Thursday, May 31, 2007

Friday, June 1 - David Quarfoot and Katy Swalwell

If you're a regular reader, you know that I've been unable to finish the last two David Quarfoot puzzles. But here it is, a Friday puzzle, and I finished it.

It must have something to do with Katy Swalwell.

Stacks of nine-letter entries, some eight-letter stacks, and a couple of twelve-letter entries. I'm not calling this an easy puzzle, but none of the fill was extremely difficult. That said, several of the clues needed to be revisited more than a couple of times.

The twelve-letter entries:

6D: The Elite Eight are associated with it (March Madness)

21D: Subject of some sightings (Elvis Presley). Not to be confused with 10D: Subject of some sightings (UFO).

My favorite nines:

1A: White-bearded, red-capped patriarch (Papa Smurf). Raise your hand if you were thinking St. Nicholas.

57A: Wally Schirra commanded it in 1968 (Apollo VII). I had just gotten my driver's license and was trying to command a 1965 Mustang.

62A: Plain (easy to see). Once I got past the ordinary mindset, it was easy to see where they were going with this one.

And the eights:

34D: Environmental awareness topic (acid rain). Makes me think of a Kelly Clarkson lyric. It's the lies that drop like acid rain.

12D: About three grains (one carat). I initially thought they were referring to bread. If they're talking gems, I've only heard of points for measuring less than a carat.

Other favorites:

33A: Symbol of contrasting principles (yin yang)

41A: Slip acknowledgement (I goofed). Priceless...although the word looks funny sitting there.

59A: All-natural abode (igloo).

26D: A little after, timewise (ten past). They continue to come up with different ways to clue telling time.

32D: Good sign? (halo). Not omen.

44D: Words on a heart (be mine). Not timely, but sweet.

I need to keep this one short. I have an early morning appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to see the MRI results and determine where we'll go with my shoulder. I take some small amount of comfort in the fact that the injury isn't age-related. For some reason, it's more acceptable/tolerable to have a sports-related injury. I'm a sick human being.

Linda G

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thursday, May 31 - William F. Stephens

Sometimes it pays to be a random thinker. This was one of those times.

I knew something was up when I saw the clue for 40A: 1985 Michael J. Fox film. I knew it was Back to the Future. Since it wouldn't fit, I thought perhaps we'd been dealt a rebus.

The southeast corner fell pretty quickly for me. Once I had 55D: Missing word in 21-, 31-, 40- and 50-Across, applied literally (back), I returned to 40A. How would I apply the word back literally? I was fairly certain that 30D: Blocks in a healthful diet? was tofu (great clue, by the way), so that got me thinking. And then it hit me. The theme entries weren't just missing a word...they were written backwards!

21A: From the beginning again (enoerauqsot) -- back to square one

31A: Revived (daedehtmorf) -- back from the dead

40A: 1985 Michael J. Fox film (erutufehtot) -- Back to the Future

50A: Controlling things once more (elddasehtni) -- back in the saddle

A clever theme, and beautifully executed. The judges give it a 9.5!

Always love the appearance of X -- at 15A: Neuron part (axon) and 7D: Part of a gyroscope (axle). And again at 43D: Atone (expiate) and 45A: Truths (axioms).

Fun clues and answers include:

14A: A-one (primo). We see a-one as an answer from time to time. It was nice to see it as a clue...make the old brain drag that information to the forefront.

25A: 1960s greeting (V signs). I was thinking along the lines of Peace, Love, Happiness, but I got it without too much difficulty. Partly because of the G that resulted from:

11D: Chinese menu notation (no MSG). We've had that before, and I'm always pleased when I remember things for a future puzzle.

36A: Low joint (dive). Ooh...good one.

The very best name in Olympics was also cleverly clued. 46A: Street in the Winter Olympics (Picabo).

I'm not a whiz at geography, but it was pretty easy to guess that I-90 runs through Ohio (54D) and that it runs along Lake Erie (51D).

It really helped to nail 58A: Greeting that may precede "Pehea 'oe?" (aloha). Some time before our Hawaii trip, I'll do a post on the meaning of aloha.

On that note, I'll say Auf Wiedersehen (37A), and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wednesday, May 30 - Mike Nothnagel

I don't know if Mike Nothnagel reads this blog...but this is absolutely his best puzzle ever.

And if you didn't read yesterday's blog, you oughta do that before you go on! If you did, you probably had an easier time with this puzzle.

The clue at 53A (Speaker of the catchphrase that starts 20-, 27- and 47-Across) reveals the theme. The answer is Timothy Leary, the LSD advocate of the 60s, who coined the phrase contained in the first words of the three theme answers:

20A: Revolve (TURN ON an axis)

27A: "Don't miss the next episode..." (TUNE IN tomorrow)

47A: Become a recluse, perhaps (DROP OUT of sight)

Earlier this evening, Janie posted a comment on Rex Parker's blog indicating something very special about the Wednesday puzzle. I just assumed she was referring to an Ava clue that I'd like. Not so.

A nice tie-in is 28D: Go around and around (orbit), since Mr. Leary's ashes did that very thing. Well, he's had more than his share of press at this blog, so I guess I'll move on to the rest of the puzzle.

This didn't seem very Wednesday-ish, but maybe that's because I caught the theme early on. I breezed through it while watching Elton John's 60th birthday celebration at Madison Square Gardens. I'm a fairly good multitasker, but I don't normally attempt the puzzle while I'm doing anything else...except maybe breathing.

9A: Schindler of "Schindler's List" (Oskar) threw me the last time I saw it. I'm happy to say that it was a gimme today. The other one I remembered from past puzzles was 49D: Verdi opera featuring "Ave Maria" (Otello).

15A: Writer Ephron (Nora). If you haven't read her newest book, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," you should. You don't have to be sixty, or even female, to find plenty of humor in it. It's true! (23A: Honest!) I read parts aloud to my husband and 17-year-old, and we were all in stitches. I recommend it as a gift to anyone over 50.

37A: Start of many a pickup line (hey baby). This never worked with me. I'd like to know if anyone in the world ever fell for it. I don't want to know if any of the men out there ever used it.

1A: "I'm glad that's over!" (whew). I like that it begins and ends with W. The second crosses with 4D: On paper (written).

We have two types of humor in this one. 1D: Like some humor (wry), and 16A: Like some Groucho Marx humor (punny).

Two answers I especially like. 43D: Light muffin (popover) and 46D: Frog's perch (lily pad). You could put them together to create a better pick-up line, such as, "Why don't you pop over to my pad, Lily?"

Stumbled momentarily on 50D: Gave birth in a stable (foaled). I thought it might be referring to Jesus, but Timothy Leary saved the day...sort of.

32A: "Bye Bye Bye" boy band (N Sync) reminded me of a professor whose roll sheet always asked a question. Once it was "best boy band?" -- anyone who answered N Sync or Backstreet Boys was doomed for the rest of the semester. Since he was around my age, I knew I'd score points with Beatles.

I almost missed 57D: Big prowler (lion). Surely fellow blogger Donald will be happy to see that.

This is my Jubilee blog...yep, it's been 50 days. While there aren't many comments, the number of readers varies from 140 to 200 a day, some from as far away as Pakistan, Beirut and Switzerland. I enjoy doing this, but I'd like it to be fun for you. Madness...Crossword and Otherwise is still evolving, and I'd welcome comments about the direction you'd like to see it take.


Linda G

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tuesday, May 29 - Jim Hyres

Four across and two down. I like having several theme answers, and especially when they appear in both directions, as they do in this puzzle.

The theme is revealed at 38A: It can precede the starts of 16-, 26-, 43- and 58-Across and 10- and 33-Down (bar). The theme answers are:

16A: #1 hit (chart topper)

26A: Some 1960s-'70s attire (bell bottoms)

43A: Watch (keep an eye on)

58A: However (nonetheless)

10D: Playground game (hopscotch)

33D: Manhattan Project and Operation Overlord (code names)

Having good theme answers is one thing, but the words made with the addition of bar are all good ones. That's something else. Bar chart, barbell, barkeep, bar none, barhop, and bar code. All good. Tough to pick a favorite, but I'll have to go with bar none.

Some lively fill as well. To tie in with bellbottoms, we have 27D: '60s guru Timothy (Leary). He coined the well-known phrase, "Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out." If you don't know much about him, you can read more here. He led a most interesting life, and his ashes are somewhere in outer space.

47A: Spa treatment (mud bath). I've had several spa treatments and have to say that the mud bath was the best--bar none! After being painted head to toe with fragrant, mineral-rich mud, I was wrapped up like a burrito. I didn't make any sounds that resembled Brr (28D: Shiverer's sound), because I was under heat lamps for 20 minutes. Note to that again soon.

64A: Deletes, with "out" (Xes) got the better of me in an earlier puzzle. Today I was ready for it.

30D: Strip under the mattress (slat) seemed like a rather racy clue for such a benign answer. I'll leave the rest of that to your imagination.

Several entertainment answers that were easy enough. 19A: Country's McEntire (Reba), 40A: Alan of "Betsy's Wedding" (Alda), 46A: Carter of "Gimme a Break!" (Nell), 63A: Prince's "Raspberry __" (Beret), and 41D: NBC hit starting in '75 (SNL). I wasn't sure about one of them but was able to get it from the crosses.

Sussed out the only sports clue. 44D: Mourning of the N.B.A. (Alonzo). My first guess had an S in place of the Z, so I ended up with soars for 62A: Skyrockets, rather than the correct answer, zooms.

Other sassy words were 1D: Stretchy synthetic (Lycra), 59D: "La-la" preceder (ooh), 2D: Sounded content (aahed), 31A: Potpourri holder (sachet), 52A: Madrid museum (Prado), and 39A: Muslim pilgrim's goal (Mecca).

There's one I absolutely don't get, but I know I've got the right letters in place. If no one comments about it here, I'm sure someone will somewhere.

I hope you enjoyed the long weekend. Ours was peaceful and quiet...a nice change.

Linda G

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Monday, May 28 - John Underwood easy, breezy puzzle with some entertaining fill.

The name of the game is Twenty Questions, revealed at 55A (Game suggested by the first words of 17-, 25- and 42-Across), and the theme answers are:

17A: Sex appeal (animal magnetism)

25A: Where to grow carrots and spinach (vegetable garden)

42A: Places to find some gems (mineral deposits)

I loved the V at dead center. While 29D: Resided (lived) wasn't that exciting, its cross at 37A: Anchor hoister (davit) was definitely good fill. If it's been in a puzzle in the last six months, I don't remember.

My favorite word in the puzzle was Rosetta, appearing at 41D: __ Stone (hieroglyphic key). I keep calling my daughter's future mother-in-law Rosetta, but her name is actually Rozellah. Must remember that.

Also like 5D: Appease (placate). When you have toddlers, you do a lot of placating. When you have teenagers, you do a lot of it. When you have anything in get the picture. Now that my daughters are adults, I wonder if I'll be able to do less of it.

There were a couple of connected clues. The very cultural 50A, combined with 52A: Thomas Gainsborough portrait, with "The" (Blue Boy). I'd upload a picture, but I'm pretty sure Rex will. (I just peeked when I went to get the link. He's already posted, and he did.)

The Dalai Lama is also divided, appearing at 18D and 30D, clued as Tibetan V.I.P.

Clues and/or answers I liked seeing:

9D: Source of vitamin D (sunlight).

37D: Sharpshooters (deadeyes). Not sure if it's one word or two. It's definitely not eight (34A: Two cubed).

40A: "Don't let these guys escape!" (get 'em)

44A: + (plus). A perfect segue into a great story. My friend Angie was helping her fiance pack up some of his things in preparation for his move into their new house. Sean had driven race cars and still had his driving suit. Angie saw an A+ on the front of it and made a comment about what a good driver he must have been. Sean looked at her grimly and said, "It doesn't mean plus, Angie. It means positive. My blood type is A-positive."

15A: Belle's gent (beau). Beast wouldn't fit, but it was my first thought.

X appears twice in the grid. 11D: Sartre's "No__" (Exit), intersecting with 16A: Auto shaft (axle), and again at 31D: Meticulous (exact) with 35A: Tool that's swung (axe). Not the most X-citing words, but that's permissible when X is involved.

Other scrabbly letters:

1A: Penny-pinch (skimp), sharing its K with 2D: "Citizen __" (Kane). That's one of the films we watched in a World's Greatest Films class I took in 2004. I probably would never have watched it otherwise. "Rosebud..."

Another K at 21A: Vintner's container (cask). I had case at first, but it just didn't work with the intersecting 7D: Unauthorized disclosure (leak). Leae is definitely not a word.

The only ? clue in the puzzle was 48D: Way off base? (AWOL). Clever.

And my very favorite. 28D: John, Paul, George or Ringo (Beatle). If you've read this blog before, or my profile, you know that the Beatles are my absolute, number one favorite band. Have been since they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in...never mind when it was.

Tomorrow's Monday and no work for many of us. That's always so nice, even when you love what you do. Enjoy the day, and be safe.

Linda G

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sunday, May 27 - Patrick Berry

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think the hardest thing about a Sunday puzzle is that the letters and numbers are so much smaller. At least it only happens once a week.

Eight punny answers to the Dinner Theater theme:

23A: Play about tenderizing meat with one's toes? (Barefoot in the Pork)

31A: Musical drama about a butcher who sells deer meat? (The Merchant of Venison)

40A: Musical play set at McDonald's? (The Burger's Opera)

59A: Musical drama that tells the tale of a sausage casing? (Wurst Side Story)

64A: Musical drama about a man eating soup? (Porgy and Bisque)

85A: Play about a guy ordering beef from Dublin? (Abie's Irish Roast)

91A: Play about swine intestines that are semidivine? (Chitlins of a Lesser God)

106A: Play about meat that's good to eat anytime? (A Ham For All Seasons)

The first one to fall was also my favorite--Chitlins of a Lesser God. I had CHIT, plus a few letters here and there. Venison was easy enough to infer from the clue, as was Irish Roast.

66D: Compared with (relative to) fell into place immediately, which really opened things up in the southwest. 101A: Miner's major problem (cave in) was a first guess that worked, which quickly led to 65D: Dwarf (overshadow).

61A: Hat trick component (goal). I was thinking hare, or the ridiculous girl. When I finally got the answer in place, Don explained the hockey connection.

Some of my favorite clues and answers, or just words I like.

19A: Pfizer product used before brushing the teeth (Plax). Like that it had an X, which crossed with 4D: Common daisy (oxeye).

16A: Back on board (aft). Sometimes I reeeaaallly have to think about these clues. This was one of those times.

54A: In love (smitten). I love the sound of the word, and it brings back a fond memory.

114A: Character in many a joke (St. Peter). Blonde wouldn't fit. Neither would lawyer.

79A: What you may call it (noun). My first answer was a day, then good, both good wrong answers. Didn't get the right answer until I had NO-N.

52A: Actress Barbara Bel __ (Geddes). She didn't just play Miss Ellie on Dallas, she was Miss Ellie.

84A: Place in the pecking order (rank). If you do that with crossword bloggers, I think Orange is ranked first, followed by Rex -- or maybe it's the other way around. No matter...they're both heroes in the CrossWorld.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out the reference to my Sun puzzle friend and blogger. That is, a reference to the answer only, not to the clue...52D: Sickly-looking (greenish).

The old one-two is back, but in two separate answers. 62D: Missing broadcast channel (one), and 116A: Retired number of Dodger Tommy Lasorda (two).

98D: Get fuel (gas up) wasn't particularly funny today. I was just a few cents shy of $50 to fill up a Toyota, and that's the lowest grade fuel.

So many more good words in this one, but I'll wrap it up for now. Be sure to check the links in the side bar--they're sure to mention things I've forgotten.

Linda G

Saturday, May 26 - Joe DiPietro

After the New York Times straightened out its problem with the Print and Play version, my computer pulled a few stunts of its own. I didn't even print out the puzzle until almost midnight.

...but was ecstatic to see an immediate gimme at 1D: Singer with the 1980 #1 hit "Upside Down" (Diana Ross), which made it easy to infer 1A: Fandangles (doodads).

Reading quickly through the clues, I knew that 31A: __ of assistance (search warrant) was writ. I never thought that fifteen years as a paralegal would come in so handy.

Another long gimme was 33D: Game in which crosses are used (tic tac toe), probably because of Patrick Blindauer's clever May 15 puzzle.

That was it for the gimmes, but I had a few guesses that panned out, and I was able to piece this together.

A few proper nouns I wasn't sure about. 10D: Designer Schiaparelli (Elsa), 21D: Arizona's __ Peak National Observatory (Kitt), 40A: 1992 Pulitzer poet James (Tate) and 47D: River from the Savoy Alps (Isere). And while I know of Dante, I didn't know that he was the answer to 4D ("De Vulgari Eloquentia" author). Again, those were eventually easy enough to guess from the crosses.

Some clues/answers that I especially liked:

8A: It can aid one's climb to the top (toe hold). I was initially thinking of climbing the corporate ladder.

42A: How apples and oranges may come (in crates.). Originally had the pound.

34D: Glares (evil looks). Love it.

35D: Special kind of treatment (red carpet). Ditto.

58A: Fashionable part of N.Y.C. (Park Ave). Dahling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue. Lisa singing to Oliver on Greenacres...yes, I'm old enough to remember that one very well.

Many other initially wrong answers, but it would make this post waaaaay too long.

And I just heard the coffee finish brewing. Don and the deck are waiting.

A long weekend. Delightful.

Linda G

Friday, May 25, 2007


I've been patiently awaiting the arrival of 10:00 EDT so I could get on the Saturday puzzle. There's a glitch in the system tonight, and it's not available to print and play, only to solve online--hard to do while I'm watching a movie.

I've reported the broken link, so hopefully they'll fix it and I'll be able to get busy solving. Otherwise, I'll solve and blog in the morning, rather than sleeping in.


Linda G

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Friday, May 25

Just got in from a work-related dinner and won't be puzzling tonight. Donald has kindly agreed to be the designated blogger. Thanks, Donald. I owe you one.

I'm having an MRI early tomorrow morning -- 45 minutes of lying perfectly still while they try to figure out what's going on with my shoulder.

Tomorrow night...same time...same place.

Linda G

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thursday, May 24 - Patrick Merrell

When I see long theme answers, like we have today, I usually end up working a lot of downs to get some idea where they're going.

These were definitely looking strange...

17A: DDD

Not that I had all of them, of course. But enough to wonder what was up. And what was up was:

17A: "Creature From the Black Lagoon," e.g. (DDD monster movie)

41A: Gathering of budding agriculturists (HHHH Club meeting)

62A: Some running competitions (KKKKKKKKKK races)

Initially, I thought that 62A would be KKKKK. Since we had three, then four, I just assumed the next one would be five. So much for assuming.

Who doesn't love gimmes? I especially love the longer ones, like 15A: Site of an annual auto hill climb (Pike's Peak) and its symmetrical correspondent 69A: City of Indiana or Louisiana (Lafayette).

With the 10K and Pike's Peak, the letter K appeared 18 times in this puzzle. 5D: "The Greatest Generation" author (Brokaw), shared his with 19A: One trying to stay up while going down (skier). Clever clue, by the way. Some others were:

1A: Food that's stuck on a plate (kebab), with 1D: Western moniker (Kid)

18D: Jefferson site (nickel) with 30A: Attention-getting haircut (Mohawk)

39A: Canon rival (Nikon) and 27D: Two-piece suits? (bikini). Happy to see it clued without reference to waxing.

A scrabbly X in the grid as well. 51D: People in a crowd, maybe (extras) and 54A: Controversial 1767 act of Parliament (tea tax).

Liked the clever clue at 64D: Restaurant with wings (KFC).

Did not know 21D: Old wine vessel (amphora). Must remember, as it will probably come back some time.

The award for the funniest-looking word in the puzzle goes to 22D: Bigwig (Poohbah). That always reminds me of The Flintstones.

61D: Bed, slangily (sack) reminds me that I need to hit it early tonight.

Enjoy your Thursday. The weekend's almost here.

Linda G

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wednesday, May 23 - Bruce Venzke/Stella Daily

Wednesday's puzzle features a four-part theme answer, beginning with 21A: Start of a quip from a hunter.

I tried to buy/a camouflage suit/but I couldn't find/one anywhere

I generally struggle with quips, but this one was fairly easy to work out. No extremely difficult fill, either.

I definitely didn't know 24A: Composer Rimsky-Korsakov (Nikolai), but once I had a few letters in place, it was easy to infer the rest.

3D: Neil who wrote "Stupid Cupid" (Sedaka). My mother and I both liked Neil Sedaka back in the day, so that one was a gimme.

5D: Delta follower (Epsilon). For some reason, that's one of my favorite Greek letters.

9D: Slave's state (bondage). I would have preferred to see it clued in relation to this.

Enjoyed seeing 43D: "Geez Louise!" (Holy Cow). I typically use juicier words, but that struck me funny.

49D: Kind of statement, to a programmer (if then). That one was superb.

60A: Word repeated in a Doris Day song (sera). What will be, will be.

is in the puzzle again, clued as "Little Women" sister (29D), as is Rex. Well, maybe his alter ego -- at 23D: Fearsome dino (TRex).

On that note, I'm wrapping this one up. For additoinal commentary, click on the above links, or check out Donald's commentary.

Linda G

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tuesday, May 22 - Roger Wolff

I'm not familiar with Roger Wolff, but I don't think he's big or bad, and there's no compelling reason to be afraid of him. I ran into a couple of tough spots, but nothing that couldn't be worked out eventually.

The puzzle had three theme answers, all clued from that song we all know from The Sound of Music.

17A: Doe, in song (deer a female deer)

36A: Ray, in song (drop of golden sun)

55A: Me, in song (name I call myself)

DoReMi appears at 43A, although it's clued as Money, slangily. To complete the Sound of Music theme, there's 11D: Alpine flower (edelweiss).

I guess it really can't be called a mini-theme, but 54A: Boxing combo (one two) goes nicely with 56D: "The Greatest" (Ali).

A couple of instances of similarity in the grid. Three 3-letter answers, all beginning with LE...
  • 12D: Entertainer Pinky or Peggy (Lee)
  • 57D: Meadow (lea)
  • 58D: Author Deighton (Len)
...and 54D: Prefix with potent (omni) shared its I with 62A: Muscat-eer? (Omani).

4D: N.B.A. first name that's Arabic for "noble" or "exalted" (Kareem) appears for the second consecutive day. It's a sports-related clue, and I got it--again!

I think it was a rotten idea (15A: Plan that stinks) to use the word anion (48A: Charged particle) in this puzzle. I had axion, which made 44D (clued as Real) ixesse, instead of the correct in esse. I stared at it for the longest time, willing it to become a word. Didn't happen.

I only know maybe six cities in Illinois, but fortunately Moline (39A: One of the Quad cities, in Illinois) is one of them. Others include Chicago (d'oh!), Springfield (because I know all of the capitals), Oak Park (because that's where my husband was born), and Lake Zurich (because that's where he grew up).

Some clever cluing:
  • 7D: Bill provider, for short (ATM)
  • 8D: Red star? (Stalin). It can be clever, even if it's a distasteful answer.
  • 51D: Lacking a charge (no fee)
  • 19A: Art supporters? (easels)

And with that, I'll say good night.

Linda G

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Monday, May 21 - Allan E. Parrish

As much as I enjoyed the luxury of a slow solve on Sunday's puzzle, it was a nice change to whip through this one in short order.

The theme was revealed in the center of the puzzle, at 26D: What the last words of 17- and 61-Across and 10- and 25-Down are kinds of (markets). The theme answers are:

17A: Supreme Court justice known for a literalist interpretation of the Bill of Rights (Hugo Black).

61A: Pie filling (mince meat). For those of you who don't know how absolutely disgusting real mince meat is (I'm not talking about the benign stuff you find in a jar), here's a recipe from 1860.

10D: Some theater productions (summer stock).

25D: 1966 Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass hit (Spanish Flea). If you don't recognize it by name, you can listen to it here. If you're a boomer, you may remember it as the theme from The Dating Game.

Old friends making yet another appearance, some with fresh clues, include 1D: Pale-faced (ashen), 9A: __ Park, Colo. (Estes), 15A: Cheers for toreros (oles), 42A: Jai __ (Alai), 12D: Barely makes, with "out" (ekes), and 56D: Alimony receivers, e.g. (exes).

It helps to know Latin if you're doing the New York Times. 31D: "__, vidi, vici" (veni) comes around fairly often. Know them--they'll be back.

I loved seeing 18D: Onion-flavored roll (Bialy). Don't believe I've ever seen it in a puzzle, although those who have been doing them longer may well have.

30D: Don formerly of morning radio (Imus). Glad to see the word formerly in there. It was well deserved.

46D: Hoops great Abdul-Jabbar (Kareem). One of the few sports-related clues I know. Although there was actually another one in this very puzzle. 66A: Auto racer Yarborough (Cale).

Clever clue and answer at 59A: Syllable repeated after "hot" (cha). Jimmy Durante...what a guy.

There seems to be a mini-theme involving kids. 5D: "What'd I say?!" (told ya), 65A: Winnie-the-__ (Pooh), 37D: Toy block brand (Lego), and 53D: Writer on a slate (chalk). Alas, no playground retorts to go with it.

Alas, however, appears at 6D: "__ poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio."

Very much liked seeing Q up in the NE. 16A: Seismic occurrence (quake), sharing its Q with 9D: Consider identical (equate).

33D: Key related to F# minor: Abbr. (A Maj). Timely, because we had a piano recital today, and I played something in A major. More importantly, I made a chocolate chip cake with butterscotch filling and chocolate glaze. Our piano teacher and her husband will both be 87 next week, and the cake was to celebrate their birthdays.

It seems funny to see peachy (at 48D) clued as A-O.K. We've used the word sarcastically more often than not. You know, saying "She's a peach" because she's really something else that sounds somewhat similar.

I think the only word in the puzzle that was completely foreign to me was 38A: Eurasian duck (smew). I hope Rex shows a picture of it. I've decided I like links much more than pictures. For those of you who blog, you know that inserting pictures really messes up your spacing. I figure I'll do without, except on rare occasions, like the Energizer bunny last week!

Happy Monday. Hope it's a good start to a good week.

Linda G

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sunday, May 20 - Seth A. Abel

As far as I'm concerned, the best way to do the Sunday puzzle is a bit Saturday morning, a little more in the afternoon, and finish it up after dinner.

Yeah, the headlines made me go "huh?" -- and each was funny in its own way. But they were impossible to get without a lot of the downs in place.

So here's how I tackled it.

Went with the acrosses, skipping the theme entries, and was able to get:

10A: Former Connecticut governor Ella (Grasso). I was born in Hartford and still have several cousins there. I remember that Ella Grasso was governor at a time when very few women held public office.

21A: Swenson of "Benson" (Inga). I always forget whether she's Inge or Inga.

30A: Level of care (intensive).

72A: Fall setting (Eden). The best clue I've seen for this often-repeated answer.

88A: One with a thick skin (hippo). I think it was clued the same way in the not-too-distant past.

Several fill-in-the blanks. 35A: Santa __ (Ana), 54A: Take __ breath (a deep), 59A: "What __?" (gives), 89A: "...__ saw Elba (ere I), 108A: Broom__ [comics witch] (Hilda), 109A: "__& Stitch," 2002 animated film (Lilo), and 128A: "__ of Destruction," 1965 protest song (Eve).

130A: Words said with raised arm and glass (a toast).

149A: Like the rim of an eyecup (oval).

153A: It's not held when it's used (mayo). Clever cluing.

Then I moved to the downs and was able to get several, opening up some of the theme answers, all clued as "Ambiguous headline about..."

25A: ...a man charged with killing his attacker? (Court to try beating victim)

39A: ...a protest? (March planned for August)

63A: closings? (Teacher strikes idle kids)

81A: ...a California drug bust? (Feds discover crack in LA)

101A: ...a vagrancy statistic? (City's homeless cut in half)

120A: ...attorneys' pro bono work? (Lawyers give poor advice)

142A: ...a stolen Stradivarius? (Man gets year in violin case)

Most of them were easily flushed out, once you had some of the letters in place. The last one to fall for me was 39A. I didn't know 41D: Composer Ned (Rorem) and had guessed Torem. That made Match planned for August, which didn't make me go "huh?"

126D: Silver quarters? (stall) eluded me for far too long. Mostly because I wasn't seeing 125A: Do-do connector (as I). I was thinking Do-si-do, or do-wah-do. And I didn't know 150A: Earthenware pots (ollas). But it was clever.

Other clever clues:

127A: Jump in the rink (axel). That's been clued a lot of different ways, but this was good. I was thinking of jump as a verb, rather than as a noun.

3D: It'll douse a fuego (agua). Two years of Spanish...definitely worthwhile.

98A: Rating of a program blocked by a V-chip (TV-MA), tied to 113D: Reason for a 98-Across (sex).

115D: Not neat (over ice). If I drank Scotch, that's how I'd drink it.

123D: Hip locale (pelvis). I was trying to think of words for clubs, etc. that might be considered hip places to hang out. Can't remember if I got the P or the V first, but it made the answer pretty obvious.

There's so much more to talk about, but the other bloggers will fill the void. Orange returns to Diary of a Crossword Fiend tonight. I enjoyed guest blogging there, and reading what the others wrote, but it's good to get back to normal.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Linda G

Friday, May 18, 2007

Saturday, May 19 - Byron Walden

This took me entirely too long, but this themeless puzzle was a work of art. Nine-letter entries stacked three high, in the NW and the SE. Twelve seven-letter entries (three in each corner). How does Byron Walden do it?

I loved the 15-letter answer to 8D: Say something to which people reply "Duh!" (state the obvious). I got it with only the first E in place. At the time, I thought that meant I'd breeze through the puzzle. It's not the only time I've been wrong about that.

Until about fifteen minutes ago, I was still missing about seven words. I walked away from it for a bit, came back and suddenly saw the answer to 43D: Rear (bring up). From there, the rest of the SE fell into place.

Things I didn't know:

44D: Eighth-century pope in office for 23 years (Adrian I). I wanted it to be Gregory. It fit...

45D: Breathing trouble (dyspnea). A new word for me.

47D: Birthplace of Yakov Smirnoff (Odessa), as well as 17A: Language of 47-Down (Ukrainian). I Googled to get Odessa, then was able to fill in the other.

60A: Noted Joffrey Ballet dancer of the 1980s (Ron Reagan). Had no clue.

Things I did not like:

2D: It's one funny thing after another (yukfest...or is it yuk fest). It sounds and looks ridiculous either way, but I'll overlook it because of the stacked answers up in that corner.

42A: Tabooed (forbad). That doesn't even sound like a word to me. Forbade, maybe. Okay, I just looked it up. It isn't the preferred past tense, but it's there.

Things I liked:

3D: Classic chocolate treat (Mars Bar). I'm into chocolate in a big way right now. Probably because I'm trying to eat less of it.

28A: Foul smoke (stogy). Great word, great clue.

35A: Like the Supremes and the Go-Go's (all female). I was thinking Girl Band, but that didn't fit, and Girl Bands didn't really fit the clue. I especially liked its placement in the center of the grid.

38D: Institutional investment (jumbo CD). I had the CD right away, but it took some time to get the rest. The SW corner was the last to fall into place.

56A: Devotee (fiend). How nice to see a reference to our dear friend. Al will be guest-blogging tonight, but Orange returns for the Sunday puzzle. I'm sure I speak for all of the guest bloggers when I say that it's been fun, but we're all anxious for her return.

34A: Rank informality? (cap'n). Another clever clue, and a word I haven't seen before.

5D: Narc tail? (otic). I like these word endings, especially when I get them.

11D: Question from the picked-upon (why me). Funny--and one of only a handful of gimmes that turned out to be right.

7D: Bearded perennials (irises). Mine are in bloom all over the back yard--purple, yellow, white, and some really exotic-looking blends. Gorgeous. I used to pick them to bring into the house, but they have a very unpleasant fragrance that I didn't notice outdoors.

Time to wrap this up. It's almost 11, and I have a full day tomorrow. As always, I'll start it on the deck, drinking coffee and watching the birds.

Linda G

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Friday, May 18 - David Quarfoot

David Quarfoot + Friday puzzle = too hard for me.

I've worked on this puzzle for the better part of an hour and a half and have maybe 20 answers. My neck and upper back are tingling -- a sure sign that I need to give it up and go to bed.

Fellow blogger Rex Parker will be very happy to see this puzzle. I'm very happy to let him solve it, and I look forward to reading his blog in the morning.

This link will take you to his May'll have to scroll down from there. No peeking at other puzzles!

One of these days, I'll finish a Quarfoot.

Today is not that day.

But it is almost the weekend. Be safe and have fun.

Linda G

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thursday, May 17 - Alan Arbesfeld

It's Thursday, and we all know what that means.

You know the answer + it just won't fit in the grid = REBUS.

And Alan Arbesfeld gives us a great rebus at that. The theme is revealed at 55A: Special CD release...or a hint to this puzzle's theme (boxed set). The word set appears in four long theme answers, and another in the center of the grid.

17A: Ones with a family connection? (SiameSE Twins), intersecting with 18D: Begin (SET out).

64A: Shrewd bargainers (horSE Traders), along with 65D: Scrap (SET to).

10D: Fail to keep tabs on (loSE Track of), sharing its set with 19A: Takes root (SETs in)

36D: Be very, very sorry (curSE The day). This gets the award for best 46A: Much higher than normal (falSETto).

And in the center of the grid, 41A: Former European money (peSETas) and30D: Decimal (baSE Ten).

This was the best rebus I've ever seen, and I say that because it's the first time I figured it out on my own!

For 10D, I had *O**ACKOF, and I was 99.99% sure that it had to be lose track of. I cautiously penciled in set, and everything just started to fall into place. Now I see how you can love a rebus. The aha moments just keep happening, kind of like...well, it was good.

Was totally amazed to see 20A: Straight (hetero). I thought for a minute I was doing the Sun puzzle.

Had never heard of 59A: Punish by fining (amerce). All of the downs were in place, so I knew it had to be right. Doublechecked the old Webster's. Yeah, it's there.

Maybe it's just the brand I wear, but 40A: Hose hue (ecru) doesn't ring true with me. Little Color and Barely There, yes. Ecru, no.

Clever cluing at 23A: It's not forked out (soup), 37A: Await delivery anxiously (pace), 66A: One of a noted nautical trio (Nina), 41A: Hardly a marksman (poor shot), and 61A: Bureau add-on? (crat).

52D: Hardy perennial (peony). Mine have been full of buds for a few days. When I came home this afternoon, there were about a dozen beautiful white peonies on one bush. I planted them in memory of my Dad's brother, who called them pe-OH-nies.

That's it for tonight. Dave (a/k/a evad) is the guest blogger du jour at Diary of a Crossword Fiend. Be sure to check it out.

Linda G

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wednesday, May 16 - Patrick Blindauer

Patrick Blindauer gives us an entertaining puzzle, with a tic-tac-toe grid at dead center, made up of three across clues...

32A: It merged with Mobil (Exxon)
38A: Part of a coach's chalk-talk diagram (OXX)
42A: " a __ chocolates" (box of)

...combined with three downs:

33D: Kiss and hugs, in a love letter (XOO)
34D: Adults-only (XXX)
35D: Big name in kitchen gadgets (OXO)

But that's only part of it! The theme is revealed at 60A: "Piece of cake!" (and a hint to the starts of 17-Across and 11- and 27-Down) (Childs Play). The three theme answers are:

17A: Thrill (tickle pink)
11D: Part of a dash (tachometer)
27D: Do what is expected (toe the line)

In addition to the theme clues, there's lively fill throughout the puzzle.

20A: Close communication (tête-à-tête).

28A: Heartless one? (Tin Man), along with 31A: Companion of 28-Across (lion). We had Jack Haley last week, so the Tin Man was fresh in my mind. Initially had his companion as Toto.

54A: Flo Ziegfeld's specialty (stage acts).

8D: Breathing problem (apnea). A serious breathing problem...

10D: Huffington who wrote "Fanatics & Fools" (Arianna).

43D: June 14 (Flag Day). That's very close to my birthday, which I'll share with Rex Parker and Green Genius, among others.

44D: Medical setback (relapse).

Very happy to see that 22A: (Couple) was dyad, rather than last week's duad. That just looked and sounded so wrong.

Enjoyed seeing back-to-back clues (Breakfast spot, briefly) for both HoJo (at 52D) and IHOP (at 53D).

Didn't care for the cluing at 47A: Eye passionately (leer at). If someone is leering at me, I'm thinking disgusting, not passionate. My Webster's New World agrees with me: "A sly, sidelong look showing salaciousness."

6D: Imbibed (toped). A pretty archaic word, but it added interest.

7D: One who watches the telly (Brit). Very nice.

I interpreted 3D: Group of prayers (sect) as the things they say, not as the group of people who pray.

Lots of travel opportunities. 1A: Birthplace of Galileo (Pisa), 37A: Seaport of New Guinea (Lae), 45A: Bernstein's "Trouble in __" (Tahiti) and 59A: Athens's setting (Ohio).

John continues with the guest blogging duties at Diary of a Crossword Fiend. Be sure to check out his commentary.

Good night.

Linda G

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tuesday, May 15 - John Halverson

A fairly benign Tuesday puzzle, with four theme answers, each beginning with a word that relates (somehow?) to the body. They're not all organs...what are they? Anyway, we have:

20A: Tightwads (skinflints)

56A: Really, really dumb (boneheaded). For some reason, that expression always makes me laugh. I'm sure it reminds me of something from my past.

10D: Big Easy bash (Fat Tuesday)

27D: G.T.O.s, e.g. (muscle cars)

In addition to the theme answers, there are several other long answers.

17A: Super-easy decision (no brainer)

36A: Put too much pressure on (stress out). I'm doing that to Elaine this week. She's been home for ten days. It's time to find a job. Mean mom...

41A: Get the sniffles (catch cold). Could have had something to do with allergies, but it wouldn't fit.

61A: Recycled metal (scrap iron).

6D: Unabomber's writing, e.g. (Manifesto). I'm uncomfortable with that clue.

37D: Enterprise warnings (red alerts).

I didn't have trouble with any of the long answers. I must be on John Halverson's wavelength.

A nice scrabbly X in the grid, shared by 13D: Flirt (minx) and 22A: Dino whose body was more than 30 feet long (TRex).

Efrem returns to the grid at 9A: Violin master Zimbalist. She may have been in a Sun puzzle, but I know we've seen Mata Hari twice recently. She's at 15A today, clued as infamous spy.

Got Neo (60D: Hero of "The Matrix") from the acrosses. Also 32D: "South Park" boy who's always crying "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" (Stan) was an easy guess. Who's Kenny? And why does Stan always think they've killed him? And who are they?

I'm actually thinking of getting cable (or a dish, or whatever) so I can start watching some of these shows. It might improve my puzzle time, but it will definitely enhance my pop culture knowledge...which is probably 3 on a scale of 1 to 10.

I fell (momentarily) for the trap at 7D: Major Calif.-to-Fla. route. Had _TEN, but nothing was making sense. I-10. One of these days, I'll get it.

I'm going to keep this one brief. It's been a long day and I need to take the advice in 43D: Get some shuteye (sleep).

Good night...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Monday, May 14 - Paula Gamache

I'm spending the night at Orange's blog again. Come and visit...

...and I'll be back to the Madness tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sunday, May 13 - Jim Page

This was just a delightful puzzle. Not too easy, but nothing major that tripped me up. We're not going to mention the recent puzzle that did.

The theme--Two Times Three--applies to the nine asterisked clues in the puzzle, each of which has a sequence of three letters repeated two consecutive times in the answer.

23A: What someone who looks at Medusa does (turns to stone)

32A: 1850 American literature classic (The Scarlet Letter)

42A: Demonstrate the method (show how it's done)

70A: Push aside (shove over)

94A: Walk in the park, say (simple pleasure)

103A: Put at bay (paint into a corner)

119A: Miami baseball list (Marlin lineup)

15D: Toothless South American animal (giant anteater)

55D: Not so important (less essential). This was the first one to fall into place, although I didn't quite get the theme at that point. Two times three equals six, and S only appeared four times. Once I got the Medusa clue, though, it all came together...quite beautifully.

Several gimmes. Most of them short, but they either confirmed a guess or let me know I was way wrong.

12A: Copper head? (Abe). Also one of the most clever clues.

56A: It has gutters on each side (lane).

69A: Agnus __ (Mass prayers) (Deis). Not usually plural, but easy enough to know that's what they wanted.

81A: Hair-raising cry (eek). Just having the K in place made me remember that Kim was Mrs. D.

85A: Becker on "L.A. Law" (Arnie). One of my favorite 1980s TV shows, along with Hill Street Blues and thirtysomething.

Several fill-in-the-blank gimmes, including 27A: "__-La-La" (Al Green hit) (Sha), 37A: From __ Z (A to), 52A: __-mo (slo), 73A: TV's "__-Team") (The A), 98A: Wouldn't __ Loverly?" (it be), 114A: __ Schwarz (FAO), 115A: "Well, look __!" (at you), 123A: Have __in mind (a goal). And those are just the acrosses not mentioned earlier. Several downs, notably 7D: "Steady __ goes" (as she) and 86D: "__ life!" (get a).

Some of the fill was eminently guessable, with just a letter or two in place. I'd never heard of Erroll (66D: "Misty composer Garner"), but I had the double R in place, as well as the L from 90A: __ 88 (Olds). I was also unfamiliar with 84A: Boxer Trinidad (Tito), but was able to guess from the I and O. Didn't know 12D: McMurry University site (Abilene) but figured it out with the A and L.

Other easy-to-guess answers: 46D: Son of Cedric the Saxon (Ivanhoe) and 82D: Kinetoscope inventory (Edison). I haven't heard of a kinetoscope, but with the E in place, I knew that had to be the right inventor.

60D: Place for a star (tree top). I had theater at first. That and heavens would both be good wrong guesses.

94D: Lush fabrics (sateens). I had velvets as first--definitely more lush than sateen, IMOO.

Nails is back (106D: Accomplishes perfectly, as a dismount), as is eerier (68D: More chilling).

We've had an Olaf before, but I'm not sure if he and 44D: Sainted king called "the Stout" (Olaf II) are one and the same. I have finally learned that if a word ends in II, it doesn't necessarily mean that something's amiss.

Oh, there are just so many more good things to say about this puzzle, but I'll have to leave it at this. My husband would probably enjoy spending some time with me. He has suggested that the hours I spend on the computer--both here and at work--might be a cause of the pain that kept me flat on my back all of yesterday. Except for the time I was blogging, and reading other blogs...

To mothers everywhere -- Happy Mother's Day. And to the rest of you -- be sure to give someone the break she deserves.

Linda G

Friday, May 11, 2007

Saturday, May 12 - Rich Norris

As much as I loved yesterday's puzzle is how much I struggled through this one.

Themeless, in this case, also meant clueless...for me. So many things I didn't know. Where to start?

Wrong answers and other things that tripped me up:

32D: Almost (nigh on). Had nearly for the longest time. As if that weren't bad enough, I wrote it in at 52A. Totally screwed up the SW corner.

62A: __-face (kissy). I've never cared for that expression. I had poker. A better answer, but it messed me up further.

36D: Series opener (episode 1). How much longer can they trip me up with answers like this?

31A: Evasive tactic (song and dance). As many times as I heard my father say this, and as many times as I said it to our girls, I stared at DANCE and couldn't come up with anything other than tap. You know, Razzle Dazzle 'em, Richard Gere, Chicago.

35A: Purple shade (petunia). Sorry, that's a flower. I could think of lavender, mauve, violet...

44D: Classic DuPont brand (lucite). Teflon is classic DuPont. I'd heard of lucite but don't think DuPont when I hear it.

I felt like an absolute IDIOT (57A: Fool) tonight. If anyone says this was an easy puzzle, I will scream.

Only a couple of gimmes. It hardly seems worth pointing them out...

1A: Modern arts-and-crafts tool (glue stick). It was just a guess, but it was right.

26A: It may be rolled over (IRA). Didn't open up much, but it did confirm that 13D (Creator of the Mayfair Witches) was Anne Rice.

30A: Butcher's cut (loin). Getting Anne Rice meant that it wasn't rump.

19A: It's extracted (ore). So...2D ("The Hustler" Oscar nominee) wasn't Newman. Nope, it was Piper Laurie. Had to Dogpile to get that one. I should add that to my Netflix queue.

63A: Naive types, sometimes (do gooders). Another good guess that panned out.

Clever cluing:

61A: One studying camels (ice skater). I tried to get something about zoology in there.

48A: Brief attachment to a report, maybe (post it).

There's much more to be said about this one, but I'll leave that to Rex, as well as Al Sanders, the guest blogger at Diary of a Crossword Fiend. As many of you know, Al was officially the second place winner at ACPT. In my mind, though, he won, finishing first but having one incorrect letter (a stupid letter at that). I guess that's small comfort to him, since he didn't get the big bucks. Next year, though, that trophy will be Al's.

It's the sure to do something you enjoy. Something other than crosswords.

Linda G

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Friday, May 11 - Patrick Berry

Maybe I should take a night off every so often. I so nailed this puzzle...and it felt good! I wasn't fast by any stretch of the imagination--but I just kept going. Kind of like

So many excellent clues, so many excellent answers. I hardly know where to begin.

I'll start with the one I didn't like.

44A: Theoretical massless particle (Gluon). I had Quark first, then Prion. Before you go thinking I'm PDS (pretty damn smart), I'll confess that Don gave me all three. He wondered what I was doing during Physics. Never took it.

That's it. I pretty much loved them all.

15A: Formidable, as a task (Herculean). Got this with only the AN in place.

19A: Ladies in men's rooms? (pinups). We had this a few months ago. I remember Rex commenting about the ones in his bathroom. Or am I making that up?

33A: City where the Caesar salad was invented, 1924 (Tijuana). Who woulda thunk? I expected a nice Italian city when I had the NA in place. But I love the J there, especially since it starts off 34D: "Heart of the Tin Man" author (Jack Haley). Who didn't love the Tin Man?

35A: It may have two sides (entree). I had a story first. I love good wrong answers.

52A: U.S. chief justice, 1953-69 (Warren). John F. Kennedy's assassination was one of the defining moments of my life. If you're so inclined, here's where you can read about the Warren Commission Report.

53A: Skillfully switch topics (segue). One of my favorite words, so a definite gimme.

58A: Seafood restaurant annoyances (bones). Yeah, I hate having to see someone do the Heimlich maneuver when I'm eating.

21D: Field-specific vocabulary (lexicon). Another great word, and an X to boot! I guess 26A: Assessment on out-of-state purchases (use tax) will have to do.

30D: Heading for (en route to). It's just beautiful, and I like that it intersects segue.

52D: 1978-82 sitcom locale (WKRP). One of my all-time favorite shows. Johnny Fever reminded me of my brother-in-law, I thought Venus Flytrap was a riot, and I had an enormous crush on Sandy Travis. I also liked Bailey Quarters and thought I might name a daughter after her. Didn't...

How did it get to be 11:00! I'd better wrap this up. Don't forget to visit Orange's site (she's commenting from England), where the guest blogger du jour is John Farmer.

The weekend is almost here. Hang in there.

Linda G

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Thursday, May 10 - Peter Collins

The original post for the May 10 puzzle appears below. If you're doing it in syndication (No. 0510), click on one of the links below for commentary. I've updated the links to take you to the appropriate ones.


Bad girl! That's all I'll say about the Thursday puzzle by Peter Collins. Hint: It's one of the answers.

And I'm going to be a bad girl of sorts and beg off blogging for the night. I'm about halfway through the puzzle, but I'm beat. You can find a completed grid and commentary at The New York Times Crossword in Gothic.

Dave Sullivan (the commenter known as evad) is today's guest blogger at Diary of a Crossword Fiend. Be sure to check out his sure-to-be-excellent commentary on the New York Times, as well as the Sun.

And I'll be back tomorrow.

Linda G

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Wednesday, May 9 - Patrick Merrell

I swear I've seen this quote in a puzzle in the last few months. Did anyone else have that feeling?

Winston Churchill's description of a fanatic is divided into four parts:

17A: One who can't
27A: change his mind
44A: and won't change
60A: the subject

I wonder if I'm the only one who thought the quote had only three parts. To be consistent, the clue for 60A should have been Description, part 4. Clued as Description's end, though, I tried to think of an appropriate answer. What comes at the end of a description? When I ended up with the subject (only because I had all the downs), I couldn't figure out how that made any sense. It finally all came together.

They're b-a-a-a-a-ack:

10A: Pre-Communist leader (Tsar). Old word, new clue.

14A: It's a killer (orca)

15A: Tubular instruments (oboes). I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If it's an instrument, and it's obviously not a viola, it's an oboe.

33A: December celebrations (Noels). Plural this time, but an oft-repeated answer.

42A: Lug (ape). Again, a fresh clue keeps it from being a tired answer.

35D: Gin fruit (sloe).

67A: Collars worn outside the lapels (Etons). See Noels comment above.

Some fresh, snappy answers and/or clues:

25A: Secured, as a fish on a line (reeled in).

39A: Dreadful (abysmal). It's a great sounding word, despite its meaning.

11D: Leadfoot (speed demon). I've been driving almost 40 years and have never had a ticket--or an accident for that matter. I'll admit that I have been very lucky many times, but I rarely exceed the speed limit.

22D: "Elder" of ancient history (Pliny). I knew this, but I don't know how. Former puzzle?

46D: Commonplace (old hat). What I hope crossword blogs never become.

29D: From dawn till dusk (all day long). I just like it because it's a long answer.

48D: Key with three sharps (A major). I haven't gotten to that point in my lessons yet. C, D, G and F major, and A minor. I freak out when I see too many sharps. (MDS, if you're reading this, don't take it personally).

Things I didn't know:

26D: Orbiting chimp of 1961 (Enos). I remember watching it on the news but didn't remember that the chimp had a name.

34D: "Metropolis" director Fritz (Lang). Never heard of him.

37D: Bild article (Eine). Need to brush up on foreign languages other than Spanish.

I have a busy day tomorrow that will start early and go on and on, so I'll wrap this up. For further commentary, read what constructor and guest blogger John Farmer (filling in for Orange) has to say.

Good night...

Linda G

Monday, May 7, 2007

Tuesday, May 8 - Sarah Keller

It's so good to be home.

The theme of Sarah Keller's Tuesday New York Times puzzle is revealed at 64A (phases of the moon). The three theme answers are:

17A: One not taking just a few classes (full time student)

27A: Magazine with the recurring heading "Onward and Upward With the Arts," with "The" (New Yorker). I subscribed to the New Yorker for two years and never once noticed that.

49A: Kind of sale (half price). The very best kind. Even better when I get the additional 20% off for being 55 -- very, very soon.

Clues/answers worth mentioning:

20A: Catholic prayer book (missal). I still have the one I received when I made my First Holy Communion, about 48 years ago. It's sometimes hard to let go of sentimental things like that.

2D: Lanai neighbor (Maui). When we went to Maui, we stayed at the Kaanapaali Beach Hotel, described as Maui's most Hawaiian hotel. It wasn't the most elegant place (maybe three stars), but it was very clean and comfortable, and they treated their guests like family. The kind of family that likes one another.

32A: Comedian Fields (Totie). I remember seeing her on the Michael Douglas Show. She was a very large woman and she joked about her weight. My favorite was, "I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I've lost is fourteen days." She had a lot of health problems, including a leg amputation, breast cancer, and a mastectomy, but she continued to perform. She was truly an amazing woman.

38A: Typo, e.g. (error). Noteworthy because it also appeared in the Sun, cleverly clued as Trial associate?

My time was fairly fast on this puzzle. I got so many of the Acrosses that I completely missed several of the Down clues, such as:

41D: Kinks hit with a spelled-out title (la-la-la-la-Lola). They don't make songs like that any more.

30D: Cried out in pain (yowled). I guess I've never been in that much pain.

19D: Join forces (unite). That reminds me of a funny T-shirt I saw. Bad Spellers of the World Untie.

33D: Singer Lopez (Trini). His full name was Trinidad, but that's a very cool nickname. His biggest hit was "If I Had a Hammer."

I enjoyed guest blogging for the Fiend, but it is good to be back. There's really no place like home. Goodnight, Dorothy. Goodnight, Toto.

Linda G

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Monday, May 7 - Come on over!

For those of you who are doing the syndicated puzzle, below is the post as it appeared on May 7. I was guest blogging at Diary of a Crossword Fiend that day (and the following Monday as well). If you click on the link below, it will take you to your puzzle.


Just a reminder that I'll be guest blogging for Orange on Monday, May 7, and again on the 14th.

Come on over for commentary on the Sun puzzle (new for me), as well as my usual commentary on the New York Times.

And I'll be back to the normal madness on Tuesday.

Jo, if you're out there -- I miss hearing from you! Feel free to comment here if you can't get past the error messages on Orange's blog.

Linda G

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Sunday, Bloody Sunday (May 6) - Charles Deber

I'm glad to have this puzzle behind me. I toyed with it on and off since this afternoon, and every time I came back I saw things that I'd missed earlier.

Charles Deber's theme wasn't a new one--adding an A to familiar phrases that are then clued...well, you'll see.

20A: Where smart shoppers shop? (mensAwear departments)

34A: Plight of an overcrowded orchestra? (three men in a tubA)

52A: Introduction to opera? (first aidA kit)

68A: Location of Hoosier beaches? (IndianA Ocean)

83A: Bit of winter exercise (a walk in the parkA)

101A: Geraldo rehearses his show? (a RiverA runs through it)

1D: Dish for an Italian racing champ? (checkered pastA)

48D: Sandwich that can never be finished? (bottomless pitA)

Some that I liked:

44D: Basket material (raffia). Don't they sometimes use some other fiber that I never remember? This one I know.

100A: Dog with a tightly curled tail (pug). I liked it because it was just in the puzzle on Friday, clued as Toy with a wrinkled face. Those pugs -- you just can't say enough about 'em.

109A: Mugs (kissers). A word we used growing up--don't ask me why.

68D: Canine neighbor (incisor). Took me a while to get thinking about teeth instead of dogs.

35D: Show slight relief, maybe (exhale). Huh? I do it on a regular basis, thousands of times a day. D'oh! Like exhale after you've been holding your breath in anticipation (or dread) of something.

21D: Steers clear of (eschews). I've just always liked the sound of that word.

62D: Denver's __ Gardens amusement park (Elitch). Our girls used to beg to go to Elitch's (as it's commonly called). I don't do amusement parks. Couldn't stand the rides when I was young, certainly have no intention of getting on any of them now. The only exception was Space Mountain at Disney World. It was dark and I couldn't see what was happening. But that was a few years ago, and I won't do it again. Anyway, they both got to go with friends, so that was good for them and for me.

Four entertainment clues that were gimmes, some older than others.

58A: Gaynor of "South Pacific" (Mitzi). She's gonna wash some man right outa her hair.

110A: Hopper of Hollywood (Hedda). That one goes way back.

58D: Jazz's Herbie (Mann). If I weren't so tired, I'd play some right now.

65A: Actress Shire and others (Talias).

And some classics:

63A: "__ Inferno" (Dante's)

93A: "Drink to me only with thine eyes" poet (Jonson)

7D: Stephen King's first novel (Carrie). Not really a classic...

Woe is me! (33A). It's getting late and we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. Don is doing a 50-mile bike race. I have to sit this one out because my biceps tendonitis is still giving me fits after almost six months. I'll get up early with him, though, to lend moral support and make coffee.

Tomorrow I'll be guest-blogging at Diary of a Crossword Fiend while Orange takes a well-deserved vacation. She's got quite a following, and them're pretty big shoes to fill. And talk about formidable company! Other guest bloggers include a couple of well-known constructors--regular commenters on her site, as well as Rex Parker's--and the famous Al Sanders, star of Wordplay and second place winner at ACPT.

I'll come by here tomorrow just to say hello and remind you where I'll be.

Linda G

Cinco de mayo -- David Quarfoot

For the first time since I started this blog in mid-April, I didn't finish the puzzle. I'm not talking about a couple of blank squares--that's happened before--I'm talking huge sections of white space.

So after I got what I could from Dogpile, I visited Orange's blog and got a few hints. And worked a few more answers...but the vast white squares remained.

As a result, I'd feel quite the phony if I wrote much about the puzzle, so I won't. I'll just mention the two or three things I knew.

15A: Versatile weapon (poleaxe). Was too old for D&D by the time it came out and know nothing about it--except this. Rex has probably mentioned it in the past.

30A: One with concrete ideas? (mason). Earlier in the day, I'd been scanning the want ads for my future son-in-law who will be moving here this summer. The construction section had several openings for concrete finishers and formsetters, and I guess the mason thing just stuck.

63A: Henry Wade's opponent in a famous court case (Jane Roe). Everyone who was around then would remember this landmark case. Those who weren't should know about it anyway.

My husband is not a crossword fanatic, but he has a wealth of information stored in his head. He was able to figure out that 18A: (Entertainer whose last name is the past tense of a synonym of his first name) was Rip Torn. In less than five minutes. With no letters yet in place. I'm in awe.

He also figured out 14D: Nudist's lack (tan line) with just the N in place.

It's good that one of us was thinking last night.

After I put the puzzle aside, I poured a glass of wine and chilled with Elaine, our older daughter. She'd spent the last year and a half at Job Corps, a phenomenal U.S. Department of Labor program. While there she earned her GED and learned a trade that will pay a living wage. She's now a whiz at facilities maintenance--inside and outside. Until she gets a job, she'll be taking care of our lawn and yard, as well as doing some plumbing and electrical work around the house. It's time for payback, sweetie! Her fiance, Josh, is just about finished with the carpentry program. Between the two of them, they'll be able to build just about anything.

And now I'm off to drink coffee and watch the birds. Later this afternoon I'll drink some Mexican beer. Enjoy your day!

Linda G

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Friday, May 4 - Manny Nosowsky

Oh, Man(ny)! My head is still spinning from this puzzle!

This is another one that had me stumped from the get-go. After reading all the clues I had only a handful of answers.

1D: Ones doing a balancing job? (CPA). I'm married to one, and I've seen it clued this way before.

5D: Curry and Rice (Tims). Amazed that I got this immediately. Probably the fact that Rice was capitalized.

9D: Cousins of bassoons (oboes). If a musical instrument in a puzzle isn't a viola, it's an oboe.

32D: Swedish flier (SAS). It wasn't long ago that Rex Parker said to remember this. The hell with E.F. Hutton--when Rex Parker talks, I listen.

58A: Grain fungi (ergots). We had this a few months ago, and I knew it would be back. Here's an interesting article on ergotism, which is not to be confused with eroticism. You can find your own article on that.

Yeah, I had to resort to Dogpile for a few of the obscurities, including:

16A: Dodger who threw the pitch Bobby Thomson hit for the "shot heard 'round the world" (Branca). What I know about baseball would fit on the head of a pin, but I know where to look for the answers.

13D: August Wilhelm von __, leader of German Romanticism (Schlegel). Never heard of him but he has a way cool name.

Some of the longer answers started jumping out at me at that point.

34A: Ancient (as old as the hills), followed by

37A: Treated fairly (did justice to). Then I got

7D: Remark introducer (let me just say) and

21D: Ones who can handle adversity (tough cookies).

The odd thing (36D) was the way that was clued with 52A: (it is an).

I stared at 8D: (Where no one has any business going?) and couldn't see residential area, even though I had most of the letters. What's up with that?

And speaking of the Sun puzzle (I'm sure someone was... somewhere), Friday's puzzle is by Francis Heaney, the third place winner at ACPT. If you haven't already checked out his blog, you should. I just love his Tie Project. In fact, I have three ties that I'd like to send him if I can figure out how to do it.

A Happy Friday to one and all.

Linda G

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Thursday, May 3 - Richard Chisholm

I was really doing well when I started this puzzle. Had a few blanks here and there. Not bad for me and a Thursday. At one point, I looked at the puzzle. If you drew a line diagonally from the SW corner to the NE corner, I had the entire left side of the puzzle. The right side wasn't looking too good.

I always cringe when the theme answers are clued to one another. I managed to get 61A (party) and guessed--correctly--at 62A (line), to get the clue for the three 15-square answers.

19A: Political script

37A: Old phone service

50A: Have we met before

Had a tough time with the first one, but I got old phone service right away. We had a party line growing up in Florida. Don and I also had one in Arkansas in the early eighties. We didn't even have to dial the exchange--just the last four digits. Aaah, small town USA.

I guess you could say that Have we met before is a line one could use at a party. Don't try it with me, though. It won't work. Weak there, weak here.

I liked that 1A: One left hanging after an election? (chad) and 1D: Redden and crack (chap) were so similar, but I wrote them in the wrong places, which made me lose a minute or so. I knew 13A: Dwellers at First Mesa, Ariz. (Hopi), but was Pixie Cup an off-brand that I hadn't heard of? Once I discovered my error, 4D: Disposable picnic item rightfully became Dixie cup.

12D: Jack Kerouac or Allen Ginsberg (Beat). Read more about the Beat Generation here.

Liked 5D: Tomfoolery (antics). Both are good words. Wasn't antic just used in the Groucho Marx clue?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who got hung up on 9D: The second of January? (short A). At one point, I thought it must have something to do with the second letter, but there were just too many squares.

Long day ahead of me, so I'm calling it quits. Goodnight.

Linda G

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Wednesday, May 2 - Richard Silvestri

It's deja vu all over again!

For those of you who didn't do Joy Andrews's Tuesday Sun puzzle, the theme was Artoo. Some of us thought it might contain endless playground retorts; instead, she added AR to some well-known names and/or phrases. See the completed grid and commentary here.

Today, Richard Silvestri does a similar trick, adding NY (for New York?), as well as a comic twist to the clues.

The three theme clues and answers are:

20A: Coin thrown for good luck? (Fountain penny)

38A: Result of sitting on a court bench too long? (Basketball fanny)

51A: Bugged Bugs? (Hot Cross bunny)

A few clues/answers that stumped me.

14A: Hebrides island (Iona).

41A: "The Morning Watch" author (Agee). We had ogee yesterday, but I knew that one.

44A: Neurotic TV dog (Ren). Have heard of Ren and Stimpy, but didn't know he was a dog.

12D: Taiwan Strait city (Amoy).

Things I remembered from long ago:

13D: Answer to the riddle of the Sphinx (man), cleverly tied to 21D: Before Oedipus, who could answer the riddle of the Sphinx (no one).

25D: Storybook elephant (Babar). Who doesn't remember Babar?

8D: Like House elections (biennial). Before I looked at the down clue, I saw BIEN and figured it was a Spanish phrase.

Things I really liked:

25A: Grand Canyon beast (burro). This reminded me of one of my favorite pieces of classical music, the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé. According to Wikipedia, "it consists of 5 parts or movements, each an evocation in tone of a particular scene typical of the Grand Canyon." I can hear the burro's footsteps.

48D: Cousin of a mink (otter). What I like is that I remember it from the last time it appeared in a puzzle.

32D: "You got it!" (Bingo). That reminds me of the song about the farmer and his dog, which in turn reminds me of another clue/answer in the Sun puzzle referenced above. Clued as "...had a farm" follower, the answer was EIEIO. Didn't Orange do something funny with that in the last month or so?

61A: Waters seen on Broadway (Ethel). D'oh--Waters, not waters.

62A: Creatures of habit? (nuns). Clever clue. I almost missed it.

And my favorite:

4D: Waikiki locale (Oahu). I love everything about Hawaii. We spent several weeks on the big island, Maui and Oahu about two years ago. We're going back in September, and we'll spend two weeks on Kauai.

I think I'll go dream about it...good night.

Linda G