Monday, December 31, 2007

Monday, December 31 - Lynn Lempel

We're all in for a treat today--a double shot of Lynn Lempel! Not only does she get the last New Yorks Times puzzle for 2007, she's also the author of today's syndicated puzzle (see link in sidebar).

The theme includes the main duties of a clerical position, with four theme answers.

17A: A magnet attracts it in a physics experiment (iron filing). Not a word you often hear used in the singular...definitely necessary for the theme, though.

57A: Star's marquee position (top billing).

10D: Pre-tranfusion procedure (blood typing). This young woman has attracted quite an audience. I don't recall that typing was that fascinating.

25D: Some verbal abuse (name calling).

Multiword answers (in addition to the theme answers) include 28A: Divorces (splits up), 32A: Locale for a New York diva (The Met), 43A: Zilch (not a whit)...all excellent...and a crossword standard at 62A: Have a meal at home (eat in).

Another crossword regular makes an appearance at 64A: "Born Free" lioness (Elsa). It's hard to believe that the original movie is from 1965...but I just saw that in print, so it must be.

Other crossword regulars taking a final bow in 2007 include 15A: Diva's song (aria), 21A: County seat NNW of Oklahoma City (Enid), 27A: Tire filler (air), 35A: What the number of birthday candles signifies (age), 36A: Olden times (yore), 56A: Java neighbor (Bali), 60A: Genesis garden (Eden), 63A: Orange-flavored powdered drink (Tang), 65A: Medicinal amounts (doses), 3D: Enticing smell (aroma), 30D: __ Mountains, Europe/Asia separator (Ural), 51D: Help illegally (abet), 52D: Zilch (nada) and 59D: Neighbor of a Vietnamese (Lao).

Not exactly a regular, but it appeared in the last couple of weeks. 2D: Deep pink (coral). I still think of coral as a shade of orange, rather than pink. Deep pink is fuchsia.

Other entries of note, for one reason or another:

1A: Oodles (scads)...both words are amusing for some reason.

14A: Seoul's land (Korea). I love seeing the letter K in the puzzle...almost as much as Z.

22A: Relieve (soothe).

24A: At a tilt (slanted).

26A: Praise (laud).

37A: Jinxes (hexes). I love that there's an X in both the clue and the answer.

39A: Tomato-hitting-the-floor sound (splat). The clue is too funny.

5D: Two-point plays in football (safeties). A sports clue and I knew it...woo-hoo!

9D: Event before moving (tag sale). We did that when we moved to Colorado from Kansas wasn't worth all the work we had to do to get ready. If we move again, we'll just donate everything to charity. Much easier.

13D: Amusement park shout (whee). Reminds me of the girls on roller coasters...arms up in the air and shouting. I'm glad they didn't shy away from amusement park rides just because I wouldn't go on them.

39D: Shot up, as inflation (spiraled).

41D: Gleeful laugh (chortle).

42D: Hindu teacher (Swami).

49D: Old TV comic Kovacs (Ernie). I remember hearing the name growing up, but I didn't remember that he was a comedian.

53D: "Galveston" crooner Campbell (Glen).

And a final tribute to 54D: Inspectors of fin. books (CPA) honor of my sweetie. He'll take tomorrow off, but then he'll work every day until April 15. I'm hopeful that this will be his last tax season...last year took a toll on him.

I hope all of you will celebrate safely this evening. We lost a friend in an accident on New Year's Eve in is one too many.

Here's today's grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sunday, December 30 - Elizabeth C. Gorski

I was doing a few puzzles earlier this week in one of my NYT books...Will Shortz's Favorites...and he mentioned a constructor whose puzzles were always fun. Now I can't put my finger on the book, but I'm fairly certain he was talking about Elizabeth Gorski. Today's puzzle, Winter Figure, was no exception.

It was almost too easy, but that was a welcome relief following yesterday's disaster.

As soon as I saw the grid on the screen, I recognized the cute little snowman, complete with top hat. A note at the top reads: The 16 circled letters, starting in square #34 and proceeding roughly counterclockwise, ending at #38, will spell the opening lyric of a popular song. I neglected to read the note (damn small print) and came up with Frosty the Snowman on my own. Initially, though, I had the letters going left to right from top to bottom. When some of the gimmes wouldn't fit, I erased them and let the circled letters fall into place.

Maybe this wasn't so easy for those who don't know all the lyrics. The other theme answers, in song order, are:

3D: Lyric, part 2, after "Was a" (jolly happy soul)

135A: Lyric, part 3, after "With a" (corncob pipe)

16D: Lyric, part 4 (and a button nose)

114A: Lyric, part 5 (and two eyes made out of coal).

Also tied in is 107A: Provider of an old silk hat, e.g. (as depicted at the top of this puzzle) (haberdasher).

What this puzzle lacked in difficulty level, it more than made up for in brilliance of construction. I can't imagine what it took to get the left/right symmetry, the snowman outline, the lyrics, the song title (still keeping the symmetry)...and some fine answers to boot.

The stacks that made up Frosty's forehead, and their lower counterparts, were all good...32A: Pull (influence), 42A: Class in factories (proletariat) and 47A: Avalons, e.g. (Toyotas).

Some favorites:

21A: "Dancing With the Stars" winner __ Ohno (Apolo). Never saw the show, but I remember him from the Olympics.

29A: Deli offering (pastrami). When I had the I from 18D: Kind of kick (inside) [NOTE: Oops...that's ONSIDE...thanks, profphil and others), I wanted salami. Couldn't think what two letters could precede it, though. As you may guess, I'm not a pastrami fan. Actually, I don't eat salami, either.

31A: Artificial heat? (toy gun). Good clue.

45A: Photographer Adams (Ansel). Love his's impossible to choose a favorite.

75A: 13 (bakers dozen). Couldn't for the life of me figure where this one was going, until I had a few letters in place.

78A: Dec. holiday plans? (R and R)...always a favorite.

80A: Pump room? (shoe store). Love it, love it, love it. I think I'm just giddy after yesterday.

83A: A wee hour (one o'clock).

90A: Lord's worker (vassal). Identical clue at 144A (serf). I really wanted apostle or disciple before I saw the number of spaces...

138A: Kind of track (tenure). Another clever one.

141A: Herbal tea (tisane). Can't believe I've never heard the word before. Ever.

1D: Holiday party (fiesta), and the related 118D: Holidayish (festive) and 145A: New Year's Eve parties, e.g. (events). None of those describe the holiday gatherings we have or attend.

2D: Homes that may have tunnel entrances (igloos). Very fitting with the subzero temperatures we're having in Colorado.

6D: Luxuriousness (ritz), crossing at the Z with 27A: Shed some light on? (solarize). Odd word, to be sure...but it has a Z!

7D: One who can't have everything? (co-heir). I had everything except the H...must have gone through the alphabet three times before I figured it out. That was the only letter also missing from its cross at 24A: Playwright Fugard (Athol), a name unfamiliar to me.

15D: Snarl unsnarler (hairbrush). Don bathed Dooley and Barnabas earlier today. I unsnarled them, then trimmed their little beards and around their eyes. So much better.

42D: Part of many a test (placebo).

50D: Favorers of the young (ageists). Had this just a week or so ago, so I remembered.

51A: Dish with stir-fried rice noodles (Pad Thai). Great answer, but that's very similar to what I ate when I had food poisoning. Ick.

57D: Accord of 1985? (used car). What a clever clue! I had everything but the E and couldn't figure it out for the longest time.

62D: Bully (strongarm). One word or two?

63D: It may be fit for a king (bedspread). Another clever one. This puzzle is just full of them.

81D: Banks on a runway (Tyra)...fresh from yesterday's puzzle, where she was clued as Banks of note. I like this one it was a gimme.

104D: Feel one's way around? (palpate).

106D: Timid words (I dare not). I guess I've never been timid, since I've never spoken those words.

109D: 1986 Gene Hackman film (Hoosiers). How could that have been more than twenty years ago?

Three good ones in a row...111D: Not narrow (tolerant), 112D: Tramps (vagrants) and 113D: 1/2 and 1/3 parts (slashes)...took way too long to figure out where that was going. I tried to think of something along the line of slices...with a couple more letters.

Things I didn't know but got from crosses include 19A: Borodin's "Prince __" (Igor), 20A: N.F.L. team for which Barry Sanders played (Lions), 56A: Poker great Ungar and others (Stus), 63A: Rain forests and grasslands, e.g. (biomes), 100A: Cole Porter's "You Don't Know __" (Paree), 123A: "The Oath" author Frank (Peretti)...have heard of him but didn't know that particular work, 149A: "Endymion" poet (Keats)...poetry is a somewhat weak area for me, but nowhere near sports, 35D: Writer Willy who popularized spaceflight (Ley), 53D: "Passion" director (Godard), 55D: French treaty city of 1802 (Amiens), 67D: Long Island Rail Road station (Roslyn), 77D: "The __ Cat" (Tom and Jerry short) (Zoot)...can't say that I remember that one, 89D: Kyle __, "The Terminator" hero (Reese) and 135D: Dr. Octavius, Spider-Man foe (Otto). Note: I haven't checked the grid, so it's very possible that one or more of those is wrong.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, December 29 - Bob Klahn

Another Saturday puzzle like this one and I just might retire my Pentel! I fell asleep working it last night, woke up four hours later and went to bed. This morning it required multiple cups of coffee, Google, and outside help.

This may well be the first time I said that I detested a puzzle. Breaking news...a comment just came in on yesterday's blog from Norman, and I see that I'm not alone in my frustration.

Beginning with clues and/or answers that I liked...

1A: Modesty preserver, in some films (bubble bath).

15A: Old form of Italian musical drama (operaseria). I struggled to get the last half of it, but it makes perfect sense.

11A: "__ wondrous pitiful": "Othello" ('twas). 'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful. She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd, And I lov'd her that she did pity them... You can read more here.

19A: Pixar's first feature-length film (Toy Story). I remember it well...we had our family pictures taken (our very first), then went to see Toy Story while the photographer developed the proofs. It also featured a short...something I hadn't seen in many years...about an old man playing chess with himself in the park.

23A: You may be lost in the middle of it (nowhere). The best clue in the puzzle.

27A: It has a smaller degree of loft than a mashie (four iron). A good guess, once I had most of iron in place. But what the hell's a mashie?

28A: Cupule's contents (acorn). Never heard of cupule, but the answer soon became obvious.

35A: Where to pick up dates? (palms). Another good one.

3D: Bunch (bevy). A word I enjoy using. A bevy of beauties descending the stairs. Many years ago, I said that watching four of my co-workers coming down the staircase...followed immediately by the CFO who never showed a sense of humor. He did smile, though, and it sort of broke the ice. He didn't seem as grumpy after that.

7D: Draft picks (beers).

10D: Fliers, e.g. (handouts). I like it because that was my first guess, although I erased it later...don't remember why.

12D: End-of-year festival (wintertide)...stupidly had wintertime, which made it difficult to get the cross at 36A: Fall production (cider).

13D: "Common Nonsense" author, 2002 (Andy Rooney). I like having both first and last names in the answer. For those who didn't know this, at least it was Googleable.

24D: Tries something (has a go at it). I always love multiword answers...and this has five! That may be a record. My first answer was has a gander.

26D: One running for work? (bootlegger).

36D: Retinue (cortege). Both good words.

Very briefly, these are the answers I liked not so very well (what we had to say at the table if we didn't like a particular food that was served).

32A: Spanish city that gave sherry its name (Xeres). Google thought it was Jerez. According to this article, its name changed several times.

WTFs include 37A: Rich mine or other source of great wealth (golconda), 42A: Mountain sheep (argali), 48A: Unexpected turn of events, as in a literary work (peripeteia), 25D: Mob rule (ochlocracy) and 32D: Scolding wife: Var. (xantippe).

The other long answers that really gave you a leg up if you were lucky enough to get them...17A: Public appearance preparers (advancemen), 51A: See-through sheets (plate glass), 53A: Grant's position in presidential history (eighteenth) and 14D: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concern (stolen cars).

I just noticed a few military clue/answer pairings...4D: Uniform armband (brassard), 8D: Private group (army) and 46D: Military band (sash)...some of which didn't come to me as easily as I'd have liked.

I'm calling it good for today. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Friday, December 28 - John Farmer

This may well be the first John Farmer puzzle that I finished...albeit with the help of Google. There were so many answers I didn't know...I could write the entire post about them.

Only a handful of gimmes. 19A: "I'm ready for the weekend!" (TGIF), 22A: "The Da Vinci Code" priory (Sion), 11D: Sound of change (jangle), 34D: 1968 hit whose title is repeated three times with "Oh" and then again after "Baby I love you" (Suzie Q), 39D: Excise on some out-of-state purchases (use tax), 40D: Mr. abroad (senor), 46D: Extra benefits (perks) and 51D: "This is disastrous!" (oh no).

With the Q and X in place, it was fairly easy to figure out 56A: Exercise animal? (quick brown fox). That started opening things up in the bottom half of the puzzle...47D: When a football may be hiked (on two)...which gave way to 46A: "A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor": Ambrose Bierce (piano)...which led to 37D: Miss badly (pine for)...37A: Constellation between Cygnus and Pisces (Pegasus).

My Indian tribe knowledge is pathetic. I didn't have a clue about 1A: Algonquian Indian tribe (Miami) or the related 2D: Home of many of the 1-Across: Abbr. (Ind.)...or 22D: Northwest tribe (Spokane). All were good guesses when I had a few letters in place. I only knew Miami and Spokane as cities.

Needed Google to answer 11A: Singer with the #1 hit "All I Have" (Jennifer Lopez). I never think of her as a singer...and I generally don't think of her as an actress, either. The exception was her role as Selena, the queen of Tejano music who was murdered by the president of her fan club. It was a tragic story...and a perfect role for Jennifer Lopez.

Other unknowns include 21A: Chalon-sur-__, France (Saone), 29A: Indian pastries (samosas), 57A: Hopscotch (potsy), 4D: Fuchsite and alurgite (micas), 12D: Mr. Rosewater in Kurt Vonnegut's "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" (Eliot), 13D: "Butterfly" actress, 1981 (Zadora) and 24D: 2004 Sondheim musical, with "The" (Frogs). I got some from crosses...others from Google.

I love anagrams, but I tore my hair out on 14A: Sci-fi character whose name is an anagram of CAROLINA ISLANDS (Lando Calrissian). I'm not a Star Wars fan so I was totally unfamiliar with this...had to Google to see how to parse it when I had all the letters in place. And here he is...played by Billy Dee Williams.

Favorites include the multiword answers at 5D: Assuming even that (if at all), 14D: Clear the way to (let at), 35D: Make hot (steam up) and 36D: Passes effortlessly (sails by) well as the 15-letter answer at 53A: Some licensed practitioners (members of the bar).

Also liked 17A: Have quite enough for (satiate), 27A: Climber's support (tendril), 32A: 100 qintars (lek), 33A: Hands out (assigns), 41A: They're plucked (lutes)...not brows, 44A: Star __ (anise), 50A: Stuffed with cheese, in Mexican cooking (relleno)...good guess, 6D: They'll give you the run-around (errands), 7D: Illuminati (elite)...both the clue and the answer, 10D: More than exalts (deifies), 20D: South Beach, e.g. (fad diet) and 26D: Corinthian conclusion (Omega).

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, December 27 - Jim Leeds

I struggled to stay awake last night to download the puzzle...then managed to solve it before crashing in the big chair with Barnabas. This morning, my scanner is slow, my computer is slow, I'm slow. I think I'll just dump coffee on everything and see what that does.

Today's theme is C-Plus...the five theme answers are in-the-language phrases, each starting with C added up front. The new phrases are then clued.

Theme answers:

17A: Certain marine biologist's test? (coral exam).

23A: One way to get into a gang's headquarters? (con the lookout).

35A: Eskimos in an igloo? (cold folks at home).

45A: Pictures of Slinkys? (coil paintings).

57A: Witches' pots, pans, etc.? (covenware)...the first theme answer to fall.

It took some time for me to figure out the theme...just kept plodding away with the crosses. Once I got it, it was (of course) much easier to understand all the others.

I struggled with 1A: Palms (off on)...had everything but the third letter, and nothing sounded right. It wasn't until I got 3D: Coos and hoots (bird calls) that I finally got fobs. It still doesn't sound right...maybe not an expression I've heard.

9A: Casino equipment (rakes). The clue threw me...isn't a rake the house take? I was thinking of tangible equipment.

14A: "__ the Agent" (old comic strip) (Abie). Must be old if I haven't heard of it. Nice to have Abie clued differently.

20A: __ Kooser, former U.S. poet laureate (Ted). Should have known that but had to get it from crosses.

30A: "Breaker Morant" people (Boers). Had no clue...again, the crosses were needed.

40A: Stomach contents (acids). One of only a few gimmes.

41A: "'Starts With F' for a thousand, __" (Alex). Tricky for those of us who remember Jeopardy from its early years...although I can't remember his name at the moment, either.

52A: Prefix with -phile (oeno). This didn't come to me right away, but I refused to put in my first thought...and I was relieved that it wasn't the answer.

59A: Cling Plus brand (Saran). I thought it was referring to a toilet bowl cleaner...had Lysol at first.

60A: Novelist Seton (Anya). Love the name.

61A: Kiss in Kensington (snog). Love the word but can never remember it.

62A: "__ we all?" (aren't). One of several arbitrary fill-in-the-blank answers. I had so say...what the jury would say. That was a pretty messed-up corner for some time.

64A: 1910s heavyweight champ __Willard (Jess). Max Baer is the only one I've had to know for the puzzle so far...other than Ali.

2D: Poulenc's "Sonata for __ and Piano" (Oboe). Good guess on my was the only thing that fit, musically and otherwise. I mean, you wouldn't have a tuba and piano...or a drum and a sonata.

4D: Triton's realm (sea). Identical cluing for 37D (ocean)...both gimmes.

9D: Beef cut (rib roast). Wouldn't have gotten it without crosses...there are probably ten cuts that would fit in that space.

10D: Hebdomadally (a week). The clue is the best word in the puzzle. Had to look it up, though...totally unfamiliar to me.

11D: Five-time Horse of the Year, 1960-64 (Kelso).

22D: Dried coconut meat (copra). I didn't know it had a name.

25D: Windblown deposit (loess). Never heard the word. If you look at the grid carefully, you'll see that I had lwess...the result of not doing a final check...which makes even less sense. That means that 28A: F.D.R. agcy. was OPA, rather than WPA. Since my scanner is slow, I'm not going to re-scan.

31D: Let pass (OK'd). There's one that looked like an error just now until I read the clue again.

32D: Poisonous flower (wolfsbane). Not sure if it's one word or two, but I'm sure I won't eat it.

36D: Utmost distance from the eye at which an image is clear (far point).

43D: Kind of gland (pineal). Not one I knew.

47D: French frigate that carried the Statue of Liberty to the U.S. (Isere).

49D: Who has won an Oscar for Best Actor three times. There was a clue that began with Who a month or two ago, and it caused quite a stir. Here it is again. The general consensus at the time was that it was deliberate so that it didn't say he or she. While it specifies actor in this clue, there isn't a pronoun for the correct one. I wonder how much time others spent trying to think who it might have been. I could think of two for Tom Hanks and wondered if he'd gotten one that I didn't remember.

50D: "Fiddler on the Roof" role (Tevye).

Well, it's after 7:00 and I'd better get ready for work. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tonight.

Linda G

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wednesday, December 26 - Jim Page

More good Christmas Eve memories with our girls. After dinner and midnight Mass (well, kind of...we were actually home by midnight), we opened our pajamas...Big Dogs all around...then went downstairs to watch the video of Christmas 1995, our first with both of the girls. I was absolutely amazed by how young we looked, how little the girls were, the cute things they said and did, how old our dogs and cat looked (that would be the last Christmas for two of the three). I can't believe we didn't watch those old movies more often. It would have been especially helpful during their difficult teen years...serving as a reminder that they weren't always so hard to live with.

Because of a winter storm warning, everyone had to leave fairly early, so we spent a quiet Christmas afternoon at home...just the two of us. Mike and Elaine have made it safely home...Leslie and Candy are almost home following an afternoon with her family.

Yes...another wonderful Christmas. I hope you and your family have some warm memories to cherish for years to come.

Okay...the Wednesday puzzle. I thought we were looking at a pangram...even read over the grid two or three times looking for V and W, but I'm not finding them.

The theme is revealed at 38A: Song from 65-Across that's hidden in 20- and 54-Across and 10- and 35-Down. The song is NYC...from 65A: Hit Broadway musical based on a comic strip (Annie).

And the theme answers are:

20A: "The Defiant Ones" co-star, 1958 (Tony Curtis). My sister and I swooned over Tony Curtis in the early sixties. I'm sure we weren't alone.

54A: Cornmeal dish often served with maple syrup (johnny cake). Sounds interesting...maybe like a crunchy pancake.

10D: 2003 Kentucky Derby winner (Funny Cide)...funny name for a beautiful horse.

35D: Vehicles at a petting zoo (pony carts).

I've always liked hidden words or letter combinations in a themed puzzle. Just something enjoyable about it. There are the occasional have the NY in a theme answer, so you know the next letter is C. That's not the real draw, but I couldn't tell you what is. I just know that I like it.

I also loved the plethora of Scrabbly letters in answers such as 10A: Daunt (faze), 42A: Massages (kneads), 6D: Bleach brand (Clorox), 9D: Field utensils (mess kit), 12D: Microwaves (zaps), 41D: 2008 Olympics host (Beijing)...the IJI sequence is just too good, and 49D: Six-foot-tall African animal (okapi).

Other favorite answers include the Pantheonic 15A: Orsk's river (Ural), 22A: Rocket launcher (NASA)...clever cluing, 28A: Sony music player introduced in 1984 (Discman), 37A: Yo-yo (idiot), 40A: Hashish source (cannabis), 43A: Some socks (argyles), 1A: Glacial ridge (arete)...a favorite because I actually remembered it this time), 4D: Rakish sort (satyr), 32D: Easily split mineral (mica), 33D: Month after Shevat (Adar)...although I needed the crosses to get it, 44D: 1984 gold-medalist marathoner Joan (Benoit)...a gimme, as this was during the time I was running regularly, 47D: Show contempt toward (scorn), and 48D: Kite's clutcher (talon).

Per se appears again 50D, clued as [As such].

That's it for today. We were up until 3:00 last night...and up at I need to get myself to bed. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Tuesday, December 25

Merry Christmas to all
and to all a good night.

Left to right: Mike, Elaine, Leslie, Candy
Christmas Eve 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Monday, December 24 - Mark Sherwood

Christmas Eve has always been one of my favorite a child, we always started celebrating Christmas the day before. Mom would bake a ham and a turkey...and a BIG pan of lasagne...and we'd have a huge Christmas Eve buffet. After dinner, we'd open one present...chosen by Mom. It was always something to wear to midnight Mass. As we got older, our entire celebration was on Christmas Eve, so that Mary and I could spend Christmas Day with our husbands or their families. That's the two of us...Christmas Eve 1954. I'm 2 1/2, Mary is almost 6. It's probably obvious that I adored (and still do) my big sister.

When Elaine came to live with us in 1994, we unknowingly started our own Christmas Eve tradition. In an effort to get a very excited little girl to go to bed, she opened a present...chosen by Mom. It was a new nightgown, and it worked like a charm. By the following Christmas, Leslie was with us, and they received matching (it's so cute when you can get away with it) plaid flannel pajamas.

And we've done it ever since. Some years Don and I would get slippers or robes...thankfully, we don't outgrow our pajamas every year like kids do. And now that the girls are bringing significant others to join us tonight, they'll get new pajamas, too.

Can you tell I get sentimental on Christmas Eve?

But you came here to read about the puzzle, so I'd better get on with it!

The theme of Mark Sherwood's Monday puzzle is revealed at 52D: Word that can follow the starts of 17-, 27-, 44- and 59-Across (line)...and the theme answers are:

17A: One who's always up for a good time (party animal). We actually had a party line until my teen years. Don and I also had one in Arkansas in the early eighties...we felt very lucky to have a phone given that we lived so far out of town.

27A: Background check for a lender (credit report). For those of you who may not know, you can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major companies...Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. That means you can go to this site every four months...just alternate the companies. It's a good way to keep an eye on things.

44A: Long, long sentence (life in prison). My only personal experience with that is knowing that it's NOT something you want. It's also a clever clue.

59A: Light hauler (pickup truck). Hoo-boy! I could go on and on about the best and worst pickup lines...except that I've been out of circulation for almost thirty years and I'm sure things have changed since then. Well, that...and I can't really remember any of them.

I finished the puzzle but couldn't make any sense of the theme. Turns out I was looking at 52A: Unretrievable (lost). It made much more sense when I looked at the down answer...which is what I was told to do.

The other wrong answer occurred because of a misspelling at 18D: Big name in fairy tales (Andersen) O instead of a second E. That made 41A: Bulls, rams and bucks hos...rather than the correct (and sensible) hes.

I'm always surprised by unfamiliar words in a Monday puzzle. 6A: Chinese-born American architect (Impei) was an unknown that I got only from crosses.

My best guess was 32A: Jay-Z and Timbaland (rappers). I've never heard of either of them, but the names sounded like those of rappers.

Favorite answers include 1A: Doorframe parts (jambs), 38A: Musical transitions (segues)'s such a great word, 55A: Husband of Isis (Osiris), 65A: Edgar Bergen's Mortimer __ (Snerd), 7D: Drink that often comes with an umbrella (mai tai)...they're always free at happy hour anywhere in Hawaii, 8D: Olive stuffing (pimento), 9D: Airline to Ben-Gurion (El-Al), 11D: Bruce Springsteen's first hit (Born to Run), 29D: Place that often has picnic tables (rest stop), 34D: "Nutty" role for Jerry Lewis (Professor), and the seasonally appropriate 46D: Brenda Lee's "__ Around the Christmas Tree" (Rockin').

I'm usually not very good at remembering U.S. presidents in order, but 26A: President before D.D.E. (H.S.T.) was a gimme for me. I used to think I was born during Eisenhower's term, but it was actually Truman. The confusion is because he left office when I was six months old. Not that I remember that.

We have a couple of odd-jobbers here (I think that's what Rex calls them)...a splicer at 42D (Worker with genes or film) and a dicer (50D: Kitchen gizmo). The commercial is forming in my splices, it dices! Be the first on your block to get one!

Well, it's 8:15 and I'd better get on with preparing the feast...minus the lasagne (that will be for New Year's day) and the ham (that's for tomorrow). Last night we watched It's a Wonderful Life with Mike and Elaine. I just love that movie, but our old videotape doesn't have another viewing in it. If I can find it on DVD today without having to resort to Target or WalMart, it will end up in Don's stocking...the other tradition that we've continued from my childhood.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday, December 23 - Adam G. Perl

Yule Outsourcing. I didn't think the title was much of a giveaway, until I finished the puzzle. The four-part holiday verse took longer to get because it certainly wasn't a familiar one.

The verse appears at 23-, 48-, 78- and 106-Across.

Santa's had an easy season
lying in his big recliner.
If you ask him for a reason,
every toy is made in China.

Most of it came together fairly easily, but there were snippets that just wouldn't give. I was missing much of the northwest corner, so the S*N*** became St. Nick...causing havoc with the downs. Then the aha moment...when 1A: Literary slips became errata, and 1D: Once, old-style became erst...and everything opened up in that corner. I must say that I was shocked by 20A: Joint (reefer) this a first for the New York Times?

Also escaping me until the bitter end...14A: Grade school administration, maybe (IQ test) and 22A: Fashion's Bartley (Luella). With the last four letters in place, I wanted her to be Estella. I can't say that I think much of her fashion sense, though...this was one of the better-looking styles I found.

Several Christmas-related clues/answers, including 55A: __ the mistletoe (under), 58A: Nicholas and others: Abbr. (Sts.), 77A: Christmas __ (pie), 112A: Fruitcake and plum pudding, e.g. (edibles), 114A: Source of "we three kings" (Orient), 2D: Where the bag of gifts is stowed on a sleigh (rear), 3D: Auberjonois of "The Christmas Star" (Rene), 8D: Home of Christmas Lake Village: Abbr. (Ind)...well, sort of Christmas-related, 13D: Word repeated in "Now __ away! __ away!...!" (dash), 36D: Straps in a sleigh (reins), 37D: Number of lords a-leaping (ten), 47D: Christmas __ (tree), 62D: Like the Christmas story, often (retold), 64D: Christmas cookie ingredient (pecan), and 108D: Word left off the end of the clue at 13-Down (all).

The strangest-looking answer in the 15D: Line former (queuer). I was sure I had something wrong, even when I figured out what they were getting at. It just looks so wrong.

There were some unknowns that I had only because of the crosses. In addition to Luella:

99A: Decorative gateway in Japan (torii). Oh, I guess I've seen dozens of them...just didn't know them by name. Here's a seasonal depiction.

101A: Classic role played by Gerard Depardieu in "The Man in the Iron Mask" (Porthos). I think I saw the movie, but I don't remember much about it...including that he was in it.

6D: Fictional detective Lupin (Arsene). Never heard of him.

49D: Garfield's assassin (Guiteau). I only know the names of assassins in my lifetime. Sadly, there have been too many.

53D: French-named city on Galveston Bay (LaPorte).

Answers I liked include 21A: Former Acura model (Integra)...good guess on my part, 26A: Locks (tresses), 34A: "Being and Nothingness" writer (Sartre), 56A: Audibly (aloud), 57A: Expirate, with "for" (atone), 59A: Ticks off (ires)...that's its third appearance in the last couple of weeks, so I might as well like it, 61A: Intrinsically (per se)...anyone else try to read it as perse?, 69A: "What to do? What to do?" feeling (panic), 76A: Implied (tacit), 86A: Porters (redcaps), 90A: Unemotional type, slangily (iceman)...until that appeared a few months ago, I hadn't heard the expression, 93A: "Little Miss Sunshine" co-star ((Arkin)...who won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and 111A: Jack of "The Apartment" (Lemmon) of my all-time favorites.

Best clues...30A: Way overdue to take off? (obese), 115A: Puts a new bottom on (resoles), 10D: Of fast times? (Lenten), 40D: Made a long story short? (edited), 42D: Difficult period (teens), 51D: Initiation rite (Baptism), 63D: What snow shovels may produce (paths), 70D: It's a wrap (Saran), 88D: Big pickle? (crisis) and 89D: Out-elbowed? (akimbo).

I've taken all the advice I was given about resting and taking care of myself. I didn't leave the house all day...spent time wrapping gifts, making cookies (yeah, I'm definitely feeling better), doing the puzzle...just chillin' with the family.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, December 22 - Harvey Estes

Finally..back among the living. I was one sick puppy.

Thank you again for your kind words and comments. It was heartwarming to know that some of you were concerned when a post didn't appear on time.

Harvey Estes's puzzle was one tough puppy. I was only able to finish it with a lot of outside help, and I don't think that was due to my diminished capacity. It'll be interesting to see what others thought.

My only gimmes were 9A: Where one can retire young? (crib), 20A: Caret indication (insert) and 34A: Watergate judge (Sirica).

I used to live in Kansas...and I've lived in Colorado for the last twenty years...but I couldn't get 5D: Kansas city (Salina) or 33D: Colorado city on the Rio Grande (Alamosa) until I had several letters in place. I wanted Topeka and Durango, respectively...hey, they fit.

Needless to say, I didn't have much of an anchor in any I turned to Google and found:

17A: "The Treachery of Images" painter (Magritte).

18A: Whipps candy bar maker (Reese's). Never heard of it...must not be dark chocolate.

32A: Tony-nominated "Pippin" actress (Irene Ryan)...although that isn't the first name it gave me that fit.

2D: "His eyes are __ fire with weeping": Shak. (red as). I don't get why Shakespeare was abbreviated...

26D: __ shorthair (cat breed) (Oriental). I only knew American, which also fit in the grid.

Favorite clues or answers include 22A: French teacher (maƮtre)...I should have known that, 25A: Back to back: Fr. (dosados)...guessed that, but had it spelled wrong initially, 43A: Kind of hero (unsung), 44A: Big herbicide producer (Monsanto)...not WeedBGon, as commented earlier today on yesterday's post, 46A: Mushroom producers (A-tests), 47A: Natural wave catcher (outer ear) and 51A: Eyeballs (assesses).

Also 1D: Perhaps a little too neat (prim)...was pretty sure that anal wouldn't fly in the NYT, 7D: Is relaxed (rested easy), 8D: Dick Thornburgh's predecessor in the cabinet (Ed Meese)...he's in here often, although never clued this way, 9D: Worse in quality, slangily (cheesier)...again, crappier wouldn't be in a NYT puzzle, 10D: Artist who was a founder of the Pre-Raphaelites (Rossetti), 11D: Encrypted? (interred), 25D: Opposite of encourage (dissuade) and 36D: Targets of those catching some rays? (mantas)...back after a recent appearance.

Favorite clue/answer in the puzzle...27D: Que follower (sera sera). Beautiful.

There were plenty of answers I didn't understand, including:

3D: Creditor's writ (elegit)...okay, that's Latin for "he has chosen."

14D: Tom, Dick or Harry (prename). Huh?

16D: Upper parts of piano duets (primos). I've never played any real duets...maybe I'd have known that otherwise.

28D: Hostilities (animuses).

37D: Early Palestinian (Essene).

39D: Son of Aphrodite (Aeneas). How many sons did she have? I only know of Eros and Adonis...or am I confusing her with someone else?

I still have a few stocking stuffers to get (we were big on stockings in my family, and the tradition continues), but Don doesn't want me to go out...lowered resistance and all. He's probably right, though, so I need to make a list of things for him to pick up. I'm also supposed to bake cookies for high tea tomorrow following Lessons and Carols at church...maybe I can get Elaine to help with that. She and Mike arrived last night and will be here through Christmas. Leslie and Candy will be here Monday morning.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow. (It's nice to be able to say that again!)

Linda G

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday, December 21 - Patrick Berry

Still not feeling up to par. I just downloaded today's puzzle and may try to do it later...but I'm still wiped out.

Don't know if I'll be up for a Saturday puzzle. If anyone wants to take a shot at it, let me know.

Hope to see you soon. And thanks for all the good wishes.

Linda G

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday, December 20 - Peter A. Collins

A little before eight last night, I started feeling really achy all over. I asked my cyberbud, Rick (a/k/a cornbread) if he'd guest blog. Unfortunately he doesn't subscribe online, and my attempt to send him the puzzle failed.

Turned out to be food poisoning, and I spent last night being tended to by paramedics, followed by a nifty ambulance ride. One of the things they gave me (Fenergal, I think) made me very loopy.


No blog today on this very fine puzzle. Feel free to discuss it among yourselves here.

I'm heading to bed...and I hope to be back tonight.

Linda G

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wednesday, December 19 - Victor Fleming

If I'm not mistaken, Judge Victor Fleming's last puzzle had no evidence of legal clues or answers. If that's the case, this makes two in a row.

The theme is revealed at 36A: What shall be first...or words that can precede 17-, 23-, 52- and 60-Across (THE LAST). When preceded by them, you have the name of a well-known book or movie...probably both.

17A: Guy ready to sing the national anthem? (MAN STANDING).

23A: Era ended by Vesuvius? (DAYS OF POMPEII). How many of you thought you had something wrong with II at the end?

52A: Belonging to a Hudson Valley tribe? (OF THE MOHICANS).

60A: Museum exhibit? (PICTURE SHOW). Here's a very young Cybill Shepherd as she appeared in the film...directed by a very young Peter Bogdanovich.

I struggled to stay awake to finish this. It was a nonstop day and I need to head to bed fairly soon.

Noteworthy answers include 14A: Massey of old movies (Ilona)...her third appearance in the last six weeks, 15A: Embassy figure (envoy), 20A: Meditation goal (oneness), 27A: Cold one, so to speak (beer), 33A: Kind of acid (oleic), 42A: Maker of the game Combat (Atari), 48A: Martini's partner (Rossi), 59A: Janis __, with the 1975 hit "At Seventeen" (Ian), 69A: Funny Fields (Totie), 3D: Unable to hit a pitch? (tone deaf), 6D: Bleep out (censor), 11D: Title brother in a 1973 Elton John hit (Daniel), 12D: Mr. Gorgeous (Adonis), 25D: Negri of silent films (Pola), 40D: Former Texas governor Richards (Ann) and 45D: Unidentified planes (bogies).

My favorite answer...39D: Less than wonderful (not so hot).

I loved the cross of 39A: Vote against (nay) with 41D: Vote for (yea).

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tuesday, December 18 - Alan Arbesfeld

Just when I think I'll zoom through a puzzle, there's something simple to trip me up. I nailed the theme answers...only to stumble on a couple of words near the end.

Today's theme is WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY, and the theme answers are:

17A: Response to a knock (Who can it be). I've never said that, but it reminds me of the song by Men at Work. Hear it here.

26A: The important thing (what matters). Many years ago, Leslie's class did a Mother's Day project called The Important Thing. For some reason, it's still hanging in the kitchen. The funny thing is...I didn't really help her with her homework. I just sat with her while she did it. I've cropped it so that it's readable, so you don't get the full effect of her lovely artwork. She would just die of embarrassment if she knew I'd posted this, so don't tell her.

38A: Doctor's query (Where does it hurt?). These days, he just asks me where it doesn't hurt.

44A: "Never!" (when pigs fly). My favorite...for the visual alone. Some time in 1981, Don commented that pigs weren't pink. Every Christmas since then, I've given him a pink pig. He regrets having said it. That reminds me, I haven't gotten this year's pig yet. He has already received a coffee cup, bookmarks, candy, plush, stained glass, a clay ornament, a framed cross-stitch, a cookie jar, socks, an's getting hard to come up with different things after so many years.

59A: Discounter's pitch (Why pay more).

The tough spots for me...fortunately all gettable with crosses...were 65A: Unit of force (dyne)...damn science stuff and 67A: Classic computer game set on a seemingly deserted island (Myst)...never heard of it. I was also a bit unsure about 47D: Sober (staid), which didn't help me much. 45D: Armed conflict (hot war) was a phrase that's new to me, and I've never heard of 39D: Dickens's Drood (Edwin).

Yesterday a reader (postoo) commented about the use of ires as a verb...and it's here again today...56D: Tees off. Of course, I wanted a golf answer in there.

I definitely liked seeing the Scrabbly J begin the first two answers...1A: Comment not to be taken seriously (jest), crossing with 1D: 1975 Spielberg thriller (Jaws), and 5A: __ Marley's ghost in "A Christmas Carol" (Jacob), crossing with the delightful 5D: Place to find auto parts (junkyard).

Some of my favorites...either for the clues or the answers:

16A: Poi source (taro). A Hawaiian answer, just for you, Bob!

31A: A Chaplin (Oona). Her name appears from time to time, so it's best to remember it.

33A: Lhasa __ (Tibetan dogs) (Apsos). I can never remember if it's Apso or Apsa. 36D: Sportscaster Hershiser (Orel) didn't help at all...could have just as easily been Arel.

42A: Entre __ (nous). Love the cross at 29D: Steakhouse selections (T-bones). When I had TBO, I was sure I had something wrong.

66A: Teammate of Snider and Hodges (Reese). Haven't a clue who that is, but the name fit.

3D: One not associating with the likes of you? (snob).

7D: Half of an E.P.A. mileage rating (city). Mike and Elaine got a new Explorer. It gets about three gallons to the mile.

25D: Come clean (fess up).

48D: Rock opera with the song "Pinball Wizard" (Tommy). One of my this day, I love the soundtrack.

54D: N.Y.S.E. debuts (IPOs)...Initial Public Offering. That's been in the puzzle more than once.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Monday, December 17 - Richard Chisholm

For a Monday puzzle, this had some tough ones. The fairly easy crosses brought it back to a Monday level.

While much of the country has been dealing with winter storms, it was nice to have a change of seasons today.

17A: Upstate New York city and spa (Saratoga Springs).

24A: Honeymooners' destination (Niagara Falls). My parents went there for their honeymoon in 1948...they were married in Hartford, so it wasn't a long trip. I've never known anyone else who went there, but it looks beautiful.

42A: Former president of Harvard (Larry Summers).

54A: Comic who played Robin Williams's son in "Mork & Mindy" (Jonathan Winters). I totally forgot that...but once I read the clue, I could see him in my mind. I wasn't able to find a picture of him in that role...picture him in shorts on a trike.

The tough stuff:

14A: Elementary particle (muon). I know very little about any of the sciences. When I had all of the crosses, Don confirmed the answer. I don't know how he remembers things like that.

13D: Swiss city on the Rhine, old-style (Basle). Never heard of it.

18D: Dwellers along the Volga (Tatars). Or them.

19D: Working stiff (prole). Proletariat, sure. Prole, no. According to my dictionary, it's somewhat derogatory.

23D: French city where Jules Verne was born (Nantes).

Multiword answers worth noting including 9A: Lesser-played half of a 45 (Side B)...the clue's too easy, even for a Monday, 56A: Auto route from Me. to Fla. (U. S. One)...we made that trip many times before the interstates, 58A: Smell __ (be suspicious) (a rat), 5D: Shipment to a steel miller (iron ore)...a little tough when I couldn't remember the appropriate letter for 5A: Letter-shaped structural piece (I-bar), 10D: Isle of Man's locale (Irish Sea), and 31D: Time before talkies (silent era).

Favorite answers include 50A: Mythical island that sank into the sea (Atlantis), 61A: Without: Fr. (sans) of the few French words I know, 3D: Homeowners' burdens (mortgages), 4D: Like clocks with hands (analog), 9D: Spread out ungracefully (sprawl), 27D: Passionate (fiery), 35D: Broad-minded (tolerant), 37D: Pago Pago resident (Samoan), 43D: Mountain ridges (aretes)...a recurring answer, and 40D: Besmirches (sullies) both the clue and the answer.

My favorite clue...44D: Powerful rays for mantas.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunday, December 16 - David J. Kahn and Steve Kahn

It's about time I nailed a puzzle. I was beginning to think it was time to turn in my Pentel.

The title, Movies You May Have Missed, is only slightly deceptive in that they weren't movies at all. The theme answers are plays on the names of well-known movies, with a twist...revealed at 78D: Lois Lane player of early TV, whose first name is a hint to this puzzle's theme (Noel Neill).

No, it's not about Christmas. Noel = No L. That letter is missing from each movie title, and the new titles are then clued.

Theme answers in a moment...but here's Ms. Neill with the man I will always picture when I think of Superman...George Reeves.

And the theme answers are:

24A: Prison movie about a medical miracle? (Dead Man Waking). I never saw Dead Man was too intense for me.

31A: Tim Allen comedy about unionizing seasonal workers? (The Santa Cause).

50A: Prequel to "Reservoir Dogs?" (Pup Fiction).

64A: Ingmar Bergman classic narrated by Jacques Cousteau? (The Seventh Sea).

79A: Chaplin comedy about a religious migration? (The God Rush)...the second best answer.

98A: Chiller about glass-climbing reptiles? (Snakes on a Pane)...another good one. The answer, not the movie...which, of course, I didn't see.

109A: Tom Cruise action thriller about a nasty argument? (War of the Words).

6D: Sci-fi movie about gender discrimination? (Men in Back).

38D: Spoof about the soul of a fraternity? (Anima House). THE very best of the theme answers.

42D: Bogart/Bacall mystery about serious basement dampness? (The Big Seep).

I picked up on the theme fairly early on...up in the corner where Men in Back and The Santa Cause intersect.

Some days I like puns better than others. Today was a day that I liked them, and I thought this was a fun puzzle to solve. I'm probably a little giddy because I was able to finish it without tearing my hair out.

The award for the best clue for an often-seen answer goes to 20A: Garden figure (Eve). Second place...22A: Cookie introduced in 1912 (Oreo). If they've clued it that way before, I've forgotten.

There were a couple of connected clues in this puzzle...1D: Parade honoree, for short (St. Pat), with 15D: Home of 1-Down (Erin); and 73A: With 69-Down, not just hard of hearing (stone/deaf).

This is the third time in just a couple of weeks that "My Hero!" has appeared. Today it's a fill-in-the-blank, with the answer appearing at 66D. I wonder how many others thought it was My Word.

My favorites...either for the clue or the answer...include 30A: Global warming? (detente), 36A: Monkey business (trickery), 45A: Court pseudonym (Roe), 53A: Onetime host of "Classic Concentration" (Trebek)...I think of Hugh Downs, but I guess he was pre-Classic, 59A: Judicial cover-ups? (robes), 60A: "Answer the question" (yes or no), 72A: "Out of Africa" author (Dinesen), 78A: Cloud of gas and dust (nebula)...prettier than it sounds, 93A: Joan Baez's "Farewell, __," written by Bob Dylan (Angelina), 115A: Jealous Olympian (Hera), 7D: French red (Medoc)...a wine, not the French word for red, which is rouge, 13D: "Honest!" (I swear), 41D: Singer __ Neville (Aaron), 54D: Chihuahua, por ejemplo (estado), 61D: County of Cooperstown, N.Y. (Otsego), 75D: __ Reader (Utne)...classic crossword staple, and 99D: Pitcher of milk? (Elsie) absolute favorite clue!

Things I didn't know (or didn't remember) but got from crosses...10A: "__ fan tutte" (cosi), 23A: Movie critic Kael (Pauline), 28A: O.K.: Var. (indorse), 47A: Home of golf's Sony Open (Oahu), 55A: Home of Chennai (India), 58A: Airports (dromes), 4D: Jazz guitar great Herb __ (Ellis), 57D: Sister of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (Irene), and 82D: Pizzeria in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (Sal's).

I just noticed that we have both Mom and Dad in the puzzle...Mom at 7A: One making a delivery (no question mark?) and Dad at 29D: Pops. I didn't put an S at the end of that one...didn't know what was up, but I was sure something was.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, December 15 - Rich Norris

Some days I nail the puzzle. Some days the puzzle nails me. This is the third day in a row that the latter has occurred. No fault of the constructor...they were all really good puzzles. I've been so tired the past few nights that I just couldn't get on the solving wavelength...ended up napping in the middle of solving, then had to clear those cobwebs before I could get back to the puzzle. Nothing on today's agenda, though, and the R AND R (not in today's puzzle, but it's a recurring answer) will do me good.

Rich Norris's puzzle is full of multiword answers, which I love. I don't think a single one came to me right away...usually there are a couple.

9A: 6'5" All-Star relief ace with identical first two initials (J.J. Putz). Google didn't even help me with this one...I needed the crosses to figure it out.

15A: Pretty poor chances (one in ten). That might be my favorite.

15A: Pro's remark (I agree). Didn't get the clue until just this minute. Nice tie-in at 55A: Pro fighter (anti).

Other multiwords...31A: Words of expectation (odds are); 39A: Ingredients in a protein shake (raw eggs)...ick; 56A: "Enough!" (quit it); 58A: Fail to keep (go back on); 2D: Warned (on notice); 41D: Beginning with vigor (going at); 36D: "Probably" (I think so); and 37D: Gets the job done (sees to it).
Similar cluing at 19A: They're lit (sots) of only a few gimmes and 63A: They're fried (tosspots). That's not a word I'm familiar with and had to look it up to confirm it. Has anyone heard that used?

Favorites or otherwise noteworthy entries include 1A: They get sore easily (hotheads), 33A: Raise canines? (teethe)...all I could think of was open up, 35A: Meanie (sadist)...rather mild clue, 53A: What reindeer do (prance), 61A: Dessert of chilled fruit and coconut (ambrosia) only gimme in that corner, 62A: Liszt's "Paganini __" (Etudes), 7D: Muscle named for its shape (deltoid)...not a gimme, but a very good guess that panned out, 12D: Sci-fi author Le Guin (Ursula), 14D: Took dead aim, with "in" (zeroed)...gimme that didn't even help me get Putz, 21D: They come and go (fads), 27D: Buddhist teachings (sutras), 28D: Eponymous theater mogul (Loew)...another recurring answer, 42D: Composer Puccini (Giacomo), 44D: Certain ball (masque), 44D: 1957 RKO purchaser (Desilu), and 57D: Rx instruction (tid)...that stands for the Latin ter in die, meaning three times a day.

There were a few things I didn't know and got from crosses or Google...18A: 1970s-'80s Australian P.M. (Fraser), 22A: __-Aztecan language (Uto), 43A: Part of a French 101 conjugation (etes), 48A: Mother of Hades (Rhea)...learned that once but couldn't remember, 50A: "A Chapter on Ears" essayist (Elia), 52A: Paris possessive (ses) fair, two French clues!, 34D: "I'm sorry, Dave" speaker of sci-fi (Hal)...Hal appears often, but I didn't see the movie and didn't know the quote, 40D: __ Peterson, lead role in "Bells Are Ringing" (Ella), 50D: "Symphony in Black" and others (ertes), and 59D: "__ sine scientia nihil est" (old Latin motto) (Ars)...but I have no idea what it means.

The grid will have to do for the third picture. Here it is...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Friday, December 14 - Manny Nosowsky

I'll be curious to see if the rest of you had the same struggles with this one. I managed to get the bottom half of Manny Nosowsky's puzzle without too much trouble, but the top half just didn't want to give. A couple of wrong answers up there didn't help matters. Neither did the nap I took when I couldn't get past the 1A: Deadlock (impasse).

The three 15-letter stacks in the middle were tough to crack, especially the first...35A: Snap out of it (return to reality). The other two were brilliant...38A: Much work to get done (a lot on one's plate) and 39A: Place for good deals (clearance center).

It's snowing again tonight, and Leslie has to be at work at 7:30...that means another early morning so I can get her there on time. It took me 40 minutes to make a 10-minute trip on Tuesday. It's amazing that a 3-inch snow can wreak so much havoc...but the roads were so slick. That said, I'd better wrap this up so I can get six or so hours of sleep.

The gimmes and guesses that worked...8A: Watches in astonishment (gapes at), 24A: Work an aisle, slangily (ush)...that appears fairly often, 47A: Hand tool (awl), 50A Unclear (hazy), 52A: Spill the beans (tattle), 57A: Cook first, as pie crust (prebake), 5D: Bite-the-bullet type (stoic), 9D: Something to bid (adieu), 23D: Singer John and others (Eltons), 34D: Wayne W. __, author of "Your Erroneous Zones" (Dyer), 46D: It's seen on the back of a U.S. quarter (eagle), and 49D: Actor __ Cobb (Lee J)...whose full name appeared in Wednesday's puzzle.

Those answers helped me fill out the rest of the bottom half, including 59A: Cardiff Giant or Piltdown Man (big hoax), 60A: Went through (pierced), 61A: Away (on leave), 62A: University with campuses in New York and Rome (St. John's), and 63A: Zealots have them (agendas).

...which led me to the connected cluing at 36D: With 14-Down, something that can have you seeing things (Rorschach / test). That had me flummoxed for some time, but once I had the HACH at the end, it didn't take long to see the right answer.

I did have to resort to Google for a couple of things, including 22A: French city where William the Conqueror is buried (Caen), 43A: "Baudolino" novelist (Eco) many times do I have to see that one before I remember it?, 3D: Guam's __ Bay (Pago), and 26D: Renaissance artist Piero __ Francesca (della).

Even Google couldn't help with 16A: Luxembourg grand duke in whose name an annual art prize is awarded (Adolphe), 6D: Leader of the Alamo siege (Santa Anna), or 20D: Neighbor of Hoboken, N.J. (Union City).

That's it for tonight...I'm off to bed. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thursday, December 13 - John Farmer

This is the third John Farmer puzzle since I started blogging. The first one was fairly easy for me...the second one kicked my butt. So did the third.

The three theme answers were clued identically...End of some addresses. The answers:

20A: City, state and zip

39A: Email domain name

55A: God Bless America

Clever enough...three different types of address.

I think of John Farmer as a cyberfriend of sorts...we both guest-blogged for Orange when she was globetrotting a few months ago. As such, he deserves better than the Q&D he'll get here tonight...but I'm just tired to the bone.

So here are my favorites...some are great answers, some are great clues.

14A: Detail in a Georgia O'Keeffe painting (petal). There was one of her prints hanging in my former office. That's the only thing I miss about that place. I can't find a picture of that one, but here's another I really like.

16A: "Gotta run!" (Ciao!). I remember a little girl who lived in our neighborhood about twenty years ago. She was just a year old, and that was how she said goodbye to everyone. It was too cute.

19A: James who sang the ballad "At Last" (Etta). Her name is standard crossword fill...a good one to remember.

32A: One way to get a witness (subpoena). That's one of my favorite legal words. I used to pronounce it phonetically in my head (sub-po-E-na) when I had to learn to spell it. I used the same trick for Wednesday (WED-nes-day) when I was in grade school. It must have worked...spelling is one of my strong suits.

35A: Setting for the setting of el sol (oeste). That's Spanish for west...where the sun sets.

43A: Renaissance Faire entertainer (minstrel).

44A: Some widows (spiders).

52A: Small hit (bunt).

2D: Jacopo __, composer of the earliest surviving opera (Peri). Didn't know it from crosses.

4D: "Miracle on 34th Street" name (Macy's). I was running through all of the characters' names...couldn't think of one that would end in YS.

6D: Chipotle, e.g. (jalapeno). Can't eat the things and am always amazed by those who can.

8D: The Dolphins retired his #12 (Griese). I grew up in south Florida and was a Dolphins fan...mostly because my Dad was. Even though he moved to Colorado for a few years, he never changed his allegiance.

9D: "Oh! Carol" singer, 1959 (Sedaka). My mother and I both loved Neil Sedaka. For her sixteenth birthday, Elaine got a Neil Sedaka CD (which had Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen on it). She loved it and was devastated when all of her CDs, along with her backpack, were stolen. Maybe I'll get her another copy for her 20th month.

11D: Swank (ritzy).

22D: Hose (nylons). That took me forever to see.

30D: "Timecop" star Van __ (Damme). Never saw it, but he looks pretty good in this shot.

45D: Exclamation at an epiphany (I get it).

50D: Runner-up to Ike (Adlai).

60D: Plimpton portrayer in "Paper Lion" (Alda) of my all-time favorite actors.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G