Monday, April 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 1 - Nancy Salomon and Courtenay Crocker

Courtenay Crocker has teamed up with Nancy Salomon to create an ingenious theme for the first puzzle of May.

Doing the puzzle wasn't nearly as difficult for me as figuring out how to describe the theme. Bear with me...

Bending the Rules is revealed as the theme in 38A. The six rules that are bent--ground, home, golden, house, general and slide--appear in a right-angle intersection between an across and a down.

In the order listed above:

GROUND rule comes from the intersection of the U at 17A: Antic brother (GROucho Marx) and 4D: Rolled along (trUNDled).

Groucho also provides the HO that intersects at the M in 7D: Nagano noodles (RaMEn) for HOME rule.

GOLDEN rule starts with 11D: Place to pick up valuable nuggets (GOLD field), sharing the D with 22A: Pack, to a pack animal (burdEN).

HOUSE rules begins with 56D: 10 C-notes (tHOU) and intersects at the U from 69A: Play for a fool (uSE).

GENERAL rule gets an entire word -- 58D: "The Match Game" host Rayburn (GENE), sharing the E in 70A: Wild (feRAL).

And, finally, SLIDE rule. 54D: Pizzeria order (SLIce), takes the remainder of its letters from 63A: Back (reverse siDE).

Some pretty delightful fill. Some of my favorites:

15A: Lash of bygone westerns (LaRue). Don't know how I knew this, but I did. You can read more about him here.

24A: Sticking one's nose in (meddling).

29A: Order in the court (all rise).

46A: Speaks when one should stay out (butts in). Is that different from meddling?

52A: Like many Chas Addams characters (ghoulish).

56A: Dinner table item on a string (tea bag).

6D: Praise from a choir (Gloria). This is not to be confused with the one-hit wonder by the Shadows of Knight in the mid-sixties.

35D: Mesmerized (in a trance).

...and so many more.

Shocker answer of the day, week, month, year, decade...10D: Like some relations (sexual). Was anyone else (everyone else?) as surprised as I was to see this? Whoa! The NYT is getting racy!

On that note, I'll bid you all a good night...and a happy May Day.

Linda G

Monday, April 30 - Allan E. Parrish

For a Monday puzzle, this took me longer than it should have. I was able to figure out the theme early on, so those answers weren't a problem. Something just wasn't clicking with some of the fill. Fortunately, the phone rang, and that short break was just what I needed.

The five theme answers end in B-ND, and are presented in A-E-I-O-U order:

17A: Elastic holder (Rubber band)

25A: Home of Notre Dame (South Bend)

36A: Entrance, as through oratory (Spellbind)

51A: Ian Fleming creation (James Bond) -- making yet another appearance

60A: 1930s political group (German Bund)

Things I learned long ago and remembered for this puzzle:

32A: S-shaped molding (ogee)

4D: Polio vaccine developer (Sabin). I remember all of us lining up to take the oral vaccine when it first came out. I went to school with two girls who had had polio. One of them was in leg braces that were probably permanent. Very scary disease

25D: Synagogue (Shul). Thank you, Harriet and Debi.

42A: Landon who ran for president in 1936 (Alf), which intersects nicely with the second F in 35D: Flute in a march (fife).

48A: Win the first four games in a World Series, e.g. (sweep). I know someone will be proud that that was a gimme. He'll also be ecstatic (maybe that's too strong an emotion) to see Bart and Lisa clued twice in the same puzzle--at 21A: Lisa, to Bart (sis) and at 41D: Bart or Lisa (Simpson)--and to see Shelley Long's character at 24A: "Cheers" woman (Diane).

Speaking of which, it's my sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Mary! Since she doesn't read my blog, I can probably get away with telling you that she's 58 today.

44D: Doug of "The Virginian" (McClure). I had a huge crush on Trampas, the character he played. You can go here to find out more about him.

11D: Greg of "You've Got Mail" (Kinnear). But I liked him better in Little Miss Sunshine. I just looked up his filmography and saw that he and I share a birthday.

Things I didn't know:

48D: Part of Johannesburg (Soweto). If I hadn't checked my solution on the Applet, I'd think that was maybe wrong.

53A: "Filthy" money (lucre). I only make the clean kind, I guess.

29A: 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby (Rahal). Racing = not my area of expertise.

56A: Deviation in a rocket's course (yaw). I never claimed to be a rocket scientist.

Clues/answers I liked:

39D: Nightclothes (pajamas). Such a cool word. Much better than PJs.

33D: __Lauder cosmetics (Estee). Didn't I just say that's how they should clue the word, as opposed to some obscure (to me) Scottish singer?

52D: Item on which to put lox (bagel). I eat a bagel for breakfast or lunch at least four times a week. But no to lox, and yes to either natural peanut butter or cream cheese.

15A: Big name in can-making (Alcoa)

Other comments:

If I'm going to continue doing crossword puzzles--and I am--I need to learn all the Greek letters. Don's not always around when I'm doing a puzzle. Good thing I already knew rho, which appeared at 61D: Letter between pi and sigma. Oh! I just remembered--last week, Green Genius printed the entire Greek alphabet in a post.

67A: (Eccentric) seemed an odd way to clue loopy. I think of loopy as the post-anesthesia fog (and--later--when you get those nice little shots for pain).

I'd best wrap this up. The patio table is still in the box, but the chairs have been assembled. And the birds are waiting.

Linda G

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sunday, April 29 - Henry Hook

Rude awakening (jolt). That's the first clue in Henry Hook's Puzzle, Circle of Friends, and that's what it was for me--when I tried to put his clever theme into words.

I make it a point to refrain from reading other blogs until I've written mine, but I made an exception tonight. Orange did an excellent job of explaining it. Check out her blog,
Diary of a Crossword Fiend, for the explanation and further commentary.

The puzzle was full of scrabbly letters--lots of Js (5 by my count), Ks (I counted 6), plus 3 Vs and a Z.

Things I didn't know

58A: 1980s-'90s N.B.A. star Danny (Ainge)

64A: News exec Roger (Ailes)

92D: Think way back? (Trow)

96D: Bob of the P.G.A. (Tway). Is that what Tweetie Bird would use in the school cafeteria?

Things I guessed well

66D: Leader of the Mel-Tones (Torme)

27A: Ignore the alarm (sleep in).

94A: Country with a palm tree on its flag (Haiti)

72A: Symbol in el zodiaco (toro)

Clues/answers I really liked

22A: Something that might be tucked under the chin (viola). We had Ultra last week, and now we have Ultra Vi's instrument.

32A: Poet with a seemingly self-contradictory name (Noyes).

107A: Talked a blue streak? (swore)

78A: Faith in music (Percy)

15D: Strands in the winter? (tinsel)

Nice intersection of 54D: Puma rival (Nike) and 61A: He reached his peak in 1806 (Pike).

I managed to get some laundry done today, repotted some houseplants, pruned my perennial garden, and helped Don clean off the deck in preparation for the arrival tomorrow afternoon of our new patio furniture. A combination Mother's Day/birthday, probably Father's Day, maybe even end-of-tax season gift. We really enjoy sitting out there, watching the birds and in the morning, beer in the afternoon, wine in the evening.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Linda G

Saturday's grid

Here's the grid. Commentary follows.

Saturday, April 28 - Sherry O. Blackard

I'm in love! That's my favorite answer in today's puzzle by Sherry O. Blackard (32D: Cry after falling hard?). I must admit, though, that I first thought of some choice obscenities that might pass NYT muster.

Another themeless puzzle with a 13-square answer smack in the center. I looked at the clue for 32A: Wallet loser's concern and had an immediate aha! moment. Identity theft not only fit, but it was right, and that opened up all kinds of things for me.

This wasn't as difficult for me as Friday's, although it had very little black space. Lots of stacked 8-squares and 6-squares, with a few 7-squares thrown in for good measure.
Some things I didn't know:

15A: Cosmetics dye: Var. (eosine)

31A: Last name of Dickens's Little Nell (Trent). Didn't think she had one.

40A: Praise to the heavens (ennoble)

43D: Knighted Scottish singer Harry (Lauder). Would have much easier if clued in reference to Estee.

They didn't fool me twice with 41D: Russia's Rostov, e.g. (oblast). Thanks to Rex Parker for that one. Sometimes I remember what I've read.

Other gimmes:

13D: Ratatouille ingredient (eggplant). We wanted my then 6-year-old nephew to try this, so we made a game out of it. If he could pronounce it, he could taste it. He gave it a few extra syllables, something like rat-a-tat-a-touille. He's in his thirties now and still remembers that...and my sister and I still call it that. Anyway, this opened up the whole NE corner.

9D: Absorb (soak in).

38A: Barely eats (picks at). Ties in nicely with 14D: Something a loser may skip (dessert).

46A: Cry of facetious innocence (moi)

Things I liked:

42D: Top of a closet? (blouse). We bought our house because the then-owner had my favorite blouse hanging in the closet. I thought it was an omen. Well, there were things we really liked about the house, and we probably would have bought it anyway, but that just sort of cemented the deal. In my mind, anyway.

26D: Be just right for (suit to a tee). We had to a T in the last few days.

25A: Mats (tangles). I was thinking of exercise mats at first, then noticed my dogs are in need of a good brushing because they have...mats.

5D: Hostile territory is behind them (enemy lines). I am definitely not pro-war, but I thought this was a clever clue, and the long answer opened up another area.

57A: Alternative to a box of chocolates (red roses). Some argue that roses don't last very long. True, but neither will a box of chocolates, and roses have never made me gain an ounce. Digression mother loved yellow roses. The first Valentine's Day after she died, my husband sent me a bouquet of twelve red roses with one yellow rose in the center. Over the last 20 years, he has always included a yellow rose whenever he sends me flowers.

37A: Far from laid-back (Type A). This one shows up often, and I'm no longer confused when I see a word ending in A. I used to wonder what I had wrong.

Better wrap this up and get on with my weekend. My puzzling and blogging (along with my reading) has kept me from my household duties, and I'm a bit behind on laundry, the plants need to be watered, I need to prune a few things...and so on.

Enjoy your Saturday.

Linda G

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday, April 27 - Randolph Ross

It's about time I had a puzzle that kicked my keister (see Tuesday's puzzle). And this one did. Lots of stacking, both 8-square and 6-square words. A few 9-squares thrown in for good measure.

I sat down with it last night, read over all the across clues -- and wrote nothing. Then I read all of the down clues and wrote in two answers, one of which turned out to be wrong. The right answer was 23D: Many Molly Ivins writings (opeds). I thought it should be anti-Bush, but that wouldn't fit. Unless we had another rebus and ANTI was in one square. Digression ahead...Molly Ivins was something else. She came to our little city and spoke at our little college. At the time I was friends with a former professor--a bleeding heart liberal (his words)--and he suggested/insisted that I go. Despite having a ton of studying to do that night, I went. And I will never regret it. RIP, Molly. We'll get a Democrat in next time.

Back to Randolph Ross's puzzle.

Here's my modus operandi when I get completely and utterly stuck. I move out of my comfy chair to my computer (that's the place to think, not to nap) and pull up Dogpile (All the best search engines, piled into one). I still say I Googled something, though, because it sounds gross to say I Dogpiled it.

I'd gone completely blank on 21A: 2000 film "Billy __" (Elliott). I'd seen it, I could picture the cover, but nothing came to mind. That was my first search, and it gave me somewhere to start.

Should have remembered 22A: Author of "Oedipus at Colonus" but my long-term memory wasn't kicking in. Of course, it was Sophocles. If any of my professors run across this blog and see how little I remembered, they'd be disappointed.

Next Dogpile: 35A: Reagan adviser Michael (Deaver). Never heard of him. I wasn't much into politics in the eighties. We were busy building a house in the Ozarks--no radio reception, no TV.

Fortunately, there was one 15-letter answer that I could Google/Dogpile. 45A: Resort town northwest of Naples. Unfortunately, I was thinking Italy, and I should have been thinking Florida. I had spent 25 years of my life there, and my only connection to Italy is that my mother's parents were born there. The only way I moved to Florida (in my head, that is) was when I ended up with Springs--definitely a Florida word. I'd never actually been to Sarasota Springs, and I'd really only heard of Sarasota, but it fit.

From there, I just started guessing like crazy, and it all came together. My favorite guess was 16A: Rock's Dee Dee, Joey, Johnny or Marky (Ramone). If there's an obscure (to me) rock clue, and I haven't a clue, then I guess Ramones. It works most of the time.

Some of my favorites:

17A: Got going after a crash (rebooted). Favorite clue, not a favorite thing to happen.

32A: On point (apropos). It's such a cool word. I'm going to use it in conversation today.

57A: When many Veterans Day ceremonies are scheduled (eleven am). I picked this up with just the V in place. I knew 49D: Sitarist Shankar (Ravi) but had somehow missed the clue on my initial read-through.

6D: Billboard listing (hit record).

26D: Magical in (open sesame). I got this with very little in place. Fun clue and answer.

55A: Type of salad dressing (Catalina). My husband's favorite.

28D: Highest point on the Ohio & Erie Canal (Akron). Wendy, this one's for you. You probably knew it...I had to guess it.

There was no way I was going to figure out 19A: Sign before a crossing. I was sure it had something to do with a railroad crossing. Wrong again. The correct answer (which I didn't get until I had most of the Downs in place) was Drawbridge Ahead. I have never seen that sign in my life.

Have never heard of gnar (52D: Growl), but it sounds good and angry. I'll definitely stay away from anyone today who does it.

34D: Trying person (attempter). I was initially thinking along the lines of prosecutor. Then I started thing it was someone annoying, like an irritater. Hey, they've done worse!

So many other good things, but they'll turn up in the other blogs today.

Have an A-one (46D: Dynamite) day!

Linda G

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thursday, April 26 - Mike Nothnagel

It's gonna cost you! That's the theme of Thursday's puzzle, a clever rebus by Mike Nothnagel.

I'm usually slow to catch on to these things, but my legal background made 21A (Frequently used adverb on Court TV) a gimme. The problem was how to fit a 9-letter word into six squares. I don't remember much about the periodic table, but I had enough in the NE corner that I could guess that 9D (One column in the periodic table) had to end in gases. Et voila! With LEG in one square, I had my 9-letter word (allegedly) in six squares, with Noble Gases intersecting.

The theme, listed in the title, was revealed at 37A: Bargaining phrase...and a hint to this puzzle's theme.

And what's it gonna cost you? Not an arm and a leg, but two of each.

I didn't even start the puzzle until 9:30, after returning from book club, and I still have to make the frosting for a German Chocolate cake--from scratch--before heading to bed.

So, that's where I'm heading, and I'll turn over the rest of the puzzle commentary to Rex, Orange and Donald.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the puzzle.

Good night...

Linda G

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A to Z

Yesterday we had ZZZ all over the grid. Today we have A to Z. I know it wasn't eight weeks ago that we had the QWERTYUIOP puzzle, so I was kind of surprised to see it again.

John Farmer took a different twist with his Wednesday puzzle, though, with circles appearing randomly in the grid. The first thing I did was count the number of circles. When I counted 26, it was an alphabet giveaway.

The theme is revealed at 7D: Places to find the letters circled in the grid (QWERTY keyboards), cleverly followed by 8D: Use 7-Down (type).

The other three long answers are:

17A: Teleologist's concern (ultimate purpose)

38A: Figuring something out (using one's noodle). My favorite, although I had noggin at first.

61A: Part of a city code (zoning ordinance)

A bit of fun fill, as well. 10D: Zoo heavyweights, informally (hippos), 26A: Part of the verb "to be," to Popeye (yam), 56A: Make worse (exacerbate), and 57D: Eliminate (X out).

And some clever cluing. 54D: Strips for breakfast (bacon), 51A: Cries during a paso doble (oles), 1D: Like two dimes and four nickels (equal), and 59D: It both precedes and follows James (Bond).

I was delighted to see Ava Gardner return today, at 49A in the New York Times puzzle, and in the Sun puzzle as well. Both clues referred to Ava as an actress, rather than as anyone's ex. That's the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it.

I'm always pleased when I get any sports answers, even those as simple as 7A: Game period: Abbr. (qtr) and 67A: Some ESPN highlights, for short (TDS). I feel so well rounded.

As always, the completed grid (along with his unique commentary) appears at Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. For the complete Sun puzzle grid and commentary, visit Green Genius.

Time to end (64A: Give the coup de grĂ¢ce).

Linda G

Monday, April 23, 2007

Catching some ZZZzzz

I'm volunteering at the Day Center tomorrow -- the place in town where homeless people can get coffee, store some belongings, take a shower, do laundry, and otherwise stay out of the elements. Today we had a downpour that lasted over an hour. This is the desert, and it was probably more rain than we would normally get in a couple of months. Anyway, I need to be there at 7 tomorrow morning, so this will be a short post.

Excellent puzzle. Brendan Emmett Quigley never disappoints. Looking at all the ZZZzzz makes me a little sleepy.

17A: Pitcher of baseball's Gas House Gang (Dizzy Dean)
30A: Golf's 1984 U.S. Open winner (Fuzzy Zoeller)
44A: Patriach on an MTV reality show (Ozzy Osbourne)
60A: The Fresh Prince's partner DJ (Jazzy Jeff)

And that's not all. 20A: Old codger (geezer) is under Dizzy Dean, and 4D: Bronx cheer (razz) intersects both of them. Rounding it out is 3D: Moves like molasses (oozes).

Other Z words and intersections

34D: Knock the socks off (amaze)

35D: Take forcibly (seize)

43D: Baseball's David, nicknamed "Big Papi" (Ortiz)

62D: Microwave (zap)

8D: Exotic dancer Lola (Montez)

Fun fill

63A: How the confident solve (in pen). Love that one. We've had that discussion (maybe multiple times) on Rex Parker's blog.

57A: With "cum" and 32-Down, a diploma phrase (magna/laude)

Not sure if 30D: Keister (fanny) is fun fill, but it's the word my dad used when we were growing up. "Get off your keister and set the table."

I wonder if all the ZZZzzz are omens (37A: Signs to heed) that I should get to bed. I think I'll take a couple of Tylenol (26D: Popular reliever of aches) for the pain (41A: Ibuprofen target) in my shoulder that just gnaws (66A: Really bothers, with "at") at me -- and then do just that.

Good night. ZZZzzz...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Monday, Monday...

Ah, but you can trust that day.

Sometimes it's just plain refreshing to do a Monday puzzle. After I've taxed my brain doing Saturday and Sunday, it's nice to just go on automatic pilot. And for me, the larger, easy-to-see grid is the real payoff!

David Pringle's theme is revealed in 37A: Identify exactly...or a hint to this puzzle's theme (Put ones finger on), with four theme answers, arranged in perfect symmetry. Very nice.

17A: 3" x 5" aids for speakers (Indexcards)

23A: Corporate office staffers (Middlemanagers)

47A: Fonzie's girl on "Happy Days" (Pinky Tuscadero). Here's the happy couple, for those of you who don't remember, can't picture her, or never saw the show.

and the final theme answer:

58A: Head of a cabal (Ringleader)

Nothing difficult about the fill, either. I'm always excited when I remember things from previous puzzles, such as:

10D: Cousin of a monkey (lemur). Some of the pictures of them were downright frightening. This one will always have me picturing them dancing across a field, rather than baring their teeth at me.

Thought that 64A: Roly-__ had to be something other than Poly, but it wasn't.

Nice to see User clued as something other than a druggie. 57A: End-__ (ultimate buyer). Don thinks I'm the end user of way too many things, including, but not limited to, shoes. He often refers to my Imelda Marcos shoe collection. Honestly, I'm not even close (fewer than 100--way fewer).

Okay, I didn't really remember this one, but I won't forget it again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and I'm getting ticked at someone! 13A: __ Gay (W.W. II plane) is Enola. Maybe if I look at a picture of it, I'll remember it the next time it appears. And it will.

Television, movie and book clues/answers addition to the Happy Days clue/answer above.

42A: Edgar __ Poe (Allan). This time I remembered it's with an a -- not Allen. The Telltale Heart was my absolute favorite, and I saw it in a puzzle not too long ago. Maybe in one of my many NYT crossword books.

66A: "__ of the D'Urbervilles" (Tess)

39D: __May of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (Elly). Wanted to spell it differently, but then Pinky wouldn't fit where I knew she belonged.

51D: Murphy who's heard in "Shrek" (Eddie). That donkey was just too cute. I watched the movie multiple times (well, my kids did, so I heard it multiple times), but the donkey always made it worthwhile.

Yesterday it was an answer, today it's a clue. Getting on in years (Aging) appears at 22D. I could take this personally, but David Pringle doesn't know me (nor does Victor Fleming, or Will Shortz), so I won't. I'm actually very excited about turning 55 in a few months. Herberger's, my favorite department store, offers a 20% off sale day once a month for 55-and-overs. I plan to go there the day after my birthday (if not the day of). I'll probably buy shoes. There is a reason for this, and many women can identify with it, I'm sure. On a day when I'm not feeling particularly slim, and I don't want to try on clothes that maybe won't fit...well, I always wear the same size shoe. This also works with jewelry, but don't tell Don.

Which reminds me...55A: Leo's symbol (Lion) is the icon for frequent visitor and fellow blogger, Donald. Be sure to check him (and it) out at The New York Times Crossword in Gothic.

38D: Drug agents: Var. (narks). Okay, I didn't see the "var" until I was just doing this. I had narcs at first; again, Pinky wouldn't fit. Now I see the reason for the K.

65A: Mishmash (mess). Had olio at first and was quite proud of myself.

22A: Sky-blue (Azure). I have a family member named Azure, and I'm sure you'd assume it was a female. You'd be wrong. Azure Moon is my precious great-nephew. We would have called his parents hippies in the seventies. What's funny is that the name really does fit him, and he has the most beautiful blue eyes.

33A: Birds__feather (ofa). That we are. Comments made earlier today (yesterday when you read this) really made me aware of the virtual family that exists among bloggers.

Ain't life grand? Thank you all for being here.

Linda G

Saturday, April 21, 2007

For April -- National Poetry Month

Today's major madness. The damn spacing on this blog isn't cooperating again. That's probably not an issue for some people, but I'm a perfectionist, and it really ticks me off. It looks fine on my screen, but it messes up for the preview--and for the publishing. That said, here it is. (Ha! Figured it out and fixed it!)
Victor Fleming has outdone himself with the Sunday puzzle. "Poetry is" -- according to several poets. Theme answers are:

25A/36A: Like fish if its/fresh its good (Osbert Sitwell)
59A: Truth in its Sunday clothes (Joseph Roux)
81A/89A: An echo asking a/shadow to dance (Carl Sandburg)
111A: The deification of reality (Edith Sitwell)
128A: An act of peace (Pablo Neruda)
148A: Being not doing (e.e. cummings)

In addition to theme answers interwoven throughout, there's some fun fill.

64A: Where Springsteen was born, in song (the USA)

1A: Student's declaration (major).

29A: Feature of the villain in "The Fugitive" (onearm)

3D: It may start with someone entering a bar (joke). Clever cluing, and probably a gimme for most.

27A: Orange/yellow blooms (marigold). A friend (on his third marriage) once said that his wife was more like a marigold than a rose. Roses were beautiful, he said, but they had thorns. Marigolds, on the other hand, weren't as flashy but they were nice--and very reliable. I think about that every year when they pop up around the yard, even though I haven't planted marigold seeds for years. They've been married for 25 years now -- twelve times longer than he was married to either of the roses.

119A: Title character in a "Sgt. Pepper" song (Mr Kite). If you've read my profile or this blog, you know that I'm a Beatles fan. I had to go through the whole CD in my head to remember who was in it.

Also liked:

23A: Love letters (SWAK). 'Cause a lick won't stick.

54A: One way to be paid (in cash) -- my favorite way

92D: Hundred Acre Wood donkey (Eeyore)

51D: Tapas bar offering (chorizo) -- a Scrabbly word

85A: Flat (horizontal) -- another Z-word

11D: __this world (not of). Had out of at first. I'll bet I wasn't alone.

145A: Elderly (on in years). Feeling there today.

Lots of others, but it's late.

I devoted way too much time to puzzles this weekend. I had so much to do in the house and in the yard. Maybe Sunday afternoon...

Linda G

Friday, April 20, 2007

Saturday, April 21 -- Byron Walden

This puzzle took me entirely too long to finish. According to the Applet, there's still something wrong, but I know it's just one letter -- and I can't figure out which one it is.

Googled a couple of things, but this was really a puzzle that forced you to think outside the box.

1A: Sputtered (loststeam). I had lost speed at first.

14D: Mall rats, typically (teencrowd)

30D: A cut above? (hairstyle)

12D: Chronic fatigue syndrome, informally (yuppieflu)

46A: Less sympathetic (stonier).

48D: Blowout (gala). I was thinking something to do with tires...

Totally loved 34A: showstopper (hardacttofollow). I got it with only two or three letters.

It's been too many years since I played Candy Land. Had to get a few of the downs before the name of a candy (gumdrop) came to mind.

It usually drives me nuts to see a clue appear more than once. Shingle abbr. appeared at 7D (estd), and again at 38A (bros), but I thought they were both good answers.

Boffo? Never heard of it, but it's the answer to 33A: Like a showstopper.

Theaterof/theabsurd is a connected answer appearing at 29A and 37A (20th century avant-garde movement). Another tied answer is Apple/Inc at 18A and 24A, clued as Fortune 500 company founded by two college dropouts. That was one of the few gimmes.

27D: Psychiatric discipline pioneered by Margaret Naumburg (arttherapy). Good clue, great form of therapy. When our girls first came to live with us, Nancy used a combination of play therapy and art therapy. Very telling.

Three weeks into my job, and things are going well. After three years of intensive case management with families, it's a welcome change to be on the administrative side--working with donors and volunteers, applying for grants, fundraising. Life is good.

Linda G

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Not tonight, dear

No, I don't have a headache. It's been a stressful day, and I'm going to bed. I'm not even going to look at Friday's puzzle until I get home from work tomorrow.

Between Rex and Donald, you'll get two takes on the New York Times puzzle. Green Genius will have the solution to the Sun; both he and Orange will have commentary. See links in the sidebar for all.

Hope to be back some time soon.

Orange, this one's for you

Here's the hunky picture I tried to pull in last night. It was worth waiting for. Would someone let Orange know it's here.

Thanks, Donald, for letting me know that Google had problems last night and they were resolved. Well, somewhat. I can't get the spacing to work right. It is what it is...

I also wanted you all to see The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. As I said last night, it's a must-read. Takes all of ten minutes, maybe less. I read it so many times to my girls that they memorized it. I'd actually been given the book as a gift when I was in my twenties. And Google wants this next part to be part of this paragraph, I guess.
The wind has stopped, and it looks like a beautiful day is in the works. Lord knows what the pollen count will be after all that. Gotta love Claritin and Flonase.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thursday, April 19 -- Henry Hook

I just spent a half hour on this, only to have it disappear when I tried to bring in a picture. I don't know how it happened, but I'm not up to doing it all again. Damn!

It's been windy all day, and that's made me on edge. It hasn't let up for five minutes. I love my wind chimes, but they've just been banging around since I got home four hours ago. Not pleasant.

Also not pleasant was today's puzzle. I'm not much for themes that involve words connected to one another but all over the grid. Visit one of the linked blogs for more information on the theme.

Clues/answers I liked (for the second time!)

25A: ones out for a while (dozers). What I need to be pretty soon

16D: __Bear (Papa). Mama appeared at 47D.

5D: Children of Norman and Enid (Sooners). Clever--can't believe I got it right away.

53D: Trick part? (Knee). No problems with my knee, but this left shoulder has been giving me fits since November. Actually, it's my biceps tendon, probably damaged lifting weights. You try to be buff... I had an appointment today with Holly, a physical therapist who's also an acupuncturist. She lives in Seattle but spends a week a month in Grand Junction. After an hour and a half with her, my arm feels better than it has in months.

6A: Writer Silverstein (Shel). Loved that guy, loved his books. The picture I was bringing in (won't try that again) was of The Giving Tree. If you haven't read it, go out today and get a copy. It's a must-read for everyone--kids and adults.

50D: "It's been__!" (ages). My first answer was real, later changed to agas.

1A: Hardware purchases (brads). I thought this might be about computers, but I was pleased to see it was about REAL hardware. We're getting an Ace Hardware within walking distance of our house. I seriously love hardware stores.

25D: Johnny of Hollywood (Depp). I'm going to try to bring in this picture, as a favor to Orange. She'd previously requested beefcake. But first, I'll save this as a draft.

Well, something's not working right. Guess I'll give up.

Colorado's own Coors Field made it to the puzzle at 28D. We live about four hours from Denver, and I've never been to a Rockies game. When we lived in Kansas City, we saw the Royals play the Seattle Mariners. Does anyone remember Barry Bonnell? He played for the Toronto BlueJays before Seattle. He went to high school with a friend, and he took the three of us to dinner when he came to Kansas City. He was a nice guy, but I don't know if he was a good baseball player. I'm sure one of you knows more about that.

Don enjoyed his first day off since January 1. Somehow Dooley knew that he shouldn't bark at 6 this morning, and we were able to sleep until 7:30. It was divine, as was drinking coffee together for two hours. We've been married for 25 years and still enjoy spending time together. Ain't it great.

Linda G

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wednesday, April 18 - Jim Page

We made it through another tax season! I know I don't have reason to complain. Don's the one who worked ten to twelve hours every day since January 2, including his birthday. But I'm always relieved when it's over. Tomorrow he can sleep in, while I head out to make the big bucks.

I could hardly keep my eyes open to finish the Wednesday puzzle, so I'll be brief. My good friend, Rex Parker, will tell you everything you need to know about it, including details about the theme, revealed in 12D: "__ disturb!" (and a hint for the five themed answers). Pretty clever--they all contain SHH.

I sort of remembered ARod from a previous puzzle but still couldn't get it without the acrosses.

It's always nice when I remember something from my years in college (fairly recent, graduating in 2004). We learned about L-Dopa in Abnormal Psychology (treatment for parkinsonism), which appeared at 1D. Dr. Whats-his-name would be proud!

Some of my favorites:

56A: Foot specialist: (poet). Excellent.
70A: Sounds to shop by (Muzak)
31D: Classic sodas (Nehi). Always reminds me of Radar O'Reilly from MASH.
54D: Franklin's on it (CNote). I always like to have a few of them in my wallet.
2D: Apple variety (IMac). My first thought was Rome.

No madnesses tonight. Life is always good when tax season ends, and especially when we didn't have to pay an extra thousand to Uncle Sam.

I see that those of you in the northeast have been given an extra couple of days. I'll bet you were all on top of things and filed days ago.

It's time for a 6A: Pre-bedtime ritual (bath). But I'm so tired, I think I'll brush my teeth and call it a night. A good night.

Linda G

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tuesday, April 17 -- Jennifer Nutt

I know I'm dog-tired when I stare at a finished puzzle and can't for the life of me figure out the theme. And those asterisks meant there most certainly was one!

The give-away (to some, anyway) was at 33D: Has the rear end move side to side...or a hint to the five asterisked clues (fishtails). The last word of each of the five themed entries was a kind of fish:

17A: Chicken (scaredyCAT)

23A: Very good child (littleANGEL) We had angel fish in our aquarium when I was young. One of them laid eggs on a piece of slate in the tank, and we were all so excited. About two minutes later, a second angel fish came by and ate them all off. We were heartbroken.

48A: Venus (eveningSTAR)

59A: Purple sandwich filler (grapeJELLY)

11D: Short shadow caster (middaySUN)

I know precious little about sports, but I know more about baseball than any other. That said, I didn't have a clue that 14A: Number of feet between baseball bases was NINETY. Twenty or thirty would have fit, but that just didn't seem long enough. When you're way up there in the bleachers, though, it really doesn't look too far.

The last time I saw Sedgwick of Warhol films (19A), I committed the answer (Edie) to memory. Yesssssss.

I can't remember what he calls words with -er endings, but I know Rex Parker will not like 35A: It lets things go (releaser). I hang on his every word, but that one's escaping me.

Things I liked:

59D: No. on a transcript (GPA)

43A: Reddish-brown (Sienna)

39D: Frequent flier's reward (freetrip) -- I need one of these

6D: Charisse of "Singin' in the Rain" -- I loved that movie. Cyd Charisse was an incredible dancer.

We don't have ivory-billed woodpeckers here because they are 30D (rare). We have flickers, which are annoying because they peck holes in our house and try to nest in the attic. We were told that if we hung a house specifically for them they would stop. They didn't. Grackles nest in the houses instead, and the flickers are still trying to get in our attic. I love birds, though, and have about nine feeders in the yard and in our woods.

It's 10:00 and Don is not yet home. Tax season will officially be over at midnight tomorrow, but he's finishing up the last two returns tonight. I hope you've finished yours. And don't forget--Tuesday is the last day to fund your 2006 IRA. Just do it!

Linda G

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Monday, April 16 - Randall J. Hartman

Easy puzzle with a simple-to-figure-out theme. Ordinary words clued in extraordinary ways. Four theme answers with rhyming first syllables: Barrtended (17A: Like folks cared for by former congressman Bob?), Carrpooled (55A: Like funds gathered by singer Vikki), Farrfetched (10D: Like a ball retrieved by actor Jamie?),and Starrshaped (24D: Like clay molded by drummer Ringo).

I'm a Beatles fan--which one was my favorite? Actually, it was a tie. I also liked Farrfetched. Who didn't love MASH? And who was funnier than Klinger?

I actually thought that 29A (Man of steel?) was supposed to be a theme answer, so I got hung up for a short time. Turned out to be CARnegie. Anyone else?

Some common clue/answer pairings turned up again, and this time I remembered them. Castor (26A: Pollux's twin), AyeAye (47A: Naval affirmative), ActI (62A: When Romeo meets Juliet), Manor (6D: Country estate), Corgi (46D: Welsh dog).

Epees (32D: Sporting blades), Ahem (47D: "Uh...excuse me"), Elie (58A: Writer Wiesel) -- all back and likely to show up again soon. And it always pays to know your Bible books. Amos (21A: Book after Joel) visited today.

Because other blogs post the completed grid, I've chosen not to. I'm not sure where this blog will go, but I'll always comment on the New York Times puzzle. Beginning tomorrow, I'll also start doing the Sun, and I may make a few comments on it as well.

It's 8:10 PM (regardless of what it shows for my posted time), and I still have one more tax return to finish. If you haven't finished your own, you still have time--but get on it!


Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Other Madness(es)

I enjoyed being Queen for a Day (or two) on Rex Parker's website--see link in the previous post. It caused somewhat of a stir to use that title, but anyone who saw that show in the sixties knows what I meant. I started decorating my new office yesterday. The calendar selection was pretty picked over, but I found a Mary Engelbreit for two dollars. April featured my absolute favorite--It's Good to Be Queen.

I rest my case.

Why Madness--Crossword and Otherwise?

On any given day, there are things out there that just make me crazy. Some days it's crossword puzzles, some days it's something else. Today's madnesses:

Tax season. My husband is a CPA with well over 150 corporate clients. Most of them are Sub-S corporations, and their tax returns are due on March 15. That leaves a month to do the individual returns for those clients, and the 100 or so others who just come in for their 1040s. The IRS could come up with something that's better for everyone. I get crabby this time every year. It's almost over, but these last few days are the worst.

Teenagers. I have two, both girls. I've earned a few more gray hairs this last week. Elaine, the older of the two, became engaged, but she's only 19. I hope she and Josh will wait a couple of years. The news of the younger is not so good. Let's just say we have an empty nest sooner than expected.

The Sunday Crossword. There's no doubt that Brendan Emmett Quigley is a gifted constructor. That said, I don't much enjoy themes like today's. Even though I'm a random thinker, there are times when that just doesn't help. The fill wasn't too difficult, though, so I ended up with a lot of correct letters in all those l-o-o-o-o-o-o-ong answers. The only one that jumped out at me was BUILDABETTERMOUSETRAP. I liked CDCASE (41A: Music box?), USURY (102D: Asking too much of someone?), GRILLS (94D: Subjects to cross-x), PEEKAT (10D: Glimpse), and CRISISPOINT (43D: Do-or-die time).

ACPT. I did my third puzzle today--the one with all of the death puns. I used the entire 30 minutes and 4 theme answers have blanks. I finished the first in under 12 minutes, used all the time on the second but was missing a theme answer. I'll finish and send my packet in, just to see how the scores add up. It's good practice--at least I see the levels of difficulty--but there's no way to compare my performance (sitting quietly in my office) with all those who were in a room filled with anxious competitors.

My husband (hereafter called Don) thought that this blog title sounded negative. That's not what I intended. I think Diary of a Mad Housewife was kind of floating in my mind when I was searching for a name. So, to offset any possible negativity, here are an equal number of things for which I am grateful today:

  • Four hours spent with girlfriends--eating, drinking, and being merry.
  • Sunshine and warm weather, even though it's April in Colorado. I wore capris and sandals.
  • Finished a book I was reading just for fun; i.e., not for book club.
  • The garage door just opened, which means my sweetie is home.

Good night ; )

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Four Days and Counting...

For the past several months, I've been faithfully reading Rex Parker's delightful blog--Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. If you haven't yet discovered this informative, often irreverent, sometimes laugh-out-loud-funny blog, get yourself to

Rex will spend the next week basking on the beaches in Mexico, sipping Margaritas with his lovely wife. In the meantime, the blog will go on with five guest bloggers trying to fill his shoes. I'll be one of them, giving it my best shot on Monday and Tuesday.

Come visit.