Friday, November 30, 2007

Saturday, December 1 - Robert H. Wolfe

Well, I know who's going to be afraid of this big bad Wolfe the next time his byline shows up!

This puzzle was a killer! Not a single gimme, so I resorted to Google just to start. That gave me a couple of answers, such as:

18A: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Orlando __ (Cepeda).

33A: "The Daughters of Joshua __" (1972 Buddy Ebsen film) (Cabe).

41A: He declined a Nobel Prize in Literature (Sartre).

50A: Limestone regions with deep fissures and sinkholes (karsts).

7D: Wolf __, captain in Jack London's "The Sea-Wolf" (Larsen).

36D: "The Prophecy of the __" (Eddic poem) (Seeress).

41D: __ Gamp, nurse in "Martin Chuzzlewith" (Sarah).

Seeress and Sarah gave me enough letters that I was able to finish the southeast corner, but I still had way too many blanks. I started putting in an S whenever there was a plural answer, then -er when it looked as though a word would end that way. 5D [Maximally mangy] got an -est at the end...and before long seediest emerged.

Then I came to a complete and utter standstill. I took a peek at Diary of a Crossword Fiend...she hadn't posted yet, so that was a dead-end. I then turned to Water and Waves...Harris usually solves early, and I was relieved to see that he had already posted the grid. He's a very experienced solver, and he had trouble with this one as I didn't beat myself up. I did, however, take a peek at the first two across answers...1A: Choirs' neighbors (apses) and 6A: Lung covering (pleura). With those letters in place, I managed to finish the rest of the puzzle.

This isn't my preferred way to solve, but I'm all about being honest here.

I wonder how many others tripped up on 46A: Where much info can be found these days. Raise your hand if you had internet...instead of the correct on the net. That sure made for some confusion in the southwest.

Some of my favorite answers:

14A: Phrase of interest (per annum). Actually, it's the clue that I like.

19A: Grapevine exhortation (pass it on). I kept thinking of the dancing raisins...actually considered I heard it as a possible answer.

4D: Prince William, e.g. (elder son).

10D: Products of some "mills" (rumors).

14D: Works with everyday objects (pop art).

29D: Cookout item usually eaten with two hands (spare rib). That always reminds me of a line from a vegetarian cookbook I had. It asked what pig ever said he didn't want all of his? Or something like that...maybe you had to be there.

Most disgusting word in the puzzle...1D: Sore spot (abscess). No visual on that one...I like having readers.

That's it for this one. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday, November 30 - Henry Hook

When I see Henry Hook's byline on a Friday puzzle, I know I'm in for some serious Googling. I think this is his fourth since I've been blogging, and I know that I struggled with every one of them.

I was kind of hoping for a Mike Nothnagel puzzle today. That might not have been much easier, but I'm generally more on Mike's wavelength.

If I only write about the gimmes, this will be a very short post...but here they are:

20A: Syrup of __ (ipecac). Nasty stuff...used to induce vomiting. I've never had to take it, thankfully.

40A: Cloth workers? (clergymen). A bit sexist, but it came to me immediately for some reason. One of my favorite clergy persons is a woman, and we spent an hour visiting last night...maybe that's why it popped into my head.

51A: Island nicknamed the Gathering Place (Oahu).

1D: Olympics item...or the winning word in the 1984 National Spelling Bee (luge). This was probably more of a good guess than a gimme, but it panned out.

2D: Civilians eligible to be drafted (One-As). I was researching how to write that out correctly and ended up on all kinds of strange sites...including a few about resisting the draft. I hope I don't end up on somebody's list because of it.

13D: "I did it!" (ta-da).

29D: Tentlike dwelling with a conical roof (yurt)...although I thought it was spelled yert.

31D: Be angry as heck (boil).

38D: Hybrid fruit (Ugli). That's a registered trademark for tangelos from Jamaica. You can read more about them here. They are absolutely delicious.

44D: Locker room habitués (jocks). I spent a lot of time in locker rooms in college, but I wouldn't call myself a jock...just a compulsive exerciser.

45D: Rain gear brand (Totes).

49D: Plural suffix with beat or neat (niks). I was one, but not the other.

Not much of a toe-hold anywhere. I also had an almost answer...32D: "Nothing to it" (easy as ABC). I had easy as pie, which made the vertical stacks in the southeast extremely difficult to get. Almost impossible, in fact.

I ended up Googling some of the more obscure names, which opened up a few areas. One thing led to another, and it was finished. Some of my Googled-for answers:

23A: Sci-fi author McIntyre (Vonda). Never heard of him, but the V was enough for me to get 23D: Appearances (visages). [Update: Thanks to Anonymous for letting me know that Vonda McIntyre is a female.]

43A: Sculptor Oldenburg (Claes). He's done some really neat stuff. It was really hard to pick a favorite...but I'll go with this one. The ice cream cone on top of the building was another good was the tube of toothpaste.

3D: __ Line (German/Polish border) (Oder-Neisse). I'm not much into that kind of trivia, and I don't expect to retain it. But it opened up the northwest.

14D: Pianist Templeton (Alec). With only the C in place, I wanted Eric.

41D: Fritz the Cat illustrator (R. Crumb). I would never have gotten this one...was sure something was wrong with the RC at the beginning. I always got Fritz and Felix confused...Felix was cuter.

Now on to the good stuff...the long answers that were stacked top and bottom.

1A: Show signs of improvement (look better).

15A: Indication of stress (underscore). That kind of stress...I was thinking something about blood pressure, especially with the RE at the end.

17A: "Well, duh!" (Gee, ya think). That's just too funny.

52A: Jump the gun (anticipate). When I had easy as pie, I thought this was something that started with panic. That area was a complete disaster.

56A: One who's happy when things look black (bookkeeper). I have always loved that word...double o, followed by double k, followed by double e. Just too good. But it wasn't coming to me tonight, because I thought it began with an I. I knew the two Ks were right...and couldn't come up with anything.

58A: Undergo a change of habit? (cross dress). I had dress, but since the first letter was supposed to be an E...

Other things I liked, once I finally got them, include 11A: Second in a series (beta), 26A: With eyes open (mindfully), 33A: Marker (IOUs), 46A: Game craze of the late 1980s and '90s (Tetris), 49A: Direct (nonstop) favorite way to fly, 55A: Senior moment? (prom), 4D: Bitter fruit (key lime), 6D: Name on a bottle of Beyond Paradise (Estee), 10D: Sparks a second time (rekindles), 11D: Department (Bureau), 24D: Classic Packard model with a numerical name (One-Ten), and 27D: Prerecorded (live on tape).

And that's it for tonight. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thursday, November 29 - Elizabeth C. Gorski

When I can't make sense of several answers in the puzzle, I should immediately think it's a rebus...or a cram-a-lot according to a favorite blogger friend.

I definitely should have thought something was up when the four corners just wouldn't come together.

And I can't believe I didn't get it even when I was sure the answer to 1D ["You sure said it!"] was AMEN to that...but I didn't fill that in. It wasn't until I had ***TOTHAT that it finally hit me.

The word AMEN is in the outermost corners of the puzzle, and it's all wrapped up with 55A: It ends with something found four times in this puzzle (prayer).

In addition to 1-Down, the other seven AMEN answers are:

1A: Parts of churches appropriate to this puzzle (AMEN corners). I've never heard the expression...maybe they weren't in Catholic or Episcopal churches.

9A: TV news crew (camerA MEN), crossing with 14D: Adds to or subtracts from (AMENds). I had been content with camera, even though that gave me add for 14D...which didn't make sense.

65A: Factor in a hotel rating (AMENities), crossing with 60D: Filament holder (stAMEN). Again, I actually thought of amenities, but it wouldn't fit...or so I thought.

66A: Egyptian royal (TuthankhAMEN), crossing with 46D: Citizen soldiers (militiAMEN). Again, I was satisfied with militia, and I couldn't remember King Tut's full it looked fine.

In addition to the mighty fine theme, this was chock (9D: Wood block for holding an object steady)...okay, wrong definition...full of great fill, including my favorites...multiword answers: 17A: Really bizarre (out there), 36A: Consequence (end result), 61A: Graphic in a business report (pie chart), 44D: D, for one (low mark), personal favorite...45D: Where "Thy will" will be done, in part (on earth).

A few things I didn't know and had to rely on crosses to get: 18A: Loads (onuses)...still doesn't sound right, 30A: Italian leaders (duces), 5D: It meant nothing to Nero (nihil), 25D: Imitative (mimetic)...not familiar with the word, but it seems to make sense, 29D: Mahler's "Das Lied von der __" (Erde)...which means The Song of the Earth, 50D: Tony winner for "Sweeney Todd," 1979 (Cariou)...I want to see Johnny Depp's performance, and 53D: Edvard __, Czech president and patriot (Benes).

I never saw Gilmore Girls, so had no idea about 56D: Setting for many episodes of TV's "Gilmore Girls" (Yale). To make things worse, I was picturing "The Golden Girls" in my mind...and Miami Beach wouldn't fit.

Once I realized that, and with *AL* in place, I confidently entered seemed to work. I guess Gilmore Girls must have been a little older than middle schoolers. Who knew?

Favorite clues include 19A: Angular opening? (tri), 21A: Ones with cool jobs? (icemen), 31A: Quick change artist? (teller), 63A: Rare play (triple), 7D: Like favorite books, often (reread) and 37D: Buzz (rumor). The jury's still out of 34D: Sitting spot (tush)...seems kind of iffy for the New York Times, but I kind of liked it.

I'm often confused by identical clues appearing in a puzzle...and today it happens twice. At 11D: Roomy dress is muumuu...great Hawaiian word, to tie in with 38D: Hawaiian root (taro)...and at 58D it's tent. I actually remember tent dresses being popular when I was in junior high. I don't remember that they were all that roomy. Then again, I was tiny, so there wasn't much fabric. The second set of clues...Trattoria order...appears at 40D (Campari) and 48D (scampi).

Other answers I liked include 15A: Decks (topsides), 22A: Veronica of "Hill Street Blues" (Hamel), 43A: Winter Olympics event (slalom), 47: "Midnight Cowboy" role (Ratso)...although I had Rizzo at first, 60A: Writer Rushdie (Salman), 3D: Best (optimal) and 12D: Perfume (essence).

I had planned to make this a short post, but the puzzle was just too good. I had a second cortisone shot in my shoulder today and will start a second round of physical therapy next week. If that doesn't do it, then we're looking at surgery. I officially feel old...high cholesterol that continued to climb (despite a healthy lowfat diet) plus a coronary scan that showed mild atherosclerosis = a part of my daily routine. After three weeks on blood pressure meds, I'm happy to say that it's working...I was 120/80 for the first time in forever.

The good part of being old is that today was senior day at Kohl's, so I got an additional 15% off everything I bought...a tow truck and Thomas the Train flannel pajamas for grandson Franklin, both already at 50% off. Some days they have to pay me to take stuff out of the store.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wednesday, November 28 - Ray Fontenot

I could definitely tell it was zooming through this one, although I was able to finish it without any outside help.

Ray Fontenot's puzzle features a four-part theme. The theme answers are:

22A: What you might do while driving to an unfamiliar place (get lost).

39A: What you might do next? (find a gas station).

55A: What you might do next? (buy a map).

The clue for the last theme answer was contained in Notepad: What you might do eventually to make up for lost time. The answer, diagonally from the northwest...take the shortcut.

I don't always like this kind of theme, but I thought this particular one was entertaining. I kept wanting ask directions to be a theme answer, but who does that?

Oeno appears again this week...and soon enough that I actually remembered it. Today it's at 36A, clued as Vintner's prefix. Other things I learned in previous puzzles and retained long enough to use again include 14A: Brewery fixture (oast), 20A: Bone-related (osteal), 32A: Ancient theaters (odea), 58A: Local lingo (patois), 42A: Water nymph (naiad), and 67A: Gull-like predator (skua). He doesn't look like much of a predator, if you ask me.

Some of the longer fill was on the interesting side.

5D: All out (whole hog)...nice tie-in with 7D: Fat-pig filler (as a).

10D: Volleyball spikes, say (kill shots). I don't know much about volleyball, but this gives me an idea of what it would look like.

35D: Not fixed (adaptable)...that kind of not fixed, as opposed to broken.

41D: Smokeys (troopers).

I'm getting used to the likes of clues like 28A: F equivalent (E sharp). I was going to try to explain this, but I'd just add to the confusion. Maybe someone else can do a better job of it.

Also liked 8D: Welsh breed (Corgi) and 9D: Cause for a blessing? (sneeze). 25D: Able to feel (sensate) looked good running vertically down the middle of the puzzle.

It's always nice to get the first answer, and today's was another gimme. 1A: "Jabberwocky" start ('Twas). For those who can't remember,

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

For some reason, I can still remember that...more than forty years later.

And that's it for today. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tuesday, November 27 - Julie Ann Bowling

This is the first puzzle by Julie Ann Bowling since I started this blog...wonder if it's a debut.

The theme is clever, but it's difficult to put into words. The theme answers are all common two-word expressions...the first word's vowel sound is changed (long to short, or vice versa)...then the new expression is clued.

20A: Number one #2? (LEAD PENCIL)...change to a long E sound, and it takes the lead.

57A: Little woman? (MINUTE MAID).

9D: What a comedian might do before going onstage? (POLISH JOKE).

29D: Fish-shaped musical instrument? (BASS GUITAR). It sure didn't help that I had bass fiddle.

My favorite clue in the whole puzzle...13A: Workplace for some clowns (rodeo). Too funny. Second favorite is 37D: Queue after Q (RSTU).

There are so many good answers that it's hard to choose one...but I'll have to go with 51A: Empty, as a stare (vacuous). When I had the UOU, though, I was sure something was wrong.

I liked both of the long nontheme answers...6D: Hard porcelain (ironstone) and 34D: Made impossible (precluded)...and the almost-as-long ones:

26A: 2 and 12, e.g., in dice (doublets). Don't know why, but I don't recall the word.

49A: Puts together hastily (scares up)...that's what I often do for dinner. The other night I scared up a great minestrone with a can of diced tomatoes, a can of white kidney beans, two small cans of chicken broth, 1/2 cup small pasta, and half a bag of fresh spinach, chopped. Add garlic and onion, if desired. Twenty five minutes later, dinner's ready. For the best flavor, top each bowl with Parmesan or Romano. Mmm, mmm.

For a Tuesday puzzle, I was pleasantly surprised to see so much atypical fill.

22A: Hunchbacked assistant (Igor).

24A: Manorial worker (peasant).

35A: Oslo is on one (fjord). I remember encountering the word for the first time in school. I just loved pronouncing it.

42A: Northamptonshire river (Ouse). Never heard of it but got it from the downs.

65A: Persian tongue (Farsi). About two years ago, I met a woman who speaks seven languages, including Farsi. Before that, I'd never heard of the word. Thanks, Rabeejah...because of you, it was a gimme.

66A: Cuzco native (Inca).

5D: Matthew or Mark (Gospel).

10D: Alphabet ender (Omega).

11D: Carpentry joint part (tenon). The same friend who originally introduced me to the New York Times puzzle also taught me about mortise and tenon joints, as well as ogees...words that appear from time to time.

12D: Angry bull's sound (snort). I just like the word. I have been known to snort when I laugh.

50D: Really sorry (rueful). I've always thought that was a funny word...I'm so full of rue if that offends anyone.

52D: Intense pain (agony). It may not be agony, but my shoulder pain has returned with a much so that I'm willingly going in on Wednesday for another cortisone shot. I didn't really enjoy the first one, but it sure did make a difference. I'm also starting another round of physical therapy. Groooaaan.

53D: Jim who sang "Time in a Bottle" (Croce). I remember the day he died...I had just bought another of his albums when I heard the news. I still enjoy listening to some of his music.

A few things I didn't know but got from crosses: 32A: Bart's teacher, __ Krabappel (Edna), 26D: China's __ Xiaoping (Deng), and 58D: Ibsen's __ Helmer (Nora).

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Monday, November 26 - Andrea Carla Michaels

Today's puzzle was so easy I actually missed most of the down clues. That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable...some really good fill to go with standard Monday crosswordese.

Those of us who border on obsessive compulsive like when the theme answers are in alphabetical order. The five answers begin with H*CK, rotating through the vowels in order.

17A: Bean-filled bag moved with the foot (Hacky Sack). Well, maybe when someone else is doing it. I never did get the hang of it. Here's some history on the origin of the Hacky Sack.

25A: Comedy club razzer (heckler).

37A: Like some hams (hickory smoked).

52A: Pop artist David (Hockney). I'm not into pop art and never heard of David Hockney, but I thought this one was pretty artistic.

61A: 2004 film "I Heart __" (Huckabees). I didn't see the movie and couldn't tell you a thing about it. Is it something I should add to my list of movies to watch?

In addition to not knowing Hockney's name, there were a couple other unfamiliar things.

15A: Wine: Prefix (oeno). Didn't know that, so checked with Wikipedia. In Greek mythology Oeno was the goddess of wine (hence oenology is the study of wine). Apparently she could change anything into wine...that could be handy.

Also didn't know (and didn't get) 20A: Honor bestowed by Queen Eliz. (OBE).'s Order of British Empire.

Some of my favorite clues and/or answers:

5D: Chocolate syrup brand (Bosco). I didn't think this was still around, but you can still get it online. It wouldn't have come to mind without most of the letters in place, though. Ancient history. Here's some good Bosco trivia...courtesy of Wikipedia. Alfred Hitchhock used Bosco Chocolate Syrup as fake blood in the shower scene in his black and white masterpiece Psycho (1960). This same technique was reportedly used in other black and white horror films, including Night of the Living Dead (1968).

9D: Insurance co. with a "spokesduck" (AFLAC). When I first saw this in a puzzle, I was flummoxed...had never heard of it. This time it was a gimme.

11D: Oil conveyor (pipeline).

12D: Abated (lessened).

22D: Peanut, e.g. (legume). I like the word...just because. Always have...always will.

37D: 3-D picture (hologram). This one's pretty good.

49D: Actress Lansbury (Angela). Today the answer has a soft G, as opposed to yesterday's hard G...German chancellor Angela Merkel.

55D: Schindler of "Schindler's List" (Oskar). Another one that stumped me when I first encountered it. Never again.

I was entertained by some of the multiword answers:

23A: Postcard sentiment (miss you). I have never written that on a postcard. When I'm gone, I'm gone. Now that I've written that, though, I can remember being away from the girls when they were young. I probably wrote that on their postcards.

1D: "Get out of here!" (go home). I had go away at first.

38D: "You don't say!," after "Well" (I declare). I laugh every time I read that. Other than Scarlett O'Hara, I don't remember ever hearing the expression. If she didn't really say that, she should have. Fiddle-dee-dee!

That's it for this one. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sunday, November 25 - Trip Payne

I think this may be the first time in my solving history that I've completed a Trip Payne puzzle...I remember struggling through them in some of my New York Times puzzle books earlier on in my solving career.

The puzzle's title, TWO OUT OF THREE, didn't provide much of a clue initially, but I was able to figure it with the first theme answer...each of which consists of several three-letter words, all sharing the same first two letters. The resulting expressions are clued in new, sometimes clever, ways.

24A: Nonsense about a cocktail? (ROB ROY ROT). All of the downs in the northeast corner were easy, giving me this theme answer right away...and a hint to all the rest of them.

25A: Warning about Mel Gibson on a wrestling surface? (MAD MAX MAN MAY MAR MAT).

41A: Major book about a leader of the lighter industry? (BIG BIC BIZ BIO). Some of these are pretty good tongue twisters.

67A: Hound, typically? (FOE FOR FOX). This was the its pure simplicity.

90A: Why horses are attracted to a witch's headgear? (HAG HAS HAY HAT).

106A: Why guitar-loving Cooke was blue when his gal named her favorite musical instrument? (SAD SAM SAW SAL SAY SAX). I had all the words in my head, but I had a hard time putting them in the proper order.

112A: Witticism about a wrinkly little dog? (PUG PUP PUN). Again, I confused the order. Had PUG PUN, then PUP PUN. Finally confirmed the correct answer/order with the downs.

3D: A nitwit liked the loud noise? (DIP DID DIG DIN).

63D: Complicate commercials for woodworking tools? (ADD ADZ ADS ADO).

While I wasn't particularly crazy about the theme, I'll have to admit it was clever. It also made it easier to get a toehold in every area of the puzzle...once you had a few letters, you could fill in 2/3 of the others.

But the puzzle still gets big points. Much of the fill was superb, with beautifully deceptive cluing [76A: Part of making a crossword].

Some of the best...13A: Diamond points (bases), 22A: Between green and black, maybe (ripe), 28A: Catchy tunes (ditties)...had jingles at first, 38A: Bagel order (schmear), 50A: Like most jigsaw puzzles (diecut), 84A: Half of an animation duo (Hanna)...the first one to come to mind, 116A: Cover, in a way (pave), 13D: Open up, as a topic (broach), 19D: Some crosstown trips (taxi rides), 43D: Making a curling motion with the forefinger, maybe (beckoning), 45D: Like some jeans (button fly)...hate 'em, 46D: To-do pile's place (inbox), 75D: W.W. II American naval cruiser (USS Alaska), 95D: Show off (flaunt), 98D: Feature of some locks (keypad)...I was thinking locks, as in hair, and 101D: "__ is just pink trying to be purple": Whistler (mauve).

Good multiword answers include:

19A: Affected (too-too)...I think that's hyphenated. Took me too long to get that one.

56A: Decent (not bad).

75A: Formerly did (used to).

4D: Apparently do (seem to). That was really difficult when I had jingles for 28A.

11D: Get __ of (a load).

14D: Whenever (any time).

60D: In __ (dazed) (a fog).

64D: End of a James Bond title (Let Die). Don and I started watching Casino Royale earlier tonight. I just couldn't get into it...violence of any kind really doesn't appeal to me.

104D: Rider of the steed Babieca (El Cid).

There were several obscure (to me) answers...I was able to get them from the crosses.

18A: Fashion's Tahari (Elie). Never heard of him/her or the clothing line.

51A: Snow leopard (ounce). Didn't know it was called that. Here's the article that confirmed it for me.

59A: Margaret famous for painting waiflike children with big eyes (Keane). Here's a link to a gallery where you can view (and buy) some of her paintings. I'll pass...the one I liked was $16,000.

69A: Subject of the film "An Unreasonable Man" (Nader). Didn't know that.

85A: Verdi's "Don __" (Carlos).

2D: Its first word translates as "wrath" (Iliad). Know the word, didn't know the translation.

40D: German chancellor Merkel (Angela). Clueless on this one.

100D: Clinton's first defense secretary (Aspin).

102D: Exeunt __ (stage direction) (omnes).

109D: Home to the Dr. Pepper Museum (Waco). I didn't know there was such a thing.

Very much liked 93A: Something "realise" lacks (zed). I'm sure I'm not the only one who had zee until 65D: Wrote a novel, e.g. (prosed) made me realize the error of my ways. And I thought I was clever to get it right off.

Related clues at 36D: R.N.'s locale (ICU) and 117A: Part of the answer to 36-Down (Intensive). Nice to get such a long answer without a struggle.

Well, I'd better git (42D: "Skedaddle!"), but I'll leave you with this thought. Only one month until Christmas!

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Friday, November 23, 2007

November 24, 2007 - Victor Fleming

The only downside to not cooking Thanksgiving dinner at my leftovers. I'll probably have to cook a turkey next week just so I can have a proper sandwich. The saving grace was that I'd made an extra pumpkin pie, so we at least had that for dessert tonight. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorites. I also made a pecan pie this the request of our southern hostess...and it turned out pretty darn good. I might have to make one for Christmas.

Enough about food. Time to pay attention to Victor Fleming's delightful puzzle. If I haven't already mentioned it, he's another of my favorite constructors...and I'm not just saying that because he reads this blog. Check out the vertical stacks:

1A: Called for (necessary)

15A: Common bank deposit (O positive)...I think that's mine, so the blood bank likes me.

17A: 1976-85 sitcom setting (Mel's Diner). I wanted to come up with a city name...this is so much better. If you weren't a fan of Alice, you can kiss my grits! Actually, I preferred the movie to the series. Ellen Burstyn was incredible as Alice...and have I mentioned that I love Kris Kristofferson?

51A: Drop off (go to sleep). With several letters in place, I had hit a slump...that works with the clue but not with the downs.

54A: Clumsy (inelegant)...a clumsy word, but the fact that it's clued as it is makes it okay in my book.

56A: Some Mozart works (serenades). I did not know that. Maybe someone can name one of them.

I just saw two gross answers. 3D: They may accompany fevers (cold sores) and 30D: Game sticker? (arrowhead)...I didn't get that one until just now. Ick.

I loved the cross of 10A: Not get along (clash) and 14D: They frequently become locked (horns).

Favorite clues include 24A: Where things may be neatly ordered? (tavern), 28A: Lash with a whip (LaRue), 39A: They may be done in a salon (nails), 40A: Results of some glances (caroms), 50A: Lead-in to phobia (agora), 5D: It's usually spun first (side one), 6D: Performs awfully (stinks)...countered with 34D: Perform superbly (shine), 13D: Draft holder (stein), 40D: King of pop (Carole)...Tapestry was my favorite album of hers, and 51D: They're found in a mess (GIs).

Things I absolutely didn't know...or even have a clue:

16A: Slow in scoring (lento)...a musical term I haven't heard.

19A: Philologists' work, for short (OED). I didn't get the answer until just now when I looked it up. Why, what an ass am I! (Hamlet soliloquy line, at 55A). Oxford English Dictionary...appropriate for one who studies written records, especially literary texts. [Update: Thanks, anonymous...that was really more of a typo.]

35A: Israeli opera conductor Daniel (Oren). I'm okay with not knowing that one.

38A: __ Diamond, author of the 1998 Pulitzer-winning book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" (Jared). Haven't heard of him or the book.

1D: Pitcher who was the 1995 N.L. Rookie of the Year (Nomo). Also 7D: 1980s-'90s N.B.A. star Danny (Ainge). Are these guys obscure, or am I completely out of touch with things? I thought I'd at least heard of the more well-known 34A: Three-time 1990s French Open winner (Seles).

42D: Duke of Cornwall's wife (Regan).

Some clues and/or answers I really liked...some just because they're multiple word answers.

29A: Source of political support (power base).

36A: Encore setting (music hall).

44A: Fast-food chain known for its floats (A and W).

10D: Butcher's need (cleaver).

11D: Display at a golf tournament (leader board).

23D: Open competitors, often (touring pros).

38D: Star of TV's "The Fugitive" (Janssen). My mother and I were both big fans of the show. I don't think we ever missed an episode.

43D: Massey of film (Ilona). We just had her a couple of weeks ago, but I wouldn't have gotten it without the crosses. Must remember her...good crossword letters in her name.

I'm off to bed. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Friday, November 23 - Paula Gamache

When four women...all good cooks...join forces to create a Thanksgiving dinner, the resulting feast is quite spectacular. No one left hungry...that would be an understatement. Right about now, though, I'd kill for a piece of pie with my coffee. Thankfully, all the leftovers stayed with the host.

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving day...however you spent it.

Paula Gamache always dishes up an A-one puzzle, and today's was no exception. Stacks of ten-letter entries and more multiword answers than I can remember seeing at any time.

1A: Bit of income for the Department of Motor Vehicles (license fee).

15A: What someone might win after stumping a cultural group? (ethnic vote)

17A: Greek salad ingredient (goat cheese)...not feta.

26A: Where Yankees are found at Shea (visitors' dugout). I guessed that with the first U in place...that courtesy of 22D: Don in the National Radio Hall of Fame (Imus).

40A: Fan fare? (Ballpark franks). Clever cluing to boot.

53A: Axiom (basic truth).

57A: Witness to Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Adidala's secret wedding (Artoo Detoo).

59A: Rod Laver won two (Grand Slams).

7D: "A thousand pardons" (ever so sorry).

12D: Consecutive (back to back) favorite.

25D: Cuisine that may be served with a chork (Asian Fusion).

27D: "Everything's cool" (it's all good).

41D: Start of a little daredevil's declaration (look ma). I had betcha for too long. I was thinking more about the daredevil, not the declaration.

Related clues at 35D: Waste product (trash bag) and 30D: Put into a 35-Down (toss). I originally had trash can...also thought of trash bin.

Didn't know 1D: __ Mason (asset management firm) (Legg), 3D: Fictional character who first appeared in "The House Without a Key" (Chan), 5D: Robertson of CNN (Nic), or 28D: Ninth-century founder of the Russian monarchy (Rurik).

Spent too much time trying to figure out 51D: Wilson's vice pres. __ Marshall (Thos). Didn't make the abbreviation connection and wondered if we were dealing with a rebus...MAS in one square?

10D: Big shoe spec (EEE width) was a good guess which opened up a few spots. Other multiwords were 25A: Target (aim at), 45A: "Jeez!" (oh, gosh), 48A: Flawlessly (to a T), 2D: "__, dislike it" (start of Marianne Moore's "Poetry") (I, too), and 11D: Candidate for the proverbial glue factory (old nag).

Liked the cluing for 8D: They're not for you (foes), 14D: Related (said)...not the kind of related I thought they wanted and 32A: They're taken to the cleaners (suits).

It's been a long day, and I'm ready to call it quits. No early morning shopping for me, though. I did that once in my life, and that was enough.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, November 22 - Oliver Hill

Another reason to be grateful excellent puzzle by Oliver Hill.

If you're a regular reader of Madness, you may have noticed that I didn't post last night. Mike and Elaine came in around 7:00, so we had a late dinner with them and sat around chatting. My plan was to solve last night...which I did...and then blog early this morning while everyone else slept. I was counting on Dooley's 6:00 bark to awaken me, but he slept in as well.

A very big thank you to Wendy, a regular reader and one of the Kauai guest bloggers, who emailed me this morning with an offer to pinch hit. If I had to get a turkey in the oven this morning, I'd have taken her up on it. This year we're doing a joint effort, hosted at a friend's, and I'm off turkey duty. I've made the pumpkin rolls and just need to do a couple of pies this morning. Piece of cake...pie...whatever.

Let me grab a cup of coffee and I'll get on with the puzzle, but here's a clue.


Mmm...that first sip is always the best.

If you did the puzzle online, you might have missed the X in the center, but if you printed it out (or actually had the New York Times...what a concept), you couldn't miss it. I knew it was a hint, but it took some time to see what it meant.

After a run through the across clues, I had only one answer in the top half...21A: Prefix with skeleton (endo). Not much of a toe-hold. Then came the giveaway at 32A: T.__ (Rex). Once I saw that X hanging there, I guessed what was up. The next clue 33A: Marks (out) (Xes) confirmed it. Without looking at the other clues, I put an X in the other two spots. At 17D: 44-Across character, with "the" (Lorax)...piggybacking on 44A: Children's doctor? (Seuss)...and 38D: Tree tissue (xylem).

From there, things just started flowing in this elegant puzzle. But the theme was far from over with that. Two 15-letter theme answers that were the icing on the cake (or the whipped cream on the pie), clued identically.

16A: [See diagram] (ADULT FILM RATING)
56a: [See diagram] (ROMAN NUMERAL TEN)

A related x answer appears at 59A: What x makes (product). I haven't heard that word used since I was in grade school. Do they still teach it that way?

There were several things I absolutely didn't know, but I was able to get them from crosses. That's what I love about crossword puzzles...when I see a letter or two, and the word jumps to the forefront of the brain. It's a beautiful thing.

19A: Son of David (Solomon). I should have known that.

23A: Author of "Winning Bridge Made Easy" (Goren). Ditto...I think that was in a fairly recent puzzle.

24A: Wisconsin senator Feingold (Russ). Don (a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison) would probably have known that, but he was busy elsewhere.

28A: "The Da Vinci Code" albino (Silas). I think that's been in here recently as well. I didn't even remember that there was an albino in it. As an aside, we had an albino parakeet when I was a kid...perfectly white, with beautiful little red eyes. I'll bet I said that in the post when this answer last appeared.

31A: Beast that bugles (wapiti). That's one of those answers that hung around in parts of my brain but refused to reveal itself.

34A: __ Press, classic Venetian printer that introduced italics (Aldine). That was tough, especially with its cross at 34D: B flat, enharmonically (A sharp). If you don't know music, that could have been A or E. I know a little, but I still guessed it wrong. Eldine sounded good, but the Applet wouldn't accept it.

45A: __ Lawrence Orchestra (British big band since the 1960s) (Syd). I tried Art, but it didn't get me very far. As it turns out, it was the answer for 10D: "All nature is but __": Pope (art).

35D: "Fidelio" protagonist (Leonora). When I had *E*N*RA, that was a good guess that panned out.

49D: __-nez (pince). Now that I see what they are, I think we've had that in the last few months. Here they are, worn by Theodore Roosevelt. They look painful.

54D: Adriatic port (Bari). The B was the last letter I entered in the grid. Since I didn't know pince, I was missing two letters from 53A: Thumb's end. When that answer finally hit me (silent B), I had both pince and Bari.

Very quickly, some of my favorites:

14A: Sluggishness (inertia). Just because.

61A: High point (apogee)...a beautiful word.

62A: Small harpsichord (spinet).

1D: Medium tempo (andante). Belle would be proud of me for getting that one straight off.

11D: Bright lights, at times (stimuli). Good word, good clue.

41D: Heir (legatee). I'm a fan of all words legal. A similar answer at 46D: Nonprofit groups, often (donee)...we like to be that very often.

42D: Who said "I believe in censorship. After all I made a fortune out of it" (Mae West).

A few clues that stumped me briefly. 6D: Crew member (sailor)...I wanted something to do with rowing, 45D: Private response? (salute)...I had aye aye.

28D: Skater Cohen (Sasha) was a gimme, but I needed crosses to get 15D: Sampras rival (Agassi). I know a few tennis names, but that just wouldn't come to mind.

The rest of the household is stirring, so I'll wrap this up. Here's the grid (bigger than usual, so you can see its symmetrical beauty)...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

I hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving...and that you find many things for which to be grateful.

Linda G

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wednesday, November 21 - Kelsey Blakley

If Kelsey Blakley wasn't already on my list of favorite constructors, she would be after this one.

Loved it, loved it, loved it!

The theme...something like "You're in the Army Now." In case you've ever wondered (I have), here are the lyrics to the song.

The theme answers are:

21A: Film showing for V.I.P.'s, in the army? (PVT SCREENING).

41A: Big studio release, in the army? (MAJ MOTION PICTURE).

59A: Common ticket category, in the army? (GEN ADMISSION).

I got hung up in the northwest. Couldn't get 1A: Harsh criticism (flak) or its cross at 1D: Lays an egg (flops) for the longest time. Couldn't remember where Bob Dole was born...Kansas, making 4D Kansan, or the name of the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors (Orin, at 18A). Didn't know 3D: Cordial quality (amity) fact, still am not getting that one. Thought that 2D: Maggot, e.g. was larva...without the theme, though, it made no sense that the second letter would be V once I had screening in place.

Fortunately, I didn't struggle much with the rest of the puzzle.

Loved the long nontheme answers. 19A: Consumer Reports offering (buyer's guide), 64A: Means of visual communication (smoke signals), 12D: Postponed, in a way (rained out), and 37D: Bouncers' tasks (ejections)...that was the first answer that came to mind. Again, not knowing the theme, I couldn't figure out how that J would fit into 41-Across, so I didn't write it in right away.

Other noteworth clues and/or answers:

10A: Active vocabulary? (verbs). Don't know why that immediately popped into my head, but it did...making the northeast corner a piece of cake.

15A: Priest in an Ogden Nash verse (Lama). I wasn't familiar with that one, but here it is in its entirety...very cute.

The one-L lama, he's a priest
The two-L llama, he's a beast
And I would bet a silk pyjama
There isn't any three-L lllama

Pyjamas...that's the Victoria's Secret spelling. Sorry, no link. You can imagine the unwanted hits I'd get.

45A: Gary's home (Indiana). I learned this from The Music Man...little Ron Howard singing about Gary, Indiana. Clever clue.

49A: Like many oaths (solemn).

53A: Oktoberfest music (polka). Scrabbly it, as well as its cross at 55D: "Bear" that's not a bear (koala).

70A: Quaint denial (tisn't).

5D: E.g., e.g. (abbr.)

22D: __ Canyon (Pueblo cultural area) (Chaco). That's the name of one of the streets in our subdivision, along with Banff, Shenandoah, McKinley, Rushmore...and a few others.

28D: Shows with lower-priced seats, usually (matinees). I remember them being $1.50, maybe even less. I think I paid at least $7.00 for the last one.

A couple of things I didn't know...not to be confused with the things I couldn't remember, covered above.

5A: Presidential middle name (Abram)...who middle name is it?

36D: Sari-clad royal (Rani).

54D: Feudal lord (liege).

60D: Indian tourist city (Agra).

And that's it for tonight. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tuesday, November 20 - Larry Shearer

A football theme...and I got 'em all. Woo-hoo!

Okay, so they weren't very difficult, but I'll take sports points wherever (and however) I can get them.

The four theme answers consist of two football team names, with the new word then clued...

17A: Big spender's woe? (Giant Bill).

25A: Revolver toter? (Colt Packer).

37A: MasterCard-carrying ecclesiastic? (Cardinal Charger)...the funniest answer.

45A: Peter? (Chief Saint)...the best of the four.

...and all wrapped up with 56A: Where this puzzle's theme pairs would like to meet (Super Bowl).

None of the theme answers were gimmes, but I had several others, including 1A: Missing Jimmy (Hoffa), 14A: Paula of "American Idol" (Abdul), 19A: "Mule Train" singer, 1949 (Laine), 22A: Where to find the headings Books, Dolls & Bears, and Collectibles (eBay)...I've spent way too much time (and money) there, 27A: The Ewings' soap (Dallas), 42A: Greene of "Bonanza" (Lorne) of my childhood heroes/crushes, 52A: Country singer Milsap (Ronnie)...I haven't heard his name in years, 53A: Quick Pick game (Lotto), and 62A: Condor's nest (aerie)...a word I only know from doing crossword puzzles.

Also 4D: 1975 arbra Streisand sequel (Funny Lady), 6D: Richard's first vice president (Spiro), 9D: Spock, on his father's side (Vulcan), 10D: Asimov of sci-fi (Isaac), 12D: Bert's Muppet pal (Ernie)...named for the cab drivers in It's a Wonderful Life, and 23D: Kiddie lit elephant (Babar).

I can never remember 7D: Superman's birth name (Kal-El), and I don't imagine I will the next time I see it.

I didn't know 33D: Reggie Jackson nickname (Mr. October). It almost sounds like he was Playgirl's Playmate of the Month...but ESPN says here that it has to do with hitting home runs.

Clues and/or answers that I really liked:

16A: Take forcibly (usurp). I just like the word, although I had seize at first.

20A: Bête __ (noire). This was in a puzzle not long ago, and I managed to remember it. It's a beautiful French word that means black beast, and it can refer to something unwanted...even hated. Such a pretty word, though.

21A: Gum arabic-yielding tree (acacia). Another good word.

44A: "Blah, blah, blah..." (etc etc). I'd like to see it clued in reference to The King and I.

65A: Pasta sauce brand (Prego). I just Googled to find the literal translation of the word. It brought up several sites about Jennifer Lopez. I didn't think the term prego was still used to indicate a baby on the way. What do I know?

22D: Papal bull, e.g. (edict). Okay, I grew up Catholic, and I've never heard this. Don, on the other hand, grew up Lutheran, and he knew it. Go figure. Anyway, the clue sounds extremely disrespectful if you don't know what it means. According to Wikipedia, a Papal bull is "a special kind of patent or charter issued by a pope...named after the bulla that was appended to the end to authenticate it." Here's a papal bull, sealed with a leaden bulla. I learn something new every day.

Well, that's my third picture, so it's time to wrap things up for the night. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Monday, November 19 - Lynn Lempel

I spent a couple of hours today working our booth at the Alternative Christmas Fair, an alternative gifting opportunity that benefits local and international agencies. You can honor a friend or loved one with a gift of a latrine in San Salvador, a forest planting in Haiti, or gorilla protection in Rwanda. Right here at home, we could provide a doorbell or window for Habitat for Humanity, a case of canned goods for the local food bank, or meals at our Soup Kitchen. Every year I buy something for everyone in my family. This year my gifts include snacks and milk for preschoolers in the Gaza Strip, a case of peanut butter, a solar cooker for a family in Kenya, a day of skiing for a disabled person...and a latrine. There's something for everyone.

Just being there left me feeling incredibly good all day. While I was gone, beef stew simmered in the crockpot, so we had a hearty dinner without a lot of work. Yep...just a good day all around.

And an easy puzzle on top of that, with just enough of a Monday challenge and some interesting words.

The theme is revealed at 40A: Where you may find the ends of 17-, 23-, 52- and 63-Across (paper), and the theme answers are:

17A: Subversive group (FIFTH COLUMN). I'm not familiar with the expression, but here's what Wikipedia has to say.

23A: Soap or lotion, say (TOILET ARTICLE). As a kid, I thought that was a funny expression. I guess I still do.

52A: Notorious stigma (SCARLET LETTER). In the old movies, it looked like an applique on her dress...this one looks like it means business. I don't know about you, but I'd definitely behave myself.

63A: Coveted film honor (BEST PICTURE).

Not incredibly inspiring, but I don't think Monday themes need to be. There was some fill that I found particularly good, though.

5A: "Jeepers!" (cripes). That's not something I've ever said, but my friend's grandmother used to say something like that. It made me smile to think about her.

15A: Native name for Mount McKinley (Denali).

29A: Gardner of Hollywood (Ava). It's always a good day when Ava's in the puzzle.

34A: Suspect's excuse (alibi).

68A: Drooling dog in "Garfield" (Odie). I don't much care for Garfield, but I think Odie is sweet. Then again, I'm a dog person.

3D: One who'll easily lend money for a hard-luck story (soft touch). If you're that kind of person, do not become a social worker. I have been known to help out some of my favorites once or twice...truth be told, most of us have...but they always think the money has come from a local church. Some people just need a hand up.

4D: Fuel by the litre (petrol). I'm also a soft touch for all things Brit.

9D: New York city where Mark Twain is buried (Elmira).

33D: Marsh plant (sedge). Have never heard of it or seen it, but here's the scoop on it.

35D: Period between (interlude).

37D: Curve-billed wader (ibis). I know it's in the puzzle fairly often, but I've always liked the word. And it's a very cool-looking bird.

I liked the crossing of 22A: Repulsive (vile) with 22D: Pharmacy containers (vials).

Also liked the crossing of 1A: Bit of smoke (wisp) with 1D: Blow gently (waft). The word wisp brings back a very old memory...Will o' the Wisp, the Leon Russell CD (actually, what I had was the album) with one of my very favorite songs, Lady Blue. You can hear Leon sing it here. I just listened to it's just as beautiful now as it was back then.

I should also mention 36D: Jefferson's first vice president (Burr). I didn't know it, and I'd be willing to bet there are others who don't. It will probably be the reason for most Google hits today...on this blog and others.

Well, I see that I posted four pictures instead of three, but it will have to do. Sometimes this OCD stuff just isn't worth the trouble.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sunday, November 18 - Patrick Berry

What a treat to get a night off. Thank you again, Rick (a/k/a Cornbread) for making it happen. Although I did solve the puzzle last night, I was able to do it at my leisure. By the way, I loved it...tough, but what incredible fill.

I've already added Patrick Berry to my list of favorite constructors, and now I can add this puzzle to my favorites. The title WORLD PAY made me think the theme answers would have to do with foreign currency, and I knew I'd be sunk. I should have known better. I mean, we're talking Patrick Berry.

What we have is a bit of WORD PLAY, where the L gets moved from one word of a common phrase to another. The theme answers...drum roll, please.

23A: Run away from chewing-tobacco users? (FLEE SPITTERS).

25A: Alexander the Great's ambition? (TO SLAY THE EAST). I had this but wasn't seeing the original phrase. It came to me in the hot tub earlier tonight. It was almost too say the least.

37A: Problem for a sweaty-handed Tarzan? (VINY SLIDING).

56A: One who's crazy for a sharp-dressed man? (FOP LOVER).

66A: Shakespearean prince who's handsome and muscular? (STUDLY HAL).

78A: Fish-worshiping groups? (COD CULTS). This is where I finally cracked the theme...not that it made future theme answers any easier to get.

92A: What a magician might do with a big saw? (HALVE THE GAL). Probably the weakest entry...have the gall just doesn't seem like an in-the-language phrase...but I'm willing to let just about anything slide because of the overall quality.

107A: How to avoid getting tipsy on hard liquor? (PACE YOUR BELTS). If I had to choose, this would be my second favorite.

113A: Designed jeans? (PLOTTED PANTS).

15D: Oil spill? (SEEPING SLICKNESS). My absolute favorite...the way it rolls off your tongue, plus the visual...almost too much.

36D: Macho beer-drinker's outerwear? (COAT OF MANLY COORS). This one is pretty good, too.

Ava would be distraught if I didn't point out 100D: Bandleader Shaw (Artie), one of the lucky men who had the privilege of being married to her.

One of my favorite answers...and a 82A: Novelist Jamaica __ (Kincaid). Here's a short bio that really doesn't say enough about her life or her writing. Her turbulent relationship with her mother is apparent in all of her stories. The best paper I wrote in college English was about mother-daughter relationships, tying in Jamaica Kincaid's own relationship with her mother as she revealed it in her short stories. I got an A+...from a professor who didn't give them out. I managed to get two more that semester...I think my writing style was enough like his that he had no choice.

22A: Nebraska town, named after an Indian tribe, featured in "Lonesome Dove" (Ogallala). I got this with only the final A in place...a very good guess, as opposed to a gimme.

42A: Much of Anaïs Nin's work (erotica). I don't have time to search out an I'd get all kinds of hits on this site that I'd rather not have. Here's a very good non-erotic quote. "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."

58A: Moved two chessmen in one turn (castled). I'm not familiar with this term, but it was easy enough to get from crosses.

76A: At great length (on and on). Like that because of my affinity for multiword answers.

83A: You might hear it going up and down (Muzak). I immediately knew they were doing the elevator thing, although I had music at first.

105A: Mr. Bean (Orson). I wanted Rowan...the real Mr. Bean.

60D: Perceptive person's detection (nuance). Just a beautiful word.

67D: Little green man (Yoda). In case you didn't know...the U.S. Postal Service invited the public to vote online for its favorite of the 15 images on the Star Wars stamp sheet. More than half a million votes were cast, and Yoda was the winner. They were released last month, although I haven't yet seen them at the post office.

70D: Popular sleep aid (Unisom). Not something I've ever needed in my life, but I've seen enough magazine ads that it was easy enough.

74D: Words mouthed to a camera (hi mom). That's one you could have guessed without seeing how many letters it had.

Things I didn't know and had to get from crosses:

8A: "__ at Large," 2003 Fox sitcom (Wanda). Never heard of it.

13A: El __ (Peruvian volcano) (Misti). I know all the ones in Hawaii, but it's time to broaden my volcano knowledge base.

122A: Producer of the Keystone Cops films (Sennett).

24D: "Man is by nature a __ animal": Aristotle (political). I think I should have known that.

50D: Greek god of ridicule (Momus). Didn't know there was such a thing.

94D: With 52-Down, "Symphonie Fantastique" composer (Hector / Berlioz).

A few more multiword answers that I liked. 27A: Leading the field (on top), 89A: Beguiles (leads on), 119A: Flat remover (tire iron), 4D: Dresses down (yells at), 14D: Following behind (in tow), and 90D: Gets one's food on a tray, say (dines in).

118A: "Ready __" (or not). Instead of, "On your mark, get set, go" we simply said, "Ready, set, go." Which explains why I had set go as my answer.

I like to do things in threes, but I can't think of a third picture. We'll have to call the grid a picture tonight. Here it is...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, November 17, 2007 - Brad Wilber

Y'all are so spoiled. I can't imagine doin' this puzzle solving and write up every single night. maybe if i wasn't so slow at solving and typing it'd be easier, but i still think Linda G. deseveres a big round of applause. OR ELSE! (50d: Goons last words)

Rick B. here, aka cornbread hell. Our gracious hostess is takin’ the night off for some well deserved down time with Don.

(don’t you dare tell her I said this, but I think the truth is that our gracious hostess had a premonition of what a killer of a puzzle this was gonna be and flat chickened out. Ya think?)


This sucker took me just shy of 2 hours, without googling, to almost finish. OK, i did leave one square blank. Yeah, yeah... I'm sure that’s a laughable *accomplishment* to our 6d: ORANGEY (Like a bad spray-on tan) friend, but I’m kinda proud of it, myself.

I mean, how many wtfs did YOU find?

11a: MITA (certain copier), 18a: ROEG (“The Man Who Fell to Earth” director), 46d: DR. AZIZ (Character on trial in “A Passage to India”), and 58d: SHIH (“__ Ching,” classic book of Chinese poetry) are just the most egregious of mine.

Hey, I saw those movies in the theater and have even read the I Ching by Lao Tse and even knew it *might* be “Tao Ta Ching”, but Noooooo, still too many freakin' letters! It’s SHIH...

And that, my friends, is what I love about Saturday NYT Crossword Puzzles. I get challenged. I get to figure stuff out by the crosses and by logic and by who knows where or what.

Nope, no pictures or links today. Sorry folks. And yes, I’re used to Linda pointing out all the clever stuff like, 4d: PTA (Org. addressing class conflict) and all the other delightful clueing, of which there is so much here.

So why don’t y’all throw out some of your favorites? There’re a whole bunch of good ones here. Talk among yourselves, I’m a little verklempt.

I’ll leave you now with the *almost* completed grid. (go ahead, scoff if you must and correct as you will.)

Thanks for visiting,

[Oh, & I meant to say; i thought the NW was a cinch. (bein' a Unitarian, that 10 letter gimme made it so) and the SW was nowhere near 35d: DUTY FREE (Like some airport shopping) maybe because I’m such a nerd that even though TYRE was a gimme, GEEK kept wantin’ and wantin' to be a nerd for way too long.

And besides, I’ve never been to an OXYGEN BAR. Have you? C’mon, what in the cornbread hell is up with that? Is it like astronaut training or something?]

I think Brad Wilber rocks. so does Wilbur Post.

ok, maybe just one picture...


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Friday, November 16 - Chuck Deodene

This was one tough puzzle. Stacks upon stacks, as well as some very fresh fill. There wasn't much that could be Googled, but those were spread out enough that it was possible to get a toe-hold in every area.

There were a handful of gimmes, so at least I was off to a good start.

15A: "__ as directed" (use as).

30A: Bills are in it: Abbr. (AFC). Big pat on the back, please. Not just a sports clue, but one with an odd clue.

33A: Bibliographical abbr. (et al).

34A: Venue of many Richard Petty wins (Daytona). In my former life (that is, not with Don) I lived in Daytona Beach for a short time. We didn't go to the races, but we did get to drive on the beach...a very cool experience.

65A: Rich spreads (pates).

3D: Relating to babes (neonatal). I was sure I was wrong with that one, but I wasn't.

4D: __ City, seat of Pasco County, Fla. (Dade).

5D: Right hands: Abbr. (assts).

6D: 1945 film musical with the song "It Might As Well Be Spring" (State Fair). For many years, our local amusement park had the Tilt-A-Whirl from State Fair, so I felt compelled to ride it...not a good idea. The park is no longer in business, and the ride has moved to another amusement park.

24D: Creme Egg maker (Cadbury). Despite the fact that they contain chocolate, I have always found them personally disgusting.

53D: Diamond protectors (tarps). Sports-ish clue, got it...hooray!

Not much, but things progressed from there.

I also had a couple of wrong answers in place that definitely sent me in the wrong direction.

45A: One working on a board (ironer). That makes sense, but I had planer...which also makes sense and fit with a couple of downs.

58A: "I'll give you __" (a hint). I'll give you could also have a call or a ring. I had both.

14D: Green stinger (nettle)...oops, not Hornet.

43D: On the sundeck (basking)...I had tanning.

I liked the clever cluing in 1A: Back-and-forth (Q and A)...couldn't figure out what word would end in A, though. Also 17A: Apple storage devices (iPods), 36A: First-class handouts? (syllabi), 49A: Poses in a studio? (yoga), and 57A: Letters before a street name (aka)...better known as a/k/a.

Some of my favorite across answers: 16A: Product identifier (trade name), 18A: It maintains a proper attitude (autopilot), 38A: Herd-thinning menace (rustler), 42A: Semirural, say (exurban)...had this fairly recently and was pleased to find the mental note I had made, 60A: Colloquial (idiomatic)...that word always makes me think of someone who acts like an idiot...automatically, and 64A: Logic's counterpart (sentiment)...I could write a book on that based on thirty years with my logical husband.

And the best of the downs: 1D: Nitpicking (quibbles), 2D: Harshness (asperity), 7D: Cutting out? (truancy), 12D: Costa del Sol port (Malaga), 35D: Does, as business (transacts), 39D: Probe (look into), 40D: Bring about with some effort (engineer), and 41D: Cavalier evaluation? (road test)...just now saw the cleverness of that one.

Time to call it a night. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G