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Nov 1, 2008

Saturday November 1, 2008 Matthew Higgins

Theme: None

Total blocks: 27

Total words: 68

Letter S must be all constructors' favorite letter. It can start a word and end a word. It can be followed by either a vowel or a consonant. I guess that's why we see it popping up everywhere in the grid, esp the first row & last row, first column and last column.

We get 27 S'es today, too many for my taste. But one thing I really like about Higgins' puzzle is the lack of pop culture and actor/actress names, which often stump me. Additionally, he always does solid research on his clues. Nearly all of them are dictionary-accurate, though not lively.

Some of the clues today are pretty good:

32A: Virginia, for one: REEL

5D: Half and half?: ONE. Without the "?", the clue would be good too, but boring.

50D: Bannister, for one: MILER. Roger Bannister is the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes.

Across:

1A: Considers probable: SUPPOSES. Three S'es for the first word, three S'es for the last word (SCORSESE).

9A: Nabokov novel: LOLITA. Have you see the movie remake? My favorite Jeremy Irons movie is "Damage".

17A: Squatter: NESTER. Homesteader. I thought a "Squatter" is someone who squats.

20A: Sinuous: SERPENTINE. "Sinuous" is a new to me. I know "tortuous" though.

26A: Greek harp: TRIGON. It's "an ancient Greek stringed instrument with a triangular shape". New to me. I only know LYRE. If you find a TRIGON picture, please share with us. I could not find one on the internet. (Addendum: Here is a TRIGON picture, and here is LYRE).

28A: Roman deck count: LII. 52. Also the "Number of weeks in a year" for the Romans.

30A: Fix firmly: SECURE. I like the verb cluing.

35A: Wheys: SERA. I am more familiar with the "Blood fluids" clue.

42A: State in northwestern Mexico: SONORA. It's bordering Arizona.

53A: Cancellation: RESCISSION. Only knew the verb RESCIND.

57A: Bay windows: ORIELS. I tend to confuse ORIELS with ORIOLES.

60A: French department on the bay of Biscay: VENDEE. See this map. I've never heard of it before.

61A: Subtraction starters: MINUENDS

63A: "Mean Streets" director: SCORSESE. Have you seen "Mean Streets"? Looks interesting.

Down:

1D: Groups in groups: SUBSETS

3D: Like plunder at sea: PIRATIC. I wanted PIRATEY. I've never heard of PIRATIC before.

9D: State of being cheerlessly solitary: LONELINESS. LONELINESS can be beautiful and inspiring, esp if you are comfortable being alone.

11D: Tilt to one side: LIST. Is this solely a nautical term?

12D: Arteries' innermost linings: INTIMAE. New to me. The plural form of INTIMA can also be INTIMAS.

13D: "I Was a __Werewolf": TEENAGE. Have you seen the movie? It looks horrifying.

14D: Gland near the kidneys: ADRENAL. This is where adrenaline comes from, correct?

21D: Ballet movements: PLIE. These girls are pretty.

27D: Close calls: NEAR-MISSES

29D: Forms into small pellets: GRANULATES. OK, I checked, it's a word.

41D: Statements of obvious veracity: TRUISMS

43D: Semi-translucent glass: OPALINE. It's the same as opalescent, isn't it?

C.C.

37 comments:

Bill said...

ISLE of "MAN" and INTIMAE. Could have gotten 12d if I had remembered MAN!
RESCISSION: Made up word? Another I've never heard or seen!
Never heard of VENDEE either, but it came from the adjacents.
The rest was gettable but I still don't care for the construction of xwords by using Plurals, ISS's, ESS's, ED's, ER's, ITE's and all the other additions that make a regular word into something noone has ever seen.
PIRATIC? Yeah, OK, but only if Higgens says so.
CY'All Later

C. C. said...

Bill,
I am so happy that you start to analyze the grid construction too. It really takes skill to construct a Saturday themeless without affixes.

Embien,
No. I really should thank you for reposting the link, because I did not pay attention to the BANTAM last time. I love thousand-year preserved duck eggs.

The whoo,
I like your bantie hen & German shepherd dog story. Reminds me of Twain's "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Did you show any DF potential as a kid?

Barb B,
With your chicken education yesterday, now I think the BANTAM above ROOSTERS grid yesterday is very fascinating.

C. C. said...

Sallie,
You are an astonishing woman yourself. Thanks for the kindness you've shown to us, to me in particular, both on the blog and via private emails.

Kazie,
I like Euphoria too. Do you know what's the meaning of "the Unterbacher donkey do not only come”?

Clear Ayes,
Don't you think featherweight should be the lightest? It sounds so airy. I am glad you enjoyed your trip to Xi'An.

Martin said...

I wanted STAINED for OPALINE but otherwise this was very easy for me. (I finished in just under twenty minutes.) Longer words means fewer words means if you know them you finish sooner. Of course, it helped that I was doing the puzzle on line and I did have to guess to get the L in MILER.

Martin

lois said...

Good morning CC et al.,
Carol: I just want to be among the first to wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today and hope you have many,many more. I'll be toasting to you all day/night and celebrating with you, just in different towns, different states, different parts of the country, but definately with you in spirit. Happy Happy Birthday!
Cheers!

drdad said...

Good morning! Had to google a few after they were filled in to see the definition.

Squatter - can mean one that settles on property without right or title or payment of rent or one that settles on public land under government regulation with the purpose of acquiring title. The latter squatters are called nesters.

Here is an illustration of a Trigon albeit a small picture. Notice how its shape differs a little bit from a Lyre.

Happy Birthday to Carol!

I have to go and take down the Halloween decorations today.

Today is All Saints' Day. It is also Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day (beers, ales, pilsners). What a thing to share. And don't forget National Author's Day and National Family Literacy Day.

Have a great Saturday.

C.C. - do you really think Dennis is angry? He can't have been celebrating the Phillies victory this long.

Dick said...

Good morning CC, DFs and DFettes...boring puzzle today and somewhat difficult especially the NE corner. I had to do it online today as once again our delivery person opted not to arrive. I really liked the miler clue and answer along with the Virgina reel clue.

Happy birthday Carol!! For your birthday I want to give you one free trip to the wood shed. I am sure you will enjoy the trip.

And where is Dennis??

Barry said...

Morning, folks!

I'm with Bill on this one. If only I had remembered MAN I could have gotten INTIMAE (a completely unknown word to me). I mean, I've heard of the Isle of MAN, but didn't realize it was in the Irish Sea....

Other that I did not know but was able to get include SERA (I only know this with reference to blood), VENDEE, MINUENDS, RESCISSION and OPALINE.

Speaking of OPALINE, it's apparently a decorative style of glass made in France from 1800 to the 1890. Opalescent, on the other hand, is an adjective that means having colors that shimmer like an opal. OPALINE was probably so named because it was, in fact, opalescent, but the two words are not synonyms.

Gotta run!

marme said...

finally finished the puzzle with the help of dictionary and google. I have to agree with you Bill i get annoyed with made up words with plural endings. Never heard of several words like piratic and rescission. How do they get sera for wheys? I wanted to put in curd.
I wanted to make Bannister a judge or atty. I need to notice the details of the clue more.

Anonymous said...

Here's an illustration and definition of trigon:

http://img.tfd.com/wn/8A/63A49-trigon.gif

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/trigon

kazie said...

Hi all,
Happy birthday Carol!

Vendée is #85 on the list I posted a few days ago.

c.c., that expression "the Unterbacher donkey do not only come” sounded strange to me. Unterbacher donkey refers to a statue which is in the main square of the Düsseldorf suburb Unterbach, and is part of its coat of arms.
At Carnival (like mardi gras), there are practices where people mimic the call of the donkey, which was once important for carrying sand from the lake for construction. wiki tells the story under "Carnival" albeit in lousy English, obviously badly translated from German.

My only real problem today was forgetting the Isle of Man, so missed the "m" in intimae. I actually did the rest unassisted.

g8rmomx2 said...

Hi c.c. and all:

I had no problem with rescission as it means the act of rescinding which is to make void. As Bill said I could have gotten Intimae if I had remembered Isle of Man. I was not aware it was in the Irish Sea. I wish they had clued it as Isle of _ and I probably would have gotten it then. I also googled Sen. Kefauver's name, just couldn't remember it at all. Other than that things went smoothly and others I didn't know were easily gotten through the perps.

Happy Birthday Carol and many, many more!

Where is Dennis? I miss reading his comments.

Have a wonder day and GO GATORS!

kazie said...

c.c.,
I just went in and edited the English on that site, so it reads better now, until you get to the section on sports--I stopped at that point and left it as it was. I think you'll notice the difference.

Barb B said...

Our bonfire was lovely last night, the night was foggy and just a little cool, there was good food and good company. And after all that, a good nights sleep! As you can see, It’s already 9am here. I would have been verrrry late if I had sampled the moonshine. 180 proof home-made makes me a little nervous, although there was no visible effect on the people who tried it.

I agree, C.C. – the puzzle today is dictionary accurate, but definitely not lively. I was able to work through it clockwise, but I couldn’t finish the SW corner. Stumped by --

MILER (not surprising for a non-sports person)
ORIELS, new to me
VENDEE, no clue – should have paid more attention to Kazie’s list when she posted it. My loss.
RESCISSION- never heard this word used.

I enjoyed the ballet clip, thanks.

Happy B’day, Carol!

Daylight Savings time ends today. I’m glad, because it’s already very dark in the mornings here.

carol said...

Good Morning all, Haven't finished the puzzle yet but am still working on it.

Lois and Dick, thanks for the b-day wishes, and I'll see you both in the 'shed'later, looking forward to it.
Kazie and g8mom, thanks to you too :)

More later.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, As with other posters, there were new words, INTIMAE, TRIGON, OPALINE and VENDEE. Fortunately, no need to Google because the surrounds flowed easily.

SONORA is also a nearby (for us) California Gold Rush town. We often go there to shop, just not on traffic-heavy summer weekends.

Re, STUPE(S), I looked it up post puzzle and found out that the primary definition is "A hot, wet, often medicated cloth used as a compress".

I tried to fit ROGER in for "Bannister". It was the last place I saw the error of my ways and my "Aha" for the day came with MILER.

Happy Birthday, Carol. I hope Oregon is having a more pleasant day than northern California.

I was pleased to see PORTUGUESE show up today. I have been thinking of posting one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poems from "Sonnets From the Portuguese". It isn't as famous as, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways", but it is my favorite.

Sonnet XIV

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
I love her for her smile--her look--her way
Of speaking gently,--for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of ease on such a day--
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may
Be changed, or change for thee,--and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheek dry,--
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

carol said...

I really had a difficult time with this one! Had to go to Mr.G several times. What in the world is minuends? (61A) Since anything having to do with math boggles what little mind I have left, I never know those words.
How would anyone know 60A without looking it up? Intimae,piratic,trigon,recission? Well, guess we expect a toughie sometime in the week. sigh.

papajim said...

I guessed at piratic because it was the only thing that made sense in that corner. I got minuends from Merriam-Webster.

RichShif said...

Hi c.c. and all,

First happy birthday to Carol. See you in the shed tonight.

I thought that the Isle of Man was spelled Mann, so I did not consider it. My dictionary does not have piratic in it, but it was the only word that would work. I had pirated. My dictionary also did not define trigon as a greek harp, it did have rescission though.

embien said...

10:59 today. Pretty easy for a Saturday, but I did learn some new words. TRIGON, INTIMAE, RESCISSION and VENDEE were all new to me (gotten via crosses).

I actually enjoy a puzzle where I learn some new words but they aren't rendered impossible by having them cross with a bunch of names, turning the grid into a guessing game ("guess the vowel").

25a: Irish sea isle (MAN) was a gimme for me because I sent my money to an address on the Isle of Man for my online poker account (the company is British, but they keep their accounts on the Isle of Man for legal reasons).

MINUENDS is not, technically, a math term. It comes from arithmetic, though I suppose elementary school students learning subtraction don't learn that term anymore (my education was long before "new math" so we learned it).

Subtraction terms:
minuend − subtrahend = difference

Emma said...

Hi:
I am fairly new to crosswords (@2 months) and have become addicted very fast. I am curious about Dick's comment that he got the puzzle on line today. I have to go through withdrawals on Sundays as my newspaper does not carry the Star Tribune puzzle on that day. Could someone please let me know where I too can get it for that one day. It would make my Sundays!

C. C. said...

Dr. Dad & Dick,
Yes, I think Dennis is very angry at me. And that's not a good thing.

Doesitinink,
Thanks for the Amy Cheng link yesterday. I finally understood the connection.

Barry,
Thank you for OPALINE. It just looks like an adjective to me.

Anonymous @ 9:57,
Dr. Dad linked the same picture at his 7:45am comment.

C. C. said...

Kazie,
Too bad I did not absorb your French department list last time. As for “the Unterbacher donkey do not only come", it still does not make any grammatical sense to me. I was indeed very confused by the Wiki Carnival information earlier. Thank you for taking time and editing it.

Carol,
Happy birthday!

Clear Ayes,
I am just curious, were you some poet's Fanny (Brawne) before?

Emma,
Chicago Tribune website only carries our puzzle from Monday to Saturday. Sunday's is not available anywhere on line.

Emma said...

C.C.:
Thank you for the info re: Sundays. I can now stop looking.

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone, I don't get this puzzle till tomorrow, but still have to visit, its addicting here you know!!

Thanks so much for the all your good wishes regardingy my mom. She is a trooper.

Sallie, I truly hope you will continue to be well!

Happy Birthday Carol.

Would Dennis be out by the shed?

Have a great weekend,
Geri

Clear Ayes said...

NESTER(s) or "Squatters" always seemed to show up in old western movies, particularly the ones where the cattle ranchers were fighting with the sheep farmers.

Hi Emma, Welcome

To save anyone Googling, Fanny Brawne was the love of poet John Keats life. They didn't marry. He went off to Italy to die of tuberculosis and she married someone else.

C.C. Thankfully, I have never had a tragic love affair with a doomed poet. I've never known many men who even like poetry (other than limericks). I think it is an acquired taste. You have to keep on reading it, even when it doesn't make much sense and finally you find a poem, or poet you like. Then it gets easier to appreciate with every poem you read.

So many poets seemed to suffer terribly, either physically or emotionally. I guess that is one reason why they had time to ponder the meaning of life and love. Personally, I'd rather have a happy uncomplicated romance with somebody who enjoys life without the anguish and angst.

Speaking of Golf Addicted Husband (LOL), I asked him about boxing weight classifications. He knows what they are, but couldn't help about where the different names came from. He said a "fly" is lighter than a "feather", so to him it makes sense that a Flyweight is the smallest boxer. (He also said there is an unusual lighter 105 lb class called Strawweight, but he has never seen a Strawweight match.) I tried to trick him with what Welterweight means, but he didn't even blink. He just said it comes between Lightweight and Middleweight. I give up!

Anonymous said...

For some unknown reason the Naples Daily News has a totally different puzzle for today. It's by Allen Parrish. So I guess I wait until Monday to find out where I've gone wrong. Whoops, no paper Monday because we're going to an Elderhostel
about China – culture, cooking, etc.
And I can't do this one either, since I don't have it. Nuts.
Have a great week, everyone.

Clear Ayes said...

Sallie, How much fun, an Elderhostel about Chinese food and culture. Is it a local thing, or are you going away? Are you thinking about a future trip to China? A cousin and her husband went to a five day Wine & Food Elderhostel excursion in Oregon last year. They said it was terrific.

If the puzzle didn't show up in your local paper, you should try it online. I've been doing it that way for about two months now. You can check immediately after you are done (or while you are still solving) to see if your answers are correct. C.C. linked the website today at 2:44.

G.A.H. and I are on our way to an anniversary dinner with friends (their anniversary, not ours). I don't think we will get rained on this evening, but I'm not making any bets.

If you live in one of the Daylight Saving Time States, don't forget to turn the clocks back tonight.

Argyle said...

Piratic Flycatcher It gets its name from the manner in which it nests. Rather than building its own, it harasses other species of flycatcher until they abandon their nests, then does some remodeling before laying its own eggs.

C.C. and et al,
is there a way to find out which papers carry C.C.'s Sunday puzzle?

kazie said...

c.c.,
I've been trying to figure out all day what that “the Unterbacher donkey do not only come" quote really means. The best I can suggest is that the word order is wrong because of being translated badly from the German. What if it means: People call ee-ahh, "only the Unterbacher donkey doesn't come", referring to the donkey calls that people do during Karnival to indicate they're having fun? There are no donkeys around then, so that would be why they can't come.

Talking of the Sunday puzzle--my Thursday one this week was the same as your last Sunday one. The previous one was the Thursday before you got it. I can't wait to see what happens next week!

Jeanne said...

argyle,
We get the Reading Eagle in Reading, PA and they have the Tribune Sunday crossword.

I'm off to NJ tomorrow to relieve my son and daughter-in-law who are having a rough time with a new colicky infant. I guess I will survive a night or two with little or no sleep. Give them some hours of uninterrupted sleep. They are exhausted and it feels good to help them.

Anonymous said...

ClearAyes: The elderhostel is in Orlando, which is only about 170 miles from here in Naples. We spent a month in China in 1999, and it was wonderful. My husband loves to cook, does most of it (am I not lucky?!), and we like the look of this offering. Cooking, philosophies/religion, athletics, and more. My favorite time, too, was seeing the terracotta army. I learned so much that month that this will be a nice extension.

Argyle said...

Thanks, Jeanne.

9D song
Mr. Lonely

TheJVN said...

I agree that cheerlessly solitary is LONELINESS. But I must respectfully disagree that loneliness can be beautiful and inspiring. That's misuse of loneliness.

I like to express it as follows: The English language has the word lonely to express the pain of being by oneself; and the word SOLITUDE to express the pleasure.

Argyle said...

Hi thejvn,
At first, I didn't understand what you were getting at until I went back and looked. So I'll post this to help anyone else.

The clue and answer(9D)state of being cheerlessly solitary / loneliness

C.C.'s comment, " LONELINESS can be beautiful and inspiring, esp if you are comfortable being alone."

the_JVN said...

Hi, Argyle,

Thanks for providing the background for my earlier post. I'll try to remember to do that.

I wish the software preserved the capitalization of poster's names. I typed the JVN, to highlight my initials. I've used JVN as a userid since 1971, that on a IBM mainframe computer.

CASTEC said...

Todays puzzle,Nov2 SUCKED