Monday, March 31, 2008

Tuesday, April 1 - Manny Nosowsky

History was made right here at Madness today...I finished the New York Times puzzle twenty seconds faster than Orange.

April Fool! The truth is, Manny Nosowsky made me FOOL like a FEEL with this one.

The theme...and I didn't even see it coming...was revealed at 33A: Regret some stupidity...with a hint to this puzzle's theme (feel like a fool). The four theme answers are all in-the-language phrases, but FEEL is replaced with FOOL, and vice versa.

16A: Nitwit's swoon? (fool faint).

54A: Spring in the air? (April feel)...this is when I realized that the puzzle date was April 1.

8D: Vibes not being picked up by anyone? (nobody's feel).

23D: Doing credible work as a magician? (fooling okay).

I was moving along quite nicely...except for that damned southwest corner. For some reason that will never be clear, I knew 40D: Bad atmosphere (miasma). I also had 40A: Univ. where "Good Will Hunting" is set (MIT) and 59A: Analyze the composition of (assay)...but the rest of the corner was blank. It didn't help that I was misinterpreting the clue for 41A ["]...thinking it was a repetition of the previous clue. Wrong! The answer was inches...which is, of course, abbreviated that way. When I finally gave up on 56A: News groups (media) ending in an S, I was on my way.

I knew 5A: Four times a day, on an Rx (qid), but that didn't help me get 5D: Paper quantity (quire). It looked wrong, but 20A: New York tribe defeated by the Iroquois (Erie) pretty much sealed that one.

By far, the funniest clue in the puzzle...51A: Pre-remote channel changer (knob). I wonder how many out there have never seen such an animal. Other answers that will come more easily to those of us of a certain age include 25A: Kind of eyes (goo-goo), 10D: "Uncle" of early television (Miltie) and 26D: Verdon of "Damn Yankees" (Gwen).

I always love seeing Hawaii in the puzzle...31D: Hawaiian instrument, for short (uke) and 34D: Gifts at Honolulu Airport (leis).

The connected clues tonight...39D: Belly part (navel), tied in with 6D: Type of 39-Down (innie).

Leslie and Candy just arrived...hours later than they were I'll wrap this up and go spend some quality time with them.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow. No fooling!

Linda G

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Monday, March 31 - Jeff Armstrong

Another unfamiliar name on the byline...whether or not it's a debut, Jeff Armstrong has turned out a better-than-decent Monday puzzle.

The theme is revealed at 36A: Word that can precede each half of the answers to each of the eight starred clues (air).

It's something when that works with the first or second half of a long theme answer. It's something else when the word can precede both halves of...what? Is it a compound word? Whatever...the theme answers are:

18A: *Sci-fi barrier (forcefield).

20A: *Newspaper article lead-in (dateline)...for the second time in just a few days.

28A: *When the curtain goes up (showtime).

41A: *Wrestling move that puts an arm around someone's neck (headlock). I am so not into wrestling. I definitely wouldn't want to be the guy who's on the receiving end of this.

50A: *Secret communication location (maildrop).

54A: *Mars Pathfinder, for one (spacecraft).

4D: *Diamond game (baseball).

37D: *Indy 500 venue (speedway).

There's a bit of standard crossword fare in here...including oater, alot, esc, ogle, PSAT and apse. Because it's Monday, they're all clued pretty much the way we usually see them. But 5A: Group of eight musicians (octet) is a more straightforward clue than I ever remember seeing. I'm wondering if it's usually a late-week word. Rather than challenge JimH to find out for me, I went to his site and looked for myself. Octet has been in the puzzle 40 times...including some Mondays with a very similar clue. One of my favorites is [Wedding band, maybe] of the tougher clues is [Noted Schubert piece in F major]. I got this picture from Google and thought it was interesting, so I followed it to this guy's blog.

Favorite answers include 23A: Big name in audio equipment (Bose), 25A: Result of a belly flop (splash), 9D: Golfer's opening drive (tee shot), 26D: Blender setting (puree), 27D: South American wool source (llama) this the sweetest face you've ever seen, 29D: Actor and rockabilly crooner Chris (Isaak), 30D: Three-card hustle (Monte), 39D: "Yikes!" (Holy Cow!), 42D: Business that may have gone boom and then bust in the '90s (dot com) and 44D: __ d' (Maitre).

The last comment I received on Sunday's puzzle was from Alan. After the obligatory small talk, he cut to the chase. "Never, never, never leave us again." Isn't that sweet?

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sunday, March 30 - Paula Gamache

One more hour and it's lights out. We're joining in Earth Hour tonight, dining by candlelight once Don comes home.

Paula Gamache's Sunday puzzle, Mixed Feelings, has both of my favorite things...circles and anagrams. That on top of a Mike Nothnagel Saturday...well, it just doesn't get any better than that.

The circled letters within each theme answer can be rearranged to make an emotion of some sort...or a mixed feeling.

23A: Pedicurist's need (TOENAIL CLIPPERS)...becomes elation.

30A: Wearer of uniform #37, retired by both the Yankees and the Mets (CASEY STENGEL)...becomes ecstasy.

52A: Whispering party game (TELEPHONE)...hope.

68A: Champion figure skater Irina (SLUTSKAYA)...lust. I never realized that slut became lust, but both words remind me of "Lust," a short story by Susan Minot.

88A: Manual transmission position (THIRD GEAR)...rage. Since first would also have fit, I had to wait until I got some downs to complete the answer.

109A: Kitchen implement used with a little muscle (POTATO MASHER)...shame.

118A: Bats, balls, gloves, etc. (SPORTS EQUIPMENT)...pique.

14D: Come-hither look (BEDROOM EYES). For the record, I don't think of bedroom eyes as a come-hither look...either you have them or you don't. Both of these guys do. The anagrammed feeling is boredom...which I wouldn't feel if I were with either of them.

16D: Protective mailer (PADDED ENVELOPE)...ah, love. A nice feeling.

50D: Some business attire (PINSTRIPED SUIT)...pride. Am I being too proud if I say that I got this with only the N in place?

67D: Bearing nothing (EMPTY HANDED) becomes empathy.

Favorite clues include 14A: One on two feet (biped), 66A: Divider of wedding guests (aisle), 72A: Leaves for lunch? (salad), 93A: Big shot after making a big shot, maybe: Abbr. (MVP), 123A: Capital of Italy (Euro), 128A: Company-owned building, e.g. (asset), 11D: Fall setting (Eden), 15D: Coming-clean words (I lied), 18D: License to drill?: Abbr. (DDS), 33D: "They're in my hot little hands!" (got 'em), 40D: Heads in the Pantheon? (capita) and 114D: Cause for an R, perhaps (gore).

I liked the connected cluing for 21A: He's seen on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (Adam) and 31D: Consort of 21-Across (Eve). Haven't seen it and had no idea.

I definitely paid attention to JimH's music post the other day. If you did, then you knew 92D: F equivalent (E sharp). And if you read his guest blogger, Seth G, today, you were also able to get 56A: Holiday celebrating deliverance from Haman (Purim).

I really struggled to remember how to spell 46D: Poet Omar __ (Khayyam). I filled in the K and the M...beyond that I had to wait for some crosses. There were several other answers relating to the arts, including 19A: Literature Nobelist Morrison (Toni), 43A: Close overlapping of fugue voices (stretto), 95A: Peter Shaffer play based on the lives of Mozart and Salieri (Amadeus), 2D: Writer Peggy known for the phrase "a kinder, gentler nation" (Noonan), and 48D: Rhyme scheme of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" (AABA). There was also the connected cluing for crossword regulars aria and 55A [Diva's delivery] and 80A [55-Across, e.g.], respectively, and 78A: Picassos and Pissarros (art).

There were a few things I was only able to get from crosses...among them 10D: Port west of Monte Vesuvio (Napoli), 32D: Capone henchman (Nitti) and 51D: Yellow Teletubby (Laa-Laa).

That's it for tonight. Don will be home soon, and we'll enjoy the bread I made today with a big salad, followed by strawberry shortcake.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, March 29 - Mike Nothnagel

Without a doubt, Saturday puzzles are usually so difficult for me that they're just barely enjoyable. This one was an exception.

More often than not, I'm on Mike Nothnagel's wavelength. I missed in a couple of spots with this one, but I had maybe 98% of it finished with nary a Google.

Date nights are on hold until April 18...but Don's sitting in the living room with a glass of wine, and I think I'll join him.


Now it's Saturday morning...a great day already. I had nine hours of sleep, a pot of Kauai coffee is brewing, and I have my no-drive day ahead of me. Life is good.

With this puzzle. Fellow blogger Wendy, another die-hard Nothnagel fan, has made crossword history today, completing her first Saturday puzzle without the help of Google. Way to go, Wendy!

You beat me...I had to Google once. That southwest corner wasn't budging, despite the fact that I had 61A: Children's Bargain Town, today (Toys R Us...actually, it's Toys "Я" Us). That wasn't something I knew, but I had 56D: Part of many schools' addresses (edu), so it was easy enough to guess.

Problems in that corner stemmed from an incorrect answer at 42D: Reply to someone in denial (are too), but my it is so fit. Also had a partial answer at 48D: Rigel or Spica (B Star)...I only knew it was a star, so the first square was blank. It didn't help that 48A: Brand in the freezer section (Breyers) could also have been my brand of choice, Dreyer's. I'm hooked on their Slow Churned ice cream...super creamy with only half the fat of regular ice cream. Vanilla Raspberry Escape is my all-time favorite, although I enjoy several others.

End of commercial...back to the corner. I was watching TV in the 70s, but I was clueless on 41D: Gov. Lester Maddox walked off his show in 1970. The only six-letter answer I could think of was Carson...which clearly wasn't right. Google told me it was Dick Cavett, but I didn't take the time to read about it. If someone knows and would like to share, please do.

Once I had that, I was able to fill in the other blanks, including the elusive 51A: Point and click, e.g. (verbs). That had to have been Will's clue...Mike wouldn't have done that to me. Actually, it was a perfect Saturday clue. 55A: Series finale? (etcetera) was another good one.

Moving on to what I knew or otherwise managed to get on my own...the answer I am most proud of was 14A: Symptom of nervous system impairment (ataxia). Now that should be a gimme for Orange...she edits medical texts...but I haven't a clue how it came to my mind. I was able to confirm it with 4D: Lines on planes (axes), and I was off and running.

Favorite multiword answers include 7A: Cause of temporary blindness (tear gas), 17A: Current (up to date), 23A: Small wonder? (whiz kid), 30A: Son and successor of Seti I (Ramses II)...another that just came to me, 34A: Very worried (sweating bullets)...spanning the grid horizontally, 40A: Form of intimidation (hate mail), 57A: Affix, in a way (glue on), 1D: Indy sights since 1911 (pace cars), 2D: Governor's guide (state law), 3D: It's done in the slammer (hard time), 9D: In __ (briefly) (a word)...not short, 15D: Cinematic captain of Star Command (Buzz Lightyear)...I was thinking Star Trek for the longest time, 20D: Start putting stuff away? (dig in), 23D: "__ him who believes in nothing": Victor Hugo (woe to), 36D: Very wide, in a way (ear to ear), 37D: Result of getting even with someone? (tie score)...another gimme/good guess, 38D: Enter on the sly (slip into) and 43D: Fighting words? (war cry).

I was a paralegal in Kansas City for a few years, so I knew 7D: Seat of Shawnee County (Topeka)...that K helped me get whiz kid.

Loved seeing 31D: It's heard on the Beatles' "Rubber Soul" (sitar). If you're a regular reader, you know I love everything about the Beatles. I especially love everything George Harrison.

There were a couple of answers I wouldn't have gotten without crosses...15A: Linebacker Brian banned from the 1987 Orange Bowl for steroid use (Bosworth), 21A: Ally's roommate on "Ally McBeal" (Renee) and 26A: Associate of Thomas (Alito)...I had no idea where they were going with that one. And what am I missing on 45D: Dupes (repros)? Just got it...duplicates and reproduces.

My very favorite clue in the puzzle...50A: 1/192 qt. (tsp). I guessed it because I had the S in place.

Don's up now...and he and the boys are waiting.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Friday, March 28 - Barry C. Silk

For several months now, Barry Silk has been inching his way up my list of favorite constructors. His late-week puzzles are his best...stacks upon stacks of long answers, including some not often seen in puzzles. I'm too lazy to check it out at xwordinfo, the sister site to The JimH Crossword Blog, but feel free to see how often these answers have appeared in a New York Times puzzle.

15A: What seeds may be found in (tourney).

20A: Stadium snack (soft pretzel).

32A: __ Pacific Airways (Cathay). I've never heard of it and needed crosses to get it.

34A: Drag during the day? (need a nap) of my favorites.

40A: Part of some complexes (neurosis). Did I ever get hung up here...all because of 26D: Not loco. I was using the wrong had sane rather than the correct sano.

51A: Where to order a cheesesteak "wit" or "witout" (South Philly). I thought about including a picture of one "wit" (that means with the melted cheese-like topping). When I enlarged it, though, it just looked I decided to pass.

60A: Patron saint of Palermo (Rosalia).

8D: Cousin of a flea market (swap meet). That's what they were called when I was growing up in south Florida...where we had plenty of fleas. Years later I was invited to go to a flea can probably understand my hesitation.

38D: Best substitute on the court (sixth man). I had to Google to see what this meant. Most of you probably know that it has to do with basketball (not tennis...wrong court). You can read all about it here. Apparently, it takes skill and talent in several areas.

Things I learned from previous puzzles that paid off tonight include 18A: Setting for TV's "Matlock" (Atlanta), 43A: "Symphony in Black" artist (Erté), 57A: Six bells, nautically (three p.m.) and 48D: "Silas Marner" girl (Eppie).

In addition to the clue at 15A (see above), other favorites include:

16A: A mouse may help you get there (website).

19A: Layer that scratches (hen).

24A: Time to burn? (summer). I'm guessing we're heading for a scorcher. It's still March, and we've had highs in the upper sixties.

61A: Aid in picking things up (antenna).

63A: Make a point of (sharpen).

13D: Major conclusion? (ette)...ties in with 53D: Major start? (Ursa). For some unknown reason, both were gimmes.

I can't neglect to mention the long stacks. In the northwest...1D: Where it's happening (at the scene), 2D: Follows (comes later) and 3D: W.W. II shelter (quonset hut).

In the southeast...29D: How much of genius is inspiration, according to Edison (one percent)...the rest is perspiration..., 30D: Like typhoid bacteria, often (waterborne) and 31D: Gym shoes, e.g. (sportswear).

The sports clue that I did know was 28D: His #13 was retired in 2000 by the Miami Dolphins (Marino). They were my dad's favorite team, and Dan Marino is quite a man. Here's a short bio that's worth reading...and it has a baby picture. Awwwww.

Looks as though I'll be in bed by 10:30 tonight...much better than last night's 11:30.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thursday, March 27 - Joe Krozel

Joe Krozel has a solid theme with his Thursday puzzle...three 15-letter answers, wrapped up and revealed at 49D: Word defined by 20-, 36- and 51-Across (crane). All three are clued identically...[See 49-Down]...and the answers are:

20A: Stretch one's neck

36A: Novelist Stephen

51A: Large wading bird

There was nothing forced about the nontheme fill, which included some good long answers. Among my favorites:

18A: Federally guaranteed security (Ginnie Mae).

22A: Showy shrubs (azaleas). They're definitely one of the most beautiful shrubs, but I haven't been able to grow one since I left Florida. In our gardening zone, they're pretty much confined to pots...and that's just not how they're intended to grow.

56A: Private chats (one-on-ones). I'm sure I've never heard it used as a plural before, but it works for me given the overall complexity of the grid.

2D: Faint, in slang (plotz). That's a new one on me.

10D: Engagement agreement (prenup). That took forever to see, even when I had most of the letters in place.

11D: Hard to take? (camera shy). So did this one...I was trying to get something that ended with -ashy.

19D: Wagner princess (Isolde).

21D: Designer for Jackie Kennedy (Cassini). Everything he designed for her worked beautifully. He was a classic designer...she was a classic First Lady.

27D: What "knock knock" may mean (let me in). At first I thought it would have something to do with a joke. I'm sure I'm not alone there.

31D: Celebrated Sigmund Freud patient (Dora). A much better clue than the more current Explorer.

32D: Oscar-winning song from "A Star Is Born" (Evergreen). I absolutely loved that movie and cried hysterically for hours after it ended. I may have told this story before...I stopped at the Chevrolet dealership on my way home, and it was obvious I'd been crying. The salesman brought me some coffee...and I ended up buying my Camaro. Anyway, here's Barbra Streisand singing Evergreen...accompanied by Kris Kristofferson.

37D: Perfect-game pitcher Don (Larsen). I didn't know it, but I had enough letters to guess correctly.

38D: Graph of the equation y = ax2 + bx + c (parabola). I couldn't explain that if my life depended on it...the clue or the answer.

43D: Leave in a hurry, slangily (bug out).

There were a couple of things I didn't know and couldn't have gotten without crosses.

6A: A good breakfast, but a bad supper, according to Francis Bacon (hope). I don't have a clue what he meant by that. If you do, I'm sure there are several of us who'd like to know.

15A: Robert of "The Sopranos" (Iler). Never saw the show.

46A: "Donald's Cousin __" (1939 Disney cartoon) (Gus). Never heard of him, but he fit.

50D: Best and Ferber (Ednas).

52D: Black cuckoos (anis). We have several birds in this puzzle. In addition to crane, this guy is joined by crossword regular erne, appearing at 9D: Marine eagle.

Favorite clues include 25A: Diamond setting (ball park), 40A: It's often played before playing (anthem)...nice tie-in there..., 62A: Unlikely valentine swappers (exes) and 47D: Dukes (fists) in, put up yours.

Also wanted to mention 42A: Cary Grant played a male one in 1949 (War Bride)...mainly because I downloaded this picture. I've seen several Cary Grant movies, but that's not one of them.

Well, this was supposed to be a short post, but I guess I got carried away. Now I'll be late getting to bed...must do better tomorrow.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wednesday, March 26 - Michael Langwald

In a post last month, Orange mentioned Michael Langwald's crossword debut with a puzzle featured in the LA Times. Today marks his debut with the New York Times. Congratulations, Michael.

You might not want to solve this one on an empty stomach, though. The theme answers are punned specials of three well-known celebrities, all of whom have last names that are homonyms of cooking methods.

20A: Breakfast specialty of a rock singer? (Glenn Frey's eggs).

39A: Lunch specialty of an Emmy-winning actor? (Peter Boyle's stew).

57A: Dinner specialty of an R&B singer? (Sam Cooke's steak)

The theme answers should have been easier to figure out. I'm not sure where I can place the blame. I had a busy day...yeah, that's it.

The theme wasn't bad. It wasn't great, either, although many of the nontheme answers were. Some of my favorites:

9A: Off the wall (daffy). That brings this guy to mind.

29A: Constant complainers (cranks).

46A: Topple (depose).

6D: Purim's month (Adir). [Update: Read SethG's comment...this should be Adar. I Googled for confirmation after completing the grid, and came up with this...but Seth's answer is correct.]

9D: Makeshift bookmark (dogear). This is never acceptable to a serious lover of books. Isn't there something called Dogear that allows one to bookmark favorite blogs and the like?

10D: Angered and enraged, e.g. (anagrams). I absolutely love anagrams...but tonight I absolutely could not see it until I had most of the letters in place.

34D: Le Pew of cartoons (Pepé). He was a favorite character in my childhood...and he still is. What a lover boy.

40D: More than big (enormous).

54D: Director Sergio (Leone).

56D: Rubber hub (Akron). Fellow blogger Wendy will no doubt be proud that this was a gimme. I especially like the geographical cross at 53A: Arkansas River city (Tulsa).

Favorite clues include 14A: Word before luck or cluck (dumb), 24A: King of the stage (Lear) and 47D: It may be under your hat (secret).

I haven't seen Saturday Night Live in forever, so I wasn't sure about 51A: Clinton cabinet member satirized by Will Ferrell...although Reno was my first guess. This picture is just too funny.

I just noticed the cross between Reno and crossword staple Eno at 48D, clued as [Brian of ambient music].

Our book club read Pride and Prejudice this month, and we're meeting tomorrow night to discuss it. If it's a late night, you'll likely see the grid and an abbreviated post...with the possibility of more written on Thursday morning.

That will be one of my new blogging more staying up until midnight to solve and blog if I've had something going on that night. That should help me stay rested...and sane.

That's it for tonight. Here's the grid... [Update: Since Adir was incorrect, so are its crosses. I misspelled vise, which gave me rich (rather than the correct rash) for 18A: Ill-considered. My wrong answer seems to fit the definition, though...Wasn't that rich?].

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tuesday, March 25 - Steve Salmon

Steve Salmon's puzzle didn't seem very Tuesday-ish to me. Admittedly, I was trying to solve it while carrying on a conversation with Leslie and Candy, but I got really hung up in one corner...more about that later.

The theme answers are pairs of homonyms (or are they homophones?) clued in punny and/or amusing ways.

18A: Blasé group of directors? (bored board).

62A: Lovely hotel accommodations? (sweet suite).

3D: Farm-grown labyrinth? (maize maze). This was the first theme answer to fall. It was uphill from then on as to the remaining theme answers.

7D: Wake at dawn? (morning mourning). Aah, a wake. I get it now.

10D: Pit in its entirety? (whole hole).

33D: Mooing group of cattle? (heard herd).

37D: Key passage? (isle aisle). Another one I didn't understand until just this minute.

There were a few answers that just didn't feel Tuesday level. Things I didn't know include:

5A: Fiesta Bowl site (Tempe). I'm sure many of you knew that one...I know Rose Bowl and Aloha Bowl.

34A: "Pomp and Circumstance" composer (Elgar). I had everything but the L...and 30D: Hebrew leader? (Alef) was no help. Is that a Hebrew letter?

45A: "Lohengrin" lass (Elsa). Guessed it, but didn't know it.

55A: Exclude (debar). Huh?

2D: Arsenic or antimony (semimetal). I know arsenic as a poison...didn't know it was a semimetal. For that matter, I didn't know semimetals existed. Candy knew that and confirmed it. She also knew 68A: Refinery waste (slag). Candy is a science major...that may not be necessary for that knowledge, but it sure didn't hurt.

52D: Actor Cary of "Twister" (Elwes). Sorry...never heard of him.

I was thrown briefly by 12D: Lew who played Dr. Kildare. I only know Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare and never realized it was a movie before it was a series. The upside was the name Lew Ayres came to mind quickly.

The southeast corner killed me...on a Tuesday! My downfall was 71A: Partners of haws. For some ridiculous reason, I had hees rather than hems...I must have been thinking of these guys. Anyway, there was no way I was getting an answer for 38D: Light in a light show...which turned out to be laser beam.

There were a few words that I especially liked seeing in the grid...20A: 5, 7, 9, etc., for juniors' dresses (sizes), 44A: Under way (afoot), 8D: Primp (preen), 25D: Film material (acetate) and 27D: Kind of artery (carotid).

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Monday, March 24 - David J. Kahn

Two thoughts came to mind after finishing this puzzle. First...I didn't think David Kahn did Monday puzzles. Second...where the hell did the last fifty years go?

The theme of the puzzle is revealed at 39A: Notable Army inductee of 3/24/58. I was only in the first grade, so I have no independent recollection of that being the date that Elvis Presley was inducted into the United States Army. The rest of the puzzle's theme answers are all about the Elvis the soldier.

17A: Like 39-Across's fans on his induction day? (All Shook Up).

56A: Last movie 39-Across made before his Army stint (King Creole).

11D: Army officer who met 39-Across in 25-Down (Colin Powell).

13D: Last Army rank of 39-Across: Abbr. (Sgt).

23D: Much-photographed event after 39-Across's induction (haircut).

25D: Where 39-Across was stationed overseas (West Germany).

30D: First movie 39-Across made after his Army stint (G.I. Blues).

54D: Record label of 39-Across (RCA).

I'm slightly amazed that there's so much trivia about Elvis joining the Army...and fairly astounded that David Kahn put them all together in one puzzle.

Noteworthy fill includes 5A: La __, Milan opera house (Scala), 16A: Phileas __, who went around the world in 80 days (Fogg), 32A: Layers (strata), 42A: Flexible (pliant), 49A: Legendary Chicago Bears coach George (Halas), 50A: Singer __ Anthony (Marc), 65A: Novelist Seton (Anya) and d66A: Artist who liked to paint dancers (Degas). He also painted alternate way to clue him.

Also liked 4D: Openers for all doors (pass keys), 8D: "Ally McBeal" actress Lucy (Liu), 9D: Some computer software checks (alpha tests), 24D: City with a Penn State campus (Altoona), 27D: Like seawater (saline), 32D: Defeated soundly (shellacked) and 33D: Actresses Shire and Balsam (Talias).

For those who may not know, I grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida...close to Fort Lauderdale, the home of 63A: 1975-78 U.S. Open champ Chris (Evert). We were all quite proud of Chrissie, the teenager who faced (and beat) champions who had been playing professionally for years. That two-handed swing of hers was something to see.

We had the same clue tonight at 18D and 49D...[What the "H" of H.M.S. may be]. The answers were His and Her, respectively. I only knew that Her Majesty had ships.

In a comment earlier today, Wendy mentioned the second Sunday puzzle. In the past I haven't regularly done it, but after today's, I just might. Eric Berlin filled every square in the puzzle, including the 37 gray squares. Notepad gave you this information about Going Too Far: "Many of the answers in this crossword are one letter too long and won't fit in the spaces provided. Each of these answers will either begin or end in the gray square immediately before or after it. When the puzzle is done, all the gray squares will have been used exactly once, and the letters in them (reading left to right, line by line) will spell out a quote by fashion editor Diana Vreeland." It was tough, but it was good...and lots of fun.

And speaking of Wendy, be sure to check out her blog for insight into the music of the baby boomer generation. Her picks are always good, but yesterday's feature was one of my favorites...Bell Bottom Blues by Derick and the Dominos. I don't know how she decides who to feature (and what song she'll use)...but you'll want to go back often.

I stayed up past my bedtime and I'll pay dearly for it come morning. Elaine and a friend joined us for Easter dinner and just left a little bit ago. Leslie and Candy will be here tomorrow for a belated celebration. It's so hard to get both of the girls here at the same time, but it's actually kind of nice to have one-on-one with them.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sunday, March 23 - Robert W. Harris wasn't much of a sabbatical, but maybe some people (Type A?) can't be away from a passion for very long.

I missed writing. I missed hearing from you. And I loved the Sunday puzzle.

Robert W. Harris isn't a familiar name, but I didn't bother to Google's a common name, so I might not find the right guy. His puzzle, COMMON INTERESTS has eight theme answers...all clever, all funny, all excellent.

24A: Electrical engineers and news anchors? (current events).

26A: World travelers and wine connoisseurs? (exotic ports).

44A: Geologists and music video producers? (rock bands).

52A: College students and mattress testers? (spring breaks).

82A: Old West outlaws and aspiring thespians? (stage coaches).

89A: Beat-era musicians and orthopedists? (hip joints).

110A: Fort Knox officials and pop singers? (gold records).

113A: Comedians and parade directors? (straight lines).

I don't remember when the theme dawned on me...certainly not immediately, though. After an initial run through the clues, I had maybe a dozen answers. Once the theme connected, it was much easier to guess those nice, long answers, which opened things up nicely.

Not a one of the theme answers seemed forced...and not a groaner in the bunch.
Several of the clues were Sunday deceptive, as they should be. My favorites, most of which tripped me up initially:

1A: Track figure (tipster)...not hurdler.

12A: Nautical line (tow rope). I was trying for something more exotic...maybe a technical term used by the Navy.

30A: Some Millers (Lites). The capital M should have tipped me off, but I didn't get it until I had a couple of letters in place.

47A: Congestion site (sinus). I don't know why I didn't think about a traffic-related answer...maybe because my allergies already know it's spring.

61A: Under (sedated).

119A: Lettered top (dreidel)...not sweater.

122A: Activity in which spelling counts? (sorcery).

Other favorites include:

23A: Home of the newspaper Haaretz (Tel Aviv)...thank you, crosses.

42A: Classic Hans Christian Andersen story, with "The" (Red Shoes).

59A: Robert who introduced the term "cell" to biology (Hooke). Most of the crosses were gettable. I guessed the second O...was clueless about 54D: Gangster's gun (Roscoe).

60A: Where the antihelix is (ear)...had no idea, but I'd better remember it.

67A: Despicable sort (cur). Had cad for the longest time...finally gave it up.

85A: Bit of gridiron equipment (knee pad).

96A: Home of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (Maine). I didn't have a clue, but the I and the E allowed for a good guess. It's a gorgeous place...I had a hard time choosing a picture.

100A: Champ just before 36-Down (Ashe)...tied to [1976-80 Wimbledon champ] (Borg)...two of my favorites. Here's Arthur Ashe in 1975. He was an incredible man, and his death was such a tragic loss.

2D: Kept from home (in exile).

7D: Answer (RSVP)...tough clue for an easy answer.

5D: Walter __, author of "The Hustler" (Tevis). Wouldn't have gotten it but for the crosses.

12D: For all to play, in music (tutti). I guess that's how they came up with tutti frutti...all fruits.

32D: Stepped aside, in court (recused). That was always one of my favorite words in the courtroom.

52D: Much smaller now (shrunk). Reminds me of the silly movie.

74D: Religious pilgrimage (Hadj). I can never remember how to spell it and usually have to rely on the crosses.

84D: "Essential" things (oils)...wouldn't have guessed that without a couple of letters in place.

96D: You can say that again (mantra).

97D: Lacking scruples (amoral).

There were several answers that I only know because they were in previous puzzles...and I managed to remember them.

36A: Oriole or Blue Jay, for short (ALer)...not that we've had that exact clue, but I knew what they wanted.

46A: Meal crumb (ort).

11D: Boulogne-__-Mer, France (Sur).

18D: Car with an innovative "rolling dome" speedometer (Edsel). A five-letter model often indicates Edsel...but not always.

25D: Honcho (nabob).

75D: Rebounds and steals (stats).

80D: Fruit-flavored soda (Nehi). Of course, I knew Nehi before, but I'd never seen it in written form so many times. Mostly I heard Radar talk about it.

90D: Certain chamber group (octet). Octets and nonets appear rather often, either in singular or plural form.

There were some unfamiliar words that I was able to get because of crosses. In addition to those mentioned above:

72A: The Gamecocks of the Southeastern Conf. (USC).

78A: Wallop (baste). I know baste from cooking and sewing because I've done both. I've never walloped anyone.

104A: U.N. chief __ Ki-moon (Ban).

109A: Shak. is its most-quoted writer (OED). I would never have come up with that.

120A: Set out (sallied). Not in my vocabulary.

1D: Like a guardian (tutelar). I might think that was wrong, but the Applet accepted my puzzle.

10D: Craggy peaks (tors). Have we had that before and I just don't remember?

15D: Cambodian money (Riel).

That's it for tonight. I'm going to sally forth to the kitchen to get dinner going. Three more weeks (give or take a few days) and tax season will be over. It's been a long one, and Don is just worn out. But things are good on the home front, and that's a huge relief.

Happy Easter to you and yours. And while it's not about the chocolate, enjoy that part of it anyway.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow. It feels so good to write that again!

Linda G

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Yes, I'm still on sabbatical, but this post had to be written.

Fellow blogger JimH (okay, he's active...I'm slacktive) once said that his favorite posts were ones written by others. So I figured I'd take his advice and try that myself.

Some of you may have seen the comment posted early this morning by KarmaSartre...a somewhat new but very dedicated reader of Madness. It's worthy of its own post, so here it is in its entirety. Fans of "High Noon" may recall the original version.


Do not forsake me, darlin' blogger
On this extra-puzzlin' day
Do not forsake me, darlin' blogger
Write, write your blog

I‘ve no idea just what the theme is
I only know I must be brave
And I must deal with this puzzle
I’ll try to grasp it, and try to solve it
Or lie a coward in my grave

Now I know you’re torn 'tweenst love and duty
But the blogosphere lost its fair-haired beauty
I’ll try to get my puzzle finished
Before high noon

Will he keeps the answers hidden
Vowed it would be my brain or his'n
I'm not afraid to lose, but ooh
My grid’s lookin’ empty, without you

Do not forsake me darlin' blogger
You promised to take us on a ride
Do not forsake us darli’n blogger
Just know I’m grievin', because you’re leavin'
You know I need you by my side

Write, write your blog….

Your devoted reader, Frankie Laine.


Thank you, KarmaSartre. I have definitely missed writing...mostly I've missed hearing from all of you. I'm not ready to dive into the blogosphere...although if Friday's a Mike Nothnagel puzzle, I may have no choice but to blog it.

Keep on puzzling...and I'll see you soon.

Linda G

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Madness...Crossword and Otherwise is taking a leave of absence.

I'll still be solving the New York Times puzzle and visiting the blogs listed in the sidebar...and you can always stop by here to say hello.

Thanks for sharing your good wishes and sentiments. You are family...and you will be missed.

[UPDATE for those of you in syndication land...the sabbatical was short-lived. Check the links in the sidebar for the next week or so. I'll be back before you know it.]

Linda G

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thursday, March 13 - Alan Arbesfeld

Hoo-boy...this theme took me some time to figure out. Since I wasn't getting too many answers, I was pretty sure we were looking at a rebus (or cram-a-lot) of some sort.

Double letters within one square...and it all came together quite nicely.

17A: "Scram!" (buzz off), crossing at 3D: Half of a showy display? (razzle) and 14D: Like some oil rigs (offshore).

18A: Practice area, of a sort (putting green) of the best of the bunch...crossing at 7D: Kennel club rejects (mutts), 9D: Overwhelm (boggle) and 11D: Lee Van __ (spaghetti western actor) (Cleef).

28A: "Black rat" as opposed to "Rattus rattus" (common name), crossing at 21D: Eponym of a classic Minnesota-brewed beer (Hamm) and 26D: __ time (in no). Hamm was my tip-off.

36A: Biblical patriarch whose name means "he will laugh" (Isaac), crossing at 31D: TV's Jack and kin (Paars).

41A: Radical Hoffman (Abbie), crossing at 33D: Robot in "Forbidden Planet" (Robby). Abbie would have been another tip-off, except I spelled it Abbe for too long.

46A: Northeast, on a map (u pp e rr ight), crossing with 38D: Spice holder (pepper box) and 43D: Misses the mark (errs). I had top right until I figured out the theme...and I never would have guessed pepper box. Thank goodness for its cross at 67A: Lawless role (Xena).

59A: Directories (address books), crossing at 55D: Less conventional (odder), 46D: Amherst campus, briefly (U Mass) and 56D: Blackmore heroine (Doone).

62A: Bygone women's magazine (McCalls), crossing at 58D: Stops on a sales rep's rte. (accts) and 52D: Last place (cellar). This corner really had me fouled up. Because I had appts, rather than accts, I couldn't come up with the name of a magazine to save my soul.

At that point, I declared the puzzle finished and checked out that nasty little corner at JimH's blog.

I think Alan Arbesfeld's idea was brilliant, and he pulled it off pretty well. It may be asking too much to expect that no double letters would appear in separate squares...1A: Factory seconds: Abbr. (irrs), 23A: __ Snider, frontman for rock's Twisted Sister (Dee) 63A: Sharp (keen) and 53D: Seconds: Abbr. (assts).

Other noteworthy fill includes 24A: Once-in-a-lifetime traveler (Haji), 54A: Silk fabric for scarves (foulard), 12D: Cigarette brand that sponsored "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (Kent), 25D: Bump (jostle) and 28D: Grammy winner Winans (CeCe)...although I wasn't sure if it would be CeCe or BeBe.

Don mentioned that 66A: Himmel und __ (traditional German potato dish) (erde) actually translates to heaven and earth. I'm sure there's a story behind that.

I definitely don't get 37D: Job for Hercule Poirot (CAS)...what am I missing?

I missed a golden opportunity yesterday...the perfect segue at 30A: Concluding appearance (swan song). I don't know how long it will be, but for the time being, Madness is signing off. I've neglected some pretty important things to keep this blog going. I will miss it, and I will miss many of you. [UPDATE for those of you in Syndication Land. The sabbatical was short-lived...I missed all of you too much. Check out the links in the sidebar for the next week or so...but come back to Madness soon!]

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you later.

Linda G

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wednesday, March 12 - Larry Shearer

Larry Shearer gets better than an AVERAGE MARK (11D, clued as C) for this one.

Every clue in this puzzle begins with the letter C...four of them are simply the letter C. There are also C shapes within the grid.

In addition to average mark, the other theme answers are:



26D...EPCOT CENTER...the first theme answer to fall, although I don't know why.

This was a pretty clever puzzle. I was wiped out tonight, but it held my interest...not just because of the theme. Check out the number of multiword answers.

27A: Curved motorcycle part (mud guard).

30A: Concluding appearance (swan song).

45A: Collects one's winnings (cashes in).

50A: Clarify (spell out).

66A: Come aboard, in a way (hire on). I wanted this to have something to do with a ship...although I guess they wouldn't have added in a way.

8D: Consequence of a solo homer (one run). I got this with only the R in place. Does it count as a sports clue?

18D: Concentrates on specific achievement (sets a goal).

28D: Committed to the truth, in court (under oath).

Favorite clues and/or answers include 10A: Churls lack it (tact), 15A: Convincing, as an argument (cogent), 19A: Cosmos legend (Pelé)...born Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, 20A: Celebrity biographer Hawes (Esme), 38A: Columnist Hopper (Hedda), 42A: Con __ (animatedly, in music) (moto), 65A: Critic James (Agee), 24D: Cassandra's father (Priam), 25D: "Capitalism" rock group __ Boingo (Oingo), 35D: Capua friends (amici), 36D: "Chimes of Freedom" songwriter (Dylan)...I don't remember if Wendy's done Bob Dylan yet, but I bet she will soon if she hasn't already, 47D: Chief (honcho), 48D: City near Cleveland (Euclid) and 55D: C.I.A. betrayer Aldrich (Ames).

Arn returns at 53A, clued as [Comic strip prince's son]. This is one to remember...along with Aleta, the wife of Prince Valiant. You'll see them both fairly often.

Not to be confused with Arn, we have ARI at 61D, clued as [Cardinals, on scoreboards). I was thinking baseball, though, so had STL.

Just noticed a couple of excellent clues, although the answers aren't especially noteworthy. 70A: Coach in Little League, often (Dad), 5D: Circumambulate (roam), 7D: Coloratura's home, with "the" (Met) and 9D: Cremona collectibles, for short (Strads).

Very my blood work back today. After three months on Lipitor, my total cholesterol dropped from 277 to 163. HDL is 69 (up from 58), and LDL is 76 (down from 197). I'm not crazy about having to take Lipitor, but I'm crazy about those numbers. The lowest total cholesterol I've ever had was 167...that was back in 1988 when I weighed 98 pounds and exercised obsessively. Trust me...there's no way I could get back to that weight and exercise frequency!

I've been up since 5:30 and I need to be ready for another busy it's off to bed.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tuesday, March 11 - Eugene W. Sard

Eugene W. Sard is not a name I recognized, so I Googled him. I don't know if I located the constructor or a family member with the same name...but the man I found has patents on file and was recognized by IEEE for contributions to the field of low-noise microwave, millimeter wave and infrared receivers. Impressive.

There were three theme answers...each spanning the grid with 15 letters. All were good answers, and I thought it was a clever theme.

17A: Is pessimistic (expects the worst).

38A: Is optimistic (hopes for the best).

60A: Is apathetic (couldn't care less).

Favorite clues and/or answers:

6A: "Bearded" bloom (iris). Ours are just starting to pop through the ground. I'm more than ready for spring.

14A: Exotic jelly flavor (guava). We had that in Hawaii, but I don't think we've had it since. Must see if I can find some for a tropical treat.

16A: Boston suburb (Lynn). Never heard of it, but it's also the name of my childhood best friend. We're still in touch...almost 40 years after graduation.

21A: "I agree completely" (so true).

29A: Diving bird (auk).

32A: __ shui (feng). I wondered if my house was arranged properly, so I picked up a book on feng shui. It's a wonder we didn't all die twenty years ago. According to that book, everything in our house is wrong.

42A: Taj Mahal site (Agra). Crosswordese that you should remember. I finally have.

43A: Hobby knife brand (X-acto). There's nothing quite like an X-acto knife.

55A: Binging (on a spree). I like that this didn't end in -ing...and that I didn't second-guess myself when I saw that it didn't.

5D: Masked scavengers (raccoons). We're not bothered by them here, but we had to enclose our compost pile and put a concrete block on top to keep the skunks from playing in it.

8D: "__ bin ein Berliner" (ich). I remember this from my childhood. John F. Kennedy said this, intending to say, "I am a Berliner." He should have left out ein...because what he said translated to "I am a jelly doughnut." If any of you know German and can tell me once and for all if that is true, I'd be grateful.

9D: Tom Jones's "__ a Lady" (She's). There are probably a hundred ways to clue that answer, but because they chose this's Tom Jones singing it. Aah, the seventies...don't you love the lace on his cuffs.

11D: Gift of the Magi (myrrh). I love the way it though it must be spelled wrong.

19D: Captain Queeg's creator (Wouk)...from "The Caine Mutiny." Humphrey Bogart was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Queeg in the 1954 film.

25D: "Love and Marriage" lyricist Sammy (Cahn).

46D: Screwy (wacko).

I liked the similar cluing for consecutive answers...66A: Attack, as with eggs (pelt) and 67A: Attack with rocks (stone). Eggs would be messy, but I'd take them over rocks.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G