Thursday, June 26, 2008


It's time to move on to other things...which means the blog has to go.

I'll still be solving (multiple puzzles daily, rather than just the one), but now I'll have time to visit my favorite blogs.

Hope to see you there!

Linda G

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday, June 24 - Barry C. Silk

Is it my imagination...or are Barry Silk's puzzles becoming more frequent? One thing I know for sure...he's become one of my favorites.

The theme was revealed at 67A: Something you can do to the starts of 17-, 21-, 37-, 53- and 60-Across (draw)...and the theme answers are:

17A: Hotel offering (bath towel).

21A: Bow-taking occasion (curtain call).

37A: Poker face (blank expression).

53A: Cinema offering (picture show).

60A: Flintlock need (gun powder).

I drew four of the five's probably fairly easy to guess which one wasn't part of the day's activity.

I didn't have to resort to Google, but there were a couple of answers I wouldn't have gotten but for crosses...9A: Valuable violin (Amati), 16A: French-speaking African nation (Gabon), 46A: Grier of "Jackie Brown" (Pam), 34D: __ City (Baghdad district) (Sadr), and 38D: Home of Mammoth Cave (Kentucky).

My favorite clue...or, more precisely, clues...64A: With "and" and 47-Down, Lawrence Welk's intro (a-one). The second answer, of course, is a-two.

Other favorites include 27A: Blown away by (amazed at), 42A: Novelist Zola (Émile), 49A: Dress store section (petites), 59A: Like some committees (ad hoc), 62A: Actress Aimée (Anouk), 1D: Internet-on-the-tube company, formerly (Web TV), 8D: Syllables before "di" or "da" in a Beatles song (obla), 9D: Has a tough time deciding (agonizes), 10D: Friend of Peppermint Patty (Marcie), 32D: Patio parties, briefly (BBQs), 35D: Leaf-to-branch angle (axil), and 50D: Henry VIII's house (Tudor).

That's all for tonight. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monday, June 23 - Andrea Carla Michaels and Patrick Blindauer

Monday's puzzle is a joint effort by two constructors who definitely aren't strangers to the New York Times...but I'm pretty sure it's a first for them as a duo.

The theme answers are all things that one might say to those who didn't come in first.

17A: Words to a fourth runner-up (Win some, lose some).

26A: Words to a third runner-up (You did your best).

43A: Words to a second runner-up (We still love you).

58A: Words to a first runner-up (Close but no cigar).

I'm always impressed by answers that span (or nearly span) the grid, so these were no exception...although I can't imagine saying the first or the last to anyone.

Favorite answers include 16A: Radar sign (blip), 22A: "Casablanca" star, informally (Bogie), 35A: Push out of bed (roust), 37A: Swiss artist Paul (Klee), 38A: Height's companion (width), 39A: Jack who pioneered late-night talk (Paar), 42A: Alice's cake instruction (eat me), 4D: Science lab glassware (test tube), 10D: What paper towels do (absorb), 11D: What paper towels do to a toilet (clog), 12D: "La Bohème" soprano (Mimi), 29D: Call in the Alps (yodel), 32D: Killer whale that does tricks (Shamu), 34D: Distort, as data (skew), 39D: Salary indicators (pay slips), 44D: Cups, saucers, sugar bowl, etc. (tea set), and 56D: "Peter Pan" dog (Nana).

That's all for tonight. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, June 22 - Pamela Amick Klawitter

Chain Reaction, today's puzzle by Pamela Amick Klawitter, has one of those themes that's fun to solve. Blogging it, however, can be difficult...and I'm not sure I've figured out the best way to explain it.

If you had a tough time discerning the theme, you weren't alone. I had a couple of the theme answers...and it still wasn't making much sense to me. Then I had the aha moment...and the puzzle became a joy to solve.

The theme answers:

23A: FOOD COURT __ CIRCUIT BOARD (case closed). I'll explain the chain on this one...even if you hadn't figured it out, it should all mesh. Food court, court case, case closed, closed circuit, circuit board. Pretty brilliant...especially since she picked up the chain with the next theme clue.

25A: CIRCUIT BOARD __ ROOM SERVICE (foot locker).

43A: ROOM SERVICE __ LIGHT TOUCH (road hazard).

55A: LIGHT TOUCH __ BELL PEPPER (screen door).

73A: BELL PEPPER __ BRUSH FIRE (spray paint). This one caused me all kinds of problems. Because of some errors in the downs, I was sure that pepper steak was part of the chain...but steak paint certainly made no sense. The errors...63D: Calyx part (sepal)...why did I have petal?, 64D: They were seen at Black Power meetings (afros)...I don't even want to admit what I had there, but it's a word often seen in crosswords, and 74D: Ball in a basket (yarn)...because I was sure it was steak, I had Keno. Aren't there balls in Keno? Mightn't they go in a basket to mix them? I was getting tired at that point.

82A: BRUSH FIRE __ SMART CAR (Wall Street). Keno threw that one for a did 83D: Write on a BlackBerry, maybe (text)...not edit, which somehow ended up there.

104A: SMART CAR __ PIANO BAR (pool player).

105A: PIANO BAR __ TRAILHEAD (graph paper)...the first answer to fall, although I didn't understand it for some time.

36D: TRAILHEAD __ COUNTERTOP (Mastercard).

46D: COUNTERTOP __ POST OFFICE (dollar sign). This chain just became obvious to me. I wasn't mentally splitting the compound words in this or the previous two answers. Countertop dollar made no sense, but top dollar does.

I was thrown off briefly by some simple words, clued (appropriately) for Sunday. Among them...1A: Third Crusade siege site (Acre), 34A: Life's partner (times)...not death, 60A: Sylvia Plath poem that begins "I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root" (Elm) and 71A: Long-armed Sumatrans (orangs)...nothing to do with the long arm of the law.

Other difficult areas included 5A: Citadel trainer (plebe)...not cadet, 57A: Pet animal of Salvador Dali (ocelot), 65A: Fabric border (selvage)...I think of that as an end rather than a border, 88A: Bore (caliber)...wrong kind of bore, 9D: Work of prose or poetry (Edda), 15D: Gulf of Guinea capital (Accra), 65D: Like Iran's Ahmadinejad (Shiite), and 70D: Bull or Buck, e.g. (cager).

I was thankful for answers I knew or figured out with a letter or two in place. 22A: Great Lakes salmon (Coho), 30A: Like some sacrifices (supreme), 52A: Cause someone's insomnia, maybe (snore), 58A: Sponge (freeload), 62A: Impassioned (fervent), 84A: Songwriter Carol Bayer __ (Sager), 95A: Tale of a trip to Ithaca (Odyssey), 100A: Julia who starred in "Sabrina," 1995 (Ormond), 110A: Tennessee teammate (Titan)...I'm becoming less sports-impaired, 114A: Some seconds (Veeps), 8D: Mugful (beer), 16D: Alternatives to RCs (Cokes), 34D: Give insider info (tip off), 41D: Vikki who sang "It Must Be Him" (Carr), 47D: Oaxaca gold (oro), 48D: Hanoi holiday (Tet), 75D: "Syriana" actress Amanda (Peet), 98D: Buffalo's county (Erie), and 101D: Button next to a * (Oper).

For some reason, I had Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" going through my head yesterday. I had finally gotten rid of it...then came to 55D: Heavy hitter (sledge). For those of you who want to sing it all day, here it is.

Several French words today...that will irritate some solvers. I didn't take French but could figure out most of them. 37A: __-midi (French time of day) (après), 86A: French word before deux or nous (entre), 115A: Too: Fr. (trop), 93D: Garçon's handout (carte).

Elaine spent yesterday submitting resumes and job applications. Since she no longer has a car (some of you remember that fiasco), I drove her around. But we had some fun...a little bit of shopping, as well as a coffee shop break. We're looking forward to spending a day at home...which includes checking out the Sunday classifieds. As soon as she gets a job, we'll find another car...then she'll be apartment hunting. I know she's anxious to be totally independent...that never happens as quickly as a young adult would like.

Here's the (unchecked) grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday, June 21 - Tyler Lewis Hinman

For this puzzle, it was important to add Tyler's middle name to the byline. He designed the grid to include his initials...a bold H in the center, the T and L symmetrically based at the top and bottom.

I usually cringe when I see a Hinman puzzle. Even with outside help, I don't think I've ever finished one. Until this one...albeit with a little bit of help from Google.

I was totally unsure of one crossing...the final letter of 31A: Planet system in several "Star Trek" episodes (Rigel) and its cross at 33D: Iberia : Spain :: __ : Chile (Lan). I checked my grid against Harris's for confirmation, although I don't get the down cross. Maybe someone will explain it.

I've actually come to enjoy puzzles that at first seem know, two or three answers after you've read through all of the clues. I was so thankful for 14A: "__ having fun yet?" (Are we), 26A: John Lelnnon's adopted middle name (Ono), 58A: "Bill & __ Bogus Journey," 1991 comedy (Ted's), and 28D: Delta Tau __ ("Animal House" house) (Chi)...sadly, the only gimmes I had.

I am in absolute and total awe of the four answers spanning the grid...two horizontally and two vertically. 22A: One may have many runners (primary election) and 44A: Something given at a meeting (first impression), 3D: Fourth-quarter strategies (two-minute drills) and 9D: Front-of-magazine pieces (leading articles).

Other favorites...18A: Six-Day War battleground (Gaza), 19A: "The nerve!" (Some people), 28A: Filler for a gun (caulk), 36A: Girl who's the "you" in the lyric "I'll see you in my dreams" (Irene), 42A: Cartoon character who fathered octuplets (Apu)...should have guessed it referred to The Simpsons, 51A: Not make it (miss the cut), 52A: Pioneering agriculturist Jethro (Tull)...I hope someone else out there didn't know the origin of the rock band's name, 55A: __ Oder (German river) (Alte), 57A: Psychologist Havelock (Ellis), 4D: Washes (arroyos), 7D: Actress O'Connor of TV's "Xena" (Renee), 10D: Buzz producer (kazoo), 13D: Moles go behind them (enemy lines), 37D: Title role for Greta Garbo (Camille), 38D: Swedish home of Scandinavia's oldest university (Uppsala) and 44D: Crash pad? (futon).

My favorite clue...24D: Can opener? (toilet seat). I was on his wavelength for that one, but I needed a few letters before it all came together.

Good one, Tyler. I am way impressed!

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friday, June 20 - Mike Nothnagel

If you're a regular reader, you know that Mike Nothnagel is my favorite constructor. So...I really hate it when I'm not on his wavelength.

And I wasn't tonight.

I've been working at this puzzle for an hour (albeit with many interruptions from a daughter in distress)...and I've finished the right side of the puzzle. The left side...mostly empty.

I don't know how long it took Harris to solve this, but you can check his completed grid here. I just checked a couple of answers, so maybe I'll finish this off after work tomorrow.

Feel free to discuss the puzzle...what you liked, what made you crazy.

I still love your puzzles, Mike!


It's Friday afternoon, and I just wrapped up this puzzle. When all was said and done, I loved it...I just couldn't pull it together last night. Thanks again to Harris for 36D: Teens' escapades (joy rides) and 1A: Flurries (bursts)...just enough to get me going.

Favorite clues include 7A: How you might meet someone (halfway), 14A: Head of an alley? (one pin), 15A: 1.0 (D average)...see Dave Rage's comment and Harris's reply, 25A: Short cut? (loin), 54A: One might be in a cast (limb), 56A: Course for the dead? (Styx) and 65A: Craft often utilizing rubber bands (tie dye).

Favorite answers...17A: Without warning (unawares), 19A: Old-time comic Ed (Wynn)...because I loved him when I was a little girl, 27A: City of the Trans-Canada Highway (Medicine Hat)...never heard of it, 32A: Carter's second secretary of state (Muskie)...but I can't remember the first one, 34A: Like dirty rice (Cajun), 42A: Two-time gold medal skier of the 1998 Olympics (Maier), 45A: 1990 Grammy winner for her album "Days of Open Hand" (Suzanne Vega), 52A: State bordering Lower Saxony (Hesse), 60A: Like (akin to), 62A: Comic's creation (one liner)...thinking comic strip threw me on that one, 7D: Title role in a 1986 Woody Allen film (Hannah) of only a few gimmes, 11D: A 15-Down might have control over them (warlocks) and the associated Dungeon Master, 33D: Be in the can (serve time) and 49D: Put side by side (appose).

4D: "I haven't got all day!" (speed it up) made me laugh. I'm not prone to road rage, but I do get impatient, especially when it's hot. Today I sat through four changes of a light...for a total of twelve minutes...and it was at least 95 degrees. Fortunately, I had an iced coffee with me and was able to chill...figuratively and literally.

It's my night to cook, so I'd better get something going for dinner...the Saturday puzzle will be up in just over an hour.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thursday, June 19 - Joe Krozel

As soon as I printed out the grid, I knew I would love this puzzle...but I underestimated how crazy it would make me.

Joe Krozel revealed his pack of lies (the black squares in the grid provided a hint) at 56A: Number of clues in this puzzle that contain factual inaccuracies (ten).

It took me some time to figure out the tenth inaccuracy. I was surprised to get the two sports-related lies.

The lies...

14A: Chemical element with the symbol Fe (neon). I know very few of them, but iron is one of that was my first answer.

19A: Former pharmaceutical giant (GTE). I'm not a very good liar, I guess. I had GAF for this one.

24A: Father of Jacob (Esau).

57A: Dwarf planet larger than Pluto (Eris). [UPDATE: Oops! This one wasn't a lie! Thanks to KarmaSartre for pointing that out. The tenth lie was at 1A: France's __ von Bismarck (Otto). If I'd blogged about that answer, I probably would have paid more attention to the clue and realized that von Bismarck isn't a French name!]

8D: Golf great Andre (Agassi). I thought it was quite odd that his name would fit with the letters I already had in place. I really hadn't caught on to the lying bit...having somehow missed the clue at 56-Across.

9D: Standard office-closing time (nine a.m.). Of course, I had five p.m., until none of the crosses would work.

28D: It's more than 90 degrees (acute angle).

47D: Tennis champ Ernie (Els).

49D: Currency of China (yen).

50D: Summer hrs. in N.Y.C. (EST).

I can't even imagine how difficult this one would be to construct. I just loved the long vertical answers spanning the right side of the grid:

11D: One who exhibits pack mentality? (cigarette smoker).

12D: Who quipped "God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way" (Arturo Toscanini).

13D: Job seeker's fashion advice (dress for success).

Other favorites include 18A: Terrible one? (enfant), 26A: Spot (catch a glimpse of), 36A: Crane, e.g. (erector)...I had origami, 39A: Possible name for the first decade of the century (oughts)...the last answer to fall, 42A: Former Romanian leader Ion __ (Iliescu)...[I just saw the LIES in his name], 44A: Nickname on the Houston Rockets starting in 2004 (T-Mac)...for all I knew, that was a lie, 45A: Kind of dog (seeing eye), 52A: Road access regulaators (toll gates), 54A: Always bouncing back (resilient), 5D: Silverstein who wrote and illustrated "The Giving Tree" (Shel)...a favorite, 27D: Bolt (high-tail it), 29D: "Nope, still not right" (guess again) and 30D: Writing that's hard to read (secret code).

Some of the three-letter answers had me stumped...among them 34D: Park of E.E.C.: Abbr. (Eur.). I had read it as E.E.O.C. so had Emp...which caused all kinds of problems in that area.

The entire time I was solving this, I kept thinking about "lies, damn lies and statistics." If you're not familiar with that, you can read about it here.

That's it for tonight. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G