May 9, 2009

Saturday May 9, 2009 Bruce Venzke

Theme: None

Total blocks: 38

Total words: 68

What a unique grid! I wonder if there is a special term for this kind of extra symmetry. Fold the puzzle in the middle along Row #8 or Column #8, you will find the mirroring pattern between left & right and up & down. Probably 99% of all the puzzles only have a 180 degree rotational symmetry, i.e., if you turn the puzzle upside down by rotating 180 degrees, the pattern of black squares remains the same.

This constructor Bruce Venzke (the guy with glasses on) seems to be fond of stacked long 15-letter words for his Saturday themeless. Remember this one we solved in April? Today, there are another two sets of triple-stacked long words at the top and the bottom:

1A: Makes some progress: GETS TO FIRST BASE

16A: Song that's acted out: I'M A LITTLE TEA POT

17A: Song also known as "Cowboy's Lament": STREETS OF LAREDO

56A: Responded in kind, in a way: COUNTER-ATTACKED

61A: Vague putoff: AT SOME OTHER TIME

62A: Post under a hood: BATTERY TERMINAL

The last one baffles me. What hood? And what post? To me, BATTERY TERMINAL is just + or -.

Neat to see TAO (37A: Eastern philosophy) crossing HAN (34D: Dynasty after the Qin) right in the middle of the grid. TAO (道) is often spelled DAO in China. Zhou, Qin, HAN & Tang are the four most famous dynasties with capital in my hometown Xi'An. I got my Mandarin name Zhouqin because of the Zhou & Qin dynasties connection.

Had my struggle again today. I failed the "Stress Test" before I even started. Those 15-letter blanks intimidate me.


18A: Took care of : SAW TO. My first fill of the grid.

19A: Shadow: UMBRA. Latin for "shade". Root word for umbrella.

20A: Gig component: AMP. This simple 3-letter answer stymies me all the time.

22A: Turner of music: IKE. Too bad it's not clued as " '50s nickname" to pair up with ETO (15D: WWII arena").

23A: Groovy toy?: SLOT CAR. The car runs on a groove.

27A: Knocks off: DEDUCTS. Not familiar with this slangy DEDUCT meaning of "knock off".

32A: Record for later: TIVO. Thought of TAPE first.

33A: Radar purchases?: NEHIS.

36A: Skip: OMIT

38A: "Young Frankenstein" lab assistant: INGA. No idea. Wanted IGOR/YGOR. Wikipedia says she's played by Teri Garr.

39A: Drawn things: LOTS. Draw lots.

40A: Monopoly deed sextet: RENTS. Any Monopoly related clue is a stumper to me.

42A: Corner: NOOK

43A: Agents of biochemical change: ENZYMES. Raw veggies/fruits are rich in ENZYMES, which help to break down protein. I like adding fresh pineapple to shrimps or other seafood I cook. Perfect combination.

45A: Contemporary of Lucille: IMOGENE. Big stumper. I need "Zany Coca" in the clue to get the answer.

47A: Me. summer setting: EDT. Shouldn't the letter e be capitalized (Maine)?

48A: Decimal meas.: CEN. No idea. Centimeter?

49A: Got to: IRKED. Is "get to" a slang?

52A: Lassie was rarely seen on one: LEASH. Clever clue. I suppose you can say that about most of the movie/TV dogs?


1D: Grunts: GIS. "Grunt" is slang for infantry solider. I should have got this one. We had so many Army/Marines/Navy/Air Force nickname discussions a few weeks ago.

2D: Lifesavers, for shorts: EMTS

3D: Plantation near Twelve Oaks: TARA. I like the line "I'll always have TARA" in "Gone with the Wind". Also like "We'll always have Paris" in "Casablanca".

4D: Plethora: SLEW

5D: Stickpin kin: TIE TAC. Thought it's TIE TACK.

6D: Place to put your dogs up?: OTTOMAN. "Dogs" is slang or "feet". I was picturing the real dogs.

7D: NBA scores: FTS (Free Throws). No idea. Not a basketball fan. Maybe you can give me a NBA scores 101 today.

8D: 1969 Peace Prize-winning agcy.: ILO. Sigh. I actually mentioned this Nobel Peace Prize trivia about ILO when it appeared in our puzzle some time ago. This morning I could only think of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). They were awarded Nobel Peace in 1999.

9D: Ring leader?: REF. Boxing. Good clue.

10D: NYC hospital since 1858: ST LUKE'S. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says their Roosevelt Emergency Room is notable for being the site of John Lennon's death.

11D: Joined (with): TEAMED

12D: Comeback, perhaps: BARB. Another great clue. Not sufficient for me though. I definitely need an extra "biting" for hint.

13D: One who's often not himself?: APER. Did you get it immediately? I did not. Reminds me of Doug Peterson's wicked "Ape wrestlers" for GRAPPLE. Ape is a verb: "mimic".

14: Scotch partner: SODA. Like Gin and Tonic?

21D: Course admission requirement, perhaps: PRETEST. Not familiar with this term. We don't have PRETEST in our schools.

22D: Dumb: IDIOTIC. I feel dumb, not IDIOTIC though. I guess I don't want to be called an idiot. Dummy, yes.

23D: Ripped off: STOLE. Hmm, no more "It's a wrap". Kind of chiseled/sculpted face. Does she look pretty to you?

24D: Dance José: LIMON. No idea. Wikipedia says this guy was a pioneering modern dancer and choreographer. And his most famous dance is "The Moor's Pavane" (1949), based on Shakepeare's "Othello".

25D: Short-lived '90s Disney president: OVITZ (Michael). Unknown figure to me. His short lived tenure at Disney lasts 16 months. And he received $38 million in cash and $100 million in stock as a severance package. Unbelievable! Good job, Michael Eisner!

26D: Hotsy-__: TOTSY. High class hottie?

29D: Where standing is ill-advised: CANOE. What came to your mind first?

30D: "You don't __ Superman's cape": Jim Croce lyric: TUG ON. Unknown to me also. It's from the song "You Don't Mess Around with Jim".

31D: Quench: SLAKE

40D: Venison source: RED DEER. What's the matter with him? Such a desperate look. I wanted DEER MEAT.

41D: Place of refinement?: SMELTER. Sigh! I had trouble with this one.

44D: Lover's message: MEET ME. For some, it would be just "CALL ME".

46D: Bandit feature?: ONE-ARM. The slot machine. Or is it the bad guy in "The Fugitive"?

49D: Greek vowel: IOTA. Greek "i". I am used to the "Tiny amount" clue.

51D: Boater's unit: KNOT. No idea. What kind of unit? Anything to do with the rope?

53D: When Romeo spots Juliet: ACT I. Saw similar clue before.

54D: Large organ: SKIN. Holy moley, I've never thought of SKIN as organ.

55D: Blood: Pref: HEMA. Can you believe I forgot this prefix again? It appeared in our puzzle at least 3 times before. It's Greek for "blood".

56D: Semi-attached compartment?: CAB. Stumped. Semi refers to the 18-wheeler. Dictionary says CAB is "the covered or enclosed part of a locomotive, truck, crane, etc., where the operator sits."

57D: 2003 A.L. Cy Young Award winner Holladay: ROY. Gimme for any baseball fan. ROY Holladay is with Toronto Blue Jays. The 2004 & 2006 A.L. Cy Young is Johan Santana. I miss him a lot.

58D: NYSE ticker symbol changed to "T" in 1930: AT&T

59D: Every day article: THE. Nailed it immediately.

60D: V.P. Biden's state: DEL. My favorite Joe Biden quote is his comment on Rudy Guilian's sentence structure: "a noun, a verb and 9/11".

Answer grid.



Argyle said...

C.C., you have so many questions today I hardly know where to begin.

I don't know if it is the right term for this type of grid, but I think of it as a bull's eye; like the center of a target.

Post under the hood made me laugh...after I got the clue. It refers to your car battery(which has two posts) and it sits under the car's hood(bonnet, if it's English car).

C.C. Burnikel said...

Too bad, the "Post under a hood" humor is totally lost on me. Have you seen this kind of grid pattern before?

Great to see you back. I thought you might have encountered some computer problem.

See "Collapse comments" atop Argyle's picture? Click on it, you can count your total posts easily.

Nice post at 7:07pm yesterday. You are so sweet. I wish you & Xchefwalt good luck in finding your next job.

Argyle said...

ME or Me. - either way. I'd say ME would have been better because there is no period in EDT.

(Irked and deducts) It gets to me when a seller says he will knock off a little on the price of an item that he overpriced in the first place.

Yes, I've seen this pattern before.

Argyle said...

Very Interesting: Han TaoThe center of the puzzle; bull's eye) is a character in the epic Chinese novel Water Margin. He was nicknamed the 'Ever-Victorious General' (百勝將).
He meets his end when he is shot in the face with an arrow. Bull's eye!

Rex Parker said...

Nice easy (ish) Saturday. Only thing I didn't really know was LIMON.

ILO (International Labour Organization) will come back again and again. Today was the first day I managed to remember it w/o any help from crosses.


Rex Parker said...

PS if you want to see what a really Really hard puzzle looks like, try today's NYT. Took me more than 3x as long to do.


windhover said...

I came here to answer your battery post question, but I see Argyle beat me to it, so my comments will be brief.

An English translation of the Tao was very popular in certain circles in the seventies. I still have my copy, purchased and read in the nineties, my personal period of enlightenment/awakening. I will revisit it soon.

I'm surprised to see so few posts this AM. The DF regulars must be recovering from horn-blowing and Stoli-shooting

The 15 word grids usually defeat me. I've completed a few NYT weekend puzzles, but not regularly. While I can just give up and get on with my day, The responsibility of the blog requires you to soldier on. My hat, as ever, is off to you.
Windhover, admiringly.

Dick said...

Good morning C.C. and all,...a bit of a testy one today which caused me to put on the thinking cap. Fortunately I was able to get 1A and 56A early on and this allowed me to get several of the down perps easily. This allowed for a lot of fills quickly in both the top and bottom of the puzzle.

I, like Argyle, saw the answer to "Post Under the Hood" quickly and liked the clue/answer. I also liked the clue for 46D, bandit feature. And, yes C.C. skin is the largest organ in the body.

Hope you all have a great Saturday.

Argyle said...

Dick, you misunderstood me, post under the hood was one of the last ones I got but one of the best clues.

I've managed to burn through four posts already. C.C., I'm sure one of our sailors will explain "knots" to you.

It's not too early for a Scotch and Soda, is it?

Lola said...

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Just enough twists to make it interesting, but not so obscure that you feel cheated when you get the answers.

My only stumbling block was in the South West corner. I wanted 51A to be (something with) another time rather than, at some other time. I also wanted dust to represent disuse rather than rust. Still, it was fun and good for a few pats on the back as the long fills were completed.

As a preschool teacher, "I'm a Little Tea Pot", made me smile when it revealed itself.

Have a sassy Saturday all. TTFN

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Today's puzzle was very intimidating at first glance, and I think I actually groaned out loud. Fortunately, the actual long answers weren't particularly hard to figure out once I got some of the perps in place. It's just that they were impossible to get without any of the perps, hence the initial intimidation.

Overall, not too bad. I finished in just over 10 minutes, which is about average for a Saturday. I had some minor missteps (TAPE for TIVO, OVITS for OVITZ and HEMO for HEMA), but they got corrected pretty quickly. I was a little peeved to learn that the PLO won the Nobel Peace Prize back in 1969, but then I realized my mistake... ^_^

Have a good one!

Sunnie said...

That blood clue makes me think of "Hemo the Magnificent", an animated science film we watched several times in Jr. High (late 60's era!).
So...I spelled the answer wrong, too, Barry...and then corrected it!
I am an amateur compared to CC & you guys, but that means a lover, and I love doing a crossword!

KittyB said...

C.C., thanks to Dear Husband, I know a little about knots, but I think it would be best to refer your readers to this link at Wikipedia.

I got NEHIS right away, and then couldn't get the lab assistant in Young Frankenstein.' I tried Teri, and Garr, and started to put in Igor. I forgot Garr's role name.

I had enough across to guess ENZYMES, and that's pretty much how the rest of the puzzle went.

I didn't have a lot of red letter help, but DH kibitzed, which was fun.

ILO, FTS, APER and LIMON all came from fills.

It's chilly here this morning, in th 50s. Good gardening weather, so IMBO!

xchefwalt said...

Hi everyone-
I just wanted to check in and let everyone know that I'm back online (I was using a work laptop before) and to say 'thank you' to all of you for your good wishes and positive thoughts (I really liked the way y'all are putting (x) before my name now; are you trying to tell me something??)

Make it a great weekend and I'll see everyone on Monday.

Anonymous said...

the mirror image is like the diagramless puzzles

Jazzbumpa said...

Spent yesterday in Toledo and worked the Friday puzzle in my mother-in-law's copy of the Blade. I thought that one had a clever, well executed theme - but I'm a sucker for word play.

Kids soccer game this morning, and some computer problems to deal with. don't know if I'll get to today's puzzle.

@ Kazie, 5/07 10:51 PM

I wasn't complaining about clues that gave me trouble. I actually got the ones I mentioned with little difficulty, and I never complain about a clue/answer because it causes me to learn something new. In fact I appreciate those opportunities quite a bit.

What I'm kvetching about are things that IMO are flaws in puzzle construction. IMHO, Foreign languages, dead language numbers, and non-word letter strings are annoying and distracting.
They detract from the pleasure of doing a puzzle, and if it isn't fun, then what's the point?

This has nothing to do with my general optimism or pessimism, about which I have made no comments whatsoever.


KQ said...

Hi all,

I had more trouble with this than some of you posters. But there were lots of good clues. Especially liked NEHIS, LOTS, APER, SMELTER, CAB, OTTOMAN and ONE-ARM. Many of the answers I had to get through the perps today, and really only finished about 2/3 without some help. But it all filled in at the end. A little red letter help was needed.

Thanks CC for the explanations on SLOT CARS and LOTS. The first I didn't know, the second just wasn't registering. I am guessing that CEN represents centimeter. If you are representing measurements in meters, the first decimal would represent the centimeter.

Must be off. I have lots to be done. Graduation is next weekend, and I am out of town almost all next week. Can't wait for things to calm down in a week or so. Too much time away.

Lemonade714 said...

Good morning:

I agree with Barry that the 15 letter fills make these intimidating at first, but then, by slowly plugging away, they come together. I like REF, SMELTER and DEDUCTS all of which misled a little.

Like most, I begin by doing the 3 and 4 letter clues, and FTS (free throws) also could be FGS (field goals) so all I could put in was F_S, but the teapot made it all come together. SCOTCH and SODA was a very popular drink order, and CEN is surely centimeter. Yes. 'get to' is a slang, for example, "My wife always being late, really gets to me."

I will never forget INGA and the classic What Knockers line from the movie.

PRETEST and APER are pretty bogus, but standard. Normally there are course prerequisites, and we see APER so much.

C.C., thanks for the tip. Enjoy the week end, all. Tarrajo catch some big ones.

Brendan Emmett Quigley said...

Solid stuff. Always liked making the triple stacks. I'm guessing he started with the entry AT SOME OTHER TIME as half the letters are vowels and the other half are very fluid friendly letters.
If anybody's looking for a stiffer themeless challenge, check out the puzzle on my blog.

treefrog said...

Wow,I needed Xwords for Dummies today. My brain must have been asleep. That means I probably won't even look at the NYT puzzle in the paper tomorrow.
Have a great weekend.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, When I first saw the grid, my heart sank. I skipped 1A and was tickled that I'M A LITTLE TEA POT and STREETS OF LAREDO were gimmes. I went back starting with 1D and was able to fill in the top third with very little difficulty, although FTS and ILO were unknowns.

I wanted Jose GRECO instead of LIMON, like most of you, TAPE instead of TIVO and DUST instead of RUST.

I misread the clue for 56A as "Respond in a kind way" and couldn't figure out an answer for "vague putoff" so it took awhile to fill in the bottom section via the perps.

Thanks to Dr. Dad's previous posts (yes, I was paying attention) I got the scientific ENZYMES without a problem.

My favorite clues were for SMELTER and ONE-ARM.

Young Frankenstein is a favorite comedy. Lemonade714 pointed out a great tag- line, but I'm afraid I couldn't choose and I'd have to link the whole movie. IMO Mel Brooks movies are second only to the Marx Brothers in inspired silliness.

Sunnie, Welcome. We have some quilters here (Hi, KittyB) Please post some photos of your quilts. We'd love to see them.

WM said...

Very intimidating at first glance. Went through and filled in things that I thought I knew, APER, SODA, INGA, NEHIS, HEMA, ACTI and a few others. 1A and 2A were giving me fits...I was trying to fit in some kind of Hula...Hawaiian, etc., as it was the only kind of acted out dance I could think of...came here for 1 and 2 across and then the puzzle slowly started to come together. Maybe my brain just needed a nudge.

As usual, a few of the answers that I didn't fill in initially were actually correct when I got back to them. Pretty much the same unknowns as others. I am begining to see the light at the end of the tunnel for Fridays and Saturdays and at least, it isn't a train.

KittieB...awesome new quilt!!!


C.C. IMHO, soda ruins a really good single malt Scotch(whisky)...

Mr. Parker...somehow it feels a bit better when you have to wrestle with it a bit too...thank you.

Beautiful day...outta here...

KittyB said...

Thanks for the "save" Clear Ayes!

Sunnie, welcome to the group. I second Clear Ayes....I'd love to see more of your quilts. As for the crosswords, we're all amateurs here. Some are just farther along that pathway than others. To my mind, we're both in good company!

Thanks, WM! My new picture (avatar?) is a quilt I made for a friend. It's my color interpretation of a Jinny Beyer pattern, and reminds me of some of the crossword puzzles we've done.

Jano said...

@Jazzbumpa 10:37,
I have the opposite feeling than you do about what you call flaws.
" Foreign languages, dead language numbers, and non-word letter strings"
Stretching out the limits of what words are used makes new puzzles much more interesting than just reading dictionary definitions, constantly repeated.
Well, that's just my take.
I hope you find something to enjoy in them!

embien said...

I'll do the puzzle later.

Thanks all for your kind comments. Our cat, who was over 22 years old, passed peacefully during the night. My wife and I spent many hours with him yesterday, as it was obviously near the end. Of course we are saddened, but he had many long and happy years with us and lived a good life, so we are at peace.

So many of our animals (cats, ducks, chickens) have fallen victim to coyotes, owls, raccoons and neighboring dogs over the years in our rural environment that it is unusual when one leaves us peacefully.

Thanks again for your kind thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe someone else thinks like me ! Great hearing your thoughts.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Interesting HAN TAO connection. However, I don't believe it's the constructor's intention. Han Tao is a very obscure character in "Water Margin".

Sunnie & Anonymous @ 1:16pm,
Hey, nice to hear from you.

Anonymous @9:50am,
What is a diagramless puzzle?

Clear Ayes,
Re: Jose GRECO. Another classic example of the more you know, the more trouble you have. Yes, I did notice that you always pay close attention to others' posts. You are Clear Ayes for a reason.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Barry G,
Oh, no, PLO...

Knockers is a new slang to me. What knockers!

Your post reminds me of the old Matthew Higgins themeless we used to have on Saturdays. All his clues are so precise and dictionary-perfect, but so boring.

Jazzbumpa said...

Jano -

That's why I said, "IMHO."

YMMV, of course.

Different strokes.


embien said...

14:33 today. The stacked 15's indeed do look intimidating initially, but always remember, they are usually very, very common phrases (not too many 15-letter words, after all). Also, all those 15's usually means that the crosses tend to be short, and hence a bunch of them can be filled in immediately.

Here's an example from today's puzzle: TIE TAC, OTTOMAN, F_S (could be G or T in the middle), ILO, APER, SODA and ETO were gimmees, so TO FIRST BASE got filled in almost immediately, and most of I'M A LITTLE TEAPOT and OF LAREDO were already in there. The north was entirely filled in with barely two minutes gone.

The south, on the other hand, took nearly all the time as I had DUST instead of RUST, HEMO instead of HEMA, and didn't know SKIN off the top of my head. Big problems.

A very fun Saturday puzzle. Now off to watch The Player's on TV.

Clear Ayes said...

C.C. :o) I know this has been quoted here before, but your comment brought it back to mind. By Alexander Pope, in An Essay on Criticism, (1709):

"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again."

So, now I must remember that BOTH Limon and Greco are well-known dancing Joses.

Lemonade714 said...


Well we could have a seminar on various expressions in America for women's breasts, e.g. melons, grapefruits, boobs, funbags etc., but in the meantime, we continue you on our joint mission of knowledge and entertainment. Any help Lois, Carol? Ah, Lo-li-ta where are you?

In a diagramless puzzle, you are given just the clues. You have decide the length of the answers and where the black squares go; it is not as difficult as it seems because the clues are numbered. For a nice tutorial go to DIAGRAMLESS.

Anonymous said...

lemonade714, lo-li-ta is gone, (x)chefwalt is back, it's all good.

Jazzbumpa said...

Finally got to the puzzle and made it through -- with a bit of cheating. I would never have thought of "irked" for "got to." Didn't know Limon or Ovitz.

Streets of Laredo was the first long answer I got, with some help from the perps. Bottom half was tougher than the top for me. Lots of clever clues. Hmmm. "Gets to" could also be used for 27A.

I have this weird fantasy about a xwrd that uses the same clue over and over to get to many different answers.

Teri Garr is just 3 days short of being 2 years older than I am. She was always a favorite of mine. She has MS, and isn't seen much anymore. Didn't reslize she had a brsin aneurysm till I saw it on her Wikipedia page. Tough problems. I wish her well.

CC - I do think the stole lady is pretty.

Which reminds me, the matter with that deer is he is in rut. Poor deer is desperate for some doe.

Time for a glass of wine. Maybe a single malt later (no soda.)

C.C. Burnikel said...

Clear Ayes,
Your quote reminds me of the "Better to Err with Pope, than shine with Pye" explanation you gave to me last time.

See my 7D (FTS) comment earlier, I was actually expecting a NBA abbreviation 101 today.

Anonymous @3:21pm,
Your comment is not welcome. Go back to lurking.

D'oh! Does! Thanks.

Jeanne said...

I was never able to finish the puzzle today, not only because of difficulty, but the sound of fire engines, ambulances, etc. trying to put out a fire in a house less than a half mile from our home. We later found out that 2 children and their parents got out but a 7 yr. old and a 20 month old died in the fire. The house was an old farmhouse structure and made of all wood so it was engulfed rapidly. I didn’t personally know the family but saw the children playing outside occasionally. I’m grieving for a family I don’t know but can’t get them out of my mind. To lose your home to fire would be devastating but to also lose two children would be unbearable. I wish I had my children and grandchild to hug right now; for all that have your loved ones close, give them an extra hug tonight.

Lemonade714 said...


Okay, I understand now, but I do not always. I guess that is what makes it all puzzling.

Lemonade714 said...

Jazzbumpa: "I have this weird fantasy about a xwrd that uses the same clue over and over to get to many different answers."

Well your dream is an old reality for many, just do some NYT crosswords.

My father-in-law was 20 months old when his mother and older brother were killed in a house fire. He and another brother and a sister survived, but his fahter was so distraught he ran away. There is much sadness in life. I sympathize with you and your reaction.

hayrake said...

Hello C.C. Dropped in to see what your defining board thought of this puzzle and some wry information about 'getting off' and 'large organs'. What I found is that no one really explained for you that the knot isn't the one in the rope that won't come untied in a pinch. This knot is the term used as a measurement of speed by the military - and perhaps everyone else, I don't know - on water and in the air.
The statute mile that we use ashore is 5,280 l.f. while the nautical mile is 6,076 l.f. One knot, then, is 1 nautical mile per hour. Hence, if one needs to convert one to another, one can say that 1 mph = about 0.87 knots per hour; conversely, 1 knot = about 1.13 mph. People who use them a lot, i.e. pilots and captains of big boats, can easily convert the values in their head.

So I know what "getting off" means to me and a million other guys. What does it mean to you C.C.?

Just kidding with you. I meant to stop at knots.

I wish a very happy Mother's Day to all the mother's among us.


Crockett1947 said...

@embien So sorry for your loss of your furry friend and companion.

@jeanne Your empathy for your neighbors is touching. I wish you well.

@all Please cherish your mothers and have a good day with them in celebration of their gift to you. We lost Mom in December 2005 and for some reason this Mother's Day is hitting me hard.

You all have a great evening and Sunday

kazie said...

I appreciated your take on the other languages in puzzles. To me, a puzzle is better when it deals with words that are used in, or have influenced our own language. The XWs that rely on trivia, sports or entertainment figures from years gone by have no learning value. I have no interest in those things and don't care if I never learn about them, and those puzzles are no fun for me.

Jazzbumpa doesn't think the ones I like are fun and vice versa. That's life, we're all different, and that's what I was pointing out the other night--contrasts between people cause them to deal with things differently.