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Puzzles for December, 2020
with Jim Horne comments

Tue 12/1/2020
MALICAPSGIANT
IMINHIREEMBAR
SOFTWARECOMPANY
OSTEENSTPRCAS
LAGOSAGEIST
OBSREPUBLIC
SOURTERINIFTY
HOMEFORECLOSURE
AMOCOACAIELAN
CONSORTSLPS
PAMELAOBITS
ADINTPKGALAGA
WHATMORECANISAY
NOTEDERINNINE
SCARSPSSTGAGS

When I got PRESSURE COOKERS down the middle, and then SOFTWARE COMPANY at 17 Across, I thought the theme was going to be "things that are examples of pressure cookers." :)

Wed 12/2/2020
OMENSTOADLGBT
HAYAOHAVEIRAN
SKETCHESOFSPAIN
NEWKEWWONOUT
AMEXRAFAELMID
PEAGRAVELMANO
RAILEDWRONGS
MEDSIRIS
EXCELSGRINDR
CFOSZEITGEIST
OILSHEESHFOCI
NOSOAPHERTEE
RIGHTTHISSECOND
ETNAHYDEFRUIT
DYEDARIASYSCO
POW Thu 12/3/2020
SAPSEPICROOT
CCUPMIDIPIANO
IONAMEANOCTET
FRIDAYTHEBTH
INNEROMITFLA
TRICKAPOLLOB
APEDOOMOPIATE
RINGUSUALPSST
MEDIANDIALHAS
OCEANSBGRIEF
REDDELIMARTS
UNLUCKYBREAK
DIDSONANANEMO
JCREWTRIPEZER
SEEDSETSREST
Fri 12/4/2020
CATTLETHIEFISM
AGORAPHOBIAGOO
MINISTERINGORE
PLOPSCASSETTES
YEWSMOTENEAL
VANISHANON
FANDANGOELPASO
EQUALTOGROOMED
SUMMERPLOTTERS
TABSALIENS
VEESANNSMUSS
AIRLIFTEDSANTA
ATTGRETAGERWIG
RAENATALIECOLE
PENSTOREFRONTS

I have a theory. Patti Varol waited this long to get an NYT byline just so she could snag Shortz Number 1000.

Sat 12/5/2020
SLIMJIMLIMBER
LINEEMUPIDEATE
UPSSTORETETRAD
GOYASDEGDEBIT
GUNSJEWELDELI
OTCTIREOUTQED
MOTHERNATURE
DEARTOGENIES
QUARTERRESTS
RLSERNESTOGOD
CLEMSELMASOBE
OPIUMTAISWOOP
DANCERILIKEDIT
EITHERDEVILISH
SNOOTSYESLETS

Brendan Emmett Quigley mentioned on Facebook that his identity was hidden in the grid. We've highlighted his Easter Egg.

Sun 12/6/2020 GET OUT OF HERE!
JAMSESHABACIABLEST
ALITTLEWEIRDOCLAMOR
BONECONTENTIONLATOYA
STDHARESETESDIJON
BLINISSTROKEGENIUS
ALLENSAYSOWAS
BOOKGENESISPEZBLAM
BOWSVOWELPRIDEPLACE
ANNPINEIRONSLIMES
IOTADESISTSUMBRA
STREAMCONSCIOUSNESS
AWAITEARTHENICKY
GOSSIPPAREBTUSDUI
FREECHARGEMRCUBPEGS
ADDSOUIRITEPASSAGE
ANGAMUSEPARSE
COMEDYERRORSAFLATS
HAUERREARICIERAID
ISTRIAFRAMEREFERENCE
CITIFYSALIVATREETOP
ASSETSTEXANHYDRANT

This is the second time this week we've seen ABACI clued as if they are counting devices. This seriously underplays their utility. With your abacus, you can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even square roots.

Mon 12/7/2020
MEMOINCAPESTS
OPECDEALEXPAT
WENTDOWNTHETUBE
SENORSTOOLROE
OPUSPOSTOP
CANIGETALIFT
OBISLICEFATED
METZFLEASNAPA
BLEAKLISTSXIS
PASSTHETORCH
COPSTOMOUE
OHOROBOTIGLOO
CASHINONESCHIPS
ORIONACRETEES
AETNATEMPAFRO
Tue 12/8/2020
WORKABOVEHARD
EXECDEVILASHE
TOFUDEEDSSTOP
PIERRESAUNA
OHMTRYTOOTTER
LEASESTATEST
DAKARMEADOW
POLAROPPOSITE
STELAEPLAIN
ANIICEEEYORE
RANDOSAMSASEW
RUNINKNICKS
ISITFINCHWARD
VEESINUREACER
EASYBELOWPLAY
Wed 12/9/2020
CRICKRBISBBC
NITROMOOLAOER
NOSIRATOLLIMO
SETTHEBARLOW
BITPARTREDHEAD
OBOEAHASFERNS
BENDOVERSOAP
ATENEWUSERLEE
DEALBACKWARD
GRIDSRAGUATOI
LETITBEGRAVEST
UNDERACHIEVE
TOOESTEEADMAN
EWWAROARIHOPE
INNKARTLIMBO
POW Thu 12/10/2020
GAPSSAYAHPTA
OKOKSOMALIION
SILICONCHIPNOT
ETAONTLETS
EARCANALURIAH
OXYGENSUPPLY
CYSTAUDIPEA
POMIRONMANLSD
AGEMARCMESA
SILVERBULLET
BLADETALKSHOP
JETTBAEAMI
ARECARBONDATED
MRSCHURROMEGA
BATSAGASPRAY
Fri 12/11/2020
DAMPSNUBSATRA
OBOETENETBRAN
WOOTEXTRAPOINT
DONTGETANYIDEAS
QUORUMZESTY
SPURTPEREZ
HEATHDERAILED
OAKLANDINONEGO
PREEMIESVAMOS
CLOTHEMOTE
ASAMIJOININ
SCRATCHANDSNIFF
POTTYHUMORUCLA
ERIEUTERITEAK
NEEDMUSESESTE
Sat 12/12/2020
IBMSHUSHPECS
MEATPACKEROTOH
SQUALLLINEMALI
UNBALANCELON
SEALYEFILING
TAKESAIMLIBEL
ATEDNAPROFILE
THATWASCLOSE
HOMERUNTROTS
UNDERSTOODLAP
NEEDSSTOPTIME
SUBJECTEAVED
ETARUSTEATEN
ARCSOPERACAPES
TALEPLEASERISE
SLEWEMMYSTSA

Jeff doesn't appreciate SQUALL LINE or ET ALIBI, but I like them both.

SQUALL LINE I happen to know. ET ALIBI is unfamiliar, but it's the kind of clue I love. The clue is [Latin for "and elsewhere."] The answer isn't immediately obvious (Latin isn't my prima lingua) but it has to start with ET (remember ET ALIA, ET AL?) and ALIBI is the perfect excuse. It literally means you can't be guilty because you were "somewhere else!" Once ET ALIBI comes to mind, you know it must be correct.

Sun 12/13/2020 CINÉMA VÉRITÉ
DANFLATCARCABIN
IMAMLONGOPOETEPOCH
SITEIONIALURESPOIL
RAIDERSOFTHELOSTARK
OBVIATEHINDSIROBOT
BLEATSUNSETBOULEVARD
EESOUTREYELPEGGS
CUTLABSAAH
RICOTTAPATRIOTGAMES
OSAYERGSPURNELICIT
ALTORIOTSSEOULDARE
NECTAROVERTRPIDREA
THEGODFATHERSMOLDER
ATAODININE
DAISMETACASTEAPP
ONTHEWATERFRONTSAVER
MYSOREONCUEEPISODE
HONEYISHRUNKTHEKIDS
CRETEALEEPANSYIDLE
HARESDEUSSPOOLNEET
INERTASPETNADRS
Mon 12/14/2020
ABBAABLYGAP
CARLFRIEDNABS
CLUELAMAROTAY
ELLEMACPHERSON
SEEACEWEIRDS
STEEDSANDRAOH
RATICEDNA
SAMANTHABEE
REPNEOROO
KAYHAGANASSAM
ORNATEABSHUE
WOMENOFLETTERS
DIVATROVEOHOH
AGESSERIFMERE
YSLSANSBRAD
Tue 12/15/2020
ATOZSPORTTOTE
PERETOTIEAIRY
CRIBUSOFACLUE
AROUNDTHEGLOBE
LOLASIWASADD
CREAKTHIRDRAJ
NEAITDPOTS
UNDERTHESUN
MINEGEONHL
ACCPEONSOPRAH
CELOARCROEVO
BEHINDTHETIMES
NOSESEEINPANT
SWANERASEADUE
ALMSASKMEDEED
Wed 12/16/2020
TOPSSKOSHPOSH
RHEATEPEEABLE
AIRCRAFTCARRIER
COSAMIPEEWEE
HAIRSPRAYSNAPS
ERSESCALENYY
ATTACHTWIRL
SCREENSAVER
HAITIREVOLT
AKCCROCSASEA
MERCKNEATFREAK
INAREAIIIADE
GOVERNMENTBONDS
ABETTOOTHINOT
SINESENSELEGO
Thu 12/17/2020
ACHYSCOTSAMMO
SMEEALBUMWISH
GISTBOOMERANGS
ANTIDOTELOKI
ROIIRSALLEGED
DRAFTPLIEOXO
ACHRAEALIT
BEETHOVENSFIFTH
URGENEGTED
FIGGOGOTAMIL
FERRERAMOAACU
OONADEFLATED
WILDEBEESTFLAW
IDLELEASERIGI
SOSOELFINONEG

A couple of music notes today (haha.) First, OBOE really is featured in Beethoven's Fifth, as Peter Schickele makes clear in this famous bit imagining how sportscasters might call the first movement.

More importantly, 4-Down is all the excuse I need to embed the official Love Like a Yeti video. Musicians aren't performing in front of audiences these days, but some friends and I got together in a socially-distant outdoor way to record this brilliant song by our drummer Jeremy Stone. Some of you may recognize ace crossword solver Jeff Brumley on bass.

Fri 12/18/2020
VIBESABANABET
OPENSESAMESEGO
CATCHASCATCHCAN
EDTALEKSALADS
ENDTSPTAU
CORERSEAHORSES
OSGOODATEEXE
SCENEOFTHECRIME
TATHADLOOTED
ARMCHAIRSNASTY
ORALITDDT
LOVATOVASEHEY
SHIVERMETIMBERS
ANNESCRUBNURSE
TOGSOASESBEER
POW Sat 12/19/2020
OTISAHEMMOTHS
NOLABELIKETHAT
TOLDCRIMESCENE
ORBITSZIPSRDA
ADIEUTACTROLL
SETSNUBRISES
TREASURETROVES
MAINTHEME
ABOUTTHEAUTHOR
CLOUDWILLORE
ODORBEARUTTER
HEMPURRTSETSE
ONEMANARMYTATA
STRIPSTEAKOKED
TESLAONCENESS
Sun 12/20/2020 TOY STORY
BAHTBUSSOREMSANS
IDEALANTIEPOXYERIC
BARBIEDOLLTAMAGOTCHI
IMSOMADINTHEMOOD
ROSASCAASPATES
HAMSETCHASKETCHTIME
APRCLAROAEIOUCECIL
SEPIASATLTRUETOKLM
ADORNTWISTERAZALEA
TOTEDOCALADOYLE
MANYCHRISTMASCOMA
TILEDSAYSOONEIL
BROCASPLAYDOHUSEME
AAHNLEASTSPAAPOLLO
SNEADTRASHINONEMON
STATCHATTYCATHYROWE
IODATEOPAIMDUE
ROSSPEROTSAMBAED
RUBIKSCUBESILLYPUTTY
ERRSNANASASEASTONE
FLAKARTYTHAWSPAR
Mon 12/21/2020
BLATHERPLAZA
ARCHIVALSAILOR
HOMEPAGECLEARS
ANEWMUMBOJUMBO
ETAOOOBAN
JIBBERJABBER
IRELIENYEARN
BAASEDGERFLOE
EQUALEVENTLC
GOBBLEDYGOOK
AHAVIACUB
BALDERDASHSEAM
USERIDEPIPHANY
TOXINSRANSACKS
SNAPSSAYWHAT
Tue 12/22/2020
HOSSANTICWADE
ARCHPAOLOAXEL
LARASHEERBLISS
FLANGEFALSIE
PGACLOUD
THERMOILSWINE
ROSIEWEDCONEY
ADULTSINANE
PAPAHAYDNEDGES
EMOJINEO
ASTROUSBCROSS
CHEERSHELDTO
HAPPYPLACEAWOL
OREORENEWNANA
ODESYOYOSDYER
Wed 12/23/2020
JULEPKAFKAREM
INALLINAIREGO
VISTALAUNCHWOW
EXTRNINGSHOSTS
SENTRIM
DQSTAMPEVERSO
RUESSAOCAREER
WEATHERBALLOONS
HEREONOBIWINO
ONSETSXENALAN
PEESEMT
ACCELTEARASDER
SLIDBREADZAIRE
HERANISEEMAIL
YOORANTSSILKY
Thu 12/24/2020
BASHAMBERSPIN
ARIALUIGIURDU
LETTHEGOODSROLL
MASTERSDIESEL
RATBALD
WAITSFORNOONE
CATCHEPICSORE
RISKSLIDEPLUS
USESTONETRIPS
TAKEONESSWEET
IRISAID
STATICESCAPES
CANTFINDTHETIME
ACNESEINEONME
MOANMAMASREAD
Fri 12/25/2020
RABBICLAPSJOG
IMOLDZORROURL
PENALABBEYIDA
ONEBEDROOMACES
FRISCORENDERS
FANHULADOOBIE
GALOSHTRANS
GRETATHUNBERG
FAINTRELOAD
IMFREESKIDPGA
REFEREESALOON
ETESLEASETOOWN
LIDOPRAHAUDIO
IMONOIRELILLY
TENSTEPSLEEDS
POW Sat 12/26/2020
YESINCADISPEL
USHEROUTAREOLA
CHALKARTMALLET
CARDSHARKSFAVE
ARIEDANEDRAB
SPARKSCELRITE
SIESTAPICOT
TORTLAWDOOVERS
APIANASSISI
KENTANNDYNAMO
EDGELEISGIAN
APTSLEFTTACKLE
HARMEDFAUXAMIS
IGUANALIBERACE
TEENSYERASNEC
Sun 12/27/2020 PARTNERSHIPS
MAMBAFACTISISAYMOA
ABOILIDUNNONOTEART
JUDGEANDJURYBUTTDIAL
STEPREMOTEGEREETNA
OBESEPARTONLAGS
HARPISTPEACEANDQUIET
AGAPEVIVIENETD
PENANDPAPERALTEREGOS
SEANOONECEOSONO
CHIRPSUCHASROES
BREAKINGANDENTERING
ZOOMDELTASADIOS
IDSLORICEDEDQIN
TESTPILOTBOOMANDBUST
ADOZEALOTLEASH
HUGSANDKISSESSPEEDOS
UNITTENETSSHIRR
MEMEAFARSPECIEPLEA
BALSAMICROOMANDBOARD
USEWEEKALLUREINDIE
GETERRSGOOSEDOGEES
Mon 12/28/2020
SPASPEACHSTUD
EACHEMCEEAONE
NAMEATARISPIN
TREBEKBIGSHOTS
CARPSSHEAF
CHOGEEETATBA
HERRRADORWHAT
RIPEFLUFFAERO
IDOIDOGIFXMEN
SIRORCDANODE
AROMAOSCAR
INTERACTHORNED
RAINNAOMITIVO
KNOTCOMBOONEG
SONSESSENOGRE
Tue 12/29/2020
LEWDTAUTPISAN
ALOERIMEUNTIE
WARRIORPRINCESS
SNLCUSSEDHALT
DIESIMILES
KOMODODRAGON
OMANWOOOGLES
LIPCNTOWEROAT
ATSEAMELONCE
GLADYSKNIGHT
INVOICEALE
NYETCRANIAVIA
FAIRYTALEENDING
ELLIEIPADOTOE
RASPSLOPSSYNE

There's nobody better to help you understand the amazing KOMODO DRAGON than the World Renowned Komodo Dragon Authority from Upper Montclair New Jersey, Dr. Darryl Dexter. (I miss you, Bob and Ray!)

Wed 12/30/2020
FINDAPPSAFTRA
OCEANVIEWCORER
RAWSIENNAERECT
ARECRYSTALBALL
GUSESOMAISIE
ESTENONODUNS
RAHSORERES
GRAHAMCRACKER
FROAREALOG
LEAHBARBBIRD
INDIGOAPRFEW
PORTERHOUSEOSE
OBAMAUNBALANCE
ULCERBILLYCLUB
TEENSSTEMEYES
Thu 12/31/2020
PPGTRESEVENT
ALIREAMEMILIA
RENALGALOSETO
MARGIALLSTAVES
DURACELLIVES
DEMUREBITCIN
IAMBFUTONS
PLYWORSENSWAR
SAVOIRSIRI
MELOWNSHINTO
BARINESTEGGS
PARISHSPELHECK
ARMANISUVADEE
POOLEDEMITINE
ANTSYSEESTEN
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