Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wednesday, August 1 - David J. Kahn

David Kahn's Wednesday puzzle is a tribute to famed soprano, Beverly Sills, who died on July 2, 2007.

The theme is revealed at 21A: With 28-Across, a late, great entertainer (Beverly/Sills). Other theme answers are:

17A: 1966 Lincoln Center role for 21-/28-Across (Cleopatra).

48A: 1970 Covent Garden title role for 21-28-Across (Lucia).

58A: Childhood nickname of 21-/28-Across (Bubbles).

62A: 1955 "Die Fledermaus" debut role for 21-/28-Across (Rosalinde).

11D: "La Traviata" role for 21-/28-Across (Violetta).

29D: With 39-Across, 21-/28-Across, for one (lyric/soprano).

38D: Stage wear for 21-/28-Across (costumes).

That is so much more than I knew about Beverly Sills. I knew her nickname...I had a penpal when I was in elementary school named Beverly, and she was also called Bubbles. I was also able to guess costumes and lyric soprano. This article tells about a side of Beverly Sills that many didn't know, describing her as "special mother to the special children."

I'll be the first to admit I had to use Dogpile to get several of these. While I had letters in place from crossings, some of the names were just too vague for me.

Some of my favorite clues and/or answers:

23A: Insignificant (nominal). "The line is busy. For ONLY ninety-five cents..." As if I'm willing to pay what they consider a nominal fee to have Qwest redial the number for me.

61A: Stretches out? (comas). Not that it's funny, but the clue is certainly clever.

1D: Mysteries (arcana).

8D: Conger, e.g. (sea eel). EAEE just looked wrong. Anyway, I'm bettin' it's a pretty ugly thing. We're in luck...no photo available at that site.

9D: Unlikely candidate for Mr. Right (creep). Too funny...how many of us fell for Mr. Creep anyway?

41D: Linguist Chomsky (Noam). I have always liked the name.

49D: Requirement to buy on eBay (user ID). I try to stay away from eBay. In a matter of two months, I spent more money on Hummel figurines than I care to admit...or more than I want Don to find out if he reads this.

52D: Cause to burn (kindle). I had ignite at first...a good wrong answer. I started a fire in the microwave at work yesterday, heating up a pizza in the box. The box was microwave safe, but I had absentmindedly put a sticker on the box, and it wasn't. Fortunately, I was able to put it out before any damage occurred...but it did stink.

Things I didn't know:

27A: "As I Lay Dying" father (Anse). That looks like something I should remember...like maybe it will come back.

68A: Ruhr Valley city (Essen).

3D: Starting lineups (A-teams). I've fallen for this one before. I had at bats. I'm not even sure I could call that a good wrong answer.

37D: D-backs, on a scoreboard (ARI). Would someone please explain this? I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't get it.

We have similar answers at 13D: Expert finish? (ise) and 34D: Believer: Suffix (ist), and 55D: "The Wild Duck" playwright (Ibsen) crossing Essen (see above).

We also have identical clues at 7D: Balkan native (Serb) and 43A: Balkan native (Croat). I thought I was seeing things...maybe getting a little 33A: Scatterbrained (ditsy).

Another playground retort rears its ugly head at 35A: Retort to "Not so!" (is too). Making another appearance, to the dismay of many, is 51D: More ludicrous (inaner). And there will be some offended by 65A: Really big (obese).

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tuesday, July 31 - Allan E. Parrish

Today's theme is revealed at 29D: Word following the last parts of the answers to the five starred clues (walks). The five theme answers are:

20A: Line formatting option (triple space).

40A: Hipster (cool cat). Even I haven't heard that expression in forever. When I hear hipsters, I think ladies' undergarments (or bathing suit bottoms) that sit lower than the waistline.

61A: Education overseers (school board).

11D: College in Worcester, Mass. (Holy Cross).

33D: Kids' game (Pattycake). Toddlers' game is really more like it. I don't think you play pattycake with a child who's past the age of two.

The theme isn't rocket science, certainly, but the puzzle was entertaining enough, with plenty of good fill.

9A: 1986 Indy winner Bobby (Rahal). I wouldn't have had a clue about this, except that it was in last Sunday's puzzle. Another repeat of a recent answer appears at 70A: Der __ (Konrad Adenauer) (Alte). It was clued differently, but a comment was made (either here or at another blog) about Der Alte.

24A: Blockbuster aisle (horror). I don't watch horror movies...never have and never will.

31A: Coke competitor (Pepsi). I'm glad they weren't looking for something like crystal meth. The clue isn't totally accurate, though. Pepsi lovers don't think of Coke as a competitor, and Coke lovers know there is no competition. For the record, I don't drink either. My beverage of choice depends on the time of day. Sometimes it's coffee, sometimes it's beer...Sunshine Wheat, Fat Tire or Hefenweizen.

53A: Kind of pool or medal (Olympic).

56A: Common TV dinner (pot pie). No one in this house considers a pot pie to be dinner, but I guess adding "TV" makes it work. I'll admit that I liked them as a kid.

64A: Ring-tailed mammal (coati). They sure are funny-looking little guys.

69A: Old female country teacher (marm). Schoolmarm is the name of one of the ski runs at Keystone. This site names it the tenth best single ski run in North America. It must be a beginner run, or I wouldn't have done it. I don't ski any more...haven't in about 15 years...and Schoolmarm was my very last run.

2D: Last Oldsmobile to be made (Alero).

4D: Tennis star Pete (Sampras). This is the kind of sports clue I can get. Someone who's been in the news so many times that there's no way I could have missed his or her name.

5D: Grotto (cavern). I like the clue and the answer.

9D: Cesar who played the Joker (Romero). I know he played him in the old television show, but I don't know who played him in the movies. What? Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger!

21D: Sound reasoning (logic). For as long as I can remember, I've been a random thinker, and I've been married for almost 26 years to the most logical man I know. It's true what they say about opposites attracting...

35D: "Ricochet" co-star (Ice-T). Does this guy look like a Tracy Marrow to you? No way.

Here's the completed grid. As always, let me know if you spot an error in it.

And we'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Monday, July 30 - Elizabeth A. Long

These are the kind of sports clues even I can get!

The three theme answers are plays on the names of well-known stars, all clued as sports-related puns.

20A: Game equipment for an old sitcom star? (Lucille's ball).

35A: Game location for an actress? (Sally's field).

52A: Game site for a popular singer? (Neil's diamond).

Not a particularly exciting theme...but until I construct a puzzle myself and see all the work that it entails, I'm not about to criticize one that's been completed AND published in the New York Times. Instead, I'm more likely to focus on what I found to like (and sometimes flat out admire) in a puzzle.

The only word I didn't know was 24A: Organic salt (oleate), but it was easy to get from pretty fine crosses, all words you don't often see in a puzzle.

6D: Faithfulness (fidelity). A very important word in relationships...all of them.

7D: Licoricelike flavor (anise). My favorite hard candy flavor, although it's often hard to find.

8D: Hand-to-hand fighting (combat) and 9D: 8-Down ender (treaty).

An expression I remembered from my days as a paralegal is 42D: A __ (kind of reasoning) (priori).

Other good fill:

2D: Prefix with suppressive (immuno).

29D: Go all out (splurge). My prescription for happiness...do something for others (besides your spouse and/or children) every day, but splurge on yourself at least once a week. This could include going to a spa (38D: Place for a mud bath). It's a fact (6A: Fiction's opposite)...a mud bath is an excellent use of an hour or two.

45D: Bellyache (grouse) reminds me that I did that too often this week. It really doesn't get me anywhere.

50D: Winston Churchill flashed it (V-sign). Thankfully, this wasn't an R-rated answer. I mean, the thought of Winston Churchill flashing anything else is just...not something I want to imagine.

We have two Bible words in this puzzle. 23A: Son of Seth (Enos) and 49A: Carved, as an image (graven). Those Old Testament folks were warned not to worship graven images, but that didn't stop them. It really ticked God off. I'm not telling the end of the story...you need to read it yourself.

It made me laugh to see 58A: When repeated, classic song with the lyric "Me gotta go" (Louie). We used to think the lyrics were so bad. Actually, what was bad was what we thought they were saying!

It's nice to see a Pantheon favorite make another appearance. 57A: Mélange (olio). I don't remember if Isis is in the Pantheon...she appears at 59A, clued as Rainbow goddess. [Update: Thanks to profphil for pointing out that the rainbow goddess is Iris. See comment for detail on Isis. That makes the down cross ERA, rather than ESA...what Donald called Earned Strike-out Average!]

My favorite word in the puzzle is 38A: Major mix-up (snafu). Situation normal, all fouled up...or however you choose to say it.

We had a very enjoyable dinner with Elaine and her new boyfriend, Mike. He's a likeable young man with impeccable manners, a strong work ethic, and an obvious devotion to our daughter. I'm a believer in love at first sight, but falling in love is the easy part...staying in love is the challenge. I hope they're equal to the task.

Here's the completed grid... [ISIS/ESA should be IRIS/ERA as noted above.]

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sunday, July 29 - Brendan Emmett Quigley

Th-Th-Th-That's all folks! is the theme of this delightful puzzle by Brendan Emmett Quigley. After my disaster with yesterday's puzzle, this was a welcome sight.

The eight theme answers are all common phrases, with TH added at the end. The new phrases are then clued in sometimes amusing ways.

23A: Somebody else's soaking dentures? (not one's cup of teeth). This one may be my favorite...it very definitely made me laugh more than any of the others.

37A: Ghost in a battery? (cathode wraith). This was one of the last to fall. I had to look up wraith, though, as I'd never heard of it.

62A: Avoid being captured by guitarist Richards? (escape Keith). I got this one right away. Since I didn't get the theme at that point, though, it made no sense WhatSoEver.

70A: Baby twins? (double youth). I got this one after 62A, and then the theme began to take shape.

92A: Sherlock at the Space Needle? (Seattle sleuth). I had just blogged the other day about wanting to visit Seattle again so I could go to the Space Needle. This blog is infused with ESP.

109A: Billionaire's last dollar (bottom of the wealth).

16D: Good eating and clean living? (highway to health). This is the road I'm on...most of the time.

43D: Very detailed scope? (thorough breadth). I really struggled with this one. I had no clue that 42A: Wing: Prefix was pter, and the only Comedian Jay (48A) that I know is Leno, which did not help. Jay Mohr? Never heard of him.

Was also stumped by 48D: Wife, colloquially (Missis). I've never cared for the expression, but I spelled it Missus--the preferred spelling. Without the I in 69A: Fed-up cry (I quit), I was in a mess of hurt over there. Here's how I got out:

I used Dogpile, (All the best search engines piled into one.) to figure out pter. Then I guessed that H was the second letter of 43D. Knowing the P also opened up 42D: Some residents, by census classification (POSSLQS), the plural of a 1970s acronym for Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters. Read more about POSSLQ here, including a cute little poem that you can share with your POSSLQ. Once I had the Q in place, I was able to get I quit...and then I didn't have to!

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with Googling (or Dogpiling) to get through a roadblock. Once I cleared up that section, the puzzle was finished.

I also committed a major faux pas at 1A: Basis for the first commercially successful video game (ping pong). I knew the answer, and I thought I had written the answer...but when I was working the downs, I was having problems in two areas. Couldn't figure out 1D: Remains undecided (pends) or 5D: Batter's material (pine sap). Then it hit me. While thinking ping pong, what I actually wrote was King Kong...and kends made no sense, nor did kinetar (which I was pronouncing in my head with the accent on the first syllable...KIN-e-tar). I can't explain what happened, but I may have had Donkey Kong on the brain as I was writing.

44A: Their mascot is Handsome Dan (Elis) may have thrown a few people. If the answer had been Yale, the clue word have said "its" mascot. In this case, then, plural meant Elis. Hooray!

I was totally embarrassed to write the answer for 9D: Farm animal, in kidspeak (moo cow). I'm even more embarrassed to confess that it was a gimme.

My best wrong answer of the puzzle (well, aside from the huge areas described above) was at 29A: One who might stand in front of a map (teacher). I remembered being in New York City and staring at a Metro map, when a kind local offered to help us out. For that reason, I had tourist...a very good wrong answer.

An interesting progression from the northeast corner...moving south and west from there we have 16A: Mugger? (ham), 54A: Whence the phrase "Brevity is the soul of wit" (Hamlet), and 79A: Skywalker portrayer (Hamill).

Two things from recent puzzles that didn't trip me up this time. 76A: Isolate (enisle) and 116A: Get set (orientate). Orientate still bugs me, but I got it, and I'm happy.

63D: Spitting sound (ptui) made me laugh. It also reminded me of Rex Parker's Great Pfui Controversy. You can read all about that here. Who would have thought that either of those words would rhyme with something?

Growing up in West Palm Beach, Florida, I knew 28A: Palm Beach county city, for short (Boca). Its full name is Boca Raton, which means Rat's Mouth...isn't that delightful? While we made the trip up the coast and back several times, we didn't usually take 73D: Route from Me. to Fla. (U.S. One). That would have taken forever.

Deity times two...39D: Egyptian god of wisdom (Thoth) and 68A: Deity featured on California's state seal (Athena).

I knew 87D: Apostle known as "the Zealot" was Simon, but there were seven spaces...took but a few seconds to realize St. Simon was what they wanted.

I didn't know 24D: Quinces, e.g. was pomes, but I was able to get it from the crosses. My favorite cross was at the M...33A: Life stories (memoirs).

Well, it's close to midnight, so I'd better wrap this up. Our older daughter brought her new boyfriend home to meet us (thankfully, she broke the engagement we weren't too happy about), and we took them out to dinner. They'll head back to Colorado Springs tomorrow--about a 6-hour drive. Don and I were both very impressed with Mike. He's six years older than Elaine and is gainfully employed with an excellent work ethic. I guess time will tell where this goes.

Here's the completed grid, which I didn't check on AcrossLite. If you see any errors, please post in the comments section.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. See you tomorrow.

Linda G

Friday, July 27, 2007

Saturday, July 28 - Manny Nosowsky

The only way to come up with a blog entry of any length or depth would be to list all of the wrong answers I had in this puzzle.

I'm sure Manny Nosowsky doesn't hate me...he doesn't even know me! It's probably more likely that I just wasn't on his wavelength tonight. Every time I turned around, I was messing up another one. There are more erasures on this grid than I've ever had in the history of my puzzling solving.

It didn't help that I'm grumpy. Current madness (it's actually been an ongoing madness) is daughter related, and she called mid-puzzle...and just irritated the pure hell out of me.

I did manage to get the upper right quadrant of the puzzle, thanks in large part to 16A: Draft pick (pale ale) and its cross with 12D: Pantries (larders). That had me sitting pretty enough to guess my way through the rest of that section. Did get tripped up initially by 11D: Races (peoples), since I was thinking of foot races, boat races, car races, and the like.

Ordinarily I love multiple word answers, but when I can't get them, it's pretty frustrating...

And there was one right off the bat...1A: Claimed as one's own (had dibs). I thought it should be adopted. I had no clue about 2D: Former home of the N.F.L.'s Rams (Anaheim). For all I knew, it was Detroit, which fit quite nicely. I'm counting on reader/commenter Profphil to be as clueless about that as I was. He frequently admits that sports trivia isn't his strong suit.

23A: "Go jump in the lake!" (sit on it). I don't believe I've ever used either expression, so I couldn't really say that one means the same as the other.

25A: Begin, as an enterprise (enter on). Doesn't sound right...I need to process that one a bit.

41A: Running wild (on a tear). Okay, we've had that before. It tripped me up then, and it did it again tonight. Again, not an expression I use.

43A: "It's true!" (not a lie). Well, duh. Maybe that was too obvious, but I couldn't see it.

54A: Others (the rest). Actually, I like that one. I couldn't get it without crosses, but I like it.

55A: Expose and destroy (root out). That conjures up some wickedly delightful fantasies of mine.

And those are just the across multiple words. There were also at least seven in the downs:

4D: Spoils (dotes on). Since I thought it began with a P, I was at a loss to come up with a word, but I was thinking goes bad, or something along those lines.

5D: Immobile in winter (iced in). We've seen that enough times that it caused me to question adopted.

6D: Not wait for an invitation (barge in). Well, my mother taught me better manners...I'd never do that.

And continuing with 31D: "Again?!" (now what), 32D: With no time to lose (in a rush), 37D: Comes through successfully (makes it), and 44D: Links with (ties to).

After last week's fiasco with stepfather (clued...offensively, to some...as faux pa?), we have stepdad at 20A, but with a much better clue (Mike Brady of "The Brady Bunch," e.g.). Did Will take note of the comments made? Or is it just coincidence?

My favorite answer in the grid took me forever to see, even after the grid was finished. 39D: Guide feature? (silent u). Those kinds of clues just slay me, but when I get them, I love them.

34D: Scoundrel (stinker) was another answer I liked. I probably would have clued it differently, though. In my mind, stinker has an affectionate connotation, and I don't think kindly of scoundrels.

Here's the grid. I made it smaller so you can't see the mess I made of it.

I think I'll go sit with a glass of wine and forget about this puzzle...and hope that Sunday brings a fun one. Enjoy your Saturday.

Linda G

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Friday, July 27 - John R. Conrad

I don't remember the last time I saw a rebus on a Friday...aren't they usually reserved for Thursdays and Sundays?

It didn't take me long to recognize it, though. I knew that 31A: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee known as the White Lady of Soul was Dusty Springfield. I just didn't know how to make it fit in the grid. My first guess was that RING would fit in one square, but the downs didn't cooperate. I had the BI in place at 2D: Went kaput...and then I saw it. Bit the dust! By the way, there's a lot more to Dusty Springfield's career than You Don't Have to Say You Love Me or Son of a Preacher Man. You can read more about her here.

Other theme answers are:

4A: Medevacs, in military slang (dustoffs), with 4D: Quarrel (dust up). Lucky guesses on both.

9A: Shop coat? (sawdust), with 12D: Furniture protector (dust cover).

37A: Nebulous stuff (interstellar dust), with 42D: Black & Decker offering (Dustbuster).

43D: Classroom sneeze elicitor (chalk dust), with 62A: Janitorial tool (dustmop). I had dustpan, dustbin...who'd have thought there would be so many janitorial tools with dust in the name?

57D: Cleaning product with the slogan "It's that fast" (Endust)...I know the product but have never heard the slogan...with 63A: Big band era standard (Stardust). That reminds me of a great tearjerker...Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, starring Maureen Stapleton and Charles Durning. I should probably watch it again and see if I still like it as much as I think I do.

Things I didn't know:

15A: Officer slain in the Old Testament (Uriah). The only Uriah I know is Uriah Heep.

21A: City of canals (Osaka). I think I may have seen this before...but when I think of city of canals, I think of Venice.

29A: Cow (hector). I had to look this up to see the connection. I'd never heard it used that way.

51A: Food whose name is Italian for "feathers" (penne). I know the word, just didn't know its Italian meaning. In just one week, we know sleeves (manicotti) and feathers.

37D: Metal in the points of gold pens (iridium). If I've heard it before, I've forgotten it, although I was able to get it from crosses.

I was delighted to see 1D: Half of a 1970s-'80s comedy duo (Cheech). We spent far too many nights listening to Cheech and Chong. "Dave's not here!" was classic, but Sister Mary Elephant was also a favorite...maybe because I spent seven years in Catholic school.

Multiple word answers include 10D: very, very hot (at a boil), 25D: Absorbed (sopped up), 48D: Get divorced (end it), 46A: Billboard listing (hit tune), 49A: Puts together in a hurry (whips up).

I usually second-guess myself when I see a long answer that ends in I. They didn't trip me up at all this time, though, with 22D: It contains the elastic clause (Article I). It's also known as the necessary-and-proper clause. You can read more about it here.

They did trip me up with 27A: Kind of therapy. I thought of mental therapy, marital therapy, equine therapy, art therapy, everything but hormone therapy...can't see the forest for the trees, I guess.

44A: People people (celebs) was a good clue, and it's a good answer. But it seems as though there should have been an indication that the answer was abbreviated in some way...maybe adding "briefly" to the clue.

Don't know why I knew 50A: Wood smoother (adz), but I did. And it's a very cool word. A three-letter word with a Z? It doesn't get any better than that.

So here's the grid.

I wonder why I wrote the "dust" in Stardust top to bottom, when all the others were written bottom to top?

That's all for tonight. See you tomorrow.

Linda G

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thursday, July 26 - Joe Krozel

A show of hands, please...how many of you groaned l-o-u-d-l-y when you saw thirteen across entries clued simply as [ - ]? I know I did. But when it started to come together, the aha moments started coming in waves.

You really had to think outside the box to get this one. I noticed immediately that all thirteen [ - ] words were left justified (as it were), but that didn't tip me off. It wasn't until *CAS*Y at 41-Across that I realized what was going on.

The thirteen theme answers are two entries each. The [ - ] appears as the first clue (at the left word), and the actual clue appears as the clue for the words that are right justified. Huh?

1A, clued at 10A: Opposite of all (not one). Actually, one not if you read them left to right. For consistency's sake, I'll do them all this way.

13A, clued at 15A: Loser (also ran). I never heard this expression before doing crossword puzzles. Now I see it pretty often.

16A, clued at 18A: Try, as something new (test out). If you'd like to test out something new...like guest blogging at Madness...just let me know.

19A, clued at 22A: Like some low-rise buildings (three story).

26A, clued at 30A: Places where fans may gather to watch a game (sports bars).

34A, clued at 36A: Noted 1829 West Point graduate (Robert E. Lee). This was first clue that something was up. I was pretty sure that was the answer, but it just wouldn't fit at 36-Across.

37A, clued at 40A: Deem appropriate (see fit).

41A, clued at 44A: Irish playwright who wrote "The Shadow of a Gunman" (Sean O'Casey). Once I had some of the downs over at the left side, I saw that O'Casey belonged over there, and I was on a roll.

45A, clued at 47A: Countryman of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (West German).

51A, clued at 55A: Target of chondrolaryngoplasty surgery (Adam's apple).

59A, clued at 62A: Barely (by a nose).

63A, clued at 65A: Comforting words (it's okay). I got plenty of those today from several readers. Thank you all. As I said in a comment to Wednesday's puzzle, there have been references made (on this blog and others) about the virtual family that exists among crossword bloggers. It's very true, and I'm grateful for each and every one of you.

66A, clued at 68A: What some browsers browse (the net).

That was tough to explain, but I hope you were able to follow my train of thought.

I thought this puzzle was borderline brilliant. So many of the theme answers were just simple words--only three or four letters. That would have made for a boring puzzle if not for the way they were connected.

There were only a few things I didn't know. 49A: Long-billed wading bird (snipe). I wanted egret or heron..don't they have long bills? Also didn't know 60A: English king who was the youngest son of William the Conqueror (Henry I), and 38D: Early American patriot Silas (Deane). Sports isn't the only area of weakness for me. You can add history, physics and French, among other things, to the list.

Outside of the theme answers, I really liked 6D: One way to buy things (on credit). I'm embarrassed to say that it was a gimme. I put everything on my credit card. It beats writing checks all over town. I get cash back rewards from Visa (which I put into my savings account) and I don't charge more than I can pay when the bill comes in.

Also liked 39D: Guests may be greeted with them (open arms). I don't remember the last time we had guests, but I'm sure that's how they were greeted.

Was very happy to see that 33D: Blockage fix was stent...as opposed to fiber.

The award for most clever clue goes to 43D: Magazine locale (arsenal). Like most of you, I was thinking about the magazines I read...RealSimple, More, National Geographic, Readers Digest and Guideposts (in no particular order).

Here's the completed grid...

...and I need to wrap this up. I have physical therapy at 8:20, which means I need to get up early and get moving. I do have more movement in my left arm, but it's nowhere near full range of motion. I get impatient and want it to be better NOW, so I can get back to lifting weights. Hawaii in two months, ACPT in seven months...the pressure is mounting.

See you tomorrow.

Linda G

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wednesday, July 25 - Ed Early

Today's theme answers include a three-part quote, the speaker, his brother, and their comedy group.

The "snarky" quote appears at 17A, 38A and 64A: I'd give you my/seat but I'm/sitting in it.

54A: Speaker of the quote (Chico).

27A: Sibling of 54-Across (Harpo).

28A and 53A: Noted comedy group, in brief (Marx Bros).

Not the most clever theme, but the theme answers are symmetrical, and there's some pretty spicy fill.

21A: Unwordy (laconic). That's what this post will be today. I don't know what the word is for no links, but it will also be that.

32A: __-chef (kitchen #2) (sous).

58A: Pale yellow Danish cheese (Havarti).

4D: Punch lines, e.g. (climaxes). Nice cross with the X in Marx.

12D: Antigone's father (Oedipus). Tragic story...a must-read.

23D: Cockney's abode (ome). That's home, minus the H...in case someone out there didn't catch it.

42D: Share digs (cohabit).

43D: Worth bubkes (trivial). Haven't heard the word bubkes, but I like it. If you say it three times, you can't help but giggle.

The last few days have basically sucked (kids who aren't really kids any more, but they're damn sure not adults)...but I've been determined to hang in there with my puzzling and blogging. Right now, though, I'm just too drained to do much more. A nice, long soak in the tub for me, then to bed.

So here's the grid...

...and tomorrow's another day. See you then.

Linda G

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tuesday, July 24 - Bruce Adams

Maybe I've lost my mind, but I could swear I've seen this puzzle before...or at least two of the theme answers.

The four theme answers are common phrases, with two additions...double the final consonant and add -ies. The new words are then clued in punny ways.

17A: Angry rabbits in August? (hot cross bunnies). This is one that I am sure I've seen before.

25A: Hens at the greatest altitude? (highest biddies).

42A: Cat lady's mission? (keeping tabbies). This one's a little off...I think the original phrase is keeping tabs.

55A: What a Chicago ballpark bench holds? (White Sox fannies). I think I've seen this before, too. Or something very, very close.

I'm guessing this puzzle won't be a favorite among some solvers. Even for those who don't particularly like the theme, though, there's plenty of fresh fill.

1A: Language in which plurals are formed by adding -oj (Esperanto). Here's an interesting article about it. I knew the word but didn't know much about the language itself. By the way, the literal translation of the word is "one who hopes." We had hoper in the puzzle a few days ago, and it caused quite a stir.

15A: Christian Dior, e.g. (couturier). That's a word you don't often see in a puzzle. According to this article, he was "the most influential fashion designer of the late 1940s and 1950s...[who] dominated fashion after World war II with the hourglass silhouette of his voluptuous New Look."

60A: Beach cookouts (clambakes). I can only eat them when they're deepfried. When you're in Seattle, be sure to eat at Ivar's Acres of Clams. It's one of the reasons I'm anxious to visit Seattle again...that and the Space Needle.

62A: Private chat (tête-à-tête). It's such a nice word to describe what might very well look like gossip to the untrained eye.

26D: Permanently written (in ink). For some bloggers and commenters, this is the preferred way to solve the New York Times puzzle. That's what I did when I used to solve the syndicated puzzle in the paper...ink because it feels better on newsprint, purple ink because that's my favorite ink color. Now that I subscribe online, though, I print the puzzle and solve in pencil.

43D: Masthead title (editor). When you're Will Shortz, you get your name in the paper every day. When a constructor includes your title in his or her puzzle, you get double the recognition.

I just noticed the similarity, as well as the vertical positioning, of 41D: Face on a fiver (Abe) and 38D: French cleric (Abbe).

Didn't know (but probably should have) 11D: Tree rings (annuli). It didn't help that I also didn't know 21A: Hard-to-miss hoops shots (stuffs). That U could have been anything else in either of those words. Annili? Stiffs? Why not?

While I'm not a huge fan of things opulent, I do like the word...and it appears at 40D, clued as Luxuriant. I am totally opposed to the killing of animals solely for their fur, including 31D: Luxurious fur (sable). That goes way beyond opulent. For the record, pedicures are necessary and should in no way be considered opulent.

I had a nonstop day...running from 6 to 6...and I'm beat. So, it's off to bed, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Monday, July 23 - Randall J. Hartman

There are two things I love to see in puzzles. One is circles...

...and the other is anagrams! Put 'em in my puzzle, and I'm a happy solver.

Today's theme is TOPS, with the five theme answers ending in some variation on those four letters.

17A: Traps off the coast of Maine (lobster pots).

28A: Ball catcher behind a catcher (back stop). Is that a person...or are they talking about the fence? I do like that its B crosses at 28D: Points on a diamond? (bases). Good tie, and clever cluing to boot.

34A: Source of disruption to satellites (sun spot).

42A: Sleeveless shirts (tank tops). I've been wearing them whenever I can get away with it. These hot, humid (for Colorado) days are getting old.

56A: Gotham tabloid (New York Post).

For a Monday puzzle, that's a pretty clever theme, and the rest of the fill ain't too shabby.

1A: Toast to one's health (salud). Nice crosses at 3D: Jerry Lewis telethon time (Labor Day) and 4D: Andrew Carnegie corp. (US Steel).

26A: Part of a TV catchphrase from Howie Mandel (no deal). Other multiple word answers include 32A: Identical to (same as), 47A: Goad (egg on), 42D: Thus far (to date) and 44D: Music genre for Enya (New Age).

My favorite multiple word clue was 13D: "Little" shepherdess of children's verse (Bo Peep). Funny, I never thought of her as a shepherdess before.

I liked 39D: Designer letters (DKNY). According to their website, DKNY is not just about clothes. It's about a lifestyle. For years, I didn't know that it stood for Donna Karan New York. I thought it was a new take on a brand that I knew years ago...Donkenny.

I'm so glad to see Opie back in his rightful place (52A: Mayberry lad). I take personal issues with the idiot clued last week as Opie. See the comment posted by Lee at Diary of a Crossword Fiend. I think his link was on the word rude.

I didn't know 12D: Georges who composed "Romanian Rhapsodies" (Enesco) but was able to get it from crosses. I know Enesco as the maker of Precious Moments, the figurines with the big teardrop-shaped eyes. I also thought it was the name of the stadium in Denver...no, that's Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. I haven't been there since they rebuilt and renamed it. Apparently, Mile High Stadium wasn't a good enough name.

It made me laugh to see blooper (41D: Knee-slapping goof) in the grid, just because it's such a funny-looking word. Bean pole (36D: Tall, skinny guy) also made me laugh, for personal reasons. I'm 4' 11" now, so you can imagine how short I was in 6th grade...but one girl was calling me names and that was what she came up with. Don't know why I remember this now.

As you can see, I had already started highlighting before I remembered to scan the puzzle. I usually highlight before I blog...so that my random thoughts don't appear to be quite so scattered.

It's Monday...back to the grind for some. Although it's not so bad when you love what you do. And I do...I'm so blessed.

Linda G

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sunday, July 22 - David Levinson Wilk

The title of the puzzle is Worst Pickup Lines, and they're every bit as bad as the title suggests. In fact, they're so bad...I'm embarrassed to say that I guessed a couple of them without any letters in place.

23A: "Pardon me, are you from the Caribbean? Because..." (Jamaican me crazy).

30A: "I know it's not my business, but if you were a laser..." (you'd be set on stunning).

48A: "Say, is it hot in here...?" (or is it just you). One of the guesses.

66A: "Sorry to bother you, but do you work for NASA? Because..." (you're out of this world).

85A: "Excuse me, I seem to have lost my phone number...?" (Can I have yours). The second one I guessed right, although I wasn't sure if he'd say may or can. 68D: Bathroom powder (talc) confirmed it.

102A: "I don't mean to pry, but are you from Nashville? Because..." (you're the only ten I see). The worst of the bunch.

114A: "Even though we've never met, I'm sure your last name is Campbell. That's because..." (you're mmm mmm good). The third one I guessed correctly.

At least David Levinson Wilk admitted up front that they were bad! But he had plenty of good fill in this one.

19A: So-called "miracle plant" (aloe vera). Nice to see its full name. We usually only get aloe.

25A: Catcher in the World Series' only perfect game (Berra). Everyone in my house was a Yankees fan. I loved Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra.

55A: Hip-shaking dance (cha-cha). Now there's a word you don't see every day.

72A: Dinosaur National Monument site (Colorado). Hey...we're in the New York Times crossword puzzle! Here's a link so you can learn more about it.

121A: Den, often (TV room). In our house, the den is the library. We like books much more than we like television.

122A: It gets a licking (popsicle). Too many letters to be Timex. Although it takes a licking, that's what came to mind.

3D: Amorist (Romeo). I stared at RO**O for entirely too long. Rollo? Rosco?

15D: About 11% (one ninth). A clever math clue...not too difficult.

16D: City that won the first N.F.L. championship, 1920 (Akron, Ohio). I'm sure that reader/commenter Wendy will be happy to see this answer.

17D: Doesn't get bothered by (shrugs off). For some reason, I really liked that.

78D: Easy putt, say (two footer). That would still be a hard putt for me. I took golf lessons three times...I'm done.

94D: Serve well (behoove). One of my favorite professors (I had her for Classical Sociological Theory, Social Problems, and Sex and Gender) used this word, so I can't help but think of her when I see it. She'd almost giggle when she said it...which was often.

It pays to know a bit about music. 34D: Key of Bruckner's Symphony No. 7: Abbr. (E Maj). Otherwise, I'd have thought I had a mistake in 48-A...words don't end in J.

Things I absolutely did not know:

1D: Goya subject (Maja). Isn't in Maia?

12D: Montreal daily (Gazette). I guessed this with the G in place. Woo-hoo!

39A: Collins of '70s funk (Bootsy).

98A: Title teen in a 1990s sitcom (Moesha). Never heard of the show or of her. When I had **ESHA, I guessed Keesha. Hey, it's a good wrong name.

61D: Filmdon's Jean-__ Godard (Luc). When you have the L in place, and it's three letters, Luc is almost a sure thing.

107D: __ des Beaux-Arts (Ecole). I have so much to learn before next year's tournament.

My vote for the most clever clue goes to 79A: Rich with humor (Little). I didn't see that one for a good long while. Also thought that 42A: First name in aviation (Amelia) was clever. I was thinking Martin (as in Martin Marietta, before it became Lockheed Martin).

The clue for 108D: Go postal (snap) was definitely a sign of the times. This wouldn't have been in an early Shortz puzzle. A sad sign of the times.

Ern returns at 65D: Coastal bird. Don't believe it's been around lately. Also back in 70D: Lash of westerns (LaRue).

I thought the answer to 87D: #2, informally (vice) was a bit off. I had veep, and I'm sure I wasn't alone.

There's the grid, and here's my sign-off. Enjoy your Sunday, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Friday, July 20, 2007

Saturday, July 21 - Raymond C. Young

Only twenty-five black squares in this puzzle. On top of that, four horizontal stacks of 10-letter entries top and bottom...and 7-letter vertical stacks left and right.

And only four 3-letter words in the grid!

Mama Mia, that's a spicy puzzle!

I was pretty excited to get 1A: Faux pa? (stepfather) right off the bat. As it turns out, there were very few other gimmes in this one. The others were:

42A: __-Meal (vacuum food storage system) (Seal-a). I'm surprised to see that much detail in a Saturday clue, though.

11D: Italian for "sleeves" (manicotti). Growing up in an Italian household was good for many things, including knowing how to make the best spaghetti sauce, meatballs, lasagne and manicotti.

36D: Dessert Calvin doesn't like in "Calvin and Hobbes" (tapioca). At lunch recess one day, Calvin announces that he has "a thermos full of phlegm." Calvin and Hobbes is my all-time favorite cartoon strip. I'm sure that if I had a son, he would be Calvin...thank you, God.

Some things I absolutely did not know:

16A: Not yours, in Tours (à moi). I need to learn some French basics.

30A: "Moesha" actress Wilson and others (Yvettes). The only Yvette I know is Yvette Mimieux, who played a surfer with epilepsy in an episode of Dr. Kildare. That was more than 40 years ago...why do I remember that but I can't remember why I went into the kitchen?

7D: Special-__ (football players used only in specific situations) (teamers).

8D: French novelist d'Urfé (Honoré).

25D: Abalone (sea ear). That just looked too strange when I had *EAEA*

Good guesses that panned out:

32A: Jump provider: Abbr. (AAA). I had to call AAA a couple of weeks ago when my car wouldn't start. I placed the call at 4:15...they said they'd be there at 6:30. I hope my membership will be more valuable another time.

1D: Stir-fry vegetable (snap pea). Although I first had spinach, then snow pea.

41D: Weave a raised design into (brocade). I know it more as a noun than as a verb, but it works. Having the B in place helped me get 38A: Something often looked for on a rainy day (taxi cab)...which helped me get 23D: Scaling aid (ice axe). I just love how that works.

They stumped me on 15A: Helpful figures? (nine one one). Until I had several of the downs (which, by the way, is how I tackled this puzzle after the gimmes), I was clueless about this.

Because I had stepfather, I had the A in place to help me with 6D: He's a doll (Andy). My grandmother sent a Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy for my sister and me...my sister wanted Anne, but I was quite happy to have Andy. I don't know where he is now...

Clever clue award goes to 18A: One given a staff position? (note). I didn't really get that answer. I saw it after I'd filled in all of the downs. But it was clever. Tonight I played a few notes on my piano. I hadn't touched it in almost six weeks. My bad.

And there's the completed grid. It doesn't look so great, but at least the solution isn't spoiled for those who aren't ready to see it.

The weekend's here. Enjoy it.

Linda G

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Friday, July 20 - Barry C. Silk

It's been awhile (42D: For some time) since I struggled this much with a puzzle...but it is Friday.

By the way, the completed grid will appear at the bottom of the post. At least one reader preferred to have just a few hints, rather than being bombarded with the completed grid. I used to just try to squint so that I didn't see the whole thing, but that tends to be difficult. Bottom line...I think Andy had a good point, and I'm happy to oblige (3D: Require).

I ended up with about 3/4 of the puzzle finished, but the lower left quadrant was looking pretty blank. For several reasons.

When I (finally!) realized that 38A: Minor leader? was Ursa, rather than Asia, I was able to guess 31D: Black-and-white (squad car). I then entered a U as the second letter of 36A...who wouldn't have? I was pretty sure that 32D: Spent from all the conflict was war weary, but that meant the U was wrong. I Googled to confirm 50A: 200 milligrams (carat), which helped that corner finally come together. It became obvious that 56A: Name on a truck was Ryder, not Tonka.

So...back to 36A, clued as Period to find out more. The answer was Q and A, but when you're reading it as Qanda, it makes zero sense. And it didn't make sense until I was starting to blog.

There was so much to love in this puzzle. It has everything a great Friday themeless puzzle should have...stacks of 8- and 9-letter answers, vertically and horizontally.

First, the upper left horizontal stacks:

1A: Positive (above zero). Good one.

15A: Like some fruit bats and petrels (tubenosed). Petrels are about the silliest looking creatures I've ever seen. Take a look for yourself.

17A: Whine (bellyache). I love it. That was a word my father used when I was growing up...now it makes me smile.

In the upper right quadrant, I got tripped up by 12D: Cousin of a hyena (aardwolf). I have never heard that word in my life. 13D: Be what you're not (live a lie) was good, but I absolutely loved 14D: Be a night watchman? (star gaze). That was a gimme only because I had 30A: Start of a Spanish Christmas greeting (Feliz).

The only thing left to say about the dreaded lower left quadrant is that I could really relate to war weary. Life with two teenaged girls has left me bloody and beaten, and our nest wasn't empty nearly long enough...one of them is coming back. Don't know what she's thinking, but Don and I are certain it's very temporary!

And I saved the best for last. The horizontals in the bottom right corner are:

51A: Popular reference work (Wikipedia). I reference it almost every day in this blog, but I've never once seen the home page.

55A: "Shoot!" (darn it all)...a more mild expression than I would typically use.

57A: Loser in a casino (snake eyes). One of the best answers in the puzzle.

And my very first gimme in the puzzle appeared in that very corner. 46D: __ Waitz, nine-time New York City Marathon winner (Grete). I was big into running when she first came on the scene, and I was pretty impressed with what she could do. Not that I ever came close.

The award for the most clever clue goes to 23A: Top of a stadium (jersey). I was thinking of words for the apex of the stadium...not the tops that the players would wear.

We just had Opie yesterday, and it appears again today at 49D, clued as Artist John, known as the Cornish Wonder. Yesterday, several of you were baffled by efs (affluent duo?). I hope you didn't fall for today's similar clue/answer. 28D: Couple of pizzas? (zees).

I didn't know 40D: What ochlophobists fear (crowds), but it was easy to guess when I had most of the letters in place.

I don't get 30D: Work unit: Abbr. (FTLB). Full time...what's the rest? [Just read at Diary of a Crossword Fiend...it stands for foot-pound, just like it looks. Have never heard of it.]

That's it for tonight. See you tomorrow.

Linda G

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thursday, July 19 - David J. Kahn

I wondered how many consecutive constructor debuts we'd have this week. The answer to that riddle is two.

A four-part riddle (at 20-, 28-, 48- and 56-across) asks, "What implement/ can be produced/ from potassium/ nickel and iron?"

The answer, which appears in the circled squares, is knife. (It took some time for me to think periodic table of elements...K/Ni/Fe. I'll bet I'm not alone.)

In addition to the riddle theme, there were two more riddle clues/answers:

23A: "Who __?" (common riddle ending) (am I) and 64D: "Riddle-me-__" (ree).

Things I didn't know and couldn't have gotten without crosses:

18A: Turns around, as a mast (slues).

39A: Fortuneteller (sibyl). Have never heard the word used. Ever.

3D: N.H.L. team at Joe Louis Arena (Red Wings). I need a cheat sheet that lists all of the teams--hockey, basketball, football, soccer...I think I'm okay on baseball.

11D: Tuscany city (Siena).

I had never heard of Brian Eno B.C. (before crosswords), but I've seen him in enough puzzles that I now know his name. But I did NOT know that he created the Windows 95 start-up sound (40D). In fact, I never stopped to think that someone had to create that and other computer sounds. I take so much for granted.

I like the connection between 9D: "Odyssey," for one (poem), although I initially had epic, and 47A: Movie featuring Peter O'Toole as Priam (Troy).

Words I liked seeing in the grid:

60A: Like worms (icky). It was the first word that came to mind when I thought about worms, and it turned out to be right. I loved its cross at the K. 48D: Changeable on a whim (fickle).

61A: Computer unveiled in 1946 (ENIAC). For those who don't know, that's an acronym for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer.

6D: Fine metal openwork (filigree).

19A: Abbé de l’__, pioneer in sign language (Epee). We see epee in the grid on a fairly regular basis, but it's never been clued this way. Definitely a Thursday kind of clue for an everyday kind of word.

It's interesting to see 38D: Plan for nuptials (set a date) so close to 62A: Cold feet (fear). It reminds me of a scene in Runaway Bride. Maggie (Julia Roberts) has just left her groom standing at the altar, and has jumped aboard a FedEx truck. A woman asks Fisher (Hector Elizondo), "Where is she going?" He replies, "I don't know, but she'll be there by 10:30 tomorrow."

And I need to be somewhere by 10:30 tomorrow, so I'm calling it a night.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wednesday, July 18 - Tibor Derencsenyi

I'll be the first to admit that I let out a long groan when I saw that the six theme answers were clued as "Example of 41-Across."

Fortunately, I knew the trick was to start with the downs, and before long, I was on to it.

The theme, running horizontally through the grid at 41A, is FAMOUS LAST WORDS...and the six theme answers are:

1A: So long

7A: Gotta run (the northeast corner was the first to come together for me, so this was my tip-off to the theme)

39A: Sayonara

45A: Au revoir. Not sure I could have spelled it correctly without some of the downs. I learned Spanish, not French.

73A: Time to go. I wanted toodle-oo here, but the downs wouldn't work with that.

74A: Bye bye

In addition to the theme answers, there were three multiple word answers: 16A: "That's fine" (okay by me), 19A: Not fighting (at peace), and 71A: "Be delighted" (I sure can). I had a problem with the last one, though. "Be delighted" sounds more like I'd love to, and that's what I initially entered.

I loved seeing 17A: __ Quimby of children's books (Ramona). My girls loved the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary...Beezus and Ramona, Ramona the Pest, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were our favorites.

One of the things that stumped me also turned out to be one of my favorite clues/answers in the puzzle...1D: Rock bands? (strata).

Other favorites include 51D: Black Russians may go on it (bar tab) and 72A: Low tie (one all).

Didn't know 24D: Actress Dawson of "Rent" (Rosario). Thank heavens for acrosses.

Also didn't know 55D: Buffalo hockey player (Sabre). Don wasn't much help with this one. Again, it came together with acrosses.

I liked the side-by-side polar clues...26D: Polar denizen (bear) and 27D: Polar explorer (Byrd).

Thought that 28D: Salty septet (seas) was pretty clever as clues go.

Mr. Ed is back in the grid (43D: Four-footed TV star), as is kabob (57D: Barbecue offering). By the way, kabob is my preferred spelling. I think it was recently spelled kebab. That just looks wrong.

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think we had eel just the other day...although maybe it was in the New York Sun. It appears today at 20D (Unagi, at a sushi restaurant). Count on me not to eat it...ever.

I'm not the pickiest (18A: Most finicky) when it comes to analyzing a puzzle. If I can find a half dozen things to love, I'm a happy solver. And I'm a happy solver today.

This post also appears at Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle. This is my second day filling in for the vacationing Rex, who will be back to his blogging tomorrow.

Hope to see you then.

Linda G

Monday, July 16, 2007

Tuesday, July 17 - Natan Last

I don't recall seeing Natan Last's name on a New York Times puzzle before. If this is a debut, Natan...job well done.

[Update: Thanks to reader, Liffey Thorpe, for the following comment: "According to Will Shortz's post in today's puzzle comments, Natan Last is a high school student and the fifth-youngest constructor to be published in the NYT."]

The theme is revealed at 64A: How the answer to each of the nine starred clues repeats (at both ends)...and the nine theme answers are:

17A: 1942 film with the line "What makes saloonkeepers so snobbish?" (Casablanca). I remember the movie but not the line.

24A: Bench sharer (teammate).

41A: Japanese grill (hibachi). Everyone had a hibachi in the early seventies. I don't remember the last time I saw one--either the word or the grill itself. Great fill.

56A: Underwater creature whose males give birth (seahorse). If humans reproduced that way, how do you suppose it would affect the birth rate in this country?

10D: They live on acres of Acre's (Israelis).

11D: Rick Blaine in 17-Across, e.g. (lead role). Two theme answers connected...very nice.

27D: Many-acred homes (estates). We had 30 acres in Arkansas, but I don't think of that as an estate. The house would have had to be larger than the 1,200 square feet that it was.

39D: Classic Chinese military treatise, with "The" (Art of War). I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't know this. I haven't had a history class since the late sixties, and I just didn't retain that bit of information.

40D: Fearful 1917-20 period (Red Scare). According to this article, there was a second period from the late 40s to the late 50s.

Other things I didn't know...but was able to get from crosses:

1A: Rocker Ocasek (Ric). Many of you know that he was the lead singer for the Cars, but I didn't have a clue until I looked him up here.

31A: "Illmatic" rapper (Nas). I don't do rap.

3D: Sportscaster Bob (Costas). If it isn't Howard Cosell, I don't know him...which in no way implies that I liked Howard Cosell.

58D: Mario __, Nintendo racing game (Kart). I know as little about Nintendo as I know about sports.

49D: River nymphs, in Greek myth (naiads). I actually know the word. I just never remember how the @&%# to spell it. Those vowels make absolutely no sense.

But did you notice how many times X appeared in the grid? Three times, for a total of six X words--four of them all in one area. Would that be the Texas portion of the grid? My geography isn't very good, either...the last geography class I took was around the time of John Kennedy's assassination. Anyway, the X words:

9D: Instrument that wails (sax). Guitars, for the record, gently weep. Sax crosses with 19A: Look inside? (Xray).

59A: Fort __, N.J. (Dix), crossing with 60D: More, in commercialese (Xtra).

65D: Be a pugilist (box), crossing at 72A: The "S" in WASP (Saxon). That's awfully close to sax, but I'll allow almost anything for an X in the grid.

I always enjoy multiword answers. Today we have 15A: Walt Whitman's "__ the Body Electric" (I Sing), 48A: When Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr dueled (at dawn), and 14D: Start liking (warm to).

Not a multiword answer, but when I look at the grid I keep seeing it as one. 69A: Bor-r-ring voice (drone) keeps looking like Dr. One.

In addition to Casablanca, there are several other film-related answers, including:

44A: "Me, Myself & __," 2000 Jim Carrey film (Irene). Didn't see it. I can only take Jim Carrey in small doses.

46A: Peter of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (O'Toole). Read the book, didn't see the film.

55A: Actor Milo (O'Shea).

8D: Christie who created Hercule Poirot (Agatha). Books and films.

Favorite clues include 37A: You might crack one while playing (smile) and 36D: It might need to be settled (score).

My friend and fellow blogger, Rex Parker, is away (62A: Not at home). This post also appears at his site. I'll be there for the Wednesday puzzle as well.

Linda G

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Monday, July 16 - Elizabeth A. Long

What a busy day! After being on the go since 10:00, it was nice to sit down in my favorite chair (with Barnabas) and do the Monday puzzle.

Today we learn HOW TO FIX / YOUR HAIR, revealed at 25D and 22D: What the ends of the answers to the four starred clues are examples of. The four theme answers are:

17A: It rolls across the Plains (sage brush). Boy, does it ever!

65A: Beehive contents (honey comb). I read that clue upside down as the puzzle was being printed. Nice way to start a puzzle.

11D: Juice drink brand (Ocean Spray).

31D: Alluring dance (strip tease). Pretty racy clue and answer. The Times They Are a-Changin' -- Pardon the pun...I couldn't resist.

I guess some people still tease their hair. I remember when everyone did. I can't even remember the last time I ran a brush or comb through my hair. I'm lucky enough to have body and natural curl...thanks, Mom. I just run my fingers through it with a little bit of gel, and it's a done do.

Nothing in this puzzle tripped me up. I actually missed many of the down clues, since I'd gotten most of the acrosses. Looking back over it now, I see a couple of things I didn't really know but managed to get.

48A: Edith who sang "La Vie en Rose" (Piaf). Never saw it. However, I did see Ma Vie en Rose, which I highly recommend.

55A: Vivacity (brio). How could I not know this word that aptly described me at some point in my life...

Things I really liked:

24A: When repeated, a Hawaiian fish (mahi). I thought they might be looking for humu...as in humuhumunukunukuapuaa (pronounced HOO-moo- HOO-moo-NOO-koo-NOO-koo-AH-poo-AH-ah), affectionately called humu humu. It is (once again) the state fish of Hawaii, thanks to a 6-year-old boy. You can read about it here.

56A: "The Tell-Tale Heart" teller (Poe). I think I've said this here before, but this is my absolute favorite Poe story. If you haven't read it, you oughta. Here's a pretty good synopsis.

9D: Card game with melding (canasta). My mother taught me to play Canasta when I was a teenager. Seriously, all I remember is that it used two decks of cards, so I can't believe that "melding" rang a bell.

12D: Where Moose meet (Lodge). Tee-hee.

45D: Cautions (caveats). I've just always liked this word. And its crossing at the V with 52A: Wife of Marc Antony (Octavia) is superb.

51D: Big-billed bird (toucan). This always reminds me of the Froot Loops bird, Toucan Sam. I haven't watched television in years. Do they still use Pig Latin, referring to the cereal as OOT-fray OOPS-lay? I certainly hope so.

It's not even 9:30, but I'm ready to turn in. OOD-gay IGHT-nay.

Linda G

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sunday, July 15 - Patrick Berry

Sunday's puzzle, In the Beginning, by Patrick Berry, features eight theme answers, each an ordinary phrase with IN inserted at the beginning, then cleverly clued.

23A: Dire proof-of-purchase slip (invoice of doom).

28A: What Dr. Frankenstein tried to do? (instill life).

36A: Bored kayaker's movements? (indifferent strokes). This was the first theme answer I got. After that, I put IN at the beginning of each theme answer...made it a teensy bit easier.

56A: Much-needed windfall? (income to the rescue).

74A: Like workers' salaries under a miserly boss? (increase resistant). This was the hardest one for me. More about that in a minute.

91A: Hogwarts? (invocational school).

102A: Sharply focused Warsaw residents? (intent Poles).

112A: Clairvoyants' charges? (intuition fees).

I found this to be an entertaining puzzle. Not overly challenging, but it had enough spicy fill to hold my interest.

Problem areas:

The Biggest One, referred to above, resulted from my refusal to let go of the walrus at 58D: "I am the __" (Beatles lyric). Having that carved in stone meant that 74A was increase resistunt. I wasn't sure if the NYT had misspelled resistunt or walras. The worst thing was that all this time I was singing the damn song in my head. "I am the eggman, they are the eggmen, I am the walrus." Duh! (12A: "Well, yeah!"). Once I put in eggman, that whole section began to make sense. Now 61A: Unable to relax could be on edge, which I so wanted it to be.

40D: Some government bonds (T-notes). I had T-bills at first, causing future problems for on edge. By way of clarification...T-notes a/k/a (96A: Nickname preceder) treasury notes.

25A: Annual celebration for a Catholic (name day). I was raised Roman Catholic, and I don't remember ever celebrating it. Maybe there wasn't a Saint Linda...so when would I have celebrated it? According to this, some people celebrate name days instead of birthdays. As if!

82A: Portion of a flight (stair) really threw me. Because I had the AIR in place, I was sure it had something to do with an airline flight. Just what they'd intended.

The ones I really liked...for whatever reason:

3D: Care (give a darn). Just because...and I like multiple word answers.

24D: Three-sided blade (epee). A never-seen-by-me clue for a word that we see all the time.

46D: One who's done stretches? (ex-con). I just love the cleverness of that one. I was thinking yoga, pilates, other fitness things. Sharings its X was 54A: Battle of Hastings participant (Saxon). Couldn't remember that but was able to guess based on the letters I had.

88A: Missouri city (Joplin). Only on a Sunday. Earlier in the week, Scott or Janis would be in the clue.

92D: Book printer's no-no (orphan). I'm sure we won't find any orphans (or widows, the other no-no) in Amy's book. If you haven't ordered your copy, get on the stick. It's chock-full of tips from a master solver.

111A: One who's expected to deliver? (Messiah). I know several women who have recently given (or who will soon give) birth. That's the kind of delivery I was thinking.

79D: Structure finished during Titus' reign (Colosseum). It's such a good-looking word, sitting there in the southeast corner, and it opened things up big time.

The award for the grossest clue of the puzzle goes to 104D: Lice-to-be (nits). How disgusting! It's a good thing I solve in the evening instead of morning. This definitely wouldn't pass the breakfast test, especially if I was eating...never mind.

And for the most progressive clue...66A: Water pipes (bongs). It's a good thing I read a lot in the 70s, or I wouldn't know what they were.

I'd be remiss if I failed to mention 68A: Less ripe (greener) because it reminds me of fellow blogger, Robert, known to most of you as Green Genius, loyal fan (and blogger) of the New York Sun. After a week spent lolling on the beach, he'll be back at his post on Monday.

And I'll be back at mine tomorrow night.

Saturday, July 14 - Victor Fleming

I didn't solve Victor Fleming's Saturday puzzle until close to 11 last night and was way too tired to blog.

I've started contemplating the blank grid before I start to solve...you know, the design made by the black squares (which are actually light gray the way I print...to save ink). Anyway, I wasn't under the influence of anything. Just liked the patterns these last couple of days.

Now on to the puzzle, starting with the wrong answers I initially had.

20A: Former Shea players (Beatles). I was trying to put in a team name, and you know I know squat about sports.

40A: Shucks, so to speak (lies to). Like shuck and jive, I guess. I was thinking like shuck corn. Any day now we'll start getting Olathe sweet corn, the very best corn grown anywhere. For weeks on end, we will eat one or two ears of corn for dinner...occasionally with nothing else. It is to die for.

49A: Cape wearer's field (magic). I was thinking Batman and Superman, so I had crime.

51A: Focus provider? (Ford). How clever was that! After trying to think what you'd call that part of a camera, I realized where they were going.

1D: Waldenbooks alternative (BDalton). We don't have either of those here anymore. They've been replaced by Barnes & Noble and Borders, which is what I entered.

2D: It's sweet, it's said (revenge). I had success at first, but I guess it's more the smell of success that's sweet. Anyway, revenge is so-o-o-o-0 much sweeter. Just kidding, folks. I'm more likely to forgive (37D: Not hold something against) than to take revenge.

Things I liked:

14D: View coral reefs, maybe (snorkel). I love snorkeling. In just nine weeks, we'll be in Kauai where I plan to do a lot of it. By the way, be thinking about being a guest blogger during the two weeks I'm gone!

28D: Folks guilty of disorderly conduct (slobs). I love the answer, but slobs disgust me. I was in an apartment yesterday that was just awful. I don't understand how people can live that way...dirty dishes in the sink, cigarette butts (disgusting anywhere) floating in glasses of Pepsi. Yecch!

49D: One of the Gospels, in a Spanish Bible (Mateo). I loved this! Bible and foreign language rolled into one!

You had to love 8D: "Hey!?" (What's the big idea!?) running vertically down the center of the grid. After I ran through the across clues, I had only the B and the final A, so it took some time to piece that together. The B was from 37A: Molotov cocktail, e.g. (firebomb) and the A from 63A: Levied (assessed), both gimmes/good guesses that panned out.

Ooh, and I loved 15A: Infernal (devilish). Such a good word. It conjures up images of something...well, devilish.

We rarely make it through a week without a couple of Pope clues. I liked today's at 16A: Any of six popes (Adrian). I could only remember John, Paul, George and Ringo. No irreverence intended...any series that starts with John and Paul has to end that way. For me anyway.

17A: It's heard at many a wedding (Ave Maria). It wasn't done at mine, and I don't recall hearing it at any of the weddings I've attended. Did any of you have it at your wedding? It's a beautiful song, to be sure. I'm not a big Celine Dion fan, but we have her Christmas CD. She sings Ave Maria better than I have ever heard it. It's well worth $13.98, and it qualifies for Super Saver Shipping!

While I'm not crazy about the answer, I'll bet all mothers out there liked the clue for 59D: Family V.I.P.'s (mas). I do not ever want to be called Ma, or Mama. My younger daughter will call me Mama just to irritate me, which she does very well and very often. Anyway, our importance is acknowledged, and not just on Mother's Day.

Well, Don and the dogs are out on the deck waiting for me. I was invited to join them, but I said, "in a bit" (56A: "Not right now"). It's been a half hour, though, so I think it's time.

Have a good weekend. Be safe.

Linda G

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday, July 13 - Manny Nosowsky

It's Friday the 13th, but nothing scary from Manny Nosowsky. This was the best puzzle I've seen in a long time.

There are so many superb clues and answers in this grid that I hardly know where to begin. And if you didn't take the time to look at the blank grid, print it out and just gaze at it. The symmetry is remarkable.

In case you haven't guessed, I liked it big time (37D: Very much).

It was such a treat to guess correctly right off the bat. 1A: "On the other hand..." (but then). It was also such a good laugh to see it again and again as BUTT HEN!

It took me a little longer to get 8A: Quaint cry from a caught crook, with "The" (jig is up). I was able to get 8D: What to do if you can't beat the suckers (join 'em), but the J didn't get me anywhere until I had a few more downs.

Manny was on a roll (16A: Hot) with this one. Check out some of these clues and answers:

15A: Between here and there (en route).

17A: Go for, as a ball (swing at). I was thinking along the lines of going for a ball that had been hit, so I had IT...making it hard to figure out what the second letter should be. Once I got it, though, I had to admit it was good.

31A: Spandex and Lurex (textiles). I wanted something about the elasticity, or something like that. And I just loved the X-crossing. 3D: Certain multiscreen cinema (triplex), although I initially read it as Triple X and was sure it was wrong...so I erased the last two letters. 2D: Backtrack on, as a rug (unweave) was probably the only bad clue/answer in the puzzle, resulting in its being absolutely no help whatsoever. Now that I've written that, I see where they were going with it...okay, not as bad as I thought. If you're weaving a rug, and you backtrack, you unweave...sort of.

24D: What X + Y signifies (male sex). Without a doubt, the best clue and answer in the grid. I'll bet I wasn't alone in trying to get an answer that had something to do with algebra. The X crosses at 50A: Ohio city whose name means "hospitality" in Greek (Xenia). I did not know that.

42D: 1983 Randy Newman song (I love L.A.). I didn't know that one, either. Got it from the crosses. The only Randy Newman song I can remember is the Randy Newman song I hate...Short People. If you were/are 4' 11" you didn't/don't find much humor in that song.

It was very funny to see 40A: 1940s fashion (zoot suit). I remember my father talking about them, but I couldn't tell you what one looked like, so I'll have to look it up. Here's one for you. Its Z crossed at 40D: Greek philosopher who founded Stoicism (Zeno).

Women's names were needed for two of the answers...both related to novels. I wasn't sure about either and made educated guesses, which both turned out to be right. 39D: "__Daughter," 2003 Judi Hendricks novel (Isabel's) and 45A: 1938 Daphne du Maurier novel (Rebecca).

28D: Having learned a lesson (wiser) reminds me of another song from "The Music Man" -- yesterday we had It's You. Today...The Sadder But Wiser Girl For Me. I cheer, I rave for the virtue I'm too late to save. The sadder-but-wiser girl for me. Here are the rest of the lyrics, but you really need to hear Robert Preston sing it.

Don't know how I knew 25D: Cassava product (tapioca), but I got it with just the first A. I guess I'd heard it some time and managed to retain it.

I'm sure my fellow bloggers will have much to say about this one. If anyone didn't like it, though, I'd be surprised.

So, do you have friggatriskaidekaphobia -- a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th? Here's a test you can take to find out if you do. But just to be on the safe side, stay away from those black cats!

Linda G

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thursday, July 12 - Michael Shteyman

It's Thursday, and I was half-expecting a rebus...so I was pleasantly surprised to see a themed puzzle instead.

Michael Shteyman used his brain on this one. That was the theme, revealed at 65A: Word that can precede the starts of 17-, 35- and 54-Across and 16-Down. The four theme answers are:

17A: It might help you take a turn for the better (power steering).

35A: Ten minutes in a laundry, maybe (wash cycle).

54A: "You'll have to take my word for it" (trust me on this). For the record, I never trust anyone who has to tell me to trust him or her.

16D: Low pressure area (storm center).

Three of them were obvious--brainpower, brainwash and brainstorm--but I don't get brain trust. It is one of those things that will embarrass me when someone points it out?

Things I absolutely did not know:

30A: Emperor under Pope Innocent III (Otto IV). I knew he was either a IV or a V, because I had 31D: Letters on a Rémy Martin bottle (VSOP).

8D: Yellow spring flower (oxlip). I had oxeye...I would almost swear that's a yellow flower, too.

33D: Jewish month (Elul).

41D: Egg-laying mammal (echidna). I'd be surprised if very many people had heard of this, unless it's been in the puzzle more than once.

I remember the Lennon Sisters well, but I could only think of Kathy, Peggy and Janet. Because I knew 61D: Highest tile value in Scrabble (ten), I knew it ended with an E, but thought maybe it was Kathie. Eventually figured out it was Dianne.

Some things I loved:

14A: Wearing white after Labor Day, e.g. (faux pas). I don't just love the answer, I love the clue. That was always a big thing when I was growing up. To this day, when I see someone wearing white shoes in the fall (or, God forbid, in the winter!) I just shudder. Sometimes I even say Ugh! (38D: I hate it!). Because I do. And the only thing that's worse is wearing black hose with the white shoes...you know, to make it look more wintry.

32A: Early Surrealist (Max Ernst). I didn't just love this because it had another X, but that certainly didn't hurt.

49D: Titillating (juicy). What a juicy clue! I already had 48A: Pilgrim to Mecca (Hadji), so I knew that's what it had to be. Actually, I had Hajji for some time. That wouldn't have happened if they'd properly clued it as Jonny Quest's best friend.

And we have not just one--but two--of the infamous childhood taunts in one puzzle. 25D: Word repeated in a child's taunt (liar) and 50D: Kindergarten comeback (is too).

59A: Informal words of concurrence (me either) threw me off a bit. I had *EEIT*** and it didn't look as though anything would fit in there.

Well, here it is almost 11:00, and I have an early morning ahead of me. Be sure to check out Green Genius, where Howard B dishes up Sun commentary for the vacationing Robert.

Hope to see all of you tomorrow.

Linda G