Feb 29, 2008

Tribune Media Puzzle Pattern Poll

I am convinced that the Tribune Media puzzle (Monday to Saturday) does not follow the tougher-as-the-week-goes pattern as the New York Time's puzzle does. But obviously some of you disagree.

I want to take a poll. Please vote. I will announce the result on March 3 Monday.

Also, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is holding their annual competition on Saturday and Sunday. Both Orange and Rex Parker will be there. I just want to wish them good luck.


C. C.

Friday, Feb 29, 2008 Randall J. Hartman

Theme: I did not spot any theme. Did you? They are just long lines in the puzzle. Some are movie names, some are not.

17A: Where to join a queue: The end of the line

25A: Brigand's command: Stand and Deliver

44A: One for all and all for one trio: Three Musketeers

60A: Praetor: Roman Magistrate

4D: Pogo's sticks? Okefenokee Swamp

10D: Mid-game recaps: Halftime Reports

For some reason, day after day, I just could not survive the upper left corner unscathed. Today was no exception. I simply never heard of OSCO (1A) Drugstore. Walgreens and CVS have all the skin lotions/eye cream/vitamins that I need. And 1A: Correction: pref (ORTH) was way too hard for me to even make a guess. Added to the pain is the OKEFENOKEE SWAMP (4D). A total stranger to me.

I did not know MARMOT (Western woodchuck), never heard of PIET Mondrian. Had to check the dictionary for the definition of 60A: Praetor. Then filled in ROMAN MAGISTRATE.

Here are the Across entries:

1A: Drugstore chain: OSCO. They only had one store in MN (Moorhead).

5A: Ford Clinic: REHAB. Amy Winehouse won several Grammys for her REHAB album.

10A: Ship's tiller: HELM

15A: Goddess of peace: IRENE

17A: Where to join a queue: The end of the line. Exactly. Nobody annoys me more than those rude line cutters.

20A: Teamster boss of the past: HOFFA (Jimmy). His son James P. Hoffa is the current president of Teamsters. They've endorsed Obama. Why Teamster instead of Teamsters in the clue?

21A: Solid as rock: STEADFAST

22A: Inarticulate sounds: ERS

24A: Doberman doc: VET. Could become aggressive if mistreated.

25A: Brigand's command: STAND AND DELIVER. Here is what Dennis said at the Comment section: "A brigand was a highwayman, or robber; "Stand and Deliver" meant to hand over your purse, wallet, etc. I think it originated with stagecoach robbers."

34A: Italian river: ARNO

35A "Unfaithful" star Richard: GERE. Hot & Steamy movie. It's the only Diane Lane movie that I like. Don't watch Under the Tuscan Sun. Just read the book. It's far superior.

36A: "Auntie __": MAME. 1958 film starring Rosalind Russell.

37A: Twilight: DUSK

38A: Talia of "Rocky": SHIRE. She is Connie Corleone in the Godfather series (my favorite movies), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In real life, she is Coppola's sister.

40A: Isle of exile: ELBA

41A: What to be suited to: A TEE

42A: Marsh plant: REED

44A: One for all and all for one trio: THREE MUSKETEERS

48A: Grp. for mom & pop stores: SBA (Small Business Administration).

49A: __ and tuck: NIP. Nip/Tuck is also a TV drama.

50A: Hair spray-protection: SHOWER CAP. I misread it as hairspray protection.

56A: Forget about it: NO WAY

60A: Praetor: ROMAN MAGISTRATE

62A: Car of mine?: TRAM. Why the question mark here? Tram is a mine field car, no?

63A: S-shaped moldings: OGEES. It looks like this.

64A: Jog: TROT

65A: Modern Maturity org.: AARP (American Association of Retired Persons.). AARP stopped printing Modern Maturity Magazine in 2003.

66A:Quizzes: TESTS

67A: Formal introduction: SEMI

Down entries:

1D: Correction: pref: ORTH (Orthodox). Shouldn't it be ORTHO?

2D: London district: SOHO

3D: Math fig.: COEF (Coefficient)

4D: Pogo's sticks: OKEFENOKEE SWAMP. You can find alligator, black bear, and lots of wading birds here.

5D: Purged: RID.

6D: Son of Aphrodite: EROS (Cupid in Roman God)

7D: Determine weight by lifting: HEFT

8D: Pay to play: ANTE

9D: Act properly: BEHAVE

10D: Mid-game recaps: HALFTIME REPORT.

11D: Charles Lamb: ELIA

12D: Camera part: LENS

18D: Fragrant ointment: NARD. Spikenard. Unknown to me.

19D: Biographer of Henry James: EDEL (Leon).

23D: Becomes slack: SAGS

25D: Mubarak's predecessor: SADAT (Anwar). Gimme for me.

26D: Veracity: TRUTH. Either Roger Clemens is lying, or his trainer is lying, or both of them are lying. Andy Pettitte has no reason to lie though.

27D: Goose classification: ANSER. New word to me.

28D: Former Indian leader: NEHRU. Gimme for me.

29D: Helps with the dishes: DRIES.

30D: Shortstop Jeter: DEREK. Gimme. Yankees shortstop. We have his rookie cards.

31D: Appraise: VALUE

32D: Fireplace fragment: EMBER

39D: Adam's apple location?: EDEN

45D: Scrooge, to friends: EBEN I don't remember anyone call him Eben in the movie.

46D: Western woodchuck: MARMOT. Cute looking, what is he eating?

47 Dye: TINT

50D: Mlle. from Madrid: SRTA (Señorita) . You should get this one if you read sallyjane's comment yesterday.

51D: Romanian round dance: HORA

52D: Bradley or Sharif: OMAR. Also, actor Omar Epps (Fox drama HOUSE)

53D: Bird enclosure: CAGE

55D: Artist Mondrian: PIET. Dutch painter. Never heard of him.

57D: Hard of soft ending?: WARE

58D: Particle: ATOM

59D: Himalayan Bigfoot: YETI (Abominable Snowman)

C. C.

Feb 28, 2008

Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Theme: Quip

17A: Start of a quip: A Ring on the

33A: Part 2 of quip: Finger is

46A: Part 3 of quip: Worth two

66A: End of quip: On the phone

It's a popular song in the 1910s. Look at the sheet cover. So Daisy & Gatsby-ish.

OK, the productive Mr. Olschwang and his quip again. In my mind, I picture Mr. Olschwang to be an old, retired English professor, wearing a pair of thick glasses and carrying a well-worn dictionary of quotations whenever he goes. Seriously, all his puzzles seem to be quotes/quips.

I had problems right off the bat. I had no idea what is 4D: Line dance (CONGA). I forgot the word ERG for 5D: Unit of work. I did not know what is "fer", so I could not figure out what is Not "fer". I decided AGIR sounded as great as "fer", after filling in DARN (instead of DANG) for 20A: Mild expletive.

The rest was a smooth sailing though. I enjoyed the MISO soup and PITA bread. I liked how FINGERIS intersects with GEMSTONES.

Here are the across entries:

1A: Sugar-coated: GLACÉ

6A: Part of a traffic trio: STOP

10A: Algonquian language: CREE. Learned this from doing crossword.

14A: Severity: RIGOR

16A: Resistance units: OHMS. Named after the German physicist Georg Simon Ohm.

19A: Corn holders: COBS

20A: Exemplar: IDEAL

22A: Patella's place: KNEE

23A: City in GA: ATL (Atlanta)

25A: Lip curlers: SNEERERS. I am not fond of the clue or the answer.

27A: Doc's org.: AMA (American Medical Association)

30A: Cut with an ax: HEW

32A: Bond foe: DR. NO. Put Casino Royale on your Netflix queue if you have not seen it. You will love Daniel Craig.

36A: Clip alternative: STAPLE

40A: Grant of TV: ASNER (Ed). Lou Grant.

43A: More glacial: ICIER

44A: Nomad: ROAMER

48A: Andrews movie: STAR. Never seen this Julie Andrews movie.

50A: Snakelike fish: EEL. How many ways can you clue EEL?

51A: Commercial bits: ADS

52A: Finished putting on, as a blouse: BUTTONED

56A: NASA vehicle: LEM (Lunar Excursion Module)

58A: Miscellany: OLIO (Can also be clued as Stew)

59A: Shoot from hiding: SNIPE

61A: Becomes mellower: AGES

65A: Son of Judah: ONAN

69A: Deal (out): METE

70A: Libreville's country: GABON. Got from the down clues. Libreville's is the capital of GABON.

71A: Mmes. of Madrid: SRAS

72A: Load, as cargo: STOW

73A: Elite social category: A LIST. Add Diablo Cody (Juno) to this list. I like her.

Down entries:

1D: Alum: GRAD

2D: Former Italian bread: LIRA. Sometimes it's LIRE.

3D: Not "fer": AGIN. For and Against. Hillbilly slang. I never heard anyone speaks this way.

5D: Unit of work: ERG. From Greek Ergon (work). Here is the definition: "The centimeter-gram-second unit of energy or work equal to the work done by a force of one dyne acting over a distance of one centimeter.".

6D: Dune material: SAND. Oh, I love Dune perfume. Never tried Sand though.

7D: Lugs: TOTES

8D: Readily available: ON HAND

9D: Kitchen implements: PEELER

10D: Domestic pest: COCKROACH

11D: River to the Golf of Lion: RHONE

12D: Fire remnant: EMBER

13D: Back-and-forth curves: ESSES

18D: Edmonton hockey player: OILERS. Gimme. My husband used to own several Wayne Gretzky's rookie cards, but he traded them for some baseball cards long time ago. He is ruing every day now. (Update: My husband just corrected me. He said he sold, not traded, the Gretzky cards. He sold 10 of them to a guy for a total of $25. Now they are worth $400 each).

24D: To this, that or it: THERETO

26D: Give a right: ENTITLE

28D: Sushi bar soup: MISO. I like red miso.

29D: "The King and I" heroine: ANNA

34D: Ritzy rocks: GEMSTONES

35D: Stye dweller: SOW. My mind was fixed on Pig and Hog.

37D: Gyro bread: PITA

38D: Obscene: LEWD

39D: Love god: EROS. Greek God of love, the Roman love God is Cupid.

45D: Payments for release: RANSOMS

47D: CSA commander: R. E. LEE, General of the CSA (Confederate States of America).

49D: Milk curdler: RENNET. Did not know this word. Got it from across clue.

52D: Ill-mannered individuals: BOORS

53D: Of an arm bone: ULNAR

54D: Small crown: TIARA

55D: Same here: DITTO

57D: Taj ___: MAHAL. You've got to remember its locale AGRA.

60D: Comment after a close call: PHEW

62D: Mongolian desert: GOBI. Look at this map, Gobi Desert covers a very large region of North China. I really like it to be clued as Asian desert.

63D: Adam's grandson: ENOS. Also Slaughter of Cooperstown.

67D: Links org: PGA. I've never played in a real links golf course.

Oh, one more thing, on Tuesday Feb 26, mkatesq posted this comment regarding EWOK: "I was told just last week that they weren't even in the Star Wars books, but were created just for the movie (Return of the Jedi) to give the movie a hook. Does anyone know if there is truth to that?"

Can anyone answer this question please?

Thank you and have a great day.

C. C.

Feb 27, 2008

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2008 Philip J. Anderson

Theme: PAIRS

17A: Cell mates?: Partners in Crime

35A: Nest mates?: Birds of a Feather

53A: Bench mates?: Second Stringers

Do you guys ever read the Comments part of my blog? At the end of my daily blog entry, you will see the word Comments (see the signs of an envelop and a pen?). Just click on it and comment on. Let us share your miseries/glees!

You will also find the word Labels. Click on the name of the constructor, you will get all his works since I started blogging (Jan 21, 2008). Tribune Media seems to have a very small pool of constructors, don't you think so? Or you never pay attention to who the author is?

It's another bumpy ride for me today. I was jolted by quite a few unknown words/names. Sea cows (5D: MANATEES) was hard, making it difficult for me to to infer 23A: Mikita of Hockey (STAN), whom I never heard of. 37D: Amazon snake (ANACONDA) was also too formidable for me to give a whack. I did get its parallel clue 36D: Poisonous shrub (OLEANDER), though I never heard of the shrub.

Across clues:

1A: Ricochet: CAROM. Often clued as pool shot.

2A: Charity: ALMS

18A: Clothing lines: HEMS

14A: "Butterfield 8" author: O'HARA (John). He wrote honestly and well, indeed.

15A: Minute skin opening: PORE

16A:Latin Lesson word: AMAT (Latin: she/he/it loves). See yesterday's puzzle.

21A: Heaps: A LOT

22A: Petty dictator: SATRAP. I had difficulty understanding the clue. A dictator always has absolute power, petty ones never make it to the dictatorship, no?

According to my dictionary, SATRAP is originally "the governor of a province in ancient Persia". Now it mean a ruler of a dependency, esp a despotic, subordinate official, petty tyrant.

23A: Mikita of hockey: STAN. Maybe he is a gimme for hockey fans. I just found out that Mr. Anderson clued STAN as Comic Laurel in his Feb 13 puzzle.

24A: Adjutant: AIDE

25A: New York island: STATEN. Did not know this. Never been to NY. All my understanding of NY is from either Law and Order, or NYPD Blues.

28A: Flows back: EBBS

29A: Spigot: TAP

32A: Debate: ARGUE

33A: Shrinking Asian sea: ARAL. You want to cement this one in your brain? Then look at this map.

34A: Overfill: SATE

38A: Cockney abodes: 'OMES (Homes). Cockneys live in the East of London. In their accent, letter "h" is dropped.

39A: Tilt, at sea: LIST

40A: Hangman's knot: NOOSE.

41A: Half a fly?: TSE

42A: Richard of "Chicago": GERE

43A: Editorial symbols: CARETS

44A: Scottish hillside: BRAE

45A: Stunning stuff: MACE. I like this clue. I was thinking of those Shock & Awe feat.

46A: Lenin's successor: STALIN

49A: Han or Napoleon: SOLO. Han Solo is from Star War, Napoleon Solo is from The Man from U. N. C. L. E.

50A: Louvre Pyramid architect: PEI ( I. M. Pei). He also designed the JFK Library.

56A: Arduous journey: TREK

57A: Pointless Olympic event?: EPEE. I like the clue, a refreshing change.

58A: ___ macabre: DANSE. Dance of Death. I don't like to be reminded of how fragile life is.

59A: Debate faction: SIDE

60A: Ewes' mates: RAMS

61A: Lessen: ABATE

Down entries:

1D: Manilow's nightclub: COPA. Copa Cabana.

2D: Moby Dick's pursuer: AHAB

4D: Table scrap: ORT

5D: Sea cows: MANTATEES. Here is an image for you to remember. They are huge.

6D: Cook's coverage: APRON. Coverage, not cover? I was initially thinking of the explorer James Cook and his coastal coverage.

7D: Among the missing: LOST

8D: Med. scan: MRI

9D: Level-headed: SENSIBLE

10D: "The Lost Galleon" poet: HARTE (Bret). Got his name from across clues.

11D: Bahrain leader: EMIR. I had a friend (a Brit) who lived in Bahrain for a few years in the early 1990s, then he converted into a Muslim. Unbelievable.

12D: Doll's cry: MAMA

18D: Zeal: ELAN

19A: Scoundrels: CADS

24A: Sternward: ABAFT. I put Aback.

25D: Wooden shoe: SABOT. Wooden clog shoe, French call it SABOT.

26D: removes the excess: TRIMS

27D: Come to terms: AGREE

29D: Western resort lake: TAHOE

30D: Bikini event, in headlines: A TEST. Atomic Test, 1945, Bikini Atoll.

31D: Pops in Paris: PERES

36D: Poisonous shrubs: OLEANDER. It's so pretty.

42D: Wide smile: GRIN. I am going to give Bush a rest today.

43D: Colombian city: CALI. Looks like a good place to go if kidnapping is not a problem.

44D: Chap in Soho: BLOKE

45D: Social customs: MORES

47D: Actress Garr: TERI

50D: Catcher Tony: PENA. Gimme for me. He used to be Kansas Royal's coach.

51D: Once, once: ERST

55D: Chew the fat: GAB

Note to reader rosebud: Any subtle crossings today?

C. C.

Feb 26, 2008

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 Michael T. Williams

(Hey guys, this is C. C. Lots of you come to this blog entry today (May 31, 2008). What newspaper are you doing? Please leave a comment here or write me an email. I am curious to know. Thank you.)


Theme: Advice from BF

17A: With 63A, quotable U.S. money man: Benjamin

63A: See 17A: Franklin

23A: Start of advice from 17A: A Penny Saved

41A: More of advice: Is a

54A: End of advice: A Penny Earned

I like this puzzle. I admire the constructural balance of the themes entries. It looks simple and elegant to my untrained eyes.

I also enjoyed this author's "baseball movie" puzzle on Feb 4 and "snickers/candy bars" on Feb 8. His Chicago Bears HOF puzzle on Feb 17 was too tough for me.

But I still struggled mightily. It all started with 26D: Planet-finding grp (SETI). I filled in NASA. I did not know 5D: Siberian dog (SAMOYED), and I forgot the 36A: Sot's Shakes (DTS). So I was not able to get that very important letter "Y" for 23A, thus failed to catch the advice theme earlier.

I lingered too long over the left lower corner. Actually, all my effort was focused on 62A: Minimum attendance required (QUOTUM). Well, if you were Senator Dick Durbin the Whip, this was a gimme for you. It was _ _ orum for me for over 10 minutes. I felt stupid failing to get SQFT for 57D: Surface meas. Of course not knowing 58D: Vilolinist Leopold (AUER) certainly did not help.

I guess my brain was not thinking clearly this morning, I even tanked the 29A: Fashion magazine (GLAMOUR).

Here are the across entries:

1A: Sprinkle after a shower: TALC

5A: Wood cutter: SAW

8A: Lives: DWELLS

15A: Coach Parseghian: ARA. The Notre Dame football coach from 1964-1974.

16A: Antenna: AERIAL

20A: One in Central America: UNO

21A: Grew gloomier: DARKENED

27A: Fellows: MEN

29A: Fashion magazine: GLAMOUR. Conde Nast publication. They give out Glamour Women of the Year award annually. The lovely Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) was on their 2007's list.

34A: Roses' places: BEDS

36A: Sot's shakes: D.T.S (Delirium Tremens)

38A: Essential amino acid: LYSINE. Unknown to me.

39A: Lucas folk: EWOKS. Star Wars (George Lucas) character. I got it this time.

43A: Dish stewed in wine: SALMI. Here is the definition: a ragout of partially cooked game, as pheasant or woodcock, stewed in wine and butter. You could put a bit pineapple in I suppose.

46A: Brace amount: TWO. Nailed it this time. Have to thank reader Dennis and Joey again for the explanation.

48A: Fed. agent: TMAN (Treasury-Man)

49A: Harbor town: SEAPORT

51A: Tentacle: ARM

57A: California winter wind: SANTA ANA

61A: Actress Scala: GIA. I got her name from down clue. Never heard of her before. She died in 1972 of drug overdose.

62A: Minimum attendance required: QUORUM. OK, the wikipedia says that "when quorum is not met, a legislative body cannot hold a vote, and can not change the status quo.... If a significant number of voters choose not to be present for the vote, the vote will fail due to lack of quorum, and the status quo will remain".

If you want in-depth understanding of this term, I suggest you call Senator Robert Byrd (WV). Ha ha.

71A: Nervous vibration: TREMOR

72A: Latin lesson word: AMO. Amo (I love), Amas ( you love), Amat (she/he/it loves).

73A: Part of DOS: SYST. Disk Operating System.

Down entries:

2D: 100 square meters: ARE. Got it from across clue. Vaguely remembered this definition of "are".

3D: Writer Deighton: LEN

4D: Bayou cuisine: CAJUN. Emeril Lagasse. BAM! Kick it up a notch!

5D: Siberian dog: SAMOYED. Interesting name, past tense. Look at this one, isn't it cute?

6D: "Exodus" role: ARI. Never read any of Leon Uris' work.

7D: Sykes of "Clerks II": WANDA. I find her to be very overwhelmingly noisy.

8D: Waltrip of auto racing: DARRELL. He was in yesterday's puzzle.

10D: "Das lied von der __": ERDE. The Song of the Earth.

11D: Pride member: LION

12D: Narrow street: LANE

13D: Snow coaster: SLED

18D: Landers and Jillian: ANNS

22D: Part of GPA: AVG

23D: Fossil resins: AMBERS

24D: Dodger Reese: PEE WEE. Gimme gimme.

25D: Tabitha's TV grandmother: ENDORA. Unknown to me.

26D: Planet-finding grp.: SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.)

30D: Col.entrance exams: MSAT

31D: Wildcatter, e.g.: OILMAN. I did not know this before. So, Anna Nicole Smith's husband was a wildcatter.

32D: Destroyed: UNMADE

33D: Checked (horses): REINED

35D: Beehive: SKEP. I got this from the across clue. I did not know skep.

45D: Visionary: DREAMER

47D: Aromatic herb: OREGANO

50D: SPIKE formerly: TNN

52D: Primary: MAIN

55D: US-Mex.-Can. union: NAFTA. Poor Hillary. Look at what a mess Bill created for you!

56D: Does yard work: RAKES

57D: Surface meas.: SQFT (Square Foot). The wicked Q.

58D: Violinist Leopold: AUER. He died long long time ago.

59D: Iditarod goal: NOME. Iditarod is an annual dogsled race in Alaska (from Anchorage to Nome)

60D: Trolley car: TRAM

64D: "Monster" group: R.E.M. I lucked it out on this one. I got it from across clues. I did not know that Monster is a R. E. M.'s album. It can also be clued as "sleeping stage" (REM, Rapid Eye Movement).

65D: Set down: LAY

66D: NASA outpost: ISS (International Space Station)

67D: Trawling device: NET

A few more things:

1) Yesterday's Newspaper Count: We have 1 from Thailand, 1 from Canada, and 32 different newspapers within the US.

2) On Sunday Feb 24, the answer for 117D: Cold, in Chile is FRIA. One reader replied that it means "head cold."

3) On last Monday Feb 18 Stanley B Whitten puzzle, the clue for 55D is Hannibal's "Waterloo" (ZAMA). I questioned the quotation mark, and got a very interesting response from reader Hugh Brown. See here. I decided to contact with Stephen Wilbers, who writes a weekly business writing column on Star Tribune. Here is his reply: I agree -- no quotes are needed. The practice of placing clichés in quotation marks is sometimes called "winking," as we must "do our best."

Enjoy your Tuesday everyone.

C. C.

Feb 25, 2008

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 Josiah Breward

Theme: Common Phrases

17A: Repeatedly: Over and Over

28A: Alternative to cream: Half and Half

46A: Like a tight race: Neck and Neck

63A: Not specified: Such and Such

First of all, if you have not read this post, please have a quick look and let me know what newspaper puzzle you are doing.

Secondly, every comment here is forwarded into my email account, and I read every one of them. So if you are confused about certain clue or could not make any sense of the fill, please always feel free to ask me. If I am not able to answer you, I will post here on my blog.

I felt so happy last Friday when I got several replies regarding the "Span or Brace" clue that appeared on a puzzle 2 weeks ago. I got that question from Curt who was working on his Palm Beach Post crossword. I really like to build up a good community here where information is shared and question is answered.

Now back to puzzle. I struggled again, from the very start. I filled in ADOBE (1A: Homemade brick) and CONTRACTOR (Building Supervisor) easily, having just watched Sidney Poitier's "Lilies of the Field" certainly helped. But I could not get EPARCH for 5D: Eastern Orthodox bishop. Never heard of that word before.

I did not know 34A: Daytona 500 winner Waltrip (DARRELL), could not get ARETE for 31D: Mountain Ridge. Did not know who Lee of Rush (GEDDY) was. Had no idea who was Singer MacKenzie (GISELE). I would have nailed it if it's clued as Supermodel from Brazil, or Tom Brady's date.

My proudest moment today was filled in AZALEA (11D: Decorative bush) and ENGELS (47D: Marx colleague) with authority. I just read Anchee Min's Red Azalea several months ago, and gleaned some nuggets from her book.

I disagreed with the clue for 40D: Break fast? (EAT). Why the question mark? You eat when you break a fast. Unless you want to be cute and misleading, then you should just clue it as "breakfast?" with no space between "break" and "fast". What do you think?

Across entries:

1A: Homemade brick: ADOBE

6A: "___ of God": AGNES. Jane Fonda movie (1985). AGNES could also be clued as "Patron saint of young girls".

11A: Shortened bk.: ABR. Abridged.

14A: Enliven: PEP UP.

15A: Hoof beats on pavement: CLOPS

16A: 26th letter: ZEE

19A: 1/2 of a union merger: AFL (American Federation of Labor). Merged with CIO (Congress of Industry Organization) in 1955.

21A: Kirghiz mountains: ALAI. I filled in ALPS, which fit in perfectly at first, esp because it was a plural form mirroring the plural form of clue mountains nicely.

22A: Part of BS: SCI

23A: Singer MacKenzie: GISELE. Canadian singer. Wikipedia shows that she sang quite often on Jack Benny Program and Ed Sullivan show.

25A: Municipal grp.: DPW (Department of Public Works)

35A: Old Testament book: HOSEA

37A: Miss West: MAE. She is fame-hungry, coming up to crossword again and again.

38A: Conger catcher: EELER. I crave grilled unagi now.

42A: Customers: CLIENTS

45A: Solar period: YEAR

50A: Heaviness meas.: WTS (WEIGHTS)

51A: Harmonized: IN SYNC

55A: Digital data devices: LASERDISCS

62A: 5 scores: CEN (CENTURY).

64A: Wapiti: ELK

65A: Falco and Brickell: EDIES. Falco is in "The Sopranos". Brickell is Paul Simon's wife.

66A: Student at an ecole: ELEVE (French word for student).

67A: Retirement group: SSA (Social Security Agency)

68A: Lee of Rush: GEDDY. Rush is a Canadian rock band.

69A: Anatomical networks: RETIA (single form is Rete).

Down entries:

1D: End of time, brief: APOC (Apocalypse)

2D: "Whip it" group: DEVO. Never heard of this band. Read here for more information.

3D: Exposed: OPEN

4D: Bacharach and Lancaster: BURTS

5D: Eastern Orthodox bishop: EPARCH. Dictionary says it's "the prefect or governor of an eparchy.".

6D: Aussie rockers: AC/DC. A hard rock band from Australia.

7D: Language: suff: GLOT. According to the dictionary, glot is" a combining form with the meanings “having a tongue,” “speaking, writing, or written in a language” of the kind or number specified by the initial element: polyglot."

8D: Porto ___, Benin: NOVO. Here is the map for you. Very close to Gulf of Guinea.

9D: Big centerpiece: EPERGNE. Did not know. I always call a centerpiece a centerpiece.

11D: Decorative bush: AZALEA. Very pretty.

12D: Come to pass: BEFALL

13D: Government aid: RELIEF

18D: River nymph: NAIAD. Greek mythology. Wood nymph is Oread or Dryad.

21D: Welsh designer Laura: ASHLEY. Well, she died 23 years ago. Time for Ashley Judd & Ashley Olsen.

25D: Morse symbol: DAH. The spoken representation of a dash in radio and telegraph code.

26D: Niner or Buc: PRO. I put in NFL first. Niner refers to San Francisco 49ers, and Buc is the Tempa Bay Buccaneers.

29D: Hobbled: LAMED

30D: Mary of "Newhart": FRANN. Unknown to me.

31D: Mountain crest: ARETE. Paul of the Crosswordese will be very disappointed at me. ARETE was his Word of the Day a few weeks ago I think. And he attached a very nice picture of how arete looked like. I just forgot it completely. If you have not, please subscribe to his free daily word of day. He puts lots of effort and thoughts in his daily delivery.

33D: Sharp and Thatcher: BECKYS. Unknown to me. Becky Sharp is a "Vanity Fair" character, Becky Thatcher is from "Tom Sawyer".

36D: Alda or King: ALAN

39D: Hoad of tennis: LEW

40D: Break fast? EAT.

41D: B & O and others: RRS (Railroads). B & O refers to Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

43D: Consist of: INCLUDE

44D: Disdain: SCORN

46D: Some kin: NIECES

47D: Marx colleague: ENGELS. Basically he financed most of Karl Marx's writing.

48D: Former Dolphin running-back: CSONKA (Larry). No memory of him.

49D: Actress Margot: KIDDER. She played Lois Lane in Superman movies in 1970s and 1980s.

53D: Strong thread: LISLE

56D: LSD, to users: ACID. Slang word for LSD.

57D: Molt: SHED

60D: Fifth of MXXX: CCVI (1/5 of 1030 is 206).

61D: New York stadium: SHEA

63D: Module: abbr. SEG (Segment).

Oh, one more thing, my predictions for Oscar at my yesterday's blog: I was right on Best movie and best director (Cohen brother's No Country for Old Men), Original Screen Play (Diablo Cody, Juno), and Ratatouille for animated feature. Wrong on all the others.

I could not believe they awarded best actress to the girl who played Edith Piaf on "La Vie en Rose". She lip-synced all the songs in the movie. Julie Christie was incredible in her role (Away from Her). I thought Cate Blanchett did a great job in "I am not there", much better than her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in "the Aviator", which brought her an Oscar.

Have a good week everyone.

C. C.

Feb 24, 2008

Which Newspaper Crossword Are You Doing?

My newspaper is the Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune. And we have the TMS (Tribune Media Service) puzzle from Monday to Sunday.

How about yours? I am curious to know. You do not need to tell me your name, just let me know your newspaper/city/state name.

Below is the list of papers readers have kindly sent to me. If yours is not here, please let me know. And if I made a mistake on the name of your papers, please also let me know. Thanks.

UPDATED LISTS (April 18, 2008, total 67)

International (6)

the Nation, Bangkok, Thailand.
Globe & Mail, Toronto (ON), Canada
Times Colonist, Victoria, BC, Cananda
The Province ,Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Taipei Times, Taiwan
Viet Nam News, Vietnam


US (61)

AL: Anniston Star (Anniston); The Birmingham News (Birmingham)

AK:

AR: Arkansas Democrat Gazette (Little Rock)

AZ:

CA: Orange County Register; San Jose Mercury News (Monday-Saturday); Bakersfield California

CO: Colorado Springs Gazette

CT: Waterbury Republican (Torrington, Sunday)

DE:

DC:

FL: Palm Beach Post; Naples Daily News; Sun-Sentinel; St. Petersburg Times.
Port Saint Lucie News(Port Saint Lucie); Tampa Tribune (Tampa); Florida Times Union- Jacksonville



GA: Savannah Morning News.

HI:

ID: Idaho Statesman (Boise)

IL: Chicago Tribune

IN: Herald-Bulletin (Anderson)

IA:

KS:

KY: Daily News (Bowling Green). Lexington Herald-Leader.

LA: Lake Charles American Press

ME: Bangor Daily News

MD: Baltimore Sun (only Sunday)

MA: The Boston Globe

MI: Detroit Free Press

MN: Minneapolis Star Tribune; the Minnesota Daily (U of M paper); St. Cloud Times

MO:

MS:

NE: The Omaha World Herald (Omaha)

NV: Review Journal (Sunday), Las Vegas

NH: Concord Monitor Concord

NJ: Philadelphia Inquirer (Medford Lakes)

NM:

NY: AM New York; New York Daily News; Post Stars (Glens Falls); Times-Union (Albany); Utica Observer Dispatch

NC:

ND: The Forum (Fargo)

OH: Dayton Daily News (Mon-Sat); Louisville Herald Leader, the News Herald (Willoughby, a suburb of Cleveland); Spring Field News-Sun (Monday-Sat).

OK:

OR: the Oregonian (Portland, Monday to Saturday)

PA: Reading Eagle (Reading); Philadelphia Inquirer. Beaver Valley Times (Monday-Saturday). Pittsburgh Post Gazette (Sunday).

RI: The Providence Journal(Providence)

SC: The Sun News (Myrtle Beach).

SD: Argus Leader (Sioux Falls)

TN:

TX: Abilene Reporter News (Abilene, Monday-Sunday); Amarillo Globe-News;
Osessa American
; San Angelo Standard-Times (Monday through Saturday)

UT:

VT:

VA: The Virginia Pilot; The Daily Press

WA: The Seattle Times

WV: Daily Athenaeum (Morgantown, campus paper)

WI: Wisconsin State Journal (Madison)

WY:

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Theme: Actor's Ego (Will Rogers Quip)

27A: Start of Will Rogers quip: The movies enable an

54A: Part 2 of the quip: Actor not only

69A: Part 3 of the quip: To act but also to sit down

87A: Part 4 of the quip: In the theater

115A: End of quip: And clap for himself

Can anyone please tell me what's the difference between a "quote" and a "quip"? If a "quip" is supposed to be funny and witty, then this one is not, at least, not to me. It's just an ordinary "quote". Or am I the only one who does not get it?

I did not enjoy Mr. Olschwang's last puzzle either. "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all". It did not make sense to me.

So I started today's puzzle with a very bad attitude. Could not summon up enough enthusiasm for a quip puzzle. But I was able to fill in these foreign words quickly: PERE (father), ETE (summer), ILS (they), MERCI and GRACIAS (Thank you), Coup d'ETAT, AMAH (Indian housemaid), NATALE (Christmas in Roma), LESE-majesty, TSAR (Russian Ruler). FRIA (cold in Chile) was the only one that escaped me.

Although Mr. Olschwang did not bring out more 2-toed, or 3-toed sloths (AIS and UNAU) today, he still managed to frustrate me with a few legitimate fills. I never heard of the Sportscaster Rashad (AHMAD), never heard of Conductor Antal (DORATI), never heard of Greek island (CORFU). And the word TUAREG for (77A: Member of a Saharan nomadic tribe) just looked plain wrong to me. I really like the clue for 110D: Friendly or Savage (FRED). Very cleverly misleading.

Here are the across entries:

1A: Plantation machine: BALER

6A: Makes lace: TATS

10A: Creative Coward: NOEL. English actor. He is in the original The Italian Job. I like the 2003 version with Mark Wahlberg and Donald Sutherland. Charlize Theron is in it too.

14A: Puccini opera: TOSCA. Learned from doing crossword.

19A: Organic compound: AMINE

20A: Taj Mahal site: AGRA. I tend to confuse this one with the Turkish title AGA.

21A: Actor Gross: ARYE. I actually saw Gone in Sixty Second, but I did not remember him.

22A: Ferber and O'Brien: EDNAS

23A: Soho so longs: TATAS

26A: Closes in: NEARS

30A: "__ Gotta Be Me": I'VE. OK, I am not going to make another mistake today. It's Sammy Davis Jr. Song. Buddy Holly's song is "I've got to be me". ' N Sync song: "It's Gonna Be Me."

31A: Demonstrates connections: RELATES

32A: Et __ (and others): ALII. This is the masculine plural, the feminine plural is et aliae, the neuter plural is et alia.

33A: Gin cocktail: GIMLET

35A: Securely closed: SEALED

37A: Tightly packed: DENSE

39A: Hangman's knot: NOOSE. The Golfweek Noose Debacle!

41A: NL Braves: ATL (Atlanta Braves)

42A: Yule mo.: DEC

45A: Moon vehicle, briefly: LEM (Lunar Excursion Module).

46A: Verbalize an ache: MOAN

50A: Hand part: PALM

52A: Scot Roy: ROB. Scottish folk hero.

58A: Eyelid woes: STYES

60A: Mil. unit: REGT (Regiment)

62A: "Twelfth Night" duke: ORSINO. Unknown to me.

63A: Building wing: ELL

64A: Double-breasted jacket: REEFER. It looks like this.

66A: Hot time in Paris: ETE. French winter is d'hiver.

67A: Playground rejoinder to "am not": ARE TOO

75A: Stir to action: INCITE

76A: Upper limit: CAP

77A: Member of a Saharan nomadic tribe: TUAREG. Please google it yourself and see how you like their image.

78A: O. T. Book: MIC (Micah)

79A: Sensual: EROTIC

82A: One of the Simpsons: BART. Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa.

83A: Religious denominations: SECTS

90A: Sleuth Spade: SAM

92A: Get to one's feet: RISE

93A: Lucy's love: DESI. I Love Lucy.

94A: They: Fr.: ILS

95A: Totality: SUM

97A: Long of "The Broken Hearts Club": NIA. Our editor loves Nia.

99A: Elongated fish: GAR. Another frequent offender.

100A: California/Nevada lake: TAHOE

103A: Group of eight: OCTAD

105A: "Broken Arrow" co-star: ANSARA (Michael). He is another stranger to me.

107A: Give one's consent: ACCEDE

110A: Casa component: SALA (large living room)

112A: Having richer soil: LOAMIER. I think we need loamy soil for our cucumber this year. Ours never tasted as good as the ones sold at the Farmer's Market.

114A: Maglie of baseball: SAL. Nicknamed "Sal the Barber." He is not in HOF, in case you wonder.

120A: Street talk: SLANG

122A: Netherlands city: ROTTERDAM, the second largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam.

123A: Essential perfume: ATTAR

124A: I wasn't there at the time, e. g.: ALIBI

125A: Moonfish: OPAH. It looks pretty.

126A: Tiny amount: IOTA

127A: Volunteer's words: LET ME

128A: Explorer Polo: MARCO

129A: French father: PERE.

130A: Very dry: ARID

131A: Proud mount: STEED. I think this word has appeared at least 3 times since I started my blog.

Down entries:

1D: Fabric stuffing: BATT. Did not know this word.

2D: Indian housemaid: AMAH

3D: Strictly speaking: LITERALLY

4D: Tooth covering: ENAMEL

5D: Mended shoes: RESOLED

6D: Unspoken: TACIT

7D: Came to terms: AGREED

8D: Supporting pieces: TRUSSES. Did not know this constructional term.

9D: Notorious marquis: SADE. Marquis de Sade. He was sick. Why not clue Sade as Singer of "Smooth Operator"? I could not tell you how much I love Sade's " Somebody Already Broken My Heart".

10D: Christmas in Roma: NATALE. Buon Natale.

11D: Pygmy antelope: ORIBI. I did not know any kind of antelope, not to mention pygmy antelope.

12D: Some makeup products: EYE LINERS. Finally a gimme.

13D: __ - majesty: LESE. This is the highest crime you can commit against your country, isn't it?

14D: Ashe Stadium sport: TENNIS

16D: Exemplar of slowness: SNAIL

18D: Advantage: ASSET

19D: Momentarily: In A SEC. I like answer. Very colloquial.

34D: Interoffice communique: MEMO

35D: Digs a trench: SAPS. Did not know that sap can mean "dig trench in the ground."

36D: Coup d'__: ETAT

38D: Clean and tidy: NEAT

40D: Former Atlanta arena: OMNI. I am so proud that I got this one.

43D: Greek island: CORFU. I put Crete first.

45D: Young or Swit: LORETTA. Knew Loretta young, never heard of Loretta Swit. She was in M*A*S*H.

47D: A customer lead-in: ONE TO. I don't understand this one, what is "one to a customer?"

48D: Give permission: ALLOW

49D: Hose material: NYLON

51D: Thanks, Pierre: MERCI

53D: Sugar source: BEET

55D: Dog in Oz: TOTO

56D: Radio studio sign: ON AIR

57D: Rich desserts: TORTES. Speak of desserts, Krispy Kreme just closed their last store here in MN.

59D: Medium-sized sofa: SETTEE

61D: Thanks, Pedro: GRACIAS

65D: Chicago-based film critic: EBERT (Roger)

66D: 6th sense: ESP (Extrasensory Perception)

68D: Lawn tool: EDGER

69D: Shy: TIMID

70D: Cat - ___-tails: O' NINE. See here. It's a whipping device.

71D: Banking holdings: abbr: ACCTS (Accounts)

72D: Milk: pref: LACT

74D: Evil personified: SATAN

80D: Buckeye State: OHIO

81D: Astronomer's instrument: TELESCOPE

82D: Very dry, as champagne: BRUT

84D: Tobacco product: CIGARETTE

85D: Russian ruler: TSAR

86D: Medicinal fluids: SERA (Serum is the single form)

88D: "Women and Love" author: HITE. Her name was in Friday's puzzle, the clue is Sex researcher Hite (SHERE).

89D: Break free: ESCAPE

91D: Home of the Heat: MIAMI. Miami Heat, the NBA team.

96D: Stench: MALODOR

98D: Beasts: ANIMALS

101D: Slowly, in music: ADAGIO. What's the difference between "lento" and "adagio?"

103D: Kansas city: OLATHE. Did not know this city. It's ranked 13th in the CNN 2006 "100 best cities to live in the US."

104D: Conductor Antal: DORATI. I am very weak in conductor/composer names.

105D: Sonnet part: SESTET

107D: Isolated Indian State: ASSAM. Famous for its tea.

108D: Type of lilly: CALLA

109D: Verlaine poem: "__ de lune:": CLAIR. Knew it from doing crossword.

111D: Bridal path end: ALTAR

113D: Sportscaster Rashad: AHMAD. He actually played for the Vikings. Wikipedia did not tell me why he changed his original name Robert to Ah-Mad.

116D: Hit the dirt: DROP

117D: Cold, in Chile: FRIA. It it correct here? I could not find this word in any dictionary. Frio is a word meaning cold.

118D: Kind of duck: LAME

119D: Friendly or Savage: FRED. Never heard of them before. Fred Friendly was the former president of CBS News. He and Ed Murrow created the "See it Now." I like Fred Savage's brother Ben, who was playing Cory in "Boys Meets World."

121D: Peacock network: NBC

OK, here are something unrelated to crosswords: my prediction for Oscar tonight:

Best Actor: Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Best Actress: Julie Christie (Away from Her)

Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)

Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett (I Am Not There)

Best director: the Cohen brothers (No Country for Old Men)

Best picture: No Country for Old Men

I will also pick up Sicko for best documentary, Juno for best original screenplay, and Ratatouille as the best animated film.


C. C.

Feb 23, 2008

Tribune Media Puzzle Pattern

These are what I've learned since I started this blog:

1) Our puzzle is edited by a guy named Wayne Robert Williams.

2) Our puzzle does not follow NY Times' tougher-as-the-week-go pattern. The difficulty level is consistent from Monday to Saturday (15 by 15). Sunday's puzzle (21 by 21) might be a bit harder due to its bigger size (21 by 21).

So, I am not going to feel stupid and inadequate if I have trouble with the Monday puzzle again. And you should not feel smug if you solve your Saturday puzzle under 20 minutes.

Please read Orange's post on this very issue. One reader, Rich, responded that the Williams told him that he did not use graduated difficulty pattern. If you have a different opinion, please ask your local editor.

3) Every puzzle have a theme from Monday to Friday. Saturday is themeless. Sunday's puzzle is also themed, and titled.


C. C.

Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 Josiah Breward

Theme: NO

I often find a themeless puzzle more intimidating. You can not take a wild guess at some quotation/quip, or spot a bogey-par-birdie or the broken-heart pattern and fill in lots of blanks. This themeless is a true test of your range of knowledge and solving ability. I am just not up for it.

But I am getting better, I used to really like lots of s, es, ed, er, est, ing in the clues, now I don't. I've learned that that was bad and lazy construction.

Today I spent about 35 minutes on the puzzle before I started googling. I did not know 27A: "Punking out" Group (RAMONES). I never heard of the Ramones. I kept thinking of Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd. I did not know the Artis of the NBA (GILMORE), and never heard of ALWORTH (39D: Lance of the NFL). That gave me lots of trouble in the lower middle part.

OK, here are the across entries

1A: Territory's future, perhaps: STATEHOOD

10A: Knight's mail: ARMOR. I got this from the down clues. I was baffled after I reviewed my finished puzzle and could not understand why armor was a mail. Then found out that mail has another meaning of "flexible armor of interlinked rings'.

15A: Long-time New Yorker cartoonist: PETER ARNO. Never heard of him. Got it from down clues. He had a great quote: "Tell me about yourself - your struggles, your dreams, your telephone number."

16A: Use a razor: SHAVE

17A: Peculiar deviations: ANOMALIES

20A: Lillian or Dorothy: GISH. They are pretty sisters. Wow, I found out that Lillian lived until 99 years old.

23A: Pique performance: SNIT

24A: Madame Curie: MARIE

25A:Gillette blade: ATRA

27A: "Punking Out" group: RAMONES. See here for more information. I don't think I want to listen to their music. I just don't like rock, punk, or rap. OK, one exception. I like Pink's Let's get the Party Started.

30A: Viewing twins?: SEEING DOUBLE

32A: Selling feature: ASSET

35A: Highland hillsides: BRAES. Anther repeat offender.

36A: Repeatedly: TIME AND AGAIN

43A: Staggering: REELING

44A: Commercial bits: ADS

47A: Canasta combination: MELD. Did not know this one, in fact, I did not know the meaning of Canasta. It's a card game.

49A: Singer Lou: RAWLS. Frank Sinatra said he had "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game." He was once called "The funkiest man alive". I figure Samuel Jackson must love his music.

50A: From _ to stern: STEM. From one end to another.

51A: Man or Capri: ISLE

53A: Earth model: GLOBE. I botched this one. I was trapped into thinking that earth model might refer to a Korean car model. Could not get any assistance from the down clues.

54A: Wading bird: STILT. Never heard of this bird. The only wading birds I know are Egret, heron and crane.

56A: Like wind and rain: EROSIONAL

58A: Saw's cutters: TEETH

59A: Most peculiar: STRANGEST

60A: Spindrift: SPRAY. I was imaging cotton being processed and lots of fiber drifting.

61A: Rabble: THE MASSES. I got _ _ _ masses, then I thought the constructor was looking for a Latin word which means lower class people. Did not even think of putting a "the" there. Besides, I did not know the NBA/NFL guys' name, so could not get any help from the down clues.

Down entries:

1D: Scanty: SPARSE

2D: Renter: TENANT

4D: Entice: TEMPT

6D: Kubrick's computer: HAL. Learned this from doing crossword.

7D: Artful paper-folding: ORIGAMI. My Grandma was very good at this.

8D: Long golf club: ONE IRON. When I started playing golf in 2001, the only clubs I used were 7-iron & my putter. I used it for drive, fairway/rough shot, bunker shot & chip.

9D: Flopping in London: DOSSING. Sleeping. Unknown to me. I did not even know "flop" can mean sleep, not to mention the British word for it.

10D: One Wednesday: ASH

11D: Valerie Harper sitcom: RHODA

12D: Most easterly Prairie Province: MANITOBA

13D: Use veto power: OVERRULE. Star Tribune cover page this morning: Pawlenty veto sets up fight over transportation bill. Lots of rumors are swirling around that our Governor Tim Pawlenty will be McCain's running mate.

14D: Says over: RESTATES

21D: Listen to: HEED. I put "hear" first, then corrected myself quickly.

24D: Astronaut Jemison: MAE. First black woman to travel in space.

27D: Make roof repairs: RETAR

28D: Edna Ferber novel: SO BIG. She won Pulitzer for this book.

30D: Bishopric: SEE

31D: Container with a tap: URN

32D: Followers on an ancient Greek theory: ATOMISTS. Unknown to me. I wanted it to be Sto__ists, you know, like stoic something. That's the only greek theory I knew.

33D: Evade: SIDESTEP

34D: More rank: SMELLIER. Like a rank cigar, having an offensive strong smell.

37D: Soft-toy stuff: NERF

38D: Mommie's last name?: DEAREST. I was thinking of the Scarlett's nanny in Gone with the Wind. I thought she called her Mommie. Did not know that Mommie Dearest was a book, written by Joan Crawford's daughter.

39D: Lance of the NFL: ALWORTH. Unknown to me. Even if he is in Hall-of-Fame.

40D: Artis of the NBA: GILMORE. Nicknamed "A-Train". I know the "Big Train" Walter Johnson. I ruined my Walter Johnson bobblehead by using Mr. Eraser to clean a small blemish on his lower left chin. My God, the blemish was gone, but his chin became horribly white. Just awful!

41D: Response to a ques.: ANS

44D: Expiates: ATONES

45D: Cheapen: DEBASE

46D: Refines ore: SMELTS. The word in my mind was "Assay". Did not know that besides fish, "smelt" can mean refine metal by fusing.

48D: Mississippi triangle: DELTA

50D: Works hard: SLOGS. That's how I do my puzzle every day.

53D: Actress Lollobrigida: GINA. Vaguely remembered her name.

55D: "Hallowed by _ name...": THY

57D: Nunn or Donaldson: SAM. Gimme for me. Thought you might like this tidbit that I lifted from Wikipedia:

"On August 2, 2006, during the last White House Press conference in the briefing room before undergoing major renovations, Donaldson shouted, "Mr. President, should Mel Gibson be forgiven?", referencing reports of the actor/producer's alleged anti-Semitic remarks.

Bush laughed and looked up to see who had asked the question. Bush joked, "Is that Sam Donaldson? Forget it ... you're a 'has-been'! We don't have to answer has-beens' questions." To which Donaldson retorted "It's better to be a has-been than a never-was!"

I don't think Bush came back with an equally sparkling repartee. I never saw the interview, but I could picture him grinning his way out, jaw agape. God, that smirk!

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

C. C.

Feb 22, 2008

Friday, Feb 22, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: Familiar Phrases starting B_T, the vowels are in A-E-I-O-U order.

17A: Swimsuit models: BATHING BEAUTIES

23A: Intuitive Reading?: BETWEEN THE LINES

40A: Facing misfortune bravely: BITING THE BULLET

53A: Ace place?: BOTTOM OF THE DECK

61A: Shut up: BUTTONED ONE'S LIP

A few things to say before I start today's puzzle:

1) On Feb 3 Sunday Arlan and Linda Bushman puzzle, the answer for 86D: Brace or Span is TWO. Can anyone please explain to me why? (Update: Thanks to Joey and Dennis, now I know that brace/span means a pair, as in a span of horses, a brace of dogs. I hope Curt of Palm Beach Post is reading this).

2) On yesterday's puzzle, the answer for 44D: Upstate NY School is RPI. I thought you would be interested to know that that young guy Tyler Hinman, who won the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament the last three years, graduated from RPI. I have to thank Orange for providing me with this information.

By the way, tonight, both Orange and Tyler will be on the Nick Digilio Show (Chicago WGN 720AM). There is supposed to be "Listen Now!" button on their website. Go there if you have time, maybe you can glean a few wisdom from these 2 ace solvers.

3) If you have not watched the movie Wordplay, please put it on your Netflix queue. Can you believe that someone can finish one puzzle in a little over 2 minutes? That's insane.

OK, back to today's puzzle. I breezed through the upper left corner and the middle left section, and spotted the B_T pattern fairly quickly, which allowed me to sweep through the gut part and the lower left corner of the puzzle. Bubba Watson (23D: Watson of golf) might stump some of you, but it's a gimme for most of the golf fans (me included). This guy is crazy in his tee shots (longest drive: 398 yards).

But then I was bogged down on the upper right part of the puzzle. It's a nightmare for me. I did not know what to fill for 15A: Judith or Dana (IVEY), all that came to my mind was a picture of Dana Milbank of Washington Post appearing on MSNBC discussing Judith Miller's CIA leak case. I really had no idea who was Mohammed's favorite wife (AYESHA), I did not even know that he was married. This is a bit disturbing, I found out that he married this girl when she was only 6-year-old.

For your information, today's constructor Mr. Wiseman also gave us the golf themed Bogey-Par-Birdie-Eagle puzzle on Jan. 25 Friday and the broken heart puzzle on Sunday Feb 10.

Here are the across entries:

1A: Somewhat wet: DAMP

5A: Poet Teasdale: SARA. Have you read her poem "I shall not care"?

9A: Tibetan capital: LHASA. Also known as the real Forbidden City.

15A: Judith or Dana: IVEY. Both are actresses. Generally I suck at movie stars names, esp if they are old.

16A: 2nd-year coeds: SOPHS (Sophomores)

17A: Swimsuit models: BATHING BEAUTIES. For a moment, I thought all the theme entries will be alliterations.

20A: Math branch: ALG

29A: Ms. Thurman: UMA. Kill Bill.

30A: Take a load of: SIT

31A: Cuckoopint: ARUM. Learned this word a few weeks ago.

32A: Rope fiber: BAST

34A: Part of Can.: NWT (Northwest Territory)

44A: Coeur d'___, ID: ALENE

45A: River in Devon: EXE. Another river in England. I got it from the down clues.

47A: End of demo: CRAT (as in Democrat)

52A: Meas. across: DIA (Diameter)

60A: "__ Gotta Be Me": I'VE. Sammy Davis Jr. Song. Sorry about the mistake earlier. Buddy Holly song is "I've Got to be me". I put "It's" first, thinking of the "It's Gonna be me" by 'N Sync.

68A: Satellite of Jupiter: ELARA. Mr. Wiseman used the exact clue for his last puzzle.

69A: Squat down: DUCK

70A: Philosopher Immanuel: KANT. His idea is too abstract for me. I love the concept of "Dare to Know" though.

71A: Letter flourish: SERIF

72A: Makes up one's mind: OPTS

73A: Word before jerk or water: SODA

Down entries:

1D: Localize the soundtrack: DUB

2D: Candler or Gray: ASA. Candler is the Coca Cola guy (Candler's Park in Atlanta). ASA is often clued as the botanist Gray.

4D: Pish!: PSHAW!

5D: Scorching superficially: SINGEING

6D: Part of GPA: AVG (Average)

6D: Attempt to disprove: REBUT

8D: Mohammed's favorite wife: AYESHA. Wikipedia shows that it can also be spelled as A'isha. Does anyone know how many wives Mohammed had?

9D: Baton Rouge sch.: LSU (Louisiana State University, Shaq O'Neal's alma mater).

11D: Concerning bees: APIAN

12D: Sex researcher Hite: SHERE. Never heard of her. Kinsey is the only name that came to my mind.

13D: Nincompoops: ASSES

18D: French islands: ILES

19D: Computer brand: ACER. I put Dell first. Acer is a huge electronic manufacturer based in Taiwan. In fact, it's the third largest PC producer in the world, after HP and Dell.

23D: Watson of golf: BUBBA. He tied for 5th in last year's US Open I think. I love Tom Watson of the Sr. PGA Tour a lot.

25D: Discernment: TASTE

26D: Contents abbreviation: NT WT (Net Weight)

27D: Maui feast: LUAU

28D: Hint at: IMPLY

33D: Add color to: TINCT

37D: Slip away from: ELUDE

38D: Old treasure: RELIC

41D: Actor Franco: NERO. Italian actor. Never heard of him before. Heard of James Franco though.

43D: Remembers, once: BETHINKS

48D: God of Thebes: AMON. Also spelled as Amen, an Egytian God, represented as a man with a ram's head. Thebes is an ancient city in Egypt.

49D: Ohio city: TOLEDO

51D: Golfer Ballesteros: SEVE. This guy can chip! He is a golf genius.

53D: "___ in Toyland": BABES. A band formed here in Minnesota.

54D: Early-stage seed: OVULE

55D: Crimean man: TATAR

56D: Sick and tired: FED UP

62D: Dent or corn starter: TRI (Trident and Tricorn)

63D: Clumsy fellow: OAF

64D: 10 of calendars: OCT

65D: Thai ethnic group: LAO. I bet this is a gimme for my blog reader Alan in Thailand.

66D: Ky.neighbor: IND

67D: School org: PTA: This has to go to the Repeat Offender list.

C.C.

Feb 21, 2008

Thursday, Feb 21 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Hey, this is C.C., I noticed that lots of you come to this puzzle today (May 14, 2008 Wednesday), which paper are you doing? Pls leave a comment here or send me a private email. I am curious know why there is such a long time lap between your paper and mine. Thanks.

(Updates: Sorry for my mistake earlier, this is a legitimate quip from Samuel Butler.)


Theme: Quip

17A: Start of quip: It's better to have

20A: Part 2 of quip: Loved

35A: Part 3 of quip: And lost than

53A: Part 4 of quip: Never

54A: End of quip: To have lost at all

Well, this is not how I remember, the original line is "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all". OK, here is the original from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem In Memoriam:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
When interviewed by E! or some other media on JFK Jr. and his wife's tragic death, Daryl Hannah, who dated JFK Jr. for a few years, quoted this exact line. And I remember I was very moved.

I do not like this puzzle at all. I hate it when the quote/quip does not make any sense. Stared at the lower middle corner forever, trying to force LOVE into the LOST spot - of course grammatically it's impossible, as "have" demands a past participle. Did not know who the hell was 51D: Actor Romero (CESAR). Did not know Latin Law is LEX.

Struggled mightily with the 51A: Gigantic statues (COLOSSI), wanted the last letter to be S or U to fit in the 44D: Upstate NY school (RPI, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). Never heard of this RPI. And of course, some sloths (43D), AIS. This constructor love his sloths, On his Feb 7 Thursday's puzzle, he clued UNAU as 2-toed sloth.

Enough said, here are the across entries:

1A: Endangered Afri. mammal: RHINO (Rhinocero). Also British slang for money.

6A: Abraham's son: ISAAC

11A: AARP group: SRS. AARP stands for American Association with Retired Person.

14A: Noble title: BARON

15A: "Jurassic Park" star Sam: NEILL. He is currently starring in The Tutors.

16A: Tiger's peg: TEE. I like Tiger's caddy Steve Williams.

21A: Morse unit: DIT

22A: Weapons stockpile: ARSENAL

23A: Rainy day racetrack favorites: MUDDERS. Kentucky Derby 1920 winner Paul Jones was a mudder.

29A: Considered: DEEMED

30A: Anderson of "WKRP..": LONI. Burt Reynold's wife.

31A: Bodybuilder Ferrigno: LOU. The Incredible Hulk.

33A: Short skirts: MINIS

34A: Charged articles: IONS

45A: Zodia cat: LEO

47A: Grapevine transmission: GOSSIP

49A: Swaps: BARTERS

50A: Gigantic statues: COLOSSI, plural form of colossus, adj is colossal.

61A: Onassis, to pals: ARI

62A: Barcelata's "Maria __": ELENA. Never heard of this song.

63A: Lukewarm: TEPID

64A: Kind of rally or talk: PEP. Our Gophers' football coach Tim Brewster is very good at this. Many fans hated him (1-11 record last season). But I like him. I once wrote him a letter to show my support, he responded very quickly with a handwritten note. I was so smitten with his handwriting on the envelope.

65A: Philly pro: SIXER. NBA 76ers.

66A: Utopias: EDENS

Down entries:

1D: Slugger's stat: RBI. If you like my blog, please vote for Justin Morneau for All-Star this year.

2D: Occupation indicator: HAT. Does this refer to Chef's hat or what?

3D: April 15 addressee: IRS. $1200 is coming!

4D: Aristocrats: NOBLEMEN

5D: Certain tie score: ONE ONE

6D: Chip maker: INTEL. I feel sorry for you if you owe INTEL's stock in the past 4 years.

7D: Ranked player: SEED

8D: Expose to public scrutiny: AIR

9D: PC key: ALT

10D: Klutzy: CLODDISH. Lots of points for Klutzy in Scrabble.

11D: Grandeur: STATELINESS

12D: Gun it in neutral: REV

13D: Get it?: SEE?

18D: Boob tube spot: TV AD

19D: Covered up: HID

22D: Put two and two together: ADD

23D: Old Olds' auto: REO

24D: Office of a legislator: SENATORSHIP. I never heard of this usage. It's either the Office of Senator McCain or the Office of Congressman Ron Paul.

26D: One condo: UNIT

27D: Kanga's kid: ROO. Winnie-the Pooh character.

28D: Daystar: SUN. Watched part of the Lunar Eclipse last night. Too cold (-3F) for me to stand outside.

30D: Itemized accounts: LISTS

33D: Sahl and Drucker: MORTS

36D: Warrants: DESERVES

37D: Cougar's den: LAIR

38D: Miscellaneous: ASSORTED

39D: Clerical vestment: ALB

40D: Veggie sphere: PEA

43D: Some sloths: AIS. 3-toes sloth, OK, this one is not as ugly as the two toed UNAU. Show us more sloths Mr. Olschwang!

44D: Upsate NY school: RPI. I went to their alumni Hall-of-Fame website, and found nobody that I have heard of.

47D: Political syst.: GOVT (Government)

48D: Soap ingredient: OLEATE. I blogged about this word before.

49D: Barcelona aunt: TIA

51D: Actor Romero: CESAR. Never heard of him. Never watched Batman.

54D: Spigot: TAP

57D: Latin law: LEX. Attention: the plural form of lex is leges.

58D: Bonzo or Clyde: APE. Bonzo is the chimpanzee from Bedtime for Bonzo (Ronald Reagan 1951 film). Clyde is the chimpanzee from the Biniki Beach (1964) or Every Which Way But Loose (Clint Eastwood 1978 movie).

59D: "Little Red Book" compiler Biao: LIN. This is a gimme for me. He died in a plane crash in 1971, trying to escape to Mongolia. He was the second-command to Mao Ze-Dong during China's Cultural Revolution.

60D: Mormon letters: LDS (Latter Day Saints)

If you have time, please have a look at my yesterday's Tribune Media Repeat Offenders' post. I found SIR, PEA, LAIR, ION, TEE, RBI, IRS, AIR, REO, ORE, APT, LEO, and ELI to be guilty.

Thank you for stopping by this morning and have a good day.

C. C.