and even keeps the inside safe from any potentially unwanted microorganisms during production. The rind on Brie not only protects and encases the cheese – it also adds a subtle, earthy flavor.

22-Across. *Potemkin village?: REALTY SHOW. Put an "I" in the FIFTH spot in this entry and you have "REALITY SHOW". There are far too many to list here, but pre-pandemic, the CBS hit "Survivor" had some 40 straight episodes of what I always imagined to be a "staged" reality show.

As for the pun, I found that the word "Potemkin" means: "having a false or deceptive appearance, especially one presented for the purpose of propaganda". But the proper name, Grigory Potemkin, was known for his love of women, gambling and material wealth. He oversaw the construction of many historically significant buildings, including the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg. Does "REALTY" then refer to "the industry term which most accurately describes the services rendered by real estate agents, property managers and brokerages related to the purchase, sale, leasing and managing of real estate?"

35-Across. *Top performer who's hopelessly off course?: LOST ACE. Put an "F" in the FIFTH spot and the phrase "LOST FACE" appears. This was my last solve and one of my favorite puns from DAB. LOST FACE means: "to lose other people's respect". An "ACE" is also known as a "top performer". Quite clever

48-Across. *Heresies?: HOLY ERRORS. "Heresy" is defined as "belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine." Literally, a HOLY ERROR! Put a "T" in the FIFTH spot and the phrase "HOLY TERRORS" appears. Which also defines: 10-Across. Teacher's handful: IMP. Not sure if this was intentional, but it is certainly clever!

55-Across. *PETA protester's emotion?: COAT ANGER. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an animal rights organization that opposes the abuse of animals in any way, such as for food, clothing, entertainment, or research. My first recall of that organization was when their followers protested, and at times, sprayed paint onto fir garments (think mink) as people were wearing them in public, thus causing COAT ANGER. But if you add an "H" in the FIFTH spot of this entry, the new phrase is "COAT HANGER"! I'm not sure if this "Sex and the City" co-star had to put her stained COAT on a HANGER, in ANGER!

But if you looked at my initial picture of my blog, you'll know that the word FIFTH has an entirely different meaning to me! And perhaps, a CSO to our Tampa Bay area imbiber, Tinbeni!

Let's see how the rest of the fill evolved ...

1. Lab kit supply: SWABS. Over the past 12 months I'm sure that the number of SWABS used to test for the Corona Virus 19 exceeded the billions . . . but this image suggests killing two birds with one stone!

6. Highland hats: TAMS. As in "TAM-O-SHANTER", the name for a Scottish hat. Highland also refers to an area within Scotland that is well known for producing wonderful Whisky. Here is MY favorite from that area:

13. "Uncalled for!": NOT OK. Or maybe this could've been clued: "if you're a Longhorn fan you're from TX, _____!" CSO to Dash T

14. Missouri's __ de Terre Lake: POMME. As Splynter would've said, "Frawnch"! Geography learning lesson. The lake is located in southern Hickory and northern Polk counties, about 50 miles north of Springfield. In the middle of nowhere. Its name is the French language word for potato. I guess this is a harder clue than using "_____ Frites"

15. Revival prefix: NEO. This was a WAG for me

16. Game millions can play: LOTTO. This is taken from an article in Time Magazine about 5 years ago: Americans spend a lot of money playing the lottery. Approximately 370 million lottery tickets were sold between Saturday and Tuesday before the Mega Millions drawing, according to a lottery official. The U.S. generated nearly $73 billion in lottery sales in 2016 and CNN reports that in 2017, U.S. residents spent about $73.5 billion on tickets. The average American spends about $223.04 per year on lottery tickets, loan marketplace LendEDU found in a report that calculated its average by dividing the 2016 lottery revenue by the U.S. population (325.7 million).

19. Like a storied equine statue: TROJAN. TROJAN horse, perhaps? FWIW, my HS team mascot and nickname were the TROJANS, and our school colors were Orange and Black. Lots of jokes were made, too, surrounding the branded product with the same name

21. Fire alarm?: SMOKE. Where there's SMOKE there's fire??

26. __ bargain: PLEA.

27. Female monster: OGRESS. Fiona didn't fit

28. Unoccupied ones: IDLERS. Moe-ku:

When self-driving cars
Are stopped at a red light, are
They idling IDLERS?
30. Word in a kids' game recommendation: AGES. As in what's printed on many game boxes. See the SW corner

31. Heroic collie: LASSIE. Here is a short video with a lot of information

34. Bks. in progress: MSS. Abbr for ManuScriptS

37. Hydroelectric project: DAM. One example: Hoover DAM can produce over 2,000 megawatts of capacity and a yearly average generation of 4.5 billion kilowatt hours to serve the annual electrical needs of nearly 8 million people in Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada

40. Prodded: GOADED. Our Thesaurussaurus doesn't list it but that doesn't mean it isn't so. Otherwise we would not be able to provide you with a Friday-level clue . . .

41. Romcom subject: LOVE. Romcom is a portmanteau for Romantic Comedy. LOVE fits the Romantic side . . . and here is an earworm for you to carry for awhile ...

42. Chartbuster: BIG HIT. If you were curious to know which chartbuster was a BIG HIT over the decades, please visit this site. I just happened to highlight my HS graduation year

45. Lyric poems: EPODES. I wondered what was different between EPODES and ODES and found this: EPODE, a verse form composed of two lines differing in construction and often in metre, the second shorter than the first. In Greek lyric odes, an EPODE is the third part of the three-part structure of the poem, following the strophe and the antistrophe. The word is from the Greek epōidós, “sung” or “said after.” And now you know

47. Memo heading: IN RE:. This one had too many "IN RE's" methinks ...

52. Cardiologist's implant: STENT. How might a Cardiologist insert a STENT into a clown's heart?

54. Old-style "Listen up!": HEAR YE. The things you can find on the internet . . .

57. Of yore: OLDEN. Shouldn't songs from the past be called Golden OLDEN's then?

61. Hill builder: ANT. Where would crossword puzzles be without the word ANT?

62. Sneerer's sentiment: SCORN. This image creeped me out a bit

63. False move: FEINT. A homophone for the word "faint". Remember that faint is to lack perception or consciousness while FEINT is to deceive opponents

64. Word of assent: YES. Or the name of a band with multiple BIG HITS, including this one:

65. Lays down the lawn: SODS. Cute play-on-words which of course triggered another Moe-klu*:

Lawyer's landscaper
Wanted no interference
He laid down the lawn
*A Moe-klu is a haiku that parodies the clue, not the solve

1. NBC show with Ego Nwodim: SNL. Ego who? Been a long time since I've watched Saturday Night Live. Here is Ego

2. Try to win: WOO. A bit "dated" definition of the verb, as in: try to gain the love of (someone), especially with a view to marriage. "he WOOed her with quotes from Shakespeare"

3. Verizon competitor: ATT. I am a Sprint subscriber but they're now part of T Mobile

4. Wine orders: BOTTLES. Although ordering by the glass (BTG) is so much easier

5. Tennis wear: SKORTS. Another portmanteau - this time, a combo of Skirts and Shorts - worn by many women tennis players. Why? Initially called "trouser skirts," SKORTS were developed to provide more freedom to do activities (such as sports, gardening, cleaning, or bike riding), and give the appearance of a skirt. I hear that many male tennis players from Scotland prefer wearing SKILTS for the same reason . . .

6. Hebrew scripture: TORAH. Another Moe-ku: (sort of)

World War II movie remake:
Jews plan surprise attack on Hitler
OK, hope that one doesn't get me in too much trouble . . .

7. __ acid: AMINO.

8. Toulouse title: Abbr.: MME. More Frawnch ... abbr. for MadeMoisellE; translated as "miss" or an unmarried woman. Interesting find on the Internet from 2012: French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has ordered all regional and local governments to remove the title “Mademoiselle” -- used for unmarried women and implying a youthful immaturity -- from official documents

9. Brief intervals: SECS. Another Moe-ku:

HBO remake
That features only "quickies":
SECS in the City
10. Arch support: INSOLE. These:

11. More likely to give: MEEKER.

12. Pretend to be: POSE AS. Some folks would say that Chairman Moe tries to POSE AS a blogger . . .

14. Two-spread sandwiches, for short: PBJS. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches. I still eat 'em. Love them on toasted rye bread . . .

18. Sufficient: AMPLE. My blogs and use of pictures and ku's are more than AMPLE! ;^)

20. Yiddish cries: OYS. Probably muttered by several readers here after my Moe-ku for 6-Down

22. Travel here and there: ROAM. Wasn't this a BIG HIT once upon a time? Dion DiMucci ROAMed around around around

23. Coop collections: EGGS. At first I thought this was CO-OP, not COOP ...

24. Son of Zeus and Hera: ARES. ARES is the god of war, one of the Twelve Olympian gods and the son of Zeus and Hera.

25. Ill. neighbor: WISC. Home of the Cheeseheads (aka, Packer Fans)

29. Run out of juice: DIE. One of my "go-to" Karaoke songs . . . wait for the final line

31. Vehicle for some '60s trips: LSD. This was another vehicle for some '60's trips that could've fit the clue:

32. Fed on: ATE. Crossword fill

33. Depressing: SAD. Can you even imagine Chairman Moe being SAD??!

35. Napoleonic Code part: LOI. WAG and perp. Learning moment . . . and more Frawnch . . . LOI is French for "law". The Napoleonic Code (as a rule of laws) was established in 1804 and is in use today - with several amendments

36. Swearing-in custom: OATH. Only a Stooge could find this clip

37. Birdbrain, or an extinct bird: DODO. DODO as in rhyming with MOE MOE. Birdbrain? Moi?

38. Claim with confidence: AVER. More crossword-ese

39. Confusion result: MESS. Our character agrees

40. Home to the van Eycks' "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb": GHENT. Wikipedia has more info

41. Rhine siren: LORELEI. LORELEI (aka Loreley) is legendary German siren (often depicted with a mermaid tail), who was created by Clemens Brentano in 1801.

42. Europe's Bay of __: BISCAY. Bordering France, Iberia, and the Atlantic Ocean. It's known for its rough seas and violent storms and much of this is thanks to its exposure to the Atlantic ocean. ... Swell waves can be felt in the Bay of Biscay if you're still in deep water 100 miles out. See map below

43. Chant: INTONE. An example, courtesy of Monty Python

44. Record setters: GREATS. Moe-ku, and more WISC humor:

Trio of Cheeseheads
Shred six pounds in two minutes
The GREATS of all time
45. "And all that beauty, all that wealth __ gave ... ": Gray: E'ER. We almost always see EER clued as a contraction of EVER; rarely do we see it as a suffix, as in MountainEER

46. Remove with difficulty: PRY OFF. Hungry Homer

49. "My Lord!": OH GOD. Remember the movie?

50. Wanton gazes: LEERS. Another Moe-klu:

At Chinese Rest'rant
Diners heard soup was gone and
Had Wonton gazes
51. Story to spin: YARN. When I tried to spin a story to my kids when they were growing up they'd just yaWn! ;^)

53. Soviet news agency: TASS. Lots to learn at this Wiki site

56. Sgt., e.g.: NCO. Sgt as in Sergeant. NCO as in Non Commisioned Officer. I hear that when ex-Sergeants become civilians and go to work as a car salesman, they prefer to be paid a salary . . .

58. "What's the __?": DIF. Is it DIF or DIFF? Or both? I'm outta touch, but how about a "what's the DIFF Gif"?

59. Sinus doc: ENT. Ear Nose & Throat doctor's (aka, an Otolaryngologist) are among the highest paid medical specialists - see chart below

60. Unnamed degree: NTH. Unlike the degree I graduated college with (a B.A.), though I'm sure many of you would've thought it was a "B.S."!!

Here is the grid, and thanks again David for a fun and frantic Friday puzzle. Please add your thoughts and comments ...

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