Mar 22, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008 Josiah Breward

Theme: NONE

Another traumatizing experience! I guess my heart just does not belong to any themeless puzzle.

I was stumped from the very beginning of course. Barely heard of Greer Garson. In fact, I was thinking of Garson Kanin when I read the clue. So I jumped around like a squirrel this morning, darting from corner to corner searching for a nut. Never gained any foothold. I was also very bothered by the excessive amount of INGs in the clues/answers.

I think I floundered about 30 minutes, then I decided to quit and started googling. I would not even call today's solving experience as a rigorous workout. It feels like torture.

The author for today's puzzle is the guy who constructed the Going off half-cocked puzzle on March 9, which tormented me for a good 2 hours as I could not understand what's the relationship between the theme entries and the titled theme. I had no idea that "Going off half-cocked" means "act without thinking".

I kind of like today's wide-open grid, which almost mirrors Breward's Feb 23 puzzle. I think I would've enjoyed this puzzle if I were a better solver.

Across entries:

1A: Greer Garson classic: MRS. MINIVER. Garson won an Oscar for this movie.

11A: Low-ish card: TREY. Why ish?

15A: Bouffe: COMIC OPERA. No idea. Never knew that Bouffe has a Buffoon origin. I guess it makes sense now. Does anyone speak French here? Doesn't Bouffe mean 'grub"/"food" in French?

16A: Gambling mecca: RENO

17A: Chiquimula resident: GUATEMALAN. I am not familiar with South American countries. Now I am waiting for the diabolic editor to clue CHIQUIMULA as Guatemala city.

20A: Last of a collection?: ANA. Why? Why last?

21A: The Promised land: CANAAN

23A: Actor Erik: ESTRADA. I googled "Actor Erik", the first page that came up is all about Erik La Salle, who starred in ER. Estrada's mug looks familiar to me, so I must have googled him before. Famed for TV series CHiP.

26A: Hindu title: SRI. It's very fascinating to me that many languages put Sir, or Mr. in front of a name, including this Hindu title SRI. But in Chinese, we put Sir (先生) after the name, for example, we will call Mr. Warren Buffet as "Warren Buffet 先生". I guess Japanese is the same, you put San after some name, as in Ichiro-san.

28A: Campaign contributor: abbr: PAC (Political Action Committee). Remember Senator Rick Santorum (PA) used his PAC money to pay for his Starbucks ($558)?

31A: Hebrew letter: TSADI. Total stranger to me. It could be also spelled as SADHE, SADI, 18th letter of Hebrew alphabet. How many letters are in Hebrew alphabet?

34A: Hanging to one side: A-LOP. This is another ATIP for me. I hate this kind of made-up word more than any obscure actor/actress (dead or alive). Just tell me in which dictionary can I find this word, Mr. Breward? (Update: Feste found this world in the Oxford English Dictionary).

36A: Whimpers: MEWLS. Identical clue on this author's Feb 27 puzzle.

38A: Dunfermline dagger: SNEE. Yep, Keep camouflaging it. You can pick up the remotest town in Scotland and I will still get this word. I am not falling into your trap.

41A: Agave plant: SISAL. Have never heard of this word. Wanted YUCCA.

43A: Former 1/2 Country: GDR (German Democratic Republic - East Germany. Remember their secret police? STASI. West Germany is FRG (Federal Republican of Germany). The unification, oh, no, reunification took place in 1990. First Chancellor: Helmut Kohl. I never liked him.

44A: Maryland player: TERRAPIN. Got it this time.

48A: Type of general: ONE STAR. Just found out that Eric Shinseki was a 4-star general. I always thought he was a 3-star.

49A: Jurisprudence based on precedents: CASE LAW. I was intimidated by the clue. Jurisprudence sound as sophisticated as "Fiduciary duty" to me.

53A: Ethnic: RACIAL. Really? Are these two the same?

56A: Lawyers: abbr. ATTS. I put in ESQS first and I felt so smart for a while.

57A: Outmoded data storage: MICROFICHE. No idea. Here is the definition: "A flat sheet of microfilm in a form suitable for filing, typically measuring 4 by 6 in. (10 by 15 cm) and containing microreproductions, as of printed or graphic matter, in a grid pattern.".

61A: Stretching out: ELONGATION. It would really drive me bananas if the answer turned out to be ELONGATING.

63A: Again and again: REPEATEDLY

Down clues:

1D: "Fibber _ and Molly": MCGEE. Here is the information on this radio show. I would've penned in the answer easily if the clue were The Cremation of Sam ___.

3D: Brainy: SMART. I am NOT. So, anonymous @ 9:11pm March 21, please don't judge me by your standards. Walk in my shoes for 3 miles, then start opining your view. Don't rush into conclusion.

4D: Bishops' toppers: MITERS

6D: Wandering life: NOMADISM

7D: Toothpaste brand: IPANA. How quickly I forgot this name! It was on this constructor's March 9 puzzle.

8D: Constellation near Carina: VELA. Brutal clue. No idea.

10D: Deep-seated ill will: RANCOR. Stupid Arafat, he killed the Oslo Accord. Otherwise, the rancor would not run so deep today! History sometimes is really made by the whims of a few people.

11D: Crossings: TRANSITS

12D: Keeping: RETAINING. I would not type in (hence dignify) this word if not for the vexing ING.

13D: Twisted into a confusing mass: ENTANGLED. I am very confused. Can never tell what distinguishes tangle from entangle, untangle from disentangle.


25D: Calls a passing ship: HAILS. I put AHOYS first.

27D: Booth or Meese: EDWIN. Knew Meese. Booth, No.

28D: Rural opera: PASTORALE. No idea. It's "a piece of music suggestive of pastoral life." The clue just feels very awkward to me. How about Shepherd's opera?

30D Editor or debugger, e.g.: CORRECTOR. Ugh! Don't like it.

32D: Odin's melieu: AESIR. Nope. According to the dictionary, AESIR is "the principal race of gods, led by Odin and living at Asgard." There is another ealier Norse race called Vanir, who was "first in conflict with the Aesir, later allied with them."

35D: Lasts: PERSISTS

37D: ___ Springs, NY: SARATOGA

42D: Aspin or Brown: LES. My first thought was Dan. The author of The Da Vinci Code.

45D: Golfer Arnie: PALMER. You can come back anytime you like Arnie.

47D: Descendant of Shem: SEMITE. Bible knowledge, my Achilles' heels!

49D: Chili con __: CARNE. Interesting, CARNE means meat in so many languages: Spanish, Romania, Portugest and Italian. Do you know that the word "carnival" also derive from carne?

50D: Intelligible: LUCID. Senator Byrd (WV), 91 years old, still serving. Very impressive.

51D: South African playwright Fugard: ATHOL. Had to google him. He is a South African playwright. Well, if you are enamored with with ING, then clue Doris Lessing (Nobel Literature 2007) in your puzzle.

54D: Old English bard: SCOP. No idea. Learned that this SCOP has something to do with SCOFF, the ones who make mocking, or taunting verse.

59D: Unwanted weight: FAT. Absolutely!



Dennis said...

Well, this one made my head hurt. Had to get many of the downs from the across clues and vice versa. Another example of age helping, i.e., Fibber Mcgee, Mrs. Miniver, microfiche, etc.
I agree, C.C. - I don't think 'aesir' is a 'milieu', nor is 'ana' the last of a collection.
And don't let that idiot last night bother you - there's always going to be a few on any blog.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Morning Dennis,

His/her comment clearly fouled up my mood this morning. I was upset. But now I am OK.

About the author, did you look at the name before you started solving?

Dennis said...

C.C. - No, I never pay attention to the author, since I have little chance of remembering his/her construction pattern. I have a hard enough time remembering where my socks are...

C.C. Burnikel said...


Since you mentioned about "milieu", now I think I hate this clue too.

Odin's milieu is Valhalla!

I have to scan at the author's name first. Just a habit.

I have 2 Labels at the end of each entry(below the comment, see it?). Just click on the author's name, it will show you all the works he has done since I started my blog.
That's how I see their patterns.

Katherine said...

Good morning CC, and Dennis. This one was hard for me, but I did get Mrs Miniver LOL . I did not get most of this puzzle, but then, I don't have a lot of time to work on them because I have to get to work. Today I have to go shovel the snow. I need to read the blog from yesterday to see what upset you. Have a good weekend all.

Katherine said...

CC, I read that comment. There are a lot of grouchy people around to ruin someone's day. I LOVE this site, and look forward to coming here every day. Sometimes when I wake up during the night, I almost want to get up to get the puzzle so I can sign on to your site. I love it, and everyone's comments.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Thank you for your kindness Katherine. I appreciate it.

Dennis et al,


Am I the only one who is bothered by all those dizzying INGS? Have you counted the total number?

I start to wonder if this Saturday puzzle is indeed edited by Wayne Williams. It just feel so clunky. And this is not the first time I've got this feeling.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, this one took me quite a long time to finally finish it. I was seriously trapped by the clues, as you said, those clues with INGs. After I got today's paper after breakfast, I could only get a few right. The first two words I easily got right is MUTE and REPEATEDLY. And then I was totally clueless. So I put it aside and then grabbed my flute to get rid of the frustration. After lunch, I resumed the game and couldn't help googling. When my sweetie was working on her big event today, I could only finish the upper left and lower right corners. Till then, I suddenly realized what you meant by the symmetry of a crossword puzzle. Today's puzzle is really symmetric. With more intensive googling I could finally finish the entire one at about 3 a.m. your time. I've never spent so much time on a puzzle! Anyway, I always look forward to reading from your blog about your thoughts on puzzles. I learn some every time. Oops! I should really get back to my studying. Look forward to your article tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

C.C., I appreciate all the work you must put into these entries. It's great to get the answers, but your commentary makes the blog.

This was the first time having voice training has come in handy solving a crossword puzzle. I got 28D (PASTORAlE) and 15A (COMICOPERA) and that helped. Mrs. Miniver is one of my mom's favorite movies, so I got that with a few down clues.

At any rate, close, but no cigar. I had the corners done but got stuck in the center. No ideas on the Hebrew letter or the "milieu." I couldn't think of anything other than Norse or Valhalla.

I don't get the TMS puzzle on Sundays. My paper doesn't publish a credit for it, so I don't know whose it is. It's usually fairly easy, though, so I get a little ego boost going into the week.

See you on Monday!

Anonymous said...

Ouch. This one really hurt.

CC: the -ing answers along with the a- clues are getting quite tiresome. And nevermind the rudeness of others. :o)

Have a great Saturday!

Dick said...

CC I like some others had to go back to read yesterdays comments. Guess you cannot satisfy everyone but from my view point I find your blog to be exceptional. Your solutions and the comments from your regular bloggers has taught me so much about solving crosswords and I feel smarter because of it.

NYTAnonimo said...

Will try to address your questions that have not been answered yet cc. First it would appear that the author of this puzzle may be the editor-see this link to Josiah Beward. I would say "lowish" which I found in an online dictionary meaning "sowewhat low" is a somewhat dubious word. Trey=3, so depending on the game, 2 and maybe an ace would be lower. Opéra bouffe is the French term for comic operetta of composers such as Offenbach in 19th century France. Here is one Hebrew letter chart. Wikipedia has one with more variations and notes that there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet.

I thought there was a lot of crosswordese in today's puzzle and a lot of arcane words that you wouldn't hear in current conversation or literature. I did not know ANA, TSADI, IPANA, SCOP, ATHOL, SISAL, and AESIR. Got GDR from the down words/clues. Anonymous who questioned you on not being familiar with Mitch Albom's books should be ignored-you are a smart person-that's quite apparent from your blog-and you are continuing to learn.

Also are you familiar with One Across. You can use it instead of or in addition to googling when you just can't get an answer.

Thanks again for a great write up cc. I missed a few days this week because of a death in the family. May go back and do those puzzles if I have the time.

Dick said...

Now for todays puzzle. I struggled with it in some places mainly the lower left corner. I spent about 22 to 25 minutes until I had to get help. 31A SISAL was a problem because I had 33D as AEXSIR which I got from a reference book. Never heard of SCOP but got it from a reference also and had to Google for 51D ATHOL. It is always reassuring to find that other people struggle on the same puzzles that I do. Thanks guys and you all have a Great EAster.

NYTAnonimo said...

Don't know why the link to Josiah Breward isn't working-will try again here. If that doesn't work here is what the article says

Area native knows the ups, downs of crossword making

His crossword puzzles have appeared regularly in The Sunday Times for a decade, vexing and befuddling would-be word mavens, and there’s one inside today — on page G7.

But just who is Josiah Breward, Scranton, Pa.?

Wayne Robert Williams chuckled at the question, knowing his cover was about to be blown. It’s not that it’s a closely guarded secret; it’s just that no one had asked before.

“I’m from Scranton,” he confessed, “and I’m Josiah Breward.”

Well, sort of, and sometimes.

Josiah Breward is — or was — a real person. Born in England, he immigrated to the United States as a teenager, eventually settling in the Bangor Heights section of North Scranton, where he worked as a coal miner.

Mr. Williams, a Green Ridge native, is the puzzle editor of Chicago-based Tribune Media Services. When he took the position in 1997, he wanted a pseudonym for the puzzles he created, so he borrowed the name of Josiah Breward, his maternal grandfather.

“He was a nice guy, and it’s a good name, a Scranton name,” Mr. Williams, 58, said in a telephone interview from his home in Dade City, Fla. “It’s to honor him. That’s the important thing to me.”

Not that he’s Josiah Breward all the time or exclusively.

Mr. Williams said standard crossword puzzles under Mr. Breward’s name are usually but not always created by him in collaboration with his brother, Thomas. If it’s a diagramless puzzle attributed to Mr. Breward, chances are Thomas produced it.

But if a puzzle appears under the name Willie A. Wiseman, that’s Mr. Williams’ alone — another pseudonym. On the other hand, the name Michael T. Williams, whose puzzles also appear regularly in The Sunday Times, is real. He is Mr. Williams’ nephew.

Mr. Williams acknowledged it can get a little confusing, especially since he, his brother and his nephew aren’t the only crossword creators with their surname.

“Having a lot of Williamses around, that was one of the reasons for the pseudonyms in the first place,” he said.

Mr. Williams’ family moved from Scranton to metropolitan New York in 1960, about four years after his grandfather’s death. He started creating crossword puzzles when he was 20. At Tribune Media Services, he edits 16 crosswords, plus cryptograms, each week.

He likes puzzles with jokes, puns and misdirections. There is nothing more satisfying than receiving e-mails from readers saying they liked a particular joke he included in a puzzle, he said.

“The main thing you want with a crossword is to make them entertaining,” he said. “You want crossword-solving to be fun and not like taking a classroom test.”

Mr. Williams, who has lived in Florida for 20 years, still carries a fondness for his native city. He has relatives in the Scranton area and visits occasionally.

“I like to get back to see how things have changed,” he said. “It’s a good feeling when you come into the valley.”

Contact the writer:

©The Times-Tribune 2008

Also picture of the oudated microfiche which I have used at work and in libraries.

Anonymous said...

FYI Edwin Booth was the father of John Wilkes Booth. He, John, shot Lincoln.

Dick said...

nytanonimo thanks for the links that you listed. I bookmarked them and I am sure they will be used in the future.

Anonymous said...

Bob Casey Jr.

Son of the 44th Governor of PA Robert Casey Sr.

On election night, Casey won the race with 59% of the vote, compared to 41% for incumbent Senator Rick Santorum. Casey's margin of victory was the highest ever for a Democrat running for the United States Senate in Pennsylvania [1]. Casey's 17.4-point victory margin was the largest victory margin for a challenger to an incumbent Senator since James Abdnor unseated George McGovern by 18.8 points in 1980.

Casey is the first Pennsylvania Democrat elected to a full term in the Senate since Joseph S. Clark was reelected in 1962.

Unknown said...

This puzzle was a hard one. I feel a lot better seeing I wasn't the only one having trouble. CORRECTOR bugged me too.

1soni said...


re: the wonderful Mr. Anon of 9 pm this Friday past.

Your response should be that you are NOT scamming all of us - and your cousin will be in contact with him shortly with a very special bridge to sell.

1soni said...


re: the wonderful Mr. Anon of 9 pm this Friday past.

Your response should be that you are not scamming all of us and your cousin will be in contact with him shortly with a very special bridge to sell.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Pithy, concise, crossword-related comments ONLY please.


Thank you so much for the Breward information. I am stunned. I need to digest the information and look at the past authors' list.

I am going to set a permanent sidebar for this article so others can share this information.

Next time a link will be sufficient. Copy and paste just takes too much space.

I really appreciate all the research work you've done for the puzzle. Very thorough. I am very impressed.

I deleted Anonymous at 11:11am's message because I don't like the article he quoted.

Little Lj said...

CC, that anonymous guy from yesterday can take a hike. I bet if he tried to do a puzzle from another country he could only hope to do half as well as you do everyday with our crossword. And you have the courage to blog about it everyday and admit what you didn't know, and what you are still learning. You are providing a great service to everyone who enjoys your blog, don't let one idiot ruin your day, they aren't worth it!

AAAANY way! Today's was tough for me. I seemed to get quite a few long answers straight of the bat, such as PASTORALE, REPEATEDLY and MICROFICHE. So that is to say, I had a lot of squares filled in fairly quickly, which usually means the rest of the puzzle falls pretty quickly. But today there were a lot of answers that I just couldn't get despite having nearly all the crosses. I too share your hatred of A- words! What are they anyway?! Who says them!?

Have a great day everyone xx

Anonymous said...

This author Ed Voile is somewhat strange at times, but I attribute it to were he lives - Gillette WY. His mind may be wind damaged. Thought todays puzzle a real thought provoker, but eventually got 90% then ran short of time a googled the last four or five. Age helped me also. Fibber MCgee and Molly was a favorite on Sun. nights.

Keyth said...

My 1st time here, I found it googling todays puzzle. WOW! there are others like me! Who knew? Re: 4Down, isnt that a Mitre? I did get a lot of the puzzle but not being able to complete it brought me here here. I look forward to returning from time to time. Regards. Keyth

Boomer said...

All of you did better than I. Of course I got the Terrapins since they beat the Gophers in the NIT last Tuesday. I got McGee because I'm old, and Mrs. Miniver because I guessed, but then I put in Guatacanal instead of Guatamalan because it fit, and that was the end of the upper left for me. I used to use a microfiche machine once in awhile, but the clue didn't ring my bell. Actually I thought it was spelled microfish. Like the ones we catch in Minnesota lakes. (They're the small-ish ones)

Anonymous said...

good afternoon everyone c.c.? am I that much older then you? I got microfishe right off the bat altho it was one of the few I did get lol I agree there were a lot of trick answers today, and what the heck was up with 60. a ? loot? oye vie ! last one i figured out still haven't figured out the remote button one yet (55.a) t/c everyone the whoo

Dennis said...

whooinhell2000 - the answer is the 'mute' button on a remote control.

Anonymous said...

1a-Having seen the movie it was a no brainer for me. I also remember using Ipana toothpaste. Guess that dates me as a "Geezer."
As a student of the Immortal Bard, I recall that Edwin Booth was one of the finest Shakespearean Actors ever to grace the stage. His alternating roles of Iago/Othello with Henry Irving was an unforgettable experience that I relive in my dreams from time to time.
I like to take a difficult puzzle as this one today, put it away for a couple of days and then go back to it and see how well I do. I find this sharpens my skills.
I find the earliest puzzle in my archives of Mr Breward, 05/03/03.

Anonymous said...

back again c.c. ? I just got 55.a "mute" but what the heck is 50.d ? lusid? oiu vie again the whoo

Anonymous said...

t y dennis just got that did I spell microfishe wrong? the whoo

Dennis said...

hi whoo - microfiche and lucid.

C.C. Burnikel said...

the whoo,


Anonymous said...

t/y c.c. but I got it by the way? do you have ed voil's phone number? I'd like to talk to him about that answer for 50.d lol the whoo

Unknown said...

More than seventy-five thousand have visited your site in less than two months. Did you ever think so many people would come to see your struggles? With all those visitors you are bound to come into contact with a few who have something objectionable to say. Try not to let it bother you. I only got the answer to “Albom” from the across entries, and I’m sure that there were many thousands that got the answer the same way – if they got it all.

As far as finding a definition for “Alop” is concerned, don’t bother to look in the two-thousand-fifty-seven page “Random House Dictionary of the English Language” because it is not in there – also, you might herniated yourself hefting this weighty tome.

Plenty of tough ones today, as others have pointed out. I’m not sure that the terms racial and ethnic are the same thing at all. Weren’t the Rwandan Hutus and Tutsis the same race but different ethnicities?

C.C. Burnikel said...

the whoo,

I don't think this is Ed Voile's work. It's brewed by Josiah Breward.

Register your complaints to Wayne Robert Williams at


To me, ethnicity seems to be a subdivision of race. Like my race is Asian, but my ethnicity is Chinese. And they are different. That's why I am perplexed by the clue/answer.

Dick said...

cc I have the Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabridged and cannot find ALOP. Must be the constructors own word. Googled it and all I could find was the acronyms that it stood for. See you all in the morning.

Anonymous said...

The Oxford English Dictionary has a one line definition of alop. The word is hyphenated.
A-lop: Hanging over on one
side. "1865...hay-stacks, all


Anonymous said...

welcome to the big time c.c. you have critics! you are on the map my paper lists this puzzle by ed voil and if you read the comments I am not the only one teh josh beard thing confuses me but that is part om being from mid minnesota oh and one more thing c.c. we are sending 11 inches of snow your way just a he3ads up you should get it monday lolo the whoo

NYTAnonimo said...

Lots to read on race vs. ethnicity cc.

Wikipedia article #1
Wikipedia article #2

Hope this helps and doesn't confuse more. That was an interesting revelation about Josiah Breward aka Wayne Robert Williams. Glad you and the other readers found it and the other links of interest.

C.C. Burnikel said...


Thanks for the A-LOP. I've added your comment on the blog entry.

Is ATIP/A-TIP on your dictionary also?

the whoo,

Can you please write like everyone else? I don't like the comments to be all in small letters or all CAPITAL letters. Please also add punctuation marks and spell-check before you publish your comments.

It's my opinion that the syndication newspaper gave us a wrong constructor's name. This is definitely from the atelier of Josiah Breward (Wayne Robert Williams himself).

Read the link nytanonimo found for us, then call/email Wayne Robert Williams.

Anonymous said...

c.c. I do not find Atop in OED. However, it is listed in Bantam Crossword Dictionary: On,Upon,Above.
The Dell Crossword Dictionary lists it twice. Guess who the editor is? (W.R.W AKA J.B.) Merriam-Webster On Line lists Atop as entering the English language in 1650.

C.C. Burnikel said...


WRW also edits dictionary? Wow! No wonder he can dredge up so many obscure words from the deepest mud.

Actually, I was asking for ATIP or A TIP. Remember on March 17 puzzle, there is this clue "Leaning precariously: ATIP".

Thank you for your effort.

Dick said...

cc Guess I got out of bed earlier than you today, I have worked the Sunday puzzle and look forward to seeing you and your bloggers solution(s). Since you have not opened your Sunday blog I am leaving you a message on Saturdays blog.

Anonymous said...

The original Dell Crossword Dictionary was published in 1978 and edited by Kathleen Rafferty. It contained two separate entries for “atip”. The word was defined as,
“a-tiptoe;” tiptoe” and “on.” The revised edition edited by WRW omits the word.
However, the Bantam Crossword Dictionary defines atip as, “On, Upon, Above.” My OED does not list the word.

C.C. Burnikel said...


All right, I was wrong. Williams was not making up ATIP and A-LOP.

Here is one of the requirements he asks from the Xword constructors:

"Puzzles are made more difficult by clever clues, not obscure answer words".

Clearly he does not apply this to himself.

Thank you so much Feste. You've been so helpful!

Anonymous said...

Just in case no one has answered this:


a suffix that forms collective nouns denoting an assembly of items, as household objects, art, books, or maps, or a description of such items, as a bibliography, all of which are representative of or associated with the place, person, or period named by the stem: Americana; Shakespeareana; Victoriana.