Thursday, January 6, 2022, Jeffrey Wechsler


Same Clue, Different Vibes

The Flight of the Bumblebee

Rimsky Korsakov 

Jeffrey Wechsler visits us today with another reveal-less theme (but you can definitely hear it) based on acoustic signals we receive from different sources (see 61A for a film clip that touches on this theme as well).  The themers may look simple, but coming up with 4 grid spanners that all answered the same 4 letter clue could not have been simple.

17A. Buzz: NOISE MADE BY BEES.  The world may be on the cusp of the tragic answer to Shakespeare's eternal question, "To bee or not to bee", but on the lighter side here are a lot of bad bee puns.
Bee on clover

25A. Buzz: WORD ON THE STREET.  There's a song about this with the lyric, "What's the buzz, tell me what's happening", but I'll leave the googling to you.

44A. Buzz: ASTRONAUT ALDRINBuzz Aldrin; (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.; January 20, 1930) is an American former astronaut, engineer and fighter pilot. He made three spacewalks as pilot of the 1966 Gemini 12 mission, and, as Lunar Module Eagle pilot on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two people to land on the Moon. He is the last surviving crew member of Apollo 11.  Anybody remember the name of the guy they left in orbit?
Buzz Aldrin

57A. Buzz: MILITARY HAIR CUT.  We live about 30 miles from the Naval Academy and every June the Baltimore Sun publishes a picture like this:
I don't know what this guy is thinking, but here's what he's hearing.  You don't have to listen to all of it, but he does.

And I will have nothing to say about all the BUZZ that started exactly one year ago today.


1. Star-crossed: HAPLESS. An illustrator for the Baltimore Sun was HAPLESS enough to have the surname HAZARD (his given name was Charles).  When he showed up for his first day of work there, his colleagues promptly nicknamed him "Hap" Hazard.  His illustrations graced the Sun for many years, before he died in  2018.  Here are a just few of his many drawings:
Illustrations by Charles "Hap" Hazard
Hap's mother Stella, was a fellow parishioner of ours.  She also worked for the Baltimore Sun and became its first woman Art Editor.  She was a world class oil painter, portraitist, and medical illustrator and died at the age of 104.

8. Enhanced the recipe with: ADDED IN.

15. "Invisible Man" author: ELLISONRalph Ellison, in full Ralph Waldo Ellison, (born March 1, 1914, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.—died April 16, 1994, New York, New York), American writer who won eminence with his first novel (and the only one published during his lifetime), Invisible Man (1952).
I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.
- Ralph Ellison

16. Always raring to fight: WARLIKE.  The planet MARS is named for the Roman God of WAR, ARES in Greek.  It's no coincidence that the two moons of Mars are called Deimos ("dread") and Phobos (fear").

19. Increase, with "up": STEP.  See also 34A used as a vowel.

20. Org. monitoring insecticides: EPA.  See 17A.

21. Vex: EAT AT.

22. Sideline advisers: COACHES.

33. Tickle: AROUSE.

34. Rock box: AMPAmplifier, something that increases the flow of sound.  Also AMP, short for AMPERE, a unit of electrical current flow as defined by Ohm's law.

35. Marathon Petroleum brand: ARCO.

36. "The spring is __ when green geese are a-breeding": Shak.: NEAR.  From "Love's Labours Lost" Act I.  From this precis for the Act I:  "After vowing to avoid women, the King and three of his friends have to host a princess and her three ladies. The four men fall in love and decide to court the women. In the end, the women must return to their kingdom for a year after which they will marry the king and his friends, providing they remain true to them."  Well you know that'll never work!  Hmm, sounds a lot like the plot of Mozart's "Così fan tutte".   Here's the overture.

37. Intuitively grasp, in slang: GROK.  This word entered our language in 1961, courtesy of Sci-Fi author Robert Heinlein.  Grokking is an essential skill for cruciverbalists.

38. Calculated intake: DOSE. See 39A for just what the doctor ordered for the ABA-NBA merger.

39. "Medical" sports nickname: DR JJulius Erving began his professional career in the American Basketball Association with the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets. Widely regarded as the greatest player of his time, he is often considered to have been the main catalyst for the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.
Julius Erving

42. Cuisine including jambalaya: CREOLEHere's a recipe

47. Calculated intake: RATIONS.  When my Mom grew up in WWII England, RATIONS were not just calculated, but requiredRationing was also required in the US.

48. West African capital: ACCRAAccra is the capital of Ghana, on the Atlantic coast of West Africa.

52. Bed for an unexpected guest, maybe: COT.

53. Puts out, in a way: TAGS.  Baseball.

61. Developing: IN UTERO.  This brings to mind ultrasounds (Hi Ray - O!).  And here's an interesting trailer for  a film about how In Extero sounds affect us In Utero.

62. Place to put your feet up: OTTOMAN.
63. Lowered: DEBASED.

64. Bygone employees of cautious royalty: TASTERS.  Food TASTERS were persons who ingested food that was prepared for someone else, to confirm that it was safe to eat.
Food Taster
Girolamo Romanino


1. Toothless farm denizens: HENS.  Today's French lesson:
Trois poules françaises
2. Plenty: A LOT.

3. Ballet motion: PLIE.  More French: "Fold"

4. Struggle with scissors?: LISP. Sylvester the Cat had this problem just two weeks ago.  LISP is also an early programming language designed for AI applications and characterized by (its (use (of  (lots (of (parentheses)))))).

5. Santa Fe-to-Dallas dir.: ESE.

6. 2013 Alice McDermott novel that was a National Book Award finalist: SOMEONE. Alice McDermott (born June 27, 1953) is an American writer and university professor (Hi Misty, hi OMK!). For her 1998 novel Charming Billy she won an American Book Award and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.  Someone: A Novel, is her seventh book of fiction.
Alice McDermott
7. Get testy with: SNAP AT.

8. Evoke an "ooh" from, maybe: AWE.  For example a reaction to New Years Eve fireworks:

9. Small application: DAB.  Or a puzzle by David Alfred Bywaters (an example of recursion (see also 4D above)).

10. Like a country at the bottom of a rainfall chart: DRYEST.   The DRIEST place on EarthDRYEST vs DRIER?

11. 2013 Mandela portrayer: ELBA.   In addition to being the tail end of a famous palindrome, and voted People Magazine's "sexiest man alive" in 2018, distinguished British actor Idris Elba had the privilege of portraying Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest heroes of the 20th Century, in the 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Idris Elba
12. Food regimen: DIET.

13. Swedish superstore: IKEA.
14. Hornet home: NEST.

18. Russian retreat: DACHA.

22. Trig. function: COS.  Today's math lesson:
23. Verbal pause: HEM.  and HAW.

24. Dubious ability: ESP.  The dubious idea that we may have more than 5 senses.

25. Sykes of "black-ish": WANDAWanda Yvette Sykes (born March 7, 1964) is an American actress, stand-up comedian, and writer. She was first recognized for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999.
Wanda Sykes
26. Treats with embossed surfaces: OREOS.

27. __ beast: holiday dinner in a Seuss classic: ROAST.  From How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Seuss' satire on the commercialization of Christmas:
28. Engraver Albrecht: DÜRERThis engraving by the German Renaissance master recently made big news:
The Virgin and Child with a Flower on a Grassy Bank

29. Persisted noisily, as a storm: RAGED.

30. Diamond flaw?: ERROR.

31. USDA concern: ECOLIGood, Bad, and Deadly.

32. Memento: TOKEN.

39. CSI stuff: DNA. DeoxyriboNucleic Acid.  DNA profiles  can be used to solve crimes by testing for matches of DNA found at the crime scene with that of the suspects.  The DNA  may be collected subsequent to a crime or identified from a DNA database of previous criminals or other persons.  DNA profiles are unique for everyone even for twins.

40. Snitch: RAT.

41. Like gossip worth spreading: JUICY.  See 25A.

42. Bach wrote one about coffee: CANTATA.  Some people may think that Bach was just a stuffy composer, but as a guy who had 20 children, he HAD to have had a sense of humor.  And it really comes out in his COFFEE CANTATA.  Here's just a cup:

43. "Kidnapped" monogram: RLSRobert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer.  Kidnapped is an historical fiction adventure novel written as a boys' novel and first published in the magazine Young Folks from May to July 1886.  Among his many other works was a collection of poetry called Songs of Travel.  Here is Ralph Vaughan Williams' setting of the poem Bright is the Ring of Words from that collection:

45. Speaks formally: ORATESShe certainly does!.

46. Likely to scald: TOO HOT.

48. Within: AMID.

49. With 50-Down, group for movie enthusiasts: CINÉ.  Ciné Clubs were groups formed to study the art of the film through the discussion or the actual making of films, particularly avant-garde or censored films (back in the day, we called them "art films"; nowadays they'd be called "indies").  These groups were also called "Film societies", a term that first appeared in France in 1907.

50. See 49-Down: CLUB.

51. Comic Rudner: RITA.  Here's Rita.  I think she's on to something ...

53. Bring (out): TROT.

54. Top: ACME.

55. __ gum: common thickening agent: GUAR.  Made from the Guar or Cluster bean.
Guar cluster bean
56. RR sched. components: STNS.

58. "__ we on for tonight?": ARE.  Sounds inviting ...

59. Dowel: ROD.

60. Repeated contraction in the '50s TV "Superman" intro: IT'S.  Played by George Reeves ...
Here's the grid:

And as always, thanks to Teri for proofreading and her constructive suggestions.