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Theme: Salad Days - scrambles of five different green veggies as the reveal tells us:

53A. Mesclun, and a hint to the circled squares: MIXED GREENS

and so we find:

16A. Casual appetizer: CHIPS AND DIP. Spinach.

23A. Tool for flooring jobs: TILE CUTTER. Lettuce.

30A. Designated spaces for some riders: BIKE LANES. Kale.

38A. Opening: INAUGURAL. Arugula.

47A. Rewards earner, perhaps: CARDHOLDER. Chard.

A nice theme from Blake. It's puzzles like these that need the circles to explain the reveal - the ones where the theme words are not scrambled are fun to hunt down, but the scrambles would be very tough to find without some guide. The theme obviously doesn't help with the solve, but you have a few minutes' bonus to go treasure hunting. Nice work with the theme, I enjoyed the scambles. The rest of the puzzle didn't have a whole lot of sparkle, but you can't win 'em all.

As for all the Food! on display here - it's a shame to consign all these greens to a salad - spinach and mushroom curry is one of my favorites, lettuce as a wrap for larb beats the heck out of it just being a quiet salad ingredient (and in a cheeseburger, let's not be a snob here, what is a burger without shredded lettuce?), Arugula - or rocket in the UK - what a great bed for smoked chicken, cous-cous and spicy stomato sauce. It brings pepper, green and crunch. Chard! If you can't get collard greens, here's your answer, and you can pickle the red stalks. What am I missing? Kale. Ah, Kale. dear kale. Not for human consumption, let's all admit it.

Recipes available on request!

So back to the puzzle. The numbers when you crunch them, are firmly in the "Monday" category but the theme just about carried it through. The fill felt a little stale and skewed heavily towards 3- and 4-letter words.

Let's go seek. Without hiding.


1. __ de deux: ballet dance: PAS. The first three-letter fill, and a fill-in-the-blank too. Don't worry, you've only got another 35 three-letter words to go.

4. Spell: TRANCE

10. Rite opener?: AM I. Really? OK, not my thing. If someone asked me "Am I rite?" I would ask how old they were.

13. "Fire away!": ASK

14. Web banners: HEADERS

15. Auerbach of the Black Keys: DAN. We meet another AUER further down, so thank you crosses for both, unknown to me.

18. Tap quaff: ALE. Now you're talking.

19. Sunday cry: AMEN!

20. Sneaky critic: SNIPER

22. Sweater mishap: SNAG

27. Extra qtrs.: O/T'S

28. Game fish: BONITO. I keep dried bonito flakes, or katsobushi in the pantry. I put 'em on rice with soy sauce and sesame seeds, and make dashi with katsobushi and kombu - the dried kelp.

29. __ boots: GO-GO

32. One of 12, usually: JUROR

33. Ruminant's mouthful: CUD

34. Natural drier: AIR

35. Concrete support rod: REBAR

44. Qatari chief: EMIR

45. Masses: DROVES

46. Source of iron: ORE. Or spinach!

49. "And another thing ... ": ALSO ...

50. Breaks up: ENDS IT

51. Wheel connector: AXLE

52. Beaver creation: DAM

59. GPS calculation: ETA. Apparently you can get an Estimated Time of Arrival from your Global Positioning System device. I'm sure that's really important. At least it's a change from an airline clue. I'm tired of the fill though.

60. Folded breakfast fare: OMELETS. I think my favorite omelet is spinach, mushroom and brie. Lots of food to get my teeth into today!

61. Conk out: DIE

62. Place to relax: DEN. Probably not very relaxing if the lions are home.

63. War zone lifesavers: MEDICS

64. LG rival: RCA. Not strictly true, RCA does not exist as a company any more. The branding was sold to Technicolor and Sony Music by GE when the division was closed down.


1. D.C. funding group: P.A.C. Political Action Committee. I make no comment.

2. Her 2002 self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200: ASHANTI

3. Protection on the slopes: SKI MASK. Not a bad alternative protection to wear in the store right now.

4. Afternoon brew: TEA

5. Sought office: RAN

6. Total: ADD

7. Former Royals manager Yost: NED

8. Shortening brand: CRISCO. Funny, just yesterday I was looking up shortening, lard and schmalz.

9. College sports channel: ESPN U.

10. Charger accessory: ADAPTOR. I had ADAPTER and apparently was wrong. Oh well. Was I wrong?

11. Cause of some tough-guy behavior: MALE EGO

12. Mistakenly: IN ERROR

14. Channel that can be costly to watch: HSN. Nice clue. Whenever I've had the misfortune to come across the Home Shopping Network I've never had the slightest urge to buy whatever is being shilled. I almost enjoy watching to see what outlandish claims are made for the stuff they sell. How do they not get sued for misrepresentation?

17. Cribbage piece: PEG

21. Geek Squad employee, for short: I.T. GURU

22. __ story: SOB

23. Creep: TOAD

24. Cozy stopover: INN

25. Shakira's "Hips Don't __": LIE

26. Aliens, briefly: ETS

28. Make unclear: BLUR

31. Some last-minute birthday greetings: E-CARDS. Handy things when you forget a birthday or anniversary.

32. Dances for leprechauns: JIGS

34. Violinist Leopold: AUER

35. Drew back: RECEDED

36. Exude (from): EMANATE

37. 2014 Best Picture: BIRDMAN

38. Like offline interaction, initially: I.R.L. "In Real Life". "Dude, I have to get off Instagram, I have a test tomorrow IRL".

39. Doze: NOD

40. Urban way: Abbr.: AVE.

41. Burrito feature?: ROLLED "R". We just had Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday. We had tacos al pastor, but burritos will feature on the "leftovers" menu shortly. Yum!

42. "__ and Old Lace": ARSENIC. 1944 movie starring Cary Grant. The sceptics might wonder what he was doing making movies when WWII was heading into a critical period. Did he have flat feet or something?

43. Celestial feline: LEO

45. Complete a sentence: DO TIME

48. Mouthed sideline greeting: HI MOM!

49. Log splitter: AXE

51. MGM motto word: ARS

54. Chose on a form, with "in": X'ED

55. New Haven alum: ELI

56. Present mo.: DEC. Fun play on words.

57. Classic muscle cars: GT'S

58. __ salt: SEA. I have Maldon salt from the UK and Fleur de Sel Guérand from France in my pantry.

I guess that's about it!

Please stay safe. Some states are "re-opening" but please remember that the virus is not contained, there is insufficent or inaccurate testing, there is no adequate treatment and there is no vaccine. Use your best judgment!