Thursday October 27, 2022, Michael Lieberman




Today veteran constructor Michael Lieberman (NYT & LAT) presents us with a simple theme, consisting of the names of 4 major businesses, each truncated by one letter and enclosed in circles in the long fills.  And for those who didn't see it coming he then reveals his game with this pair of recursive clues: 

57A. With 62-Across, matters left to settle, and what can be found in each set of circled letters?: UNFINISHED & 62. See 57-Across: BUSINESS.  (do I hear some yawns from AnonymousDNLC?).

Here are the themers, short and sweet:

16A. 100% guaranteed: IN THE BAG EBAY.

19A. Trade an aisle seat for a window seat, say: SWAP PLACESAPPLE

31A. Many night owls, in the morning: LATE SLEEPERSTESLA.

41. Doomsday prophecy: THE END IS NEARDISNEY.

Here's the grid:

Now let's see if we can complete the rest of this business:


1. "American Idol" network: ABC

4. Mayberry boy: OPIE.  A small town boy who made good.   Here's Ron Howard telling Colbert that after all these years he still has problems with authority figures:

8. Add to a website, as a video: EMBED.  E.g. the video of Ron Howard in the previous clue.  I've found that the easiest (and most reliable) way to do this in Blogger is with the YouTube Share/Embed method.  Contact me if you're interested in the details.

13. Florida, to the Keys: MAINLAND.  Our community has a number of friends in Florida (constructors, bloggers, and solvers) who were severely impacted by hurricane Ian.  Please keep them in your prayers.

15. Twisted: GNARLY.  This is one of those words that has been twisted into several different meanings

17. Put the blame on: ACCUSE.

18. "Top Chef" judge Simmons: GAILGail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Since the show's inception in 2006, she has lent her extensive expertise as a permanent judge on BRAVO's Emmy-winning series Top Chef.
Gail Simmons

21. "The Baby-Sitters Club" author __ M. Martin: ANNThe Baby-Sitters Club (also known as BSC) is a series of novels written by Ann M. Martin and published by Scholastic between 1986 and 2000, that sold 176 million copies.  Martin wrote the first 35 novels in the series, but the subsequent novels were written by ghostwriters.  The novels are about a group of friends who live in the fictional, suburban town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut, who run a local babysitting service called "The Baby-Sitters Club".  The novels also spawned off a TV series and a film.
Ann M. Martin

22. "In __": Nirvana's last studio album: UTEROIn Utero is the third and final studio album by American rock band Nirvana, released on September 21, 1993.  Curt Cobain committed suicide a year later.  Here's Pennyroyal Tea from the album, planned as a single prior to Cobain's death, released in 2014, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales Chart (click ...more for lyrics).

23. Be in arrears: OWE.

24. Long tales: SAGAS.

26. Hi-fi spinners: LPSLong Playing Records.  They're back!  CD's are old hat. 

28. Fitness revolution?: LAP.  Or a place for a CAT to NAP?

36. Ranch unit: ACREOUNCE was too long.

39. Campaign manager?: AD REP.  Well somebody has to keep track of all that cash being pumped into CAMPAIGNS and make sure that it gets thoroughly washed.

40. "Never Feed a __ Spaghetti": rhyming board book: YETI.  Looks like a great Christmas gift  for your two year olds.

44. Unruly crowd: MOB.  We've been HEARING quite a lot about one of these over the last year.

45. L.A. school: USC.

46. Concert souvenirs, for short: MERCH.

50. Actress Thurman: UMA.  She has her own STAR on the CROSSWORD WALK OF FAME, but Hollywood still hasn't called her yet.

52. Mixer at a bar: TONIC.

56. Fury: IRE.

60. Norse god with raven messengers: ODIN.   Hugin and Munin  are two ravens in Norse mythology who are helping spirits of the god ODIN, a self-centered "Wanderer" who prowled about his ancient kingdom as a relentless seeker after and giver of wisdom, but with little regard for communal values such as justice, fairness, or respect for law and convention. 

In modern times another fictional ODIN lived in the Antipodes of Southern Australia and was his Northern counterpart's exact opposite: a kind, gentle, generous soul who at a young age lost his mother in a car accident, and promised her as she lay dying that he would do everything he could to keep her children together.  His story is told via the genre of magical realism in the TV series The Gods of Wheat Street   and stars Maori actors in all of the major roles.  Streaming on ACORN:

61. Shortcoming: DEFECT.

64. Scramble alternative: OMELET.  As least Michael's BUSINESSES weren't scrambled.

65. Handel work: ORATORIO.  While Handel's best known oratorio is Messiah, he wrote many others, including the great work Solomon, based on the biblical stories of the wise Jewish king who built the first Temple in Jerusalem circa 1000 B.C.  Probably the most recognizable section of this piece is the interlude The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.  If you just happened to catch the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, it was played as James Bond (Daniel Craig) went to meet Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.  If you didn't, here it is performed by The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields led by Sir Neville Mariner (3:17 min):

66. Junction points: NODES.

67. Cellist Ma: YOYO.  Much more than just the world's greatest living cellist, Yo-Yo Ma is also a world class impresario dedicated to bringing great musicians together to play great music.  That's easy to say, but selecting from his extensive catalogue of collaborations is not so easy.  In this one, appropriate for the holiday season that will soon be upon us, he plays pizzicato cello to vocalist Alison Krauss' performance of The Wexford Carol:    

68. Oft-redacted ID: SSN.  There's a whole lotta redactin' going on these days.  Seems like everybody's got something to hide ... :


1. Spanish friends: AMIGAS.  Today's Spanish lesson.

2. Split fruit: BANANA.  In 1904, the first banana split recipe was made in Latrobe, Pennsylvania by David Strickler, an apprentice pharmacist at a local drug store.  Here it is.
All American Banana Split

3. Using as an example: CITING.  I got writer's block on this one.  I just couldn't come up with an example to CITE.

4. Cheer for un gol: OLE.

5. Blue Ribbon beer: PABSTPabst Blue Ribbon, commonly abbreviated PBR, is an American lager beer sold by Pabst Brewing Company, established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1844 and currently based in San Antonio. Originally called Best Select, and then Pabst Select, the current name comes from the blue ribbons tied around the bottle neck between 1882 and 1916.

6. Amazed: IN AWE.  Like 60A ODIN this bit of crosswordese has deep roots in the Old Norse language and earlier.

7. Mystery award: EDGAR.  The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly called the Edgars, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America, based in New York City.  Named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849), a pioneer in the genre, the awards honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theater published or produced in the previous year. 

is buried in Baltimore. The reports of his death at the time were slanderous and false and were later found to be written pseudonymously by a rivalPOE is also the name of the Baltimore Ravens' mascot.
Edgar Allan Poe

8. Fence off: ENCLOSE.  The herd of deer living in our back yard forced us to ENCLOSE our garden with an 8' fence.

9. Chatty bird: MACAW.  I think this review could use a bit of color and here's everything you need to know about it.
10. "Enter the Dragon" star: BRUCE LEE.  I've decided to blog him only every third time I come up against him in a puzzle.

11. Otherwise: ELSE.

12. Goes green?: DYES.

14. Org. with many left-wingers and right-wingers: NHL.  Everything you need to know about ice hockey politics.

15. Empty space: GAP.  As in [ ]

20. Hay fever cause: POLLEN.

22. Forever stamp letters: USA.  A hedge against inflation?

25. Protected, at sea: ALEE.

27. Cacio e __: simple pasta dish: PEPE.  Today's Italian lesson: "Cheese and Pepper".  I'll bet even I could make it.

29. Field for Alice Neel and Kara Walker: ARTAlice Neel (January 28, 1900 – October 13, 1984) was an American visual artist, who was known for her portraits depicting friends, family, lovers, poets, artists, and strangers. Her paintings have an expressionistic use of line and color, psychological acumen, and emotional intensity. Her work depicts women through a female gaze, illustrating them as being consciously aware of their objectification by men and the demoralizing effects of the male gaze.  She has 75 works currently being exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Kara Elizabeth Walker (born November 26, 1969) is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, filmmaker, and professor who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity in her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes. Walker was awarded a MacArthur fellowship in 1997, at the age of 28, becoming one of the youngest ever recipients of the award. 

In 1999 the Detroit Institute of Art removed her "The Means to an End: A Shadow Drama in Five Acts" (1995) from an exhibition entitled "Where the Girls Are: Prints by Women from the DIA's Collection" when African-American artists and collectors protested its presence:
The Means to an End: A Shadow Drama in Five Acts
Kara Walker 1995

30. Trident-shaped letter: PSI.   PSI is used in Quantum Physics to represent the wave function describing the wave characteristics of a particle.  A CSO to any of the Corner's engineers or scientists who could explain this better in layman's terms (if that's even possible!). 
PSI is also used as a general symbol for parapsychology, the study of alleged psychic phenomena (extrasensory perception, telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis (also called telekinesis), and psychometry) and other paranormal claims, which are usually dismissed by mainstream scientists as pseudoscience. 

However, if you're open to the possibility that there might be something to some of this stuff, I'd recommend that you explore the writings of Dr. Ian Stevenson (1918 to February 8, 2007) who was a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia and did worldwide case studies of evidence for re-incarnation.  For your convenience I've extracted a YouTube video from the above link of a 30 minute lecture given in 2002 by Dr. Stevenson to the UVA medical community, subtitled "Children Who Remember Past Lives"  (also the title of this book).

32. Small amounts: TADS.

33. Decrees: EDICTS.

34. Soon-to-be alums: SRS.

35. Ritual flammable pile: PYRE.  This brings us back full circle to 60A re the Norse God ODIN, who in Richard Wagner's The Twilight of the Gods has, through his own selfishness failed to prevent the destruction of his kingdom.  In the climactic scene, the heroine Brunhilde, bereft at the murder of her husband and hero Siegfried, mounts her horse and plunges onto his funeral PYRE, the conflagration finally destroying all of Valhalla (7 min with subtitles).

36. 20s dispenser: ATMHow Automated Teller Machines work and how to use them.

37. John who plays Sulu in recent "Star Trek" films: CHOJohn Cho (born Cho Yo-Han; June 16, 1972) is an American actor known for his roles as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films, and Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek rebooted film series.
John Cho

38. Brushed aside: REBUFFED

42. Subtle distinctions: NUANCES.   A crossword constructor's stock-in-trade. 

43. World's largest theater chain: AMC. Founded in 1920, AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. is an American movie theater chain founded in Kansas City, Missouri and now headquartered in Leawood, Kansas. Here's what's playing at ...

47. Uber patrons: RIDERS.

48. Turning point: CRISIS.  I think we're at one.

49. "Hidden Figures" star Taraji P. __: HENSONHidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film, loosely based on the 2016 non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, about African American female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson.  Here's the trailer:

51. High-end German vacuum brand: MIELE.  My original riff on this was "In a MIELE, no one can hear you scream", but Teri assured me that it had nothing to do with the movie Alien.  She provided me with this MIELE guide to vacuum cleaners.  I hope you can find one that doesn't suck your budget dry.

53. "Here we go": OH BOY. Purely perps.  A bit sexist?

54. Logical opening?: NEURO.  As in neurological.

55. "In my opinion ... ": I'D SAY.  And as Teri will tell you, I often do.

57. Thick noodle: UDON.

58. "Finding Dory" fish: NEMO.   Dory is a Royal Blue TangNemo is a Clownfish.

59. Derby-sporting Addams: ITTEverything you want to know about Cousin ITT.  I think he might have a neurological problem.

60. Artist Yoko: ONO.  Here's her "Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Her" from Lennon and Ono's Double Fantasy album (lyrics):

63. "Who am __ judge?": I TOA famous quote by Jorge Mario Bergoglio in response to a question posed by reporters on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome in 2013.  It delighted some on one side of the aisle and shocked those on the other.
Pope Francis
Bishop of Rome


As always, thanks to Teri for proof reading and for her constructive criticism.


Michael Lieberman, you are invited to post anything you'd like to share about this puzzle, its evolution, the theme, or whatever, in the Comments section below.  We'd love to hear from you.

Notes from C.C.:

Happy 75th birthday to Boomer! Thank you so much for the cards and notes you've sent to him. I'm saving them and will read to him when things get tougher. 
This picture was taken in 2003. The guy on the left is Tim, Boomer's old Graybar colleague.
May, 2003