Thursday, June 26, 2008


It's time to move on to other things...which means the blog has to go.

I'll still be solving (multiple puzzles daily, rather than just the one), but now I'll have time to visit my favorite blogs.

Hope to see you there!

Linda G

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday, June 24 - Barry C. Silk

Is it my imagination...or are Barry Silk's puzzles becoming more frequent? One thing I know for sure...he's become one of my favorites.

The theme was revealed at 67A: Something you can do to the starts of 17-, 21-, 37-, 53- and 60-Across (draw)...and the theme answers are:

17A: Hotel offering (bath towel).

21A: Bow-taking occasion (curtain call).

37A: Poker face (blank expression).

53A: Cinema offering (picture show).

60A: Flintlock need (gun powder).

I drew four of the five's probably fairly easy to guess which one wasn't part of the day's activity.

I didn't have to resort to Google, but there were a couple of answers I wouldn't have gotten but for crosses...9A: Valuable violin (Amati), 16A: French-speaking African nation (Gabon), 46A: Grier of "Jackie Brown" (Pam), 34D: __ City (Baghdad district) (Sadr), and 38D: Home of Mammoth Cave (Kentucky).

My favorite clue...or, more precisely, clues...64A: With "and" and 47-Down, Lawrence Welk's intro (a-one). The second answer, of course, is a-two.

Other favorites include 27A: Blown away by (amazed at), 42A: Novelist Zola (Émile), 49A: Dress store section (petites), 59A: Like some committees (ad hoc), 62A: Actress Aimée (Anouk), 1D: Internet-on-the-tube company, formerly (Web TV), 8D: Syllables before "di" or "da" in a Beatles song (obla), 9D: Has a tough time deciding (agonizes), 10D: Friend of Peppermint Patty (Marcie), 32D: Patio parties, briefly (BBQs), 35D: Leaf-to-branch angle (axil), and 50D: Henry VIII's house (Tudor).

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monday, June 23 - Andrea Carla Michaels and Patrick Blindauer

Monday's puzzle is a joint effort by two constructors who definitely aren't strangers to the New York Times...but I'm pretty sure it's a first for them as a duo.

The theme answers are all things that one might say to those who didn't come in first.

17A: Words to a fourth runner-up (Win some, lose some).

26A: Words to a third runner-up (You did your best).

43A: Words to a second runner-up (We still love you).

58A: Words to a first runner-up (Close but no cigar).

I'm always impressed by answers that span (or nearly span) the grid, so these were no exception...although I can't imagine saying the first or the last to anyone.

Favorite answers include 16A: Radar sign (blip), 22A: "Casablanca" star, informally (Bogie), 35A: Push out of bed (roust), 37A: Swiss artist Paul (Klee), 38A: Height's companion (width), 39A: Jack who pioneered late-night talk (Paar), 42A: Alice's cake instruction (eat me), 4D: Science lab glassware (test tube), 10D: What paper towels do (absorb), 11D: What paper towels do to a toilet (clog), 12D: "La Bohème" soprano (Mimi), 29D: Call in the Alps (yodel), 32D: Killer whale that does tricks (Shamu), 34D: Distort, as data (skew), 39D: Salary indicators (pay slips), 44D: Cups, saucers, sugar bowl, etc. (tea set), and 56D: "Peter Pan" dog (Nana).

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, June 22 - Pamela Amick Klawitter

Chain Reaction, today's puzzle by Pamela Amick Klawitter, has one of those themes that's fun to solve. Blogging it, however, can be difficult...and I'm not sure I've figured out the best way to explain it.

If you had a tough time discerning the theme, you weren't alone. I had a couple of the theme answers...and it still wasn't making much sense to me. Then I had the aha moment...and the puzzle became a joy to solve.

The theme answers:

23A: FOOD COURT __ CIRCUIT BOARD (case closed). I'll explain the chain on this one...even if you hadn't figured it out, it should all mesh. Food court, court case, case closed, closed circuit, circuit board. Pretty brilliant...especially since she picked up the chain with the next theme clue.

25A: CIRCUIT BOARD __ ROOM SERVICE (foot locker).

43A: ROOM SERVICE __ LIGHT TOUCH (road hazard).

55A: LIGHT TOUCH __ BELL PEPPER (screen door).

73A: BELL PEPPER __ BRUSH FIRE (spray paint). This one caused me all kinds of problems. Because of some errors in the downs, I was sure that pepper steak was part of the chain...but steak paint certainly made no sense. The errors...63D: Calyx part (sepal)...why did I have petal?, 64D: They were seen at Black Power meetings (afros)...I don't even want to admit what I had there, but it's a word often seen in crosswords, and 74D: Ball in a basket (yarn)...because I was sure it was steak, I had Keno. Aren't there balls in Keno? Mightn't they go in a basket to mix them? I was getting tired at that point.

82A: BRUSH FIRE __ SMART CAR (Wall Street). Keno threw that one for a did 83D: Write on a BlackBerry, maybe (text)...not edit, which somehow ended up there.

104A: SMART CAR __ PIANO BAR (pool player).

105A: PIANO BAR __ TRAILHEAD (graph paper)...the first answer to fall, although I didn't understand it for some time.

36D: TRAILHEAD __ COUNTERTOP (Mastercard).

46D: COUNTERTOP __ POST OFFICE (dollar sign). This chain just became obvious to me. I wasn't mentally splitting the compound words in this or the previous two answers. Countertop dollar made no sense, but top dollar does.

I was thrown off briefly by some simple words, clued (appropriately) for Sunday. Among them...1A: Third Crusade siege site (Acre), 34A: Life's partner (times)...not death, 60A: Sylvia Plath poem that begins "I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root" (Elm) and 71A: Long-armed Sumatrans (orangs)...nothing to do with the long arm of the law.

Other difficult areas included 5A: Citadel trainer (plebe)...not cadet, 57A: Pet animal of Salvador Dali (ocelot), 65A: Fabric border (selvage)...I think of that as an end rather than a border, 88A: Bore (caliber)...wrong kind of bore, 9D: Work of prose or poetry (Edda), 15D: Gulf of Guinea capital (Accra), 65D: Like Iran's Ahmadinejad (Shiite), and 70D: Bull or Buck, e.g. (cager).

I was thankful for answers I knew or figured out with a letter or two in place. 22A: Great Lakes salmon (Coho), 30A: Like some sacrifices (supreme), 52A: Cause someone's insomnia, maybe (snore), 58A: Sponge (freeload), 62A: Impassioned (fervent), 84A: Songwriter Carol Bayer __ (Sager), 95A: Tale of a trip to Ithaca (Odyssey), 100A: Julia who starred in "Sabrina," 1995 (Ormond), 110A: Tennessee teammate (Titan)...I'm becoming less sports-impaired, 114A: Some seconds (Veeps), 8D: Mugful (beer), 16D: Alternatives to RCs (Cokes), 34D: Give insider info (tip off), 41D: Vikki who sang "It Must Be Him" (Carr), 47D: Oaxaca gold (oro), 48D: Hanoi holiday (Tet), 75D: "Syriana" actress Amanda (Peet), 98D: Buffalo's county (Erie), and 101D: Button next to a * (Oper).

For some reason, I had Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" going through my head yesterday. I had finally gotten rid of it...then came to 55D: Heavy hitter (sledge). For those of you who want to sing it all day, here it is.

Several French words today...that will irritate some solvers. I didn't take French but could figure out most of them. 37A: __-midi (French time of day) (après), 86A: French word before deux or nous (entre), 115A: Too: Fr. (trop), 93D: Garçon's handout (carte).

Elaine spent yesterday submitting resumes and job applications. Since she no longer has a car (some of you remember that fiasco), I drove her around. But we had some fun...a little bit of shopping, as well as a coffee shop break. We're looking forward to spending a day at home...which includes checking out the Sunday classifieds. As soon as she gets a job, we'll find another car...then she'll be apartment hunting. I know she's anxious to be totally independent...that never happens as quickly as a young adult would like.

Here's the (unchecked) grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday, June 21 - Tyler Lewis Hinman

For this puzzle, it was important to add Tyler's middle name to the byline. He designed the grid to include his initials...a bold H in the center, the T and L symmetrically based at the top and bottom.

I usually cringe when I see a Hinman puzzle. Even with outside help, I don't think I've ever finished one. Until this one...albeit with a little bit of help from Google.

I was totally unsure of one crossing...the final letter of 31A: Planet system in several "Star Trek" episodes (Rigel) and its cross at 33D: Iberia : Spain :: __ : Chile (Lan). I checked my grid against Harris's for confirmation, although I don't get the down cross. Maybe someone will explain it.

I've actually come to enjoy puzzles that at first seem know, two or three answers after you've read through all of the clues. I was so thankful for 14A: "__ having fun yet?" (Are we), 26A: John Lelnnon's adopted middle name (Ono), 58A: "Bill & __ Bogus Journey," 1991 comedy (Ted's), and 28D: Delta Tau __ ("Animal House" house) (Chi)...sadly, the only gimmes I had.

I am in absolute and total awe of the four answers spanning the grid...two horizontally and two vertically. 22A: One may have many runners (primary election) and 44A: Something given at a meeting (first impression), 3D: Fourth-quarter strategies (two-minute drills) and 9D: Front-of-magazine pieces (leading articles).

Other favorites...18A: Six-Day War battleground (Gaza), 19A: "The nerve!" (Some people), 28A: Filler for a gun (caulk), 36A: Girl who's the "you" in the lyric "I'll see you in my dreams" (Irene), 42A: Cartoon character who fathered octuplets (Apu)...should have guessed it referred to The Simpsons, 51A: Not make it (miss the cut), 52A: Pioneering agriculturist Jethro (Tull)...I hope someone else out there didn't know the origin of the rock band's name, 55A: __ Oder (German river) (Alte), 57A: Psychologist Havelock (Ellis), 4D: Washes (arroyos), 7D: Actress O'Connor of TV's "Xena" (Renee), 10D: Buzz producer (kazoo), 13D: Moles go behind them (enemy lines), 37D: Title role for Greta Garbo (Camille), 38D: Swedish home of Scandinavia's oldest university (Uppsala) and 44D: Crash pad? (futon).

My favorite clue...24D: Can opener? (toilet seat). I was on his wavelength for that one, but I needed a few letters before it all came together.

Good one, Tyler. I am way impressed!

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friday, June 20 - Mike Nothnagel

If you're a regular reader, you know that Mike Nothnagel is my favorite constructor. So...I really hate it when I'm not on his wavelength.

And I wasn't tonight.

I've been working at this puzzle for an hour (albeit with many interruptions from a daughter in distress)...and I've finished the right side of the puzzle. The left side...mostly empty.

I don't know how long it took Harris to solve this, but you can check his completed grid here. I just checked a couple of answers, so maybe I'll finish this off after work tomorrow.

Feel free to discuss the puzzle...what you liked, what made you crazy.

I still love your puzzles, Mike!


It's Friday afternoon, and I just wrapped up this puzzle. When all was said and done, I loved it...I just couldn't pull it together last night. Thanks again to Harris for 36D: Teens' escapades (joy rides) and 1A: Flurries (bursts)...just enough to get me going.

Favorite clues include 7A: How you might meet someone (halfway), 14A: Head of an alley? (one pin), 15A: 1.0 (D average)...see Dave Rage's comment and Harris's reply, 25A: Short cut? (loin), 54A: One might be in a cast (limb), 56A: Course for the dead? (Styx) and 65A: Craft often utilizing rubber bands (tie dye).

Favorite answers...17A: Without warning (unawares), 19A: Old-time comic Ed (Wynn)...because I loved him when I was a little girl, 27A: City of the Trans-Canada Highway (Medicine Hat)...never heard of it, 32A: Carter's second secretary of state (Muskie)...but I can't remember the first one, 34A: Like dirty rice (Cajun), 42A: Two-time gold medal skier of the 1998 Olympics (Maier), 45A: 1990 Grammy winner for her album "Days of Open Hand" (Suzanne Vega), 52A: State bordering Lower Saxony (Hesse), 60A: Like (akin to), 62A: Comic's creation (one liner)...thinking comic strip threw me on that one, 7D: Title role in a 1986 Woody Allen film (Hannah) of only a few gimmes, 11D: A 15-Down might have control over them (warlocks) and the associated Dungeon Master, 33D: Be in the can (serve time) and 49D: Put side by side (appose).

4D: "I haven't got all day!" (speed it up) made me laugh. I'm not prone to road rage, but I do get impatient, especially when it's hot. Today I sat through four changes of a light...for a total of twelve minutes...and it was at least 95 degrees. Fortunately, I had an iced coffee with me and was able to chill...figuratively and literally.

It's my night to cook, so I'd better get something going for dinner...the Saturday puzzle will be up in just over an hour.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thursday, June 19 - Joe Krozel

As soon as I printed out the grid, I knew I would love this puzzle...but I underestimated how crazy it would make me.

Joe Krozel revealed his pack of lies (the black squares in the grid provided a hint) at 56A: Number of clues in this puzzle that contain factual inaccuracies (ten).

It took me some time to figure out the tenth inaccuracy. I was surprised to get the two sports-related lies.

The lies...

14A: Chemical element with the symbol Fe (neon). I know very few of them, but iron is one of that was my first answer.

19A: Former pharmaceutical giant (GTE). I'm not a very good liar, I guess. I had GAF for this one.

24A: Father of Jacob (Esau).

57A: Dwarf planet larger than Pluto (Eris). [UPDATE: Oops! This one wasn't a lie! Thanks to KarmaSartre for pointing that out. The tenth lie was at 1A: France's __ von Bismarck (Otto). If I'd blogged about that answer, I probably would have paid more attention to the clue and realized that von Bismarck isn't a French name!]

8D: Golf great Andre (Agassi). I thought it was quite odd that his name would fit with the letters I already had in place. I really hadn't caught on to the lying bit...having somehow missed the clue at 56-Across.

9D: Standard office-closing time (nine a.m.). Of course, I had five p.m., until none of the crosses would work.

28D: It's more than 90 degrees (acute angle).

47D: Tennis champ Ernie (Els).

49D: Currency of China (yen).

50D: Summer hrs. in N.Y.C. (EST).

I can't even imagine how difficult this one would be to construct. I just loved the long vertical answers spanning the right side of the grid:

11D: One who exhibits pack mentality? (cigarette smoker).

12D: Who quipped "God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way" (Arturo Toscanini).

13D: Job seeker's fashion advice (dress for success).

Other favorites include 18A: Terrible one? (enfant), 26A: Spot (catch a glimpse of), 36A: Crane, e.g. (erector)...I had origami, 39A: Possible name for the first decade of the century (oughts)...the last answer to fall, 42A: Former Romanian leader Ion __ (Iliescu)...[I just saw the LIES in his name], 44A: Nickname on the Houston Rockets starting in 2004 (T-Mac)...for all I knew, that was a lie, 45A: Kind of dog (seeing eye), 52A: Road access regulaators (toll gates), 54A: Always bouncing back (resilient), 5D: Silverstein who wrote and illustrated "The Giving Tree" (Shel)...a favorite, 27D: Bolt (high-tail it), 29D: "Nope, still not right" (guess again) and 30D: Writing that's hard to read (secret code).

Some of the three-letter answers had me stumped...among them 34D: Park of E.E.C.: Abbr. (Eur.). I had read it as E.E.O.C. so had Emp...which caused all kinds of problems in that area.

The entire time I was solving this, I kept thinking about "lies, damn lies and statistics." If you're not familiar with that, you can read about it here.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Birthday Girl

The celebration no blog tonight. See you tomorrow night with Thursday's puzzle.

Linda G

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tuesday, June 17 - Steven Ginzburg

Thanks to Steven Ginzburg for a straightforward theme and an enjoyable solving experience for my birthday puzzle.

Three theme answers...

18A: Furniture within easy walking distance of the kitchen (dinner table)

10D: Popular Sony product (Play Station)

24D: Spy who lives dangerously (double agent)

...join with with 65A: Invitation info...or two alternate endings for the starts of the answers to 18-Across, 10-Down and 24-Down (date and time).

In case you're confused by that...dinner date, dinner time...and so on.

The puzzle had its share of standard crossword fill, including 9A: Sudden influx (spate), 15A: Express one's point of view (opine), 22A: Jabbers (yaks), 51A: Throb (ache), 64A: Consumed (ate), 70A: Feedbag bit (oat), 5D: Early Ron Howard role (Opie), 36D: Brand of blocks (Lego), 38D: Done without due consideration (rash), 42D: Island garland (lei) and 58D: Trio in a Christmas story (Magi)...

...but there were at least as many good ones...20A: Actor Mos __ (Def), 31A: Show of lowbrow taste (kitsch), 39A: Chevy S.U.V. (Tahoe), 40A: Pimpernel or prairie clover (herb)...that's scarlet pimpernel on the right, 41A: __ colony (penal), 46A: Headed straight down (nosedived), 50A: African heavyweight, for short (rhino), 53A: Perennial teenage feeling (angst), 69A: Paradise for the parched (oasis), 71A: Some tartan garments (kilts), 1D: Union general at Gettysburg (Meade), 2D: Geneva-based watchmaker (Rolex), 3D: Major muddle (snafu), 4D: Much-needed help (godsend), 32D: Weapon in a gang fight (shiv) and 47D: Procedure in a paternity suit (DNA test).

Several of my high school friends (and their children) would be distressed if I didn't point out 54D: University of Florida mascot (Gator).

One of our favorite family vacation spots made it to the puzzle...57D: Mt. Rushmore's locale: Abbr. (S. Dak.).

I haven't completely recovered from working such long hours the past two weeks, so I'm still trying for a minimum of eight hours of sleep each night. I don't know how long it takes to completely undo the effects of sleep deprivation, but I plan to keep this up until I feel totally rested in the morning.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Monday, June 16 - Ronald J. and Nancy J. Byron

An unfamiliar duo, Ronald and Nancy Byron, turn small talk about the weather into a theme for today's puzzle.

The three theme answers are all clued in relation to a song from the sixties:

20A: 1960s weather song by Peter, Paul and Mary (Blowin' in the Wind).

36A: 1960s weather song by the Beatles (Here Comes the Sun)...from Abbey Road, one of my all-time favorite albums.

51A: 1960s weather song by the Cascades (Rhythm of the Rain). This one was less familiar to me, and I needed a couple of downs to get it. The RH beginning had me thinking something was wrong with my down answers.

Favorite clues and answers include 23A: Sacagawea dollar and others (coins), 25A: Secret matters (arcana), 44A: Animals with brown summer fur (stoats)...pictured at left, 46A: Clear jelly used as a garnish (aspic), 49A: "__ Gavotte," "My Fair Lady" tune (Ascot), 58A: Prospero's servant in "The Tempest" (Ariel), 59A: Mallorca or Menorca, por ejemplo (isla), 61A: New Orleans's Vieux __ (Carré)...more commonly known as the French Quarter, 9D: Egyptian symbol of life (ankh), 10D: Lamebrain (nitwit), 39D: Self-aggrandizing acts (ego trips), 43D: Some '60s protests (sit-ins), 44D: Carry, slangily (schlep) and 48D: Combustible funeral structures (pyres).

I read the clue for 17A: Voice below soprano (alto) but totally missed the similar cluing at 28D: Voice below baritone (bass).

The clue for 18A [Follow persistently, as a celebrity] was a bit too mild for the answer. Stalk implies some sort of perversion or sickness...often heading toward the criminal side.

46D: Criminal burning (arson) was a sad reminder that the arsonist was released last week, pending further investigation. I'm sure there is an eye on his every move...fortunately, there haven't been any more fires.

That's it for tonight. I'm off to join Don...working the puzzle in the living room. He's not enjoying it as much as I had hoped. That's okay...he enjoys running a lot more than I do.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, June 15 - Jeremy Newton

Did you get the memo? It's Father's be sure to lavish a bit of attention on all of the father figures in your life. And a Happy Father's Day to all out there to whom the greeting applies.

Did you get the memo? It's also a clever title for a clever puzzle by Jeremy Newton. I thought I'd have time to blog this morning while Don slept in, but he's up and about. I'll be back after we share a cup of coffee and some morning chat.


That was longer than I expected, but I need to make this brief so we can get on with Father's Day as Don wants to celebrate it...a walk along the river trail, followed by a leisurely coffee break at his favorite spot.

I don't recognize Jeremy Newton's name, but I sure enjoyed his puzzle. The seven (UPDATE: Oops! There are eight) theme answers are all in-the-language phrases, clued to be the subject line of a memo:

23A: Memo about Stephen King's "Christine"? (repossessed auto).

32A: Memo about an inveterate perjurer? (relying on instinct).

48A: Memo about a dating guide? (repair manual).

64A: Memo about where tariffs are imposed on incoming ships? (report for duty).

71A: Memo about stores for animal appendages? (retail outlet).

82A: Memo about a religious outpost for prisoners? (recon mission).

101A: Memo about why to buy an air purifier? (remote possibility) was hard to choose a favorite, but I think I'll go with this one.

114A: Memo about a lyricist? (reverse engineer). This was inadvertently left out of the original post.

Looking over the grid, I discovered some interesting crosses and placement. In the northwest, 26A: Drop from the invitation list, say (snub) and 4D: Hoity-toity type (snob). In the northeast, the delicious junk-food cross of 22A: Alternatives to Yodels (Ho-Hos) and 16D: Candy bar whose name is an exclamation (Oh Henry!). The southwest has the four-legged side-by-side 93A: Bearded beast (gnu) and 94A: Source of wool (llama). Not particularly in the southeast, but over on that side...67D: HDTV maker (RCA) with its rival 86D: Discman maker (Sony) right below it.

Favorite clues (including some of the more difficult) and answers...55A: Board (meals)...that took forever to see, 61A: Loon (nutcase)...not a bird, 70A: Apple gadget (corer)...nothing electronic, 74A: Falls on the border (Niagara), 112A: Ready to roll?...or not ready to roll? (tired)...the best clue, 8D: Inflexible, as some rules (cast iron)...I could only think of cast in stone, which wouldn't fit, 17D: It may be used for banking (pool cue), 21D: 1958 hit whose B-side was "La Bamba" (Donna)...a favorite of mine back then, 33D: All of a crowd, maybe (extras), 36D: Whaling adverb (thar), 85D: How a ringtone may be set (on silent)...I'm doing that more often these days, 88D: Like many non-animated Disney films (PG rated), and 100D: Filet type (mignon)...yum.

Things I didn't know and needed crosses to get...38A: BBC : Britain : : __ : Italy (RAI), 11D: __ Malfoy, Harry Potter antagonist (Draco) and 66D: Grand __, setting for "Evangeline" (Pre). I took a wild guess at 50D: LeBlanc of "Joey" (Matt). I haven't been much of a sitcom fan for the last fifteen or so years.

The last answer to fall for me was 109A: Lightly moisten (bedew)...a word that I've never used in my life. My geographical impairment didn't help much with 95D: Isr. neighbor (Leb)...and AcrossLite just wouldn't accept redew. I finally looked at a map and saw that...sure enough!...Lebanon was right there by Israel.
Thanks again for your encouraging emails this past week and a half. It was a very satisfying project to complete, but like building our own house...something I wouldn't want to do a second time.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

A short break

For those of you who are solving the syndicated puzzle...

A huge work project kept me from blogging for a week or so...and this puzzle was one that I missed.

The project is complete, everything was perfect...and now life (and blogging) will go on.

See you soon!

Linda G

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday, June 14 - Brendan Emmett Quigley

Did I say probably? I meant probably not...or I would have meant that had I known the constructor of the Saturday puzzle.

Once again, the esteemed Brendan Emmett Quigley kicked my butt. The lower left quadrant of the puzzle remains fairly blank...with only three answers. I'm at a total loss and ready to declare the puzzle finished.

A blog on the Sunday puzzle? Definitely!

See you then.

Linda G

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday, June 12

The dedication went off without a hitch...the new residents of St. Benedict Place are safe in their new homes...

and all's right with the world.

I only had four hours of sleep last even though I solved Patrick Berry's delightful Friday the 13th puzzle, there won't be a post tonight.

Tomorrow? Probably.

Don and I have been working the puzzles side-by-side this week, and we've both enjoyed it. Keep your fingers crossed that he'll be hooked before long...he's beginning to understand my obsession.

I'm off to try for eight hours tonight...

Linda G

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday, June 10

We're just about ready for the dedication of the new apartment complex. At this writing we have 20 very excited men and women who will be moving into their own homes on Thursday. Two more are still completing the final paperwork.

I have never been so exhausted in my life...while at the same time so deliriously happy. This project is a dream come true for many...and it gives hope to many more.

The furniture has been in place a few we started moving in the furnishings. Everything is provided...pots and pans, dishes, glasses, silverware, sheets, towels, blankets, lamps...and we haven't gone into debt one penny. This community is so generous.

I've continued to do the fact, Don has done the last three with me. He may be getting hooked.

Thanks for all of your encouraging emails and your good wishes. I'll be back to blogging soon...give me a little time to rest after the dust settles ; )

Linda G

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday, June 8

A quick update...we're still working madly to get all of the furniture and furnishings in place. One of my projects has been buying (no, don't make me shop!) everything except the major appliances and furniture. Buying for 23 units without duplicating so much as a bedspread or shower curtain...while staying within a budget...has been a challenge. Elaine is still here, putting together furniture. She got a big, fat paycheck yesterday, but is happy to be taking today off. I'm not that lucky, although I can work from home addition to last-minute shopping.

Feel free to post a puzzle problem, question or comment. I enjoy the fact that you're always there for one another...I don't want that to end just because I'm not blogging the day's puzzle.

Linda G

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thursday, June 5 - James Sajdak

James Sajdak isn't a familiar name...that always makes me think it's a debut. Doesn't was an enjoyable Thursday puzzle. I wasn't up for a rebus tonight...bone tired a theme just added to my enjoyment factor.

The theme was revealed at 57A: Where things are freely bought and sold...and what the starts of 17-, 23-, 36- and 46-Across do (open market). This is Pike Place Market in Seattle...the very best open market I've seen. When we were there a few years ago, we bought...among other things...all kinds of seafood, including giant crabs, and shipped them home. It was heavenly.

The theme answers:

17A: Tiny sideshow attraction (flea circus).

23A: Old weather forecaster (Farmers Almanac).

36A: When a big game is caught (Super Bowl Sunday). Sweetly deceptive clue.

46A: Roosevelt group (Bullmoose Party).

Most of the theme answers came readily. I have no idea how I could be on anyone's wavelength tonight...I can barely keep my eyes open.

Favorite clues and/or answers include 5A: Clothing retailer on the New York Stock Exchange since 2006 (J Crew), 15A: "A Dog of Flanders" novelist, 1972 (Ouida), 16A: Rapper with the gold-record album "O.G. Original Gangster" (Ice T), 21A: Short race, for short (one K), 29A: Israel's Olmert (Ehud), 32A: Citynicknamed Gateway to the West (Winnipeg), 40A: Remove, as a mustache (shave off), 41A: Title film role for Robin Williams (Garp), 52A: Guiding beliefs (ethos), 62A: First name in horror (Bela), 1D: Daily trippers? (oafs), 2D: Sign of treble? (G clef), 3D: Radio host Gibbons (Leeza), 10D: Do anything to help (lift a finger), 24D: Like land in urban renewal (redeveloped), 43D: "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" lyricist (Lerner), 44D: Missing links? (apemen), 46D: Arty topper (beret) and 48D: Disputed holy city (Lhasa).

This next week is going to be nonstop...delivering furnishings to the apartments, having documents signed by the residents, getting things together for the dedication. If you're interested in guestblogging, drop me an email and I'll get things set up. Otherwise, I may be in and out for the next week or so.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you soon.

Linda G

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wednesday, June 4 - Billie Truitt

Billie Truitt's New York Times debut was just a couple of weeks ago...May 20...and we already have another puzzle by this talented constructor. [UPDATE: While I was neutral as to the constructor's gender with this post, I wasn't with the debut. I received an email from Billie Truitt today...who pointed out that she is a she. I had questioned the spelling but took my cue from Cruciverb...referring to Billie and another debuting constructor in May as "guys."]

My work day started at 8:00, and I didn't get home until 9:15. Fortunately, enough of my brain was working that I was able to solve this in a reasonable amount of time...but a Q & D (quick and dirty...according to my favorite professor) is about all I've got left in me. I'm worn out.

It's a shame, really...maybe you'll talk up the puzzle among yourselves.

The theme is revealed at 33A: What 17-, 24-, 48- and 57-Across are (things that break)...and the four theme answers are:

17A: Tricky, unexpected questions (curveballs).

24A: Vampire's undoing (daylight). This was the first theme answer I got, and I tried to go somewhere with the time zones...until I remembered that daylight isn't a time zone. Did I mention that I was beat?

48A: Stairway hazards, in some homes (kids' toys). Oh, do they ever break!

57A: View from the shore (ocean waves). My favorite...mostly because it reminds me of Hawaii. This was taken on Kauai during our trip last September.

I absolutely loved that the puzzle featured both 63A: Numbered work (opus) and 2D: Cross to bear (onus).

Also liked the connected cluing at 4D: 12-Down hardware (anvils) and 12D: Place with a forge (smithy).

There were only a couple of answers I didn't know, but the crosses were easy enough...29A: "Hurlyburly" Tony winner Judith (Ivey), 41A: "Man's the __, the Wealth the vine, / Stanch and strong the tendrils twine": Emerson (elm), and 10D: 1948 John Wayne western (Red River).

Favorites include 20A: It's a relief (aspirin), 1D: Pay stub abbr. (FICA), 6D: New York cardinal (Egan)...because I remembered it somehow, 9D: "Mighty" one who struck out (Casey), 11D: Make as a claim (allege), 13D: Use a block and tackle on (hoist), 34D: Bulletin-creating department (news desk), 44D: Slowly, on a score (adagio) and 49D: Maine college town (Orono)...because I remembered it from a fairly recent puzzle.

I have another day that will start at 8:00 and will probably be another 10-hour day. Today I had the privilege of notifying the men and women who were accepted into the new housing program. The flip side...having to tell the bad news to those who weren't. That's always so tough...and there aren't many options for some of them. I'm probably as emotionally exhausted as I am physically.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tuesday, June 3 - Pete Muller

Unless one of Pete Muller's puzzles appeared during my sabbatical, it's been almost a year since we've seen one by him.

I just loved the theme of today's puzzle...revealed in two answers. 35A: Question posed by a 1987 children's best seller (Where's Waldo)...and 43A: This puzzle's answer to 35-Across (spelled out four times) (in the corner).

And there he is...diagonally in all four corners of the puzzle. You can earn bonus points by finding him in this picture.

Excellent fill throughout the puzzle added to the enjoyment factor. Favorites include 15A: "The Tempest" king (Alonso), 17A: Like many planetary orbits (elliptical), 29A: Airer of Congressional proceedings (C-SPAN), 48A: Composer Camille Saint-__ (Saens), 49A: Indian oven (tandoor) of those answers that came to me from who-knows-where, 61A: Building seen on a nickel (Monticello), 64A: Moselle tributary (Saar), 65A: French satellite launcher (Ariane), 6D: Light perfume (toilet water), 10D: Maine's __ National Park (Acadia) of the streets in our subdivision, all named after national parks, 11D: 1990s-2000s sitcom shrink (Niles Crane), 26D: Material used in casting (molten metal), 31D: Purchase of one who's looking for love (personal ad) and 57D: Wings: Lat. (alae).

My favorite clue...46D: Jersey parts? (udders). I was thinking of in a knitted shirt.

I like the intersection of 1A: Sci-fi's "Doctor __" (Who) and 1D: "That was close!" (whew). Elaine was sitting with me as I Googled for pictures...she is so into sci-fi. I'm not and didn't know who (no pun intended) he was...I had heard of him but couldn't have picked him out of a lineup. Well, maybe I'd be able to now.

The new apartments are almost finished, and Elaine is here for the week to help assemble furniture and install closet shelving. It's a good chance for her to make some extra money, and it will be nice to have some one-on-one time with her.

Good news and bad news at work. The friend and co-worker on this project broke her tibia last night. The good news is really good news. The serial arsonist who has been terrorizing the city since the first of the year (and struck another co-worker's house five times since then) was arrested last night and is behind bars. The investigation took some time, but they had to wait until they had enough evidence. What a relief for everyone who lives in that area of town.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Monday, June 2 - Barry Boone

Barry Boone's Monday puzzle may very well be his New York Times debut. I spent a good ten minutes Googling him and didn't find anything.

The theme...more than entertaining enough for a Monday...was revealed at 7D: What the starts of 22-, 36-, 41- and 50-Across comprise (the four elements).

Theme answers:

22A: Heater or repeater (firearm).

36A: Revolutionary pattern of the moon (earth orbit).

41A: Non-oil painting method (watercolor).

50A: TV Guide info (air date).

Some pretty snappy fill rounded out the puzzle, including 10A: Evil organization in "Get Smart" (KAOS)'s Siegfried, a/k/a Doc from Love Boat, 20A: Church bell ringer (sexton), 24A: Japanese maker of watches and calculators (Casio), 39A: Sex researcher Hite (Shere)...not Sheri, 43A: Fashion's __ Saint Laurent (Yves), 46A: Treaty of __-Litovsk, 1918 (Brest), 57A: Olympic sport from Japan (judo), 4D: The Civil War, for the Confederacy (lost cause), 10D: Telly Savalas role (Kojak) and 36D: Lazy person's stairs? (escalator).

I drew a complete blank at 9D: Predecessor of Katie Couric. Because I had a wrong answer at 5A: Group of eight (octet, rather than the correct octad), I couldn't think of a name that started with T. I finally had enough letters to realize that it was Dan Rather.

An interesting double blast from the TV past...58A: Lone Ranger's companion (Tonto) and 37D: Trigger man? (Roy Rogers).

I was totally clueless on 15A: Conductor Zubin (Mehta). It didn't help at all that I didn't know 6D: 1970s Dodgers All-Star Ron (Cey). Also didn't know 8D: Yours: Fr. (atoi). I can tell was pretty humbling to have to Google on a Monday puzzle.

We got quite a bit of yard work done on our no-driving weekend. Don worked on the flagstone patio today, while I worked on the steps. Sadly, I neglected to take my own advice about sunscreen (I did have it on my face, though), and my back and shoulders got pretty burned. Jeez! [19A: "Man, oh, man!"]

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, June 1 - Patrick Berry

Those of us who love Patrick Berry's puzzles are fortunate in that we don't have to wait very long in between them.

The title of Sunday's puzzle, "Extra Syll-uh-bles," gave us enough information to know that we were in for some this case, some really good ones.

The eight theme answers are all well-known phrases (or people)...with an extra "uh" added to them, creating new phrases which are then clued.

22A: Waistband sold in stores? (buyable belt)...the very last one to fall.

27A: Wiser from an ethical perspective? (morally safer).

32A: Fighting force trained by Pavlov? (the salivation army)...the funniest of the bunch.

56A: Freelance autopsist? (coroner on the market).

63A: Catchy song parts heard on "Name That Tune"? (hummable beginnings). I'd have to say that was my favorite.

81A: Stones and brickbats? (rioting implements).

92A: Store that peddles political influence? (rent a senator).

99A: Boiled lobster's feature? (red skeleton). I'm sure we weren't the only kids who thought that was his real name.

Lots of good trivia in this one...people, places and things to remember for future puzzles:

1A: Diane of "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (Ladd).

21A: World capital formerly a pirate stronghold (Rabat).

39A: Auto superseded by the Rambler (Nash)...we had one in the early sixties and loved the song about it. This clip of "Beep Beep" includes pictures of a 1959 Rambler...a classic.

40A: Actress Susan of "L.A. Law" (Dey). That was one of my all-time favorite television shows. Here's Grace with Michael, the love of her life. Susan was also Laurie Partridge and a Breck girl, among other things.

49A: City just west of Silver Springs (Ocala). Growing up in south Florida, we spent a lot of long much to see.

59A: Renaissance painter Uccello (Paolo).

61A: Lady Bird Johnson's given birth name (Claudia). I knew that once but forgot it...needed crosses to remind me.

66A: Country with a camel on its coat of arms (Eritrea).

68A: Captain Hook's mate in "Peter Pan" (Smee)...appearing frequently in crossword grids.

90A: Attorney general during Reagan's second term (Meese)...and the only attorney general other than Janet Reno that I can always remember.

105A: Barrett of gossip (Rona).

108A: Only beardless one of the Seven Dwarfs (Dopey)...and the cutest, by far.

9D: "__ the Wanderer" (1820 gothic novel) (Melmoth). According to this article, it was "widely acknowledged by critics as the last great Gothic novel." I'm ashamed to admit that I'd never heard of it and only got it from crosses.

10D: Composer Pachelbel (Johann). Here's my favorite. If the music isn't enough to take you away, the pictures in this clip...from sunrise to sunset...are stunning.

19D: Premium vodka brand, for short (Stoli). It's my brand of choice...both times that I drink vodka in any year.

21D: N.F.L. star Grier (Rosey). I haven't yet committed his spelling to memory, and I always write Rosie first.

30D: Buchanan's secretary of state (Cass).

34D: Architect Jones (Inigo). I remember the name only because it's been in the puzzle at least once.

37D: Actress Witherspoon (Reese).

43D: "Tattered Tom" author (Alger).

48D: John of "The Addams Family" (Astin).

49D: Self-descriptive fruit (orange). I love the clue...but an orange isn't just a thing. It's also a person we all know and love...even if she did this puzzle in just over nine minutes.

58D: Founding member of the Dadaists (Hans Arp).

84D: Ohm of Ohm's law (Georg) the name.

85D: Queen of mystery (Ellery)...a brilliant clue.

86D: 2005 Best Picture winner (Crash). It was a good film...very intense...but it didn't get my vote. Not that the Academy cared.

87D: __ Sorrel (woman in a love triangle in "Adam Bede") (Hetty).

94D: __ Roberts, first inductee into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame (Nora).

My favorite clues...13A: They may be big fellers (saws), 30A: Two points? (colon) and 79D: Think that might is right? (misread)...the best one of all.

59D: Place to keep Mace (purse). I'll use this as an opportunity to show off my new purse from 1154 Lill Studio. Even if you don't buy a purse, it's fun to go to their site and design one...or two...or three. It takes about four weeks for them to make your custom-ordered purse...mine has already shipped and should arrive midweek. In addition to choosing the fabrics for the outside, I was able to choose fabric for the lining and the inside pocket. This is my second Lill purse, and it won't be my last. Orange also has a couple of is seen in "Wordplay."

I've been at this far too long, and I have much to do today. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday, May 31 - Robert H. Wolfe

If you weren't afraid of the big bad Wolfe before, you may be now. Robert H. Wolfe delivers another killer Saturday puzzle. Here's the first blog I did on one of his previous puzzles.

I finished the bottom half last night but couldn't keep my eyes open another minute...and I'd already spent a good half hour on it. I tackled it again this morning (with coffee in hand) and some answers just jumped out at me. I filled in a few across, a few in down, a few more across...and it was finished. I wasn't sure my grid was correct, but I just checked with JimH...and our answers agree.

I had a few parts of answers (shown in red) was just trial and error to fill in the rest...12D: Tool for sewing canvas (sail needle), 26D: Between seating sections (in the aisle) and 27D: Attic, often (third floor). I also had a couple of good guesses that turned out to be right...10A: Socs. (assns), 17A: Where habits are picked up? (nunneries), 61A: "Sure looks that way" (so it seems), and 39D: Cot spot (tents). The only gimmes I had were 37A: Tennis star Petrova (Nadia)...we had a cat with the same name, 58A: Jenny Craig testimonial starter (I Lost), 23D: "Amarantine" Grammy winner (Enya)...I have the CD, and 51D: "The washday miracle" sloganeer, once (Tide)...because I'm old enough to remember that one.

Not much to go on. I Googled to get 16A: "The Wreck of the Mary __" (1959 film) (Deare), 25A: First Earl of Chatham (Pitt) and 3D: 1956 Olympic skiing sensation __ Sailer (Toni)...that opened things up a bit.

Favorite multiword answers include 15A: "Whatever" (I don't care), 20A: "That's good enough" (It'll do), 29A: Proceeding (going ahead), 38A: Like some adult hippos (three ton), 59A: Read the riot act (bawled out) and 22D: Day when courts are not in session (dies non) about it here.

There were some answers that were so hard to suss out...once I got them, though, they made perfect sense...19A: Seat (keister), 21A: Get down (sadden), 34A: Exchange for something very valuable (eye teeth), 40A: Product with a rotating ball (roll-on), 56A: Not too much of a stretch (plausible), 5D: Retaining instructions (stets), 7D: Top arrangement? (hairdo), 11D: Bears do it (sell), and 14D: Tick source (second hand)...the best.

Other noteworthy answers...45A: Lyric stand-in, perhaps (na-na-na), 60A: Heavenly discovery of 1801 (Ceres), 13D: Certain atomic X-ray emission (N-radiation), 25D: After the Pentateuchal period (post-Mosaic), 40D: One of three French auto-making brothers (Renault) and 42D: Chichewa and English are its two official languages (Malawi).

That's it for this one. Don and the birds are waiting. Earlier this morning, there were two baby birds on the patio table. Mama (or Papa) Bird was getting seed from the feeder, then flying to the babies to put the seed in their waiting mouths. It was too cute.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Friday, May 30 - Natan Last

I knew exactly four answers after my first run through Natan Last's Friday puzzle...38A: Four-legged film star of the '30s (Asta), 44A: Bouncing off the walls (hyper), 10D: Follower of Sha Na Na at Woodstock (Jimi Hendrix) and 35D: She had a 1993 hit with "No Ordinary Love" (Sade).

After that I guessed a few and Googled a few more. Google got me 21A: "The Big Lebowski" director (Coen), 54A: "The Fog of War" director Morris (Errol) and 5D: Peter who wrote "The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde" (Ackroyd). That led to more good guesses, some of which panned out.

Among my favorites (always!) are the multiword answers at 14A: Soapmaking compound (oleic acid), 16A: Living end (bee's knees) it one bee or multiple bees?, 24A: Occupies (stays at), 27A: Not view innocently (leer at), 37A: "Without __" (Grateful Dead album) (a Net), 55A: Old comedian known for his unique piano-playing style (Chico Marx), 58A: "Oh well" (c'est la vie)...a very good guess with only one letter in place, 60A: "My parents are gonna kill me!" (I am so dead), 21D: Question while eying someone else's plate (can I try some)...Elaine would very quietly say, "I wonder what that tastes like" was too cute, 25D: Be a whipping boy (take the rap), 26D: "__ Forget" (Harbach/Kern tune) (Try to), and 39D: Eschew aid (fly solo).

I'm curious to know (but at 11:30, it's too late to spend the time to find out) if we have debuts with 1A: Elaborate procedure (rigmarole) and/or 11D: Clears (exonerates). I'll have to hope that JimH covered that in his blog.

My favorite clue was also my very best guess...49A: Keys (isles).

For some reason, I was exhausted after solving the puzzle and took a two-hour nap on the couch. I was startled awake by Dooley's furious barking. In the wake of seventeen arson fires in the last couple of months (five of them at a co-worker's home, one at the home of a former member of our board, and one at the new apartment complex we're building for the chronically homeless), you can bet we checked things out. All seems well now, and Dooley is resting comfortably.

It'll be midnight before I get into bed, so I'd better wrap this one up. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thursday, May 29 - John Farmer

Gettin' DOWN with John Farmer...what a way to spend a Wednesday evening!

While I managed to figure out that I was dealing with a rebus, I originally didn't limit it to DOWN...had ACROSS in a couple of the squares. When I couldn't make sense of some of the crosses, I finally got it straightened out.

[UPDATE: I didn't really get it straightened out. See JimH's blog for an explanation...and read the right words into the blathering that follows!]

The theme answers...all good ones:

1A: First clue (one D[own]). This was the site of one of my ACROSS mistakes...since I always read 1A before 1D. Its cross at 4D: Jazz/blues monthly (D[own] Beat) was one that didn't make any sense with ACROSS in place.

18A: Spans, as a river (stretches D[own]). Again, stretches ACROSS made perfect sense, although 13D: Hit the skids didn't...until I changed go ACROSS hill to go D[own]hill.

35A: Relocate from one side to the other (move D[own]town). Another ACROSS mistake here...made obvious by 26D: Master (get D[own] pat).

[Well, wonder ACROSS made sense in so many of the answers!]

58A: Facing one's house from a short distance away, say (D[own] the street), crossing at 39D: Scorn (look D[own] on).

68A: Transect (cut D[own]), with 45D: Inverted (upside D[own]).

I definitely need to brush up on my political facts...couldn't remember 10A: Secretary of state after Muskie (Haig) until I had a few letters in place. In fact, I didn't even remember that Muskie had been a Secretary of Jimmy Carter's cabinet.

I had a minor mix-up with tonight's featured connected cluing...27A: With 22-Across, order at a tiki bar (Mai / Tai). I had them switched, so the crosses were a bit difficult. Once I realized the error, I got 8D: Celt of NW France (Breton) and 11D: Handy guide for a walking tour (area map).

I spent years attending an Episcopal church, so I immediately knew 2D: Church vestibule (narthex) looks so good in the puzzle. I also nailed 1D: Faux fat (Olestra). Western Colorado was part of the test market for Lay's fat-free chips made with Olestra. They caused serious gastric distress in some people...I had no problem, though, and thought they were pretty tasty.

I really liked the clue at 21D: A Baldwin. Nope, not Alec or any of his brothers. In fact, it's the only Baldwin I'd want in my house...a gorgeous Baldwin piano.

Other favorites:

25A: Ancient square (Agora).

29A: "Coming to America" co-star (Arsenio Hall). I didn't know that but managed to get it with a couple of letters in place.

33A: __ Scamander, pseudonym of J. K. Rowling (Newt). Didn't know that.

39A: Title girl in a 2002 Disney film (Lilo). This was about the time the girls thought they were too old for Disney, so I didn't see it.

52A: Quarterback Rodney (Peete)...only because of crosses.

57A: St. Clare's birthplace (Assisi). We've had this more than once...St. Francis is more well known, but St. Clare holds her own in the New York Times.

63A: City on the Oka (Orel).

64A: Non __ (not so much, in music) (tanto).

7D: Sci-fi debut of 1921 (R.U.R.)...only because I've seen it in a puzzle.

9D: Doha dweller (Qatari).

40D: Like some fertility lab techniques (in vitro)...interesting cross at 51A: Some modern donations (ova).

41D: Hide in a closet? (leather)...probably my favorite clue.

49D: Stab in the back (betray). Eveb when I had BETR*Y, it still took some time to see it.

57D: "This is not __" (warning label) (a toy)...although it should have read "This bag is not __"...

Good one, John. I'm frequently frustrated by rebus puzzles, but I thoroughly enjoyed solving this one.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G