Friday, June 2, 2023, Joe Deeney

Theme: I am [approximately] clueless

This seems like one of those days where if you spotted me the "C" and the "A", I couldn't spell "CAT"

Puzzling thoughts:

As a blogger for the Crossword Corner for some three years now, I thought I had developed some sort of "sixth sense" that allows me to solve the puzzle, and then come up with a witty review to explain how everything meshed. Perhaps it is fitting, then, that today's puzzle marks my last blog/recap until mid-August. Don't panic. Moe will be back . . . But honestly? I need a break. I had no clue what this puzzle was trying to describe/define/make fun of/etc

Normally in a situation like this, I would accede to one of my other blogger peers and ask for some help. But you know what? I am going to try to figure this out as I ramble along in my blog ... so let's take these five "across" answers - one at a time - and see if I/we can solve this. And if not? I will look forward to hearing from my LAT Crossword Community in the comments section below ... I did manage to fill in the grid with correct letters and no cheats, if that's any consolation ... ;^)

18-across. Middle, approximately?: FUZZY NAVEL. So the word "approximately" shows up in each of the clues for the five longest answers (entries). By definition, "approximately" means: "imprecise but fairly close to correct". Would that imply - in this example - that the word "FUZZY" means imprecise, and NAVEL means in the middle? As in, your NAVEL is about in the middle of your body? IIRC, a drink called a FUZZY NAVEL was pretty popular back in the '60's and '70's ... maybe the next entry won't be quite so FUZZY ...

27-across. Sequence, approximately?: GENERAL ORDER. GENERAL = approximately? As an adjective, I found this word to mean "indefinite". ORDER - yeah, I can see that relating to sequence - as in, putting things in ORDER ... which of course immediately caused my brain to go into full Moe-l'ick (limerick) mode:

I like putting my blog into sequence,
Every two weeks; which is my frequence.
Sometimes I'm prepared;
But I never get scared:
Doing so would just give a false pretense

35-across. Straight, approximately?: BALLPARK FRANK. Hmm ... I may be solving this as I continue ... 'cause, guess what? The word "BALLPARK" means approximate; as in a "ballpark" figure. And the word "FRANK" (again, as an adjective) means: "characterized by directness in manner or speech; without subtlety or evasion". [dictionary dot com] Could it be this simple? As an aside, FRANK is also a man's nickname (Francis). Just as Shirley is a woman's name. Which, or course, made Moe think of this classic clip:

I bet you thought I was going to show one of these, instead ...

44-across. Right, approximately?: LOOSE FITTING. LOOSE = approximately (adjective, meaning not officially recognized or controlled); right (adjective, meaning being precisely fitting and right). This prompted a Moe-ku:

Clever tailor gave
An underweight customer

57-across. Quarters, approximately?: ROUGHHOUSE. OK, I think I've got it!! ROUGH = approximate - similar to BALLPARK - as in a ROUGH estimate. HOUSE = quarters (a noun) as in "housing" - he found quarters for his family to live in, or something like that. Monetarily, a quarter = "two bits", so "four-bits" would = 50 cents - as in this old Roger Miller classic:

Well damn! All I had to do was talk it out, and voila! The puzzle now makes sense ... Joe Deeney, a frequent contributor to published crossword puzzles, gave us a Friday-worthy puzzle after all. And all of the punned phrases are common language! Which of course led to me thinking of yet another one that may or may not have been in contention: "Tryst, approximately?:" CLOSE ENCOUNTER

Here is the grid, completely, not approximately, filled in:

1. Shea successor: CITI. As in the ballfield in the Queens, NY; home of the Mets

5. Requirements for some new jobs, briefly: RELO'S. How about another Moe-ku?

When picked-up autos
Are shipped for auction, are these
RELO'S for repo's?

10. Bunch: SLEW. No one ever has said the words, "Don't get your panties in a SLEW!"

14. Soba alternative: UDON. This clue would also work if SOBA was the answer; "UDON alternative: SOBA"

15. Facetious target of a series of guides: IDIOT. Are you calling me an IDIOT??!! Well, maybe as it applied to me with today's puzzle. But this clue is meant for one of two series of guide books, entitled The Complete IDIOT'S Guide ... The other being, ... for Dummies. I wonder if there is a Crossword Puzzles for Dummies book I could purchase ... oh, wait a second, there is!!

16. Film princess who says, "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought": LEIA. As said to Han Solo before escaping to the Millennium Falcon

17. Chap, in British slang: BRUV. I am seeing this word more often; it's a common term of expression in the Apple TV+ series, Ted Lasso

20. Start of an old boast: "I CAME ... ". My "boast" du jour is: "I CAME, I saw, I finally figured it out ..."

22. "That's amazing!": I LOVE IT!.

23. South American barbecue: ASADO. I am still confused about this ... is it asadA or asadO? Maybe Lucina can help explain, because after reading this, I still have questions ...

24. Slushy drinks: ICEES. ICEES, only because Margaritas didn't fit

26. Cartoonist Chast: ROZ. This lady

30. Middle of a valley?: ELS. Not ELS like the golfer, Ernie; ELS like the two letters in the middle of the word, "valley"

31. Abbey area: APSE. A bit of a stretch, maybe? An abbey refers to the entire building "footprint" of a monestery. I usually think of APSE as a recess in a church or chapel ... but regardless, it is crossword-ese, IMO

32. Prefix with male or female: CIS. As in "cis-gender". A “cis” person is a person who was assigned a gender and sex at birth that they feel comfortable with. Typically, cis men are men who were assigned male at birth and feel that the words "man" and "male" accurately describe who they are. I guess that I should add the words "HE/HIM" to my blogger profile ... CIS, boom, bah

40. French chum: AMI. My daughter's name is AMY, but she speaks little, if no, French

41. Heart: CORE. "Coeur" is the French word for heart. If I had to guess, the word "CORE" probably comes from the French language

42. Enthusiasm: VIM.

49. Oakland-to-Palo Alto dir.: SSE. Palo Alto is also the home to Stanford University

52. Fantasy author Canavan: TRUDI.

53. Goes to press?: IRONS. Ha Ha!

54. Place with crude buildings?: OIL TOWN. Interesting play-on-words ... the answer could've been this had it been clued differently

56. Hockey Hall of Famer Cam: NEELY. An old Boston Bruin methinks. Perhaps Wilbur Charles can provide us with a few Cam NEELY stories?

60. Whipped up: MADE. "whipped up" is an expression I use for when I make/MADE drinks (frozen Margaritas, perhaps?)

62. Back talk, in slang: 'TUDE. Note the apostrophe I put into the answer ... short for attiTUDE

63. Land parcels: ACRES. I think that Friday puzzles should have fewer than 8 clues that lead you to a logical and/or easy answer

64. "Inspiration Information" musician Shuggie: OTIS. I guess that OTIS Redding and OTIS the elevator guy are passe ... See 63-across comment ... here is a snapshot of Shuggie OTIS:

65. Salchow kin: AXEL. An ice-skating term for a type of jump/spin

66. Hues: TONES. See 63-across comment

67. Set components: REP'S. As in, how many REPitionS one can do during a workout, perhaps?

1. Little lion: CUB. I've blogged a puzzle that featured baby animal names ... here are a few of the adult animals who raise cubs: Lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!); plus leopards, jaguars, raccoons, and badgers. Badgers? We don't need no stinking badgers!! [with apologies to Mel Brooks and the hombres from Blazing Saddles]

2. Voice of Chief Bogo in "Zootopia": IDRIS ELBA.

3. Colorful cereal mascot: TOUCAN SAM. Quite the parallel partner to 2-down; TOUCAN SAM was featured on the box of Froot Loops. Here is an older pic:

4. Enter aggressively: INVADE. As opposed to "enter approximately, perhaps? (the answer to 34-down: SKINNY DIP)

5. Teeming (with): RIFE. What would a Moe-blog be without a visit from our Thesaurusaurus?

6. End of an academic address: EDU. If there were a school of higher learning called "Eastern Delaware University", might their url be ""?

7. Truss who was very briefly U.K. prime minister in 2022: LIZ.

8. Like molasses, vis-à-vis water: OOZIER.

9. Straightened, say: STYLED.

10. Pole, e.g.: SLAV.

11. Fixture in some voting booths: LEVER. "More viscous" didn't fit

12. Singalong quintet: EIEIO. "Old MacDonald had a farm, ...."

13. Ballroom dance: WALTZ. Samba, rumba, mambo, and tango also fit

19. Snout: NOSE. Yet, another Moe-ku:

An inquisitive
Aardvark, turned carnivore,
Had a NOSE for gnus

21. Upstanding: MORAL.

23. Spend time in a cellar, perhaps: AGE. Once upon a time, Moe had a 600+ bottle wine cellar. Many of these wines needed a bit or a lot of AGE to improve. Now, Moe doesn't buy green bananas ...

24. "Casablanca" role: ILSA. RICK fit; SAM didn't

25. Put the squeeze on: COERCED. A "softened" clue for a forceful word

28. Google Play purchase: APP. Apple phone purchase would've been an acceptable clue, too

29. LG rival: RCA. For as old as this brand is, RCA seems to find its way into the modern x-word puzzles; a lot

33. Sacrosanct: INVIOLATE. Another Thesaurussaurus visit?

34. Barely get wet?: SKINNY DIP. Cute! And for those who enjoy a good Florida-based mystery novel, try reading this book, by Carl Hiaasen

36. One of the "Rugrats" twins: LIL. Can you tell them apart?

37. U.N. head between Boutros and Ban: KOFI. "KOFI Atta Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize". [wikipedia] Moe's "alter ego" used his entire name in an x-word puzzle entitled "Parking Spaces" - see 19-across

38. Planner abbr.: FRI. MON, TUE, WED, THU, SAT, and SUN also fit

39. Adjust an ascot: RETIE. How to tie an ascot? View below:

43. Booker T.'s band: MGS. My favorite; "Green Onions". Enjoy!

45. Letters before a fresh take: OTOH. Interesting clue for this - "on the other hand" is sometimes said (or texted) when someone wants to offer a "fresh take" on a topic

46. Flip response to an ultimatum: OR WHAT?.

47. Official fuel of NASCAR: SUNOCO. All you need to know about SUNOCO racing fuel

48. Quake aftershock: TREMOR.

49. "Yes and no": SORTA. Another synonym for "approximately", perhaps?

50. Dakota Natives: SIOUX. Moe-ku:

Johnny Cash hit song
For Dakota Natives is
Called: "A Boy Named SIOUX"

51. Get away from: ELUDE. Can you ELUDE C-Moe blogs for a couple of months?

55. Neutrogena shampoo: T-GEL. this

56. Storied loch: NESS. Also the name of the fictional "monster"

58. Inspiration for Keats: URN. "Ode on a Grecian URN"

59. Date: SEE. Are you SEEing anyone? Not I. Margaret and I are past our "dating" period, although we do still enjoy occasional "date" nights

61. Double curve: ESS.

Well, that's it folks ... for awhile anyway ... to whomever is going to pinch-hit for C-Moe, "tag, you're it!!" I know you'll be equally entertained with their recaps. See you in approximately two months ...