Mar 10, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008 Verna Suit

Theme: Flower Girls

A17: Ernestine's creator: LILY TOMLIN

59A: Porky's girlfriend: PETUNIA PIG

10D: Henry James title character: DAISY MILLER

24D: Puzzle theme: FLOWER GIRLS

OK, do you still stubbornly believe our puzzle mirrors the NY Times' difficulty patten? If so, this is not a Monday puzzle, it belongs to Friday/Saturday. Granted, it's a new constructor, so it takes time for us to get into her wavelength. But the editor could easily reworded several clues if he wanted Monday to be the easiest. The conclusion: TMS crossword is random.

I slogged like a blind man this morning. Could not find my way out. Struggled hard at every corner. The fact that SCOOTER (Libby) & KARL (Rove) appeared in the same puzzle was very disconcerting.

Here are some of the across entries.

1A: Cut ruthlessly: HACK. That's how I solved your puzzle Ms. Suit!

5A: Get lost!: SCRAM

10A: Cowgirl Evans: DALE

15A: Colorado brewery: COORS

16A: Sale caveat: AS IS

A17: Ernestine's creator: LILY TOMLIN. I had no idea who/what Ernestine was. For all I knew, she could be another Mona Lisa, or another Scarlett O'Hara, or another Rubik's Cube, so I was wracking my brain for a painter/composer/author/creator's name. Never watched Laugh-in. Tomline played the wisecracking Ernestine in it. Hated the clue.

20A: Sault __ Marie: STE.

23A: Has aspirations: HOPES. You aspire, you strive, you pursue, you seek, and you hope? Are they the same?

22A: Hit single's companion: B SIDE. Sounds so clunky to me.

23A: Crisp fabric: TAFFETA. This word is of Persian origin, meaning "Twisted woven", considered to be high-end fabric according to Wikipedia.

25A: Brit's indignant comment: I SAY. Bloody.

27A: Property claim: LIEN

28A: Upscale department store, briefly: NEIMANS. Neiman Marcus. Needlessly Marked up. Kohl's is all I can afford.

32A: My bad!: I'M SORRY

35A: Sea of Israel: GALILEE. Is it a gimme for you?

37A: "Gentlemen prefer Blondes": LOOS (Anita). Never heard of her. The movie (Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, 1953) was OK.

38A: Francis and Dahl: ARLENES. Complete strangers to me.

42A: Greek: HELLENE. No idea.

45A: Proximal: NEAREST

46A: _fixe (obsession): IDEE. My current idee fixe: Hillary the fish slimer. Can you believe they will stoop that low to curry favor with the voters? Well, at least, I learned that there was a difference between gutting a fish and sliming a fish.

48A: Dawdled: TARRIED

52A: Unspoken: TACIT

55A: "Midnight Cowboy" role: RATSO. Never watched this movie. Had no knowledge of Ratso. It sounds like a stoolie to me.

57A: 1011: MXI. Yep. Our editor is having a Roman Numerals Fest lately. 2 in yesterday's puzzle also.

58A: Cracked open: AJAR

59A: Porky's girlfriend: PETUNIA PIG. Walt Disney cartoon characters. I simply did not know. (update: I was wrong. It's Warner Brother's Looney Tunes).

61A: "Communist Manifesto" author Marx: KARL. Marx, Engles, Lennin and Chairman Mao. That's the stuff I grew up with, not Porky Pig or Mickey Mouse.

62A: Michaels of "SNL": LORNE. It was clued as Actor Greene in yesterday's puzzle.

63A: Pastrami purveyor: DELI

64A: Former mates: EXES. God, I hated this word "Mates".

65A: Basketry willow: OSIER. What a weird looking word. I am sure I will forget it next time.

66A: Menu plan: DIET. Why? I was thinking of Steak & Potato, Fish & Rice, Clam noodles, you know, a real meal menu.

Down entries:

1D: Composer of "The Planets": HOLST. My brain simply refused to take in certain names. This guy was on Friday's puzzle.

2D: Novelist Brookner: ANITA. What's wrong with Anita Hill? Has anyone ever heard of Anita Brookner?

3D: Staff symbol: C CLEF

4D: E or G, e.g.: KEY. I like how 3D and 4 D are stacked together.

5D: Motorcycle's little brother: SCOOTER

6D: Guests: COMPANY. I filled in letter "S" all too eagerly.

9D: Certain ISP: MSN.

10D: Henry James title character: DAISY MILLER. The only James' book I read is The Portrait of a Lady, and I could not dislodge the main character's name from my dense brain at this moment.

11D: __ Spumante: ASTI. The wine.

13D: Salinger girl: ESMÉ. For Esmé with Love and Squalor. Never read it.

18D: "A League of __ own": THEIR. Tom Hanks, Madonna, Geena Davis were all in it. I don't know why I dislike this movie.

22D: Cash for Security: BAIL. I put Bond first.

24D: Puzzle theme: FLOWER GIRLS. The clue should be "This puzzle's theme", don't you think so?

25D: Black or White: SEA. Good clue. Here is the map for White Sea.

29D: Medicinal plant: ALOE. Sometimes it's SENNA.

31D: Mobutu _ Seko: SESE. Nope, never heard of him. The Zaire President. The only African evil men I knew were Idi Amin and Charles Taylor (the Liberia dictator).

32D: Reitman or Pavlov: IVAN. Ivan Pavlov, yes, Reitman No.

33D: Soggy ground: MIRE

34D: Actress Ward: SELA. Our crossword editor's favorite actress.

42D: Top-forty song: HIT TUNE. I suppose so.

43D: "Lou Grant" star: ED ASNER

44D: Writer Jones: LEROI. Completely, utterly, totally unknown to me. (Update: I got this information from a reader. Jones is also known as Amiri Baraka. Poet, Black activist, author of many excellent books like "Blues People" and "Black Music".)

49D: Mile High Center architect: I. M. PEI. He also designed the Louvre Pyramid and JFK Library.

50D: Napoleon's punishment: EXILE

52D: Make off with: TAKE. Steal.

53D: Trojan War hero: AJAX. Also a cleanser brand, "Stronger than dirt".

54D: Give a hoot: CARE

56D: Italian bell town: ATRI. The Bell of Atri. Did not know this tale, never read Longfellow's poem either.

59D: Middle East grp.: PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Abbas is their current leader. What a mess Arafat left behind! Or rather, what a mess Arafat created!

Have a good week.

C. C.


Katherine said...

Midnight Cowboy is a CLASSIC, if you can take the language. It's a great, old movie. Never heard of Anita Brookner, or Leroi Jones either.

Anonymous said...

Good morning!

I would completely have to agree that there were definitely clues that could have been re-worded; starting with 24D. And, I have to admit, not such a big fan of HELLENE - 42A (Greek).

ARLENES - 38A (Francis and Dahl), I want to say this was a clue last week? I've seen it here before, otherwise I would have been in the same boat as you.

Once again the roman numerals got me (57A). I don't know what my issue is with recalling roman numerals beyond the basics of I, V and X.

Have a great day!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Good morning Katherine,

"Gentleman prefer Blondes" author Loos probably would be a better clue for ANITA if the constructor did not also need LOOS later in the grid.

__ Solei is better than author Jones for LEROI. Or __ et moi (Louis XVI).

I start to pick up this small pearls of wisdom from Orange.


I was thinking of you yesterday when I tried to fill in the 2 big Roman numerals.

You are right about Arlenes, it was on March 1 puzzle, clued as Dahl and Francis. But I forgot, what can I say!

Anonymous said...

Once again, my ignorance of movies and pop culture bit me. I didn't get the "Midnight Cowboy" one or the Ed Asner clue. I didn't come up with Neimans, either, but I might have if my paper hadn't put "Upscale" at the bottom of the column and "Department store, briefly" at the top of the next column-- I didn't see the rest of the clue.

Finished our big Sunday puzzle without a hitch last night, though. It's not the Tibune one, though.

Crockett1947 said...

The difficulty of the puzzle is quite dependent upon your cultural background which is tied to your age, in my opinion. I found this puzzle to be fairly easy. My paper has the last name of the author as SULT. OSIER is just one of those crosswrod words that one eventually learns. Haven't seen "Midnight Cowboy" and never read Henry James, but the crossword words are out there at the edge of the radar somewhere. Have a great week!

MH said...

Yup, this was a tough one for me. Got Hack but couldn't get Holst or Anita. Got Daisy but didn't know Miller. I couldn't get Nordies out of my head and thus couldn't get Neimans. And it just went on that way. Osier is actually a repeater although I haven't seen it in a while. Another of those 5 letter words with 4 vowels. I didn't get Hellene but I know that Hellenic means Greek, especially in college campus sorority/fraternity lingo since my daughter is on the pan-hellenic council at her university.

Anonymous said...

Leroi Jones = Amiri Baraka

Poet, Black activist, author of many excellent books like "Blues People" and "Black Music". Amazing man I learned about in college and I was pleases to see him make the puzzle.

C.C. Burnikel said...


This is Ed Asner's second appearance since Jan 21. So I had no problem ferreting his name.

I detected some lack of satisfaction from you over finishing a Sunday puzzle. Am I right? Is it a Syndication puzzle?


Your paper is wrong. Her name is Suit.

I completely agree with you on the cultural background part. It's definitely a major hurdle for me to overcome. Certain simple, little things can easily throw me off the track.

My husband did not finish today's puzzle either. He left quite a few blank unfilled. I giggled when I saw him put SO SORRY instead of I'M SORRY for 32A.


Yep, we should've got this Holst guy. I've put him in the Repeat Offender List earlier.

Anonymous at 10:11am,

Thanks for the information. I've copied and pasted it on my blog.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Below are 2 comments that were misplaced.


"Just to let you know, Petunia Pig is not a Disney character. Warner Bros. Looney Toon. You know that "wrascally wrabbit, heheheh"!

March 10, 2008 10:24 AM"


"Arlene Francis was always on a game show in the 50's she was married to a man named Gold. Arlene Dahl was an actress of merit in the 50's. You make me feel sooooooooo old!!! Not knowing all the people we older than dirt remember!!

March 10, 2008 12:28 PM"

Anonymous said...

Arlene Francis was married to actor Martin Gabel not Gold(as far as I know) He sometimes appeared as a panelist on To Tell The Truth & What's My Line.

Some trivia... Midnight Cowboy was rated X before that rating became associated with porn. Now I think you could show it uncut on TV

The word ajar always reminds me of that joke.. When is a door not a door? When its ajar...

Anyway thanx for all of the help...

Bryan Lee Williams said...

I thought this one was extermely hard.

I only finished about half on my own.

feste said...

56d I thought of adano, but didn't fit. Dustin Hoffman may have received an award for "Ratso" I think the film launched Jon Voight's career. As a classical music buff, "The Planets" composer was for me a given. Checking my archives I find a Ms Verna Suit TMS crossword May 2, 2003.

C.C. Burnikel said...


That's a very interesting piece of information on Suit.

How do you file your puzzles? On computer?

sallyjane said...

Hello everyone!

I guess I'm in the minority today since I thought the puzzle was a snap. However, before you all throw things at me, I will concede that it was loaded with pop culture and answers that you had to have in your memory bank.

My one complaint was the crossing of 31D. and 37A. Both of these are "know or don't know" answers. Not fair, especially on a Monday.

I know, I know, the puzzles aren't gradually more difficult as the week goes on. Especially so last week! Perhaps Mr. Wayne Robert Williams was trying to make a point!

C.C., honey, keep plugging away at this. From what I can tell, you are doing very well at "connecting" with the puzzles. I started "watching" crosswords when I was very young, 6 or 7. And trust me when I tell you that was a very long time ago. I've been doing them myself for close to 50 years! 50 years? Wait a minute - who said that?! :) Anyway, in all that time I've never tired of doing them and enjoy it when the challenges get really tough.

See you tomorrow!


feste said...

I have a stack of TMS hard copies, some yellowing with age. I kept them for examples of my first crossword attempts, and the jumbles. When I was in the Army, I knew a guy that had a copy of the Stars and Stripes military newspaper for over a 20 year period. He kept them stored in a warehouse in Dayton, Ohio. What he planned on doing with them I have no idea, and he never said.

Boomer said...

Oh, I am SO SORRY that I missed "I'm Sorry" in the puzzle, but then in what square do you put the apostrophe?? Anyway, did anyone finish half the puzzle and then go out and bowl 247-266-267-780 ?? Maybe just one guy did that.


C.C. Burnikel said...


I enjoy reading a skilled solver's point of view.

Have you thought of submitting a puzzle to Williams? Wouldn't it be cool for me to blog/complain about your puzzle?


Thank you for the quick response. I also want to thank you for digging into your file and find a Verna Suit puzzle and share the information with us. That's very kind of you.

Boomer,the bowling king,

Good point about the apostrophe. I also wondered aloud about M*A*S*H clue on Saturday's puzzle. But others did not seem to make a fuss about it.

Margaret said...

Hi, I'm finding you by accident by cheating on Monday's crossword puzzle by Googling Francis and Dahl, trying to figure out who in the world they were.

Whoops - you have all the answers!!

Looks like the same crossword runs in the Savannah Morning News as well. I used to be a big puzzle fan but recently picked it up as I caretake for an elderly couple here who both have Alzheimer's.

They like to sleep a lot, and it's been my release to do the paper crossword as I sit in between them as they snore away. LOL.

This was a hard one. I feel young because I didn't know half the answers.

Take care.

C.C. Burnikel said...


It's very nice of you to leave a comment on my blog.

I hope you are having fun solving crossword while caretaking those old folks.

Please come back anytime you need help or feel like you want to chime in.

C. C.