Friday, March 25, 2022, Jeffrey Wechsler

Title: Help, I have a DOC sticking up from my side! Am I covered by medicare?

I am back and so is Jeffrey for another Friday this time with a visual theme that is very creative but also a type not always appreciated here at the Corner. And frankly, it was not immediately apparent to me even after writing up so many of his efforts. My first notion was the removal of the letter OC from each of the long fill. That really made no sense with the reveal. I also had fixated on the down fill starting with COD.

Going back to look at the grid, it became clear these two concepts interesected. Add that observation to the never accidental use of the word UP, the reference to "direction," and the theme jumps out. You can see the words pivoting on the D

It features three themers and a reveal leaving much room for other sparkly fill - RESEALS, ATTUNES TO,  ENEMY LINE, LAUNCHPAD, OVERUNDER REST MODES and WORRISOME. To make his reveal work, he pairs three long across fill with three appropriate down fill which I will put together to finish the explanation. 

Themer 1:

17A. *Guide for Smithsonian visitors, say: MUSEUM DOCENT.(10). Is DOCENT a known word? Certain to a curator like JW, but you? Paired with: 9D. Indulge: CODDLE.  This is the up DOC to which the reveal refers, as each long theme answer has DOC sticking out and going up.

Themer 2:

22A. *Ken Burns specialty: DOCUMENTARY FILM (13). KEN is quite famous for his work. His CIVIL WAR and Baseball films are great. This is paired with: 16D. Eccentric old guys: CODGERS. My hand is up not down the front of my pants. The second of the reverse DOC going up.

Themer 3:

42A. *Southeast Asian colonial region dismantled in 1954: FRENCH INDOCHINA (13). As a child of the 50s and 60s I was very aware of the French pull out of the area and involvement of the US to "preserve" the region. This may be a factoid lost in the miasma of aging. Paired with: 39D. Fish-and-chips fish: COD. When we eat out, this is often my meal of choice, especially now that my red meat intake is limited. It does make me wonder why it is called a COD PIECE? The third and last DOC going up.

The reveal: 49A. Classic Looney Tunes tagline offering some "direction" in solving the starred clues: WHAT'S UP DOCI am sure the world has heard Bugs Bunny say:
The grid to get the "picture." 

Now we are ready for the rest of the story:


1. Earth, for one: ORB. And, 19A. Food scrap: ORT. I love this start!

4. Dred Scott decision Chief Justice: TANEY. Even after C.C. foreshadowed this very famous and awful decision by the SCOTUS,  it took my brain too long to pull out the name of this controversial man who served for 28 years. Incidentally, he was from Maryland and a Roman Catholic. Remind anybody of anybody? JK Bill.

9. Leg section: CALF. I never thought of ordering a thigh and a calf.

13. Two-digit sign: VEE. For victory.

14. Thrifty to begin with?: ECONO. A well worn prefix for inexpensive.

15. Central Plains tribe: OTOE. Many Os to begin this puzzles; this LINK is a glance at this word's xword history.

16. "__ la vie": C'EST. A very French phrase which can used in many different situations, from Frank Sinatra's THAT's LIFE to 

20. Hardly libertine: PRIM. I stumbled for a bit when I put in PRIG.

21. Pithy saying: ADAGE. Pithy goes back to the 1300s, "strong, vigorous," from pith meaning "full of substance or significance" is from 1520s. 

26. Fairy tale figures: GNOMES. In modern times they are lawn ornaments. Or a famous song, gnome, gnome on the range where the hobbits and the orcs do roam. The Online Etymology Dictionary LISTING for GNOME.

27. Mother __: LODE. Lucy is it likely this is a translation of Mexican Spanish veta madre, a name given to rich silver veins?

28. Money with hits: EDDIE. This is funny Money. He left us in 2019.

29. Retreats: LAIRS. From Roget. SYNONYMS.

31. Word with bonds or games: WAR. An all too real reference today.

34. Line holder: REEL. Fishing line.

35. Barely detectable: FAINT. The magic clue that solves the crime is often...

36. Tiny particle: MOTE. Likely from Dutch mot "dust from turf, sawdust, grit."

37. Future H.S. grads, probably: SRS. Seniors, hopefully.

38. Volcanic eruption sight: PLUME.

39. Nested supermarket array: CARTS. I never thought of them as nested. 

40. Nana: GRAN. Sunday, C.C. added Nai nai.

41. "Amen to that!": SO TRUE

45. Earth's volume?: ATLAS. Ha ha, a book- a volume about Earth. I like it.

47. Mandlikova of '80s tennis: HANA. She will always be remembered with NAVRATILOVA.  Hana's MEMORIES.

48. Mexican pinch?: SEL. More Mexico, this time the Spanish word for salt.

51. Office figure: BOSS. Often just a figurehead. Can you name them all? They have become...

52. Legends and such: LORE. We have had this word often lately.

53. Cloth-dyeing method: BATIK. I was dying to think of a pun but could not.

54. Pro using a siren,  perhaps: EMTEmeregency Medical Technician. Do all the drivers get licensed? I guess if not they would be...

55. Went after, in a way: SUED. IMO, the court system has become unwieldly and too expensive.

56. Objects of worship: IDOLS. As long as they are not GRAVEN? I guess photos are fine.

57. Earth opening?: GEO. Fun clue for the word that derived from the Greek,  earth, covering everything from GEODISIC domes to GEOMETRY. Also a nice way to end part I.


1. With 3-Down, sportsbook option based on the final score: OVERUNDER. 3D. See 1-Down: BET. This based on total points scored by both winning and losing teams and with it is greater than or less than. An important part of parlay betting.

2. Game system turnoff options: REST MODES. You need to leave it on just in case.

4. What a siren does: TEMPTS. An A-LIST of sirens. A deliberate use of siren after (54A) and its other meaning.

5. Lexus competitor: ACURA. Honda's luxury car.

6. Polite denial: NO SIR. Yes sir. No Ma'am, yes ma'am.

7. Combat demarcation point: ENEMY LINEBehind Enemy Lines is the name of a few movies, as well as the plot.

8. "__ busy?": YOU. You know I am, we all work hard of these write-ups. Geez, Louise! 

10. Starting players: A-TEAM. See 4D. 

11. Sleep-inducing, maybe, as a lecture: LONG. I had trouble with this as it seemed too easy.

12. Fancy party: FETE. Not a gala, or a ball. Made easy this week.

18. "Downton Abbey" personnel: MAIDS.

23. Man's name that becomes a measurement when one letter is moved: EMILMILE. I wonder if that is how Miley Cyrus got her name?

24. Once called: NÉE. Miley was born DESTINY HOPE CYRUS.

25. The Alamo, e.g.: FORT. Another deceptively simple clue/fill.

29. Starting point of many modern missions: LAUNCH PAD. A timely CSO to Husker Gary who I signed up for a future Blue Origin launch as a birthday surprise.

30. Intention: AIM. It is my intention to fulfill his dream of looking down on all Earth.

31. Unsettling: WORRISOME. I hope Joann does not find it so.

32. Puts in sync with: ATTUNES TO. Doing my part to improve your life here are my tips in a romantic relationship:
Listen before you speak. ...
Ask questions to understand. ...
Notice your partner's nonverbal cues. ...
Use validating statements. ...
Identify your triggers. ...
Feel and own your feelings. Or not.

33. Zips again, as a Ziploc bag: RESEALS. Why not rezip?

35. Rich dessert: FLAN. Where does Flan make its money? It is just custard, sort of. Speaking of which, there is a wiki sight English words suffixed with -tard

36. Subject with shapes: MATH. I prefer ART

38. First Amendment concern: PRESS. Freedom thereof...

40. Like Romano, often: GRATED. I have watched Everybody Loves Raymond a few times and thought he played a very irritating character, but he did not grate on my nerves.

41. Chips, say: SNACKS. Unless you are in Great Britain.

42. Emergency device: FLARE. Not to be confused with FLAIR, though both can be quite dramatic.

43. Couldn't not: HAD TO. The old double negative manuever.

44. How tuna may be packed: IN OIL. Or water, but not both at the same time for oils are hydrophobic (not homophobic) or “water fearing.” Instead of being attracted to water molecules, oil molecules are repelled by them.

45. Hole makers: AWLS. Almost a Shakespeare quote, AWLS WELL THAT ENDS WELL. 

46. "O Julius Caesar, __ art mighty yet!": Brutus: THOU. This  quote is uttered by Marcus Brutus as he stands over the dead bodies of Cassius and Titinius, another soldier who was fighting to kill Caesar. Brutus is suggesting even dead JC was able to bring retribution to the conspirators. And JW gets to bring us a quote from Act V, Scene 3.

50. Where, to Brutus: UBI. Just the Latin for where. You are not his chariot driver. As most of us who studied Latin for years, the fake phrase SEMPER UBI, SUB UBI was always good for a laugh.

51. Entreat: BEG. They did not beg for their lives but all committed suicide. Is suicide a cowardly act? Are you begging for mercy to be done with ths write-up? You win, Lemonade has left the building beaten and exhausted once more ridden around the mind of Jeffrey Wechsler at dizzying speeds needing to step back, regroup and soldier on.

I loved the challenge and look forward to all of your comments.

No grid here, see above.