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Theme:  "Support Groups" - Words that can precede "band" turn backward and up. See this Answer Grid.

23A. *Hotel convenience: PARKING ARAG. Backed up to 7D. "Good grief!": EGAD. Parking garage. Garage band.

40A. *Address essential details: GET DOWN TO ARB TACKS. Backed up to 12D. Stand-up types: CLASS ACTS. Get down to brass tacks.  Brass band.

56A. *Wannabe lawyer's milestone: PASSING THE AB. Backed up to 54D. Dorm figs.: RAS. Passing the bar. Bar band.

85A. *Keep one's identity secret, say: STAY UNDER VOC. Backed up to 72D. Overhaul: REVAMP. Stay undercover. Cover band.

96A. *Prepare emotionally for, as something unpleasant: ETS ONESELF AGAINST. Backed up to 80D. Beat it: FLEE. Steel oneself against. Steel band.


118. Miami Sound Machine and others, and a hint to this puzzle's circled letters: BACKUP BANDS.

Complex theme from Paul. We normally just see back or just up approach. Not such a combo. 

I hope your local paper have circles. It would be too difficult to figure out the theme without circles. 


1. Part of a sea urchin's diet: KELP. Mine too. I use kelp for my miso soup broth. And wakame too of course.

5. Rest of the afternoon: SIESTA.

11. "Beat it!": SCAT.

15. Big first for babies: STEP.

19. Wellsian race: ELOI.

20. "Life of Pi" director: ANG LEE. We had him last Sunday.

21. "Boo'd Up" singer __ Mai: ELLA. Just not many ways to clue ELLA.

22. Mani mate: PEDI. And 25. Manicurist's assortment: NAIL FILES.

27. Beholden: INDEBTED.

28. George who plays Stokes on "CSI": EADS.

30. Minneapolis' Target Center, e.g.: ARENA. Home to the Timberwolves & Lynx. We also have Target Field for the Twins. Target is headquartered in Minneapolis of course.

31. Roger of "Cheers": REES.

32. Stand: BEAR. Can't stand it, e.g.

34. Hotel offerings: SUITES.

37. Cat's attention-getter, maybe: PAW.

45. Caspian feeder: URAL.

47. Novelist Rita __ Brown: MAE.

48. Pitcher John on three different MLB championship teams: LACKEY. Wikipedia says his career ERA is 3.92.

49. Bonanza find: ORE.

50. Scholars: LITERATI.

54. Roofing support: RAFTER. Always amazed to see guys working on the roof without some sort of support.

55. Really cool: EPIC.

59. Most clever: SLICKEST.

61. Brian of rock: ENO.

62. Evening affairs: SOIREES.

63. NYC congresswoman, in headlines: AOC. Her Met Gala dress. It says "Tax the Rich".

64. Saint-Saëns's "__ Macabre": DANSE.

66. Paid informer: FINK.

67. EPA-banned chemicals: PCBS.

71. Swing site: PORCH.

75. RN workplaces: ERS. VA is offering Boomer a booster shot. We'll take it next week.

77. Nantucket arrivals: FERRIES.

79. "... __ he drove out of sight": Moore: ERE.

80. Board game bonus: FREE SPIN.

87. Big name in chips: LAY'S. Beijing duck flavor.

88. Enmity: ANIMUS.

90. Place for an anchor: NEWSCAST. Remember Harry Smith? My collaborator for a NYT puzzle.

91. Denver-to-Omaha dir.: ENE.

92. Eyepiece: OCULAR.

93. Reverence: AWE.

95. Kid's retort: AM SO.

102. What "/" may mean: PER.

103. Prepared for cooking, as corn: HUSKED.

104. Consort of Psyche: EROS. Aka Cupid.

105. Yours, to Yvette: A TOI.

107. Carry away: ELATE.

109. Biblical scribe: EZRA.

111. Exhibits unease, maybe: STAMMERS. Not STUTTERS. Remember Medavoy?

115. Harbormaster's chart: TIDE TABLE.

121. On deck, perhaps: ASEA.

122. High-tech workers: BOTS.

123. Words from behind a door, maybe: IN HERE.

124. Blue hue: CYAN.

125. Go on: LAST.

126. Acronym on a protective vest: SWAT. Special Weapons And Tactics. Daryl Gates of LAPD  created his SWAT teams after the Watts riot. 


127. Battery terminals: ANODES.

128. Back talk: SASS.


1. Visored French cap: KEPI.
2. Brio: ELAN.

3. Byron's title: LORD.

4. Stingy sort: PIKER.

5. Important coastal drainage river in South Carolina: SANTEE. Wikipedia says it's named after the  Santee tribe.

6. Swallow: INGEST.

8. 35mm camera type: SLR.

9. Leaves in a cup: TEA.

10. Sea at one end of the Dardanelles: AEGEAN.

11. Texter's button: SEND.

13. "Aladdin" prince: ALI.

14. 1960s chess champ Mikhail: TAL.

15. Ornamental shrub: SPIREA. Pretty.

16. Astronomer's tool: TELESCOPE.

17. Fall place: EDEN.

18. Galileo's birthplace: PISA.

24. "__ your pardon": I BEG.

26. Like many rich foods: FATTY. I like all kinds of pickled and fried food.

29. School room encouraging creativity: ART LAB.

32. Fancy neckwear: BOA.

33. Dolly, for one: EWE.

35. "Family Matters" nerd: URKEL.

36. Spain's peninsula: IBERIA.

37. Mashed, as oranges: PULPED.

38. Grande dame of pop: ARIANA. Ha. Dame.

39. Doyle's narrator: WATSON.

41. Composer Shostakovich: DMITRI.

42. Big galoot: OAF.

43. Singer Kristofferson: KRIS.

44. Breakaway group: SECT.

46. Arles article: LES.

51. Choir supports: RISERS.

52. Mayo is in it: ANO. Mayo the month.

53. "Hooray, the weekend!": TGIF.

55. Big name in kitchenware: EKCO. What does EKCO stand for?

57. Chick magnet?: HEN. Cute clue.

58. Distressed cry: EEK.

60. Thickets: COPSES.

65. Goes out with: SEES.

67. One in a pod: PEA. Have you tried wasabi peas?

68. Call out: CRY.

69. Asian sultanate: BRUNEI.

70. Cosecant's reciprocal: SINE.

73. Game stick with a net: CROSSE.

74. Jamie of "Bosch": HECTOR. Unknown to me.

76. "In the Bedroom" Oscar nominee: SPACEK (Sissy)

77. Some mil. bases: FTS. Forts.

78. One of eight Eng. kings: EDW. Edward.

81. Carry on: RANT.

82. Antiglare wear: EYE SHADES.

83. Occupied: IN USE.

84. Alexandria's area: NILE DELTA.

85. One often seen in curls: SURFER. OK, Google shows that curl is "The actual portion of the wave that is falling or curling over when the wave is breaking"

86. TV pioneer: RCA.

89. __ de mer: MAL.

92. Attack: ONSET.

93. Back: AGO.

94. Is no longer: WAS.

97. Best at putting things away?: OUTEAT. Another great clue.

98. World's largest peninsula: ARABIA.

99. Mother of note: NATURE.

100. Middle ear bone: STAPES. Also new to me.  I don't really know my ears.

101. Archaeological find: TOMB.

106. Apple varieties: IMACS.

107. List-ending abbr.: ET AL.

108. Three-time WNBA MVP __ Leslie: LISA.

110. Gusto: ZEST.

111. List of appts.: SKED. Schedule.

112. "Only Time" songwriter: ENYA.

113. Old food label nos.: RDAS.

114. IRS IDs: SSNS.

116. Sit-up targets: ABS.

117. Fiddle stick: BOW.

119. Taylor of fashion: ANN.

120. Sulu portrayer John: CHO. On the left.


In case you're not aware, MM & his girlfriend Valerie met with Picard and his wife last Tuesday in Santa Barbara. Here's the picture.

Left to Right: Valerie, MM, Merlie & Picard 9/14/2021

Chair Moe (Chris) made today's Universal puzzle, click here to solve and let him have your feedback.