Mar 31, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008 Stanley B. Whitten

Theme: Oral Cavity

17A: Senior Bush pronouncement: READ MY LIPS

63A: Harmonica: MOUTH ORGAN

11D: At a loss for words: TONGUE TIED

29D: Dentyne, e.g.: CHEWING GUM

I did it! I hit the ball out of the park! No steroid, no corked bat, no google visit. It's just gone! That ball is history! My first ever cheat-free puzzle!

It's a smooth sailing from the beginning to the end. I did not chance upon any obscure words or get tangled by any "could be this""could be that" snag. I only used Liquid Paper once to correct one mis-fill.

The appearance of both 40A: SENOR and 39D: SENORITA in the same puzzle made me cringe a bit, but they are structured so nicely in the grid, so I will let it go. But I would reclue 14A: "Type of code or rug" to something else, since the word CODE appears again as the answer to clue 36D: Encryptions. What do you think?

Grid: 15*15. Total word counts: 74. Total blank squares: 34

Oh, another thing, I have a quick question for you: On Sunday's puzzle, BANJOS is clued as "Lute kin". I know kin's plural form is still kin, so, technically, the pluralized BANJO is correct, but shouldn't "Lute" be in plural form to be completely harmonious with the answer? Or do you think the clue is perfectly fine as it is? Let me have your view.

Across Entries:

5A: Calyx part: SEPAL

10A: Bus driver on "The Simpsons". OTTO. An educated guess. Have never watched this TV series.

15A: Play Tricks on: TEASE

16A: Quantum physicist Niels: BOHR. Repeat offender!

19D: Give the cold shoulder to: SNUB

20D: Island nation of east of Fiji: TONGA. Thought this country used GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS(GNH) to define their quality of life. Wrong, it is Bhutan.

21D: Retirement accounts: NEST EGGS

23D: Sponsorship: EGIS. Could also be spelled as AEGIS.

26D: Former Indian leader: NEHRU

31D: Musical sound effect: REVERB. Reverberative effective, I gather?

45D: Low point: NADIR

47D: Dusk, to Donne: E'EN. I love like the alliteration of the clue. John Donne is an English Poet. This is a great bar in Hongkong called "Dusk Till Dawn".

55D: Actor Ewin: MCGREGOR. Refreshing! I am really tired to see Actor McGregor (EWIN) clue.

71D: Farmer's place. in song: DELL. The Farmer in the Dell. Sadly, I am not familiar with any of the English nursery rhyme. I got it from down clues.

Down entries:

1D: Links vehicle: CART. Cannot understand why so many teenagers take golf cart!

4D: Wisconsin mascot: BADGER. I love our Goldy Gopher!

8D: Colorado ski resort: ASPEN

13D: Eye, poetically: ORBS

18D: Conjuring: MAGIC. I only knew and used the verb "conjure, or conjure up".

24D: Nile bird: IBIS. No question asked, it's always IBIS for Nile bird.

28D: Lower oneself: STOOP. Hello, Hillary, 3am phone call, just curious to see how low will you stoop for the April 22 primary?

41D: "Little Caesar" role: RICO. Unknown to me. I got it from across clues.

44D: Artist Magritte: RENÉ. Another surrealist. I don't get this picture. If it's not a pipe, what is it then?

46D: Drive in Beverly Hills: RODEO

49D: Church doctrines: DOGMA

51D: Exemplar of stiffness: RAMROD

53D: Truth, of yore: SOOTH. I did not know this before.

55D: British pianist Hess: MYRA. I just noticed that MYRA is also an ancient town in Lycia (Turkey).

Alright, time for baseball! Twins Vs Angels (Torii who?) tonight. Justin Moreau was 3-for-4 last year at the Opening Day against the Orioles.


PS: Oops, I forgot to say a special Thank you to Orange (Amy Reynaldo) earlier. Without her book and her generous help, I would've never finished this puzzle unaided. She has unveiled the mystery of crossword world to me. She taught me how, and she explained to me why.


Anonymous said...

Good morning C.C. I agree with you on the plural lutes - banjos from Sun. Misleading otherwise. Also, today's 14A could have dropped "code" from the clue since it was used again later, but it didn't bother me. This puzzle was a great way to start the week...5 mins. I did put ache instead of pain for 7D but realized the error quickly. It's going to be a very good day. I hope you have a good one.

Dr. Dad said...

8 minutes, no dictionary, no googling.

The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell. Hi ho, the derry oh, the farmer in the dell. He then takes a wife, the wife has a child, the child gets a nurse, etc.

Not sure on lutes versus lute.

Have a good day!

Superfrey said...

An easy puzzle today.... but I did not think using 18 D "conjuring", a verb warranted the answer "Magic" a noun. CC what do you think?

Dennis said...

Good morning from Boca Raton - once today's puzzle finallly showed up, as Lois and C.C. said, this one was a wonderful way to start a week. No muss, no fuss. My time was ridiculous.

C.C. Burnikel said...


The word "conjuring" here is a noun form, not the verb ING form. It's explained as "calling up a spirit or devil" in

However, the word "conjure" can also be a noun, here is the definition: "Chiefly Southern U.S. an act or instance of witchcraft or voodoo, esp. a spell."

It seems "conjure" would be a better clue.

What are you views on this clue, Lois, drdad and Dennis?

Dick said...

Hello cc. I am back from 5 days of golf in South Carolina and happy to see an easy puzzle to restart my mind. Took about 9 or 10 minutes to fill everything in but no problems and no cheating. I have not looked at the Sunday puzzle yet but will get to it later today, I hope.

Anonymous said...

How abut "Mouthy" since lips are outside the mouth.

Dr. Dad said...

What I get from several dictionaries is that conjuring is magic and to conjure is to perform magic.

MH said...

This was an easy one for me as well. It took around 10 minutes. I slowed a little with the intersections of ascribed, magic, ibis, and civic but all were made clear as the puzzle revealed itself.

Agree on lutes being plural and also it seems to me that a lute is a VERY distant kin of the banjo so the clue is pretty obscure even without the plural confusion.

On the theme I would say "speaking parts" just for the double entendre. I know it's a bit of a stretch to include gums but your tongue does press against the gums when forming some sounds.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Hi Dick,

I like those golf courses in Mytle Beach, very well-kept. A bit tough for me though. I think my lowest round is 108, horrible!


Do you mind telling me which dictionaries you are using? My Webster's does not list "conjuring" as a word.

You are the only one who has echoe my dislike for yesterday's puzzle theme. I've got quite a few emails from other solvers who enjoy the theme a lot.

Anonymous at 8:43am, thanks for the suggestion. I actually want a theme phrase that has no word "MOUTH" in it since "Mouth" is already in one of the theme entry.

MH, SPEAKING PARTS is the theme right now. Thank you.

jimhllrn said...

Re. 14A - If I was a X word editor I would certainly toss this back. There has to be a better clue than this 'too oft' used one.
For the theme I sorta like ORAL CAVITY.
Easy puzzle. Lots of 'gimmes'.

C.C. Burnikel said...


I like your theme. It's now the final version!

RE 14A: AREA. Williams does not need to toss the puzzle back. He just needs to edit it. It's his job! Allowing CODE to appear both as the clue and then the answer in the same puzzle says enough about his editing ability.

Anonymous said...

This one was exceptionally easy - even for a Monday.

Dr. Dad said...

Encyclopedia Britannica Dictionary (and Britannica Online) and Free Online Dictionary. Wikipedia had something on it as well. Last, there is an online "Skeptics Dictionary" at

Crockett1947 said...

c.c. CONGRATULATIONS! Way to go. Now that you have the confidence boost, you can expect to continue. Have a great day!!

C.C. Burnikel said...


Thank you. Thank you for paying attention to my blog from earlier on and for helping me along the way.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the puzzle, C.C. I was thrilled when I finally finished one.

Short and sweet today. It was definitely under 10 minutes, maybe closer to five.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations CC! Hooray! I remember when I first finished a puzzle w/o any help...I was SO ecstatic; from then on I felt a bit more confident (except for last week I think).

Quick Monday puzzle...sunny day after 3 days of snow here in the NW.

Enjoy! ~AlohaSpirit in Seattle

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this the theme of the TMS Sunday puzzle just two weeks ago or something? Or am I getting my puzzles confused?

Anonymous said...

Did anybody else feel that 29D didn't truly fit the theme? All the other theme answers contained a phrase associated with the mouth. But they all literally referred to the part of the mouth.

In 29D, 'chewing gum' uses a homonym for a part of the mouth. It doesn't actually refer to your gums, the way "read my lips" actually refers to your lips.

TMS frequently has an entry that doesn't quite fit the theme, and it irks me.

I feel better now.

Anonymous said...

Just read your comment about Rene Magritte. "It is not a pipe". It is a picture of a pipe.

C.C. Burnikel said...


Yes, we had a similar puzzle on March 16 Sunday (ORAL EXAM). It has Tooth, Tongue, Jaw, Throat, Filling, Mouth & Cavity in it.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Ellie & AS in Seattle, thanks for the comments. Yeah, I am as excited as a baseball player who has just hit his first Major League home run.


Wow, thank you so much for lifting the veil for me. I stared at the painting for a long time this morning and tried so hard to figure out "C'est Quoi alors?" Talk about paradox!

Completely echo your point on Tribune's theme/themes.

marz88 said...

iiieeeeee!!!! This is my first time making a comment but I am so upset at the daily that I subscribe to for my puzzle that I just have to tell someone. They are printing the answers to the puzzle on the same day!!! Where is the fun if the answers are a page away? Where is the challenge if you never have to search for an answer? I know, I could use self control and not peak but the temptation is there. Anyone else out there have the same feelings?

C.C. Burnikel said...


You mean every day? If so, pick up your phone and call your local editor immediately! It's so wrong!

I suspect that they are unaware of the mistake.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to ask this gracefully. but how is it possibe you've never watched The Simpsons, read or even heard of Tuesdays with Morrie, or don't know The Farmer in the Dell. Are you a stranger to these shores? Just curious.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Anonymous at 10:40pm,

I arrived here in the US in May 2001 (from Canton, China) when I was almost 30 years old. So I am not familiar with many of the stuff you take for granted.

M.E. said...

I often will do the online Crossword at the Chicago Tribune site, and it hasn't been updated since Friday, March 28th!! What's up with that? Anybody know?

C.C. Burnikel said...


I got an email from Tribune yesterday (Tuesday) saying that they were trying to fix the problem.

Did not know that it would take theme days. Amazing.

M.E. said...

Thanks for the info, C.C.! And may I say (again??), I love your blog! It's so much fun to find others who get as much of a kick out of crossword puzzles as my husband and I do. :-)

C.C. Burnikel said...


Your comment brightens my day.

Alright, this is last email I got from the Tribune (2 minutes old :0)

"We do apologize for the inconvenience you have encountered while on our Web site. We were experiencing issues with our Crossword Puzzles. We are doing our best to resolve those issues. We definitely apologize for the issues you experienced."

Anonymous said...

Something that may help you is that "Actor McGregor"'s first name is spelled Ewan, not Ewin. Just trying to help :)