Dec 16, 2009

Wednesday December 16, 2009 Merl Reagle

Theme: Note-orious - Three consecutive musical notes are embedded in each theme entry.

16A. Comfort: CONSOLATION. So La Ti. Thought it's Sol.

61A. Sister Sledge hit: WE ARE FAMILY. Re Fa Mi.

39. Queen whose name contains three apt words in a row, as does each of this puzzle's four longest answers: LATIFAH. La Ti Fa. I like Queen Latifah in "Chicago". Then we had A ROW (5D. In __: lined up). Undesirable duplication.

10D. Outnumber all others: PREDOMINATE. Re Do Mi.

24D. Pooped: ALL TIRED OUT. Ti Re Do.

And two more musical instrument references from Merl Reagle, who plays keyboards:

52D. Instruments with pedals: HARPS. I don't associate harps with pedals.

64D. Concert finale?: INA. Concertina. Stumped me.

Unusual numbers of tricky and fresh clues for a Wednesday, no? Despite the heavy proper names, the puzzle itself is not hard. Fair crossings.


1. First name in nursing: CLARA (Barton). Founder of American Red Cross.

6. Bridges of Los Angeles County: JEFF. He's "The Dude" in "The Big Lebowski", directed the Coen brothers. Hollywood/LA is in LA County. The clue reminds me of "The Bridges of Madison County". Very romantic!

14. Shooting Starr: BELLE. Have never heard of Belle Starr. Wikipedia says she's a notorious American outlaw. I could only recall Ken Starr.

15. Cry that's a laugh backward: RAH. Nice new clue.

18. Eddie's "Green Acres" co-star: EVA (Gabor)

19. Contraction that's an "i" dropper: 'TWERE. Contraction of "it were". Got me. I liked the "eye"/"i" dropper pun.

22. Rhyme scheme used in a villanelle: ABAA. Maybe Clear Ayes can find us a villanelle today.

25. Follow: ENSUE

28. The __ Parade: ROSE

29. Co-creator of "The View": WALTERS (Barbara)

31. It gets let off: STEAM. Let off steam.

33. Specter on the Hill: ARLEN. Capitol Hill. Senator from PA.

34. Actor Dillon: MATT. He's awesome in "Crash".

35. Alcatraz, e.g.: Abbr.: ISL (Island). "The Rock" is a great movie.

38. Nap or nip preceder: CAT

42. PBS funder: NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)

43. Go down a slippery slope: SKI. Vivid clue.

44. Work without __: A NET

45. Mil. schools: ACADS (Academies)

47. Play delayers: RAINS. Twins new stadium has no roof.

49. Beethoven specialties: SONATAS. Beautiful "Moonlight Sonata".

51. "Mermaids" actress: CHER. Was ignorant of the film.

53. Online business: E-TAIL

55. __ Sweeney, Ethel Merman's "Anything Goes" role: RENO. The answer emerges itself.

56. "You __ be there": HAD TO

58. "The Crucible," e.g.: DRAMA. Arthur Miller play.

60. Guillermo's gold: ORO. Guillermo is the Spanish form of the name "William".

67. PC core: CPU

68. Thinks the world of: LOVES. "Ai" in Chinese. "Wo Ai Ni" = "I love you". Chinese does not have singular/plural forms for verbs.

69. Oscar de la __: RENTA. Laura Bush's favorite designer.

70. Sunrise direction, in Stuttgart: OST. German for "east". New to me, so is the German city Stuttgart.

71. Flip out: SNAP

72. Lewis or Lois colleague: CLARK. Lewis & Clark Expedition. Lois & Clark, Superman.


1. L x VI: CCC. 50 x 6 = 300

2. Oft-visited pub room: LOO. Nailed it.

4. Say another way: RESTATE

6. Ballet leaps: JETES (zhuh-TEY). I forgot. Here is a clip. PLIES is the "Ballet bends".

7. Passing Manning: ELI. Quarterback for the NY Giants. Nice rhyme.

8. __-Jo: Olympic sprinter's nickname: FLO. Lovely nickname.

9. Sedge-filled wetlands: FENS

11. #1 picks: FAVES

12. Phillies all-star slugger Utley: CHASE. Second baseman for the Phillies. I bet Dennis was excited to see Merl's byline today. He's been solving Merl's Sunday for years.

14. Tractor shelters: BARN. I like the double-syllable sounds of the clue.

17. Look like a wolf: LEER. Was picturing a real wolf.

21. Tax-deferring option, briefly: IRA

22. Spy plane acronym: AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System). Completely unknown to me.

23. Netanyahu's successor: BARAK (Ehud). Same pronunciation as Barack?

26. Gp. with F-16s: USAF

27. Henri's conclusion?: ETTA. No idea. I suppose it refers to Henrietta the town in NY.

30. Zhou __: EN-LAI. Mandarin Chinese. Cantonese is Chow En-Lai.

32. A Coen brother: ETHAN. Pride of Minnesota.

34. Where Ben Bernanke got his Ph.D.: MIT. Somehow I thought it's Yale. Bernanke was just named as Time Person of the Year 2009. Netanyahu graduated from MIT too.

36. Ford Taurus, e.g.: SEDAN

37. Calf catcher: LASSO

40. Actress Hathaway: ANNE. She's in "The Devil Wears Prada".

46. Apple topping: CARAMEL. Sweet!

48. Word before or after thou: ART. New spin on a common crossword fill.

49. Foal fathers: SIRES

50. Norse saint: OLAF. No Olaf/Olav wobbling today.

51. Intro to -holic: CHOCO. Chocoholic.

54. TV spot pro: AD REP. Fell into the ADMAN trap.

57. Temple's team: OWLS. Wikipedia says Temple was the first school in the United States to adopt the owl as its symbol.

59. Painter Chagall: MARC

62. Awfully long time: EON

Answer grid.

Ming tian jian!



Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - what a pleasant surprise to see one of my very favorite constructors; Merle gives me one hell of a challenge every Sunday morning. Also nice to see the Philly references with Chase Utley and the Temple Owls.

No real problems with the solve; thought it was an extremely clever theme. Unknowns for me included 'villanelle' and 'Rolo' Sweeney; can't stand Ethel Merman. If I wanted to hear screaming like that, I'd ram my toe into a door jamb again. Favorite clues were 'Contraction that's an 'i' dropper', and 'Go down a slippery slope'.

Today is, ahem, National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. Dfettes?

Today's Words of Wisdom: "One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say." -- Will Durant

Here's a couple 'Battle of the Sexes' quotes:

- "Men need sexual fulfillment in order to respond to a woman emotionally; women need emotional fulfillment in order to respond to a man sexually." -- Ellen King

- "Men play the game; women know the score." -- Roger Woddis

Dennis said...

Sorry, meant Reno Sweeney.

Lemonade714 said...

I agree the theme was really an intricate and skillful concept, but the puzzle did not sizzle for me. This was very well crafted, and had a good balance; maybe I am getting too jaded, but it did not have as much wit as I am used to from Mr. Reagle. Ah well, seminar day for me; enjoy all.

Mainiac said...

Good Morning CC and All,

Wednesdays continue to be my favorite crosswords and today's was no different. I actually got the theme but would have called it "Notes of Scales". I worked this one from the SE to the NW because We Are Family fell first. Very enjoyable.

Hmmmm, Chocolate covered......

tfrank said...

Good morning, C.C. and all,

This was quite a slog for me this morning with so many name clues. I finally finished in 33 with a lot of guessing, lots of dredging up words from remote memory banks, perp help, etc. As usual, a good way to start the day.

I usually work the puzzles immediately after arising on an empty stomach. It works for me. How about you?

Cold and rainy here. We are definitely into an El Nino pattern, the opposite of the summer El Nina, with its drought.

Have a good hump day.

Dick said...

Good morning C.C. and all, a rough slog for me today. I finally managed to complete the fills without help, but it took longer than usual. I nailed the Sister sledge hit as that was the theme song for the Pittsburgh Pirates the year (1979) they beat Baltimore in the World Series. That was the last year the Pirates had a decent team. They are currently on a 17 year losing season streak.

I thought there were several new and good clues today, for example, 19 A “Twere” and 52D harps; one does not usually associate pedals with harps. Overall not a very enjoyable puzzle for me today.

It will be cold and windy here today with a high of 30. The next few days look like nice days to complete some of the indoor tasks.

Hope you all have a great Wednesday.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, CC and Friends. This puzzle presented quite a challenge for me. After reading the clue to 39A, I was even more confused. I ultimately got LATIFAH without any outside help, but still couldn't figure out the 3 consecutive words within her name. Without your explanation, CC, I would still be searching for the 3 words in each of the theme clues.

There were some good clues. I'm glad to see nurses are being given the respect they deserve in crosswords - both today (CLARA) and earlier this week with the VIP in the ER.

Favorite clues today were the oft-visited pub room (LOO) and Bridges of LA County (JEFF). My first thought on that clue was BEAU, but I couldn't think of any ballet leaps that began with a B.

Fargo was one of my of my favorite Coen brothers' film.

QOD: Get the facts, or the facts will get you. ~ Thomas Fuller.

Argyle said...

Good Morning you guys,

tfrank, A quick count, I got 23 names, not counting the extras, like ETTA, ROSE, ART, and a few names in the clues that don't require a name in the answer.

Cary said...

Hi C.C.,
For 27D "Henri's conclusion?", the answer is French "et ta", and translates to "and your." "Henri" c'est francais n'est pa? Thanks for your blog. It's an enjoyable daily read.

Argyle said...

Henry and your...doesn't make sense to me. Am I missing something?

Dennis said...

Henrietta is a woman's name. I think that's where Merle was going.

Argyle said...

23 and a half names then!

Anonymous said...

Re: Note-orious. Groaner theme title, Mr. C.C., you captured Merl Reagle TO A T. Love his puzzles.

Unknown said...

dear l.a. times gang,

there's a reason for the large number of names and, well, a reason for the puzzle being exactly the way it is, but i won't be able to say why for a day or so. it's a private thing, and a surprise, so the less said, the better. just bear with me and perhaps by tomorrow (maybe even later today) i can spill it. --MR

Dennis said...

Merl, thanks for the heads-up; look forward to hearing the explanation.

Anon@8:08, C.C. is female.

kazie said...

I groaned when I saw all the name clues, but nailed everything with guesses and no g'ing.
My pauses were the same as C.C.'s for the most part, and I did get LOO right away this time--it's all in the clueing.
However the theme escaped me. Try as I might, I could not see three consecutive words in any of them. I'm just not musical, and don't readily recognize the notes' spellings as words.

Henri est bien français, mais Henriette est le nom féminin en français. Henrietta est la version anglaise.

Anonymous said...

With Eli Manning as a clue, I kept thing 14A answer for "shooting Starr" should have been Green Bay Packers quarterback "Bart", but that didn't quite fit. Yes, Bart...not Brett.

Spitzboov said...

A good Wednesday challenge. Finally got 'er done, though, without erasures. Perps helped with the unknown fills and a couple lucky guesses.

BELLE - Wanted Blaze at first but only wrote in the B. Finally saw the light. I guess Blaze Starr was a well known stripper, so you can see where my mind was.

OLAF - A frequent visitor to these cw's. Had the privilege 15 years ago of visiting the Nideros Cathedral in Trondheim where St. Olaf's remains are interred.

Got all the longest answer fills without really understanding the hint in 39A.

With CHOCO and CARAMEL as stimuli, expect to see more recipe contributions:-) as 'TWERE.

Et ta

Warren said...

Hi C.C. & gang, a clever Merl Reagle puzzle! We finished it together without too much trouble but I didn't understand the theme until I came here.

I just finished (yesterday)the AARP magazine monthly Merl Reagle puzzle 'totally Q less' and that was another great one by Merl.

Warren said...

For C.C. & et al: a video of the radar dome plane called AWACS

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, I counted 22 names, so I must have missed one. That's OK with me, they made solving the puzzle fairly easy.

Well, it was easy except for the theme. I broke those answers apart ten different ways and still didn't see it. A really huge "D'OH!!" when I came here to see what C.C. had come up with. Every time I think I have a handle on how constructors come up with a theme, they spring a new one on me. Very clever, Merl Reagle. I'm looking forward to your surprise.

Dennis, I feel your pain. I wasn't an Ethel Merman fan either, but it was nice to see RENO clued as other than "Nevada city", or "Former Attorney General".

I did know VILLANELLE (let's remember that one for a future "Double double letter" theme). It's a 19 line poem, made up up five tercets (three lines), one quartrain (four lines) and has a simple AB rhyming scheme at lines' ends. Most of the villanelles I've read are a little depressing. I'll try to find one that is more upbeat for today.

eddyB said...

Good morning all.

Nice to hear from Merl. Will wait.
Also go to the Inquirer every Sunday to down-load his puzzles.
Had trouble understanding the clue
for Latifah. Didn't concider the answer as part of the solution.
I knew that he wanted AWACS for 22D. But, don't concider the E-3 Sentry as a spy plane. The system
is an early warning and intercept

Have a good day. It's raining again. Might as well make pizzelles.


Elissa said...

It is been ages since I posted a comment, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to 'hoot' about OWLS, as I graduated from Temple Law.

Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, and good wishes for all the other holidays of the season to all my fellow solvers.

Anonymous said...

We are family Sister Sledge.

Sister Sledge

They were one of may favourite bands. I also liked the SOS band, CHIC, & The Brothers Johnson & The Fatback band. If you like the oldies The Tom Joyner Morning Show plays those bands that I grew up listening to.


Dennis said...

eddyB, yeah, I had the same thought about the E-3, but it is loaded with 'spook' equipment and it is capable of 'spying' on enemy activity, so I kinda gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Jeannie said...

This was a fairly easy puzzle for me not grasping the theme at all. I wouldn’t have finished it however without perp help with Abaa, Arlen, NEA, ost, and Barak. There were a lot of names in this puzzle and that normally would have slowed me down but not today as I knew most of them. The others just fell in. One of them was Belle – ‘shooting star”. I don’t follow basketball at all. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of caramel apples. If you want to lose a filling that is the route to take.

Dennis, good battle of the sexes quotes.
Chocolate covered ANYTHING day? The possibilities are endless….

Clear Ayes said...

Probably the most well-known villanelle is Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. I link it here only because it is famous. It could be considered quite a downer, since it is about death. So, following is another villanelle by Eugene O'Neill, who was usually quite a serious and sometimes "downer" author and playwright. O'Neill's villanelle is actually kind of cute.

Villanelle of Ye Young Poet's First Villanelle to his Ladye and Ye Difficulties Thereof

To sing the charms of Rosabelle,
To pour my soul out at her feet,
I try to write this villanelle.

Now I am caught within her spell,
It seems to me most wondrous sweet
To sing the charms of Rosabelle.

I seek in vain for words to tell
My love -- Alas, my muse is weak!
I try to write this villanelle.

Would I had power to compel
The English language incomplete
To sing the charms of Rosabelle.

The ardent thoughts that in me dwell
On paper I would fair repeat
I try to write this villanelle.

My effort fruitless is. O H--l!
I'll tell her all when next we meet.
To sing the charms of Rosabelle,
I tried to write this villanelle.

Jeannie said...

Chocolate Caramel Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon white sugar
48 chocolate-covered caramel candies

Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in 1/2 cup walnuts. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Combine remaining 1/2 cup nuts with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Work with one part at a time, leaving the remainder in the refrigerator until needed. Divide each part into 12 pieces. Quickly press each piece of dough around a chocolate covered caramel. Roll into a ball. Dip the tops into the sugar mixture. Place sugar side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

JD said...

Good morning CC and all,

Pretty tricky theme today, Mr.R., a very enjoyable puzzle. The names helped me get enough to fill lesser known Jeff helped me remember jetes.

Just saw Cher in many costume changes, but she still has an amazing voice.

CC,I would have NEVER seen that theme. Thnx for the 6:21 min of the Moonlight Sonata, so relaxing.Then I played another 6 min. of Pachebel. :)

I had many WAG's today, like Owls, and Chagall's 1st name.Elissa, it was great to hear from you today!!!

I thought of you, CA, when I saw villanelle, and then a Coen brother.

I am very excited about chocolate covered anything day..I prefer nuts. ;)

Anonymous said...

12d. i knew c.c. would mention dennis. 43a and 17d are my 11d.

windhover said...

OK, but please, NO hot fudge.

eddyB said...


I also gave Merl the benefit of doubt But, was thinking more along the lines of the U-2 or R-71.

I remember one of Pittsburgh teams adopting Sister Sledge. But thought
it were the Steelers when they beat the LA Rams in the super bowl.

Regarding the discussion the other
day about Christmas gifting, google Avent Conspiracy for more of
the story.

House smells real good. Used Grand Marnier as a flavor this time.


MR ED said...

windhover, I would not diss anyone at this blog. I have lots of respect for everyone here. It's just that his (Dennis) presence is felt here a bit more than most.

JD said...

WH, how about a little Fluff?

Dennis said...

Lol, JD, great line.

Mr Ed, instead of being so circumspect, why not just say what you mean?

Anonymous said...

@Merl, Birthday puzzle for Rich Norris?

Anonymous said...

Birth of a grandchild?

Al said...

@Merl, I hope I'm not crossing any battle lines here, but just in case no one else has ever asked, what is the chance of getting the Sunday puzzle on your website available in the Across Lite ".puz" format (like the NYT puzzles and the LAT on Cruciverb)? Of all the different online CW applets out there, I find that one to be the most "natural" to use. I wish all the online puzzles were available that way.

windhover said...

Had to check my urban dictionary on that. In a word, he'll yes. I know, that's two words, but I tend to get a mouthy in these situations.

Jazzbumpa said...

High gang -

I usually enjoy Merle Reagle puzzles. But this one -- meh.

Sure there were some clever clues, and the theme was musical. But a crowd of names drag a puzzle down, and CHOCOholic and HenriETTA are just ruinous.

Merle's intriguing comment tells us a lot. This puzzle was apparently force-fit into a pre-conceived idea. Lots of virtuosity in accomplishing that construction, but the puzzle suffers for it, IMHO.

Speaking of force fit. The villanelle doesn't just have a rhyme scheme. It repeats whole lines, in a set pattern.

Here is one I wrote for Obama's inauguration. (There was a challenge at Berube's blog.) I'm not embarrassed by it, but it is rather awful.

JzB sol-ti-re-fa* trombonist

* dominant 7th chord, in case anyone is interested

MR ED said...

I think you misunderstand what I said. What I mean is that you are an integral part of this blog. No offense intended Dennis.

Clear Ayes said...

Love that chocolate! The cookies sound very tasty, Jeannie.

JD, I do love Coen brothers' movies. I haven't seen it yet, but I understand their new one, "A Serious Man" is very good.

GAH and I saw "Invictus" a couple of days ago. It is an wonderfully inspiring story, teaches us American doofuses a lot about the ridiculously tough game of rugby and stars Morgan Freeman and a buffed Matt Damon....what's not to like?

Who's the most important or intelligent person on this blog? My opinion is "everyone and no one". Of course, C.C. is the catalyst and without her, there would be no blog. But with the exception of the trolls, I don't think there is a single person who doesn't contribute something of interest on a regular basis. We don't always agree, but so what? Each person brings their own unique perspective to the many topics that are discussed and I certainly appreciate them all.

Dick said...

EddyB, see my 6:49 post on the Pirates and Sister Sledge song.

Robin said...

Hello C.C. and everyone!

I had no problems with this puzzle, enjoyed the name clues and am trying to figure out Mr. Reagles surpriZe.
It must be family names and if so WoWza.

I had to come here for the Henri conclusion and the theme.

Oh, my favorite chocolate covered anything, the one that I can print anyway, is a big, fat, Lady Godiva chocolate covered straWberry...I'm breaking a little sweat just thinking about them...

Dennis said...

MrEd, no offense taken; just didn't know what you were saying.

ClearAyes, well said. We're all very much equal here, except for the anons, who we all admire and look up to.

Anonymous said...

@Al, Merl's Sunday puzzle is available in Across Lite format at Cruciverb's website (Sunday).

DCannon said...

Merl, I'm looking forward to your explanation.

It was a little hard today, but "g'd" only once, on "Clark," of all things. The difficulty was that I had "yap" for 66D instead of "yak." "Clarp" just didn't look right! Still don't like so many names.

I got "Latifah" right away and thought the theme would have something to do with the "la - ti - fa." I never did go back and look at the other clues to verify that, so I missed the theme.

There is a cave at Wilburton, OK called "Robbers' Cave." Supposedly, Belle Starr and other outlaws hid out there. It is a really pretty area of Oklahoma.

Woke up to 24º this morning, but it is 56º now.

Bill G. said...

I just finished today's CrosSynergy puzzle. I had a tough time with the theme but finally got it. Clever! Have any of you tried it?

It was enjoyable to see Merl's name on a daily LAT puzzle instead of a Sunday one. I can't wait to find out why.

eddyB said...


I saw your 6:49. I was in San Jose at that time and probably got my years mixed up. Baseball in 79 and football in 80. I have to believe someone from Aliquippa.

Has any one tried to play those notes?

I think we have mice around here.
The pizzelles are disappearing.


Bohica said...

Al; Merl's (and Sylvia's) Sunday puzzle is on Cruciverb it's the Philadelphia Enquirer puzzle.

carol said...

Hi C.C. and all -

I wrestled, wrassled and fought with this puzzle! The puzzle won. Some brilliant clues some I just didn't know at all. I had to look up quite a few.

As to the chocolate covered goodies (goody) well hell, as long as the chocolate is warm anything is possible.

PJB-Chicago said...

What a fun Wednesday puzzle from a legendary constructor (and how cool is it that he visited?). For a change, I sort of "got" the theme but wasn't sure until I read C.C.'s clear write up. I too thought the fifth note was Sol, and I read that both that and SO are okay.

If it's not too late for "faves," I vote for RAH, STEAM and FLO.

This evening, I got "adopted" by a family of Bulgarian tourists, here on vacation & needing a little help finding their way back to their hotel. Very nice, cultured people, and well-versed on Chicago history & landmarks. They treated me to hot tea and a shared platter of salmon. (no vodka for me!). Between Dad, Mom and 25 y/o son, they speak 8 foreign I love showing the city off to visitors

CAyes thanks for the Rosabelle verse. And the link. Jeannie, yet another mouth watering recipe--will try the lemon one first.

@Hahtool, thank you for the info on my birthday info on the Jewish calendar. They didn't teach this to us at B'Nai Israel, but that was kindergarten and we were still working on shapes, colors, and the alphabet. Now you know why I put peanutbutter on matzoh!

Will check back later, if I survive the French get-together.

WM said...

Hi everyone...a bit late, but I love Merl Reagle puzzles and this was no exception and no real problems. Caught the theme right off and had a great time with it. Did it last night.

Been busy, and after 2 and a half months, give or take, I am finally back painting, although it is baby steps...had to jump back in as I am working on a 46 x 50 Venice painting that is going into a silent auction and have 3 commission pieces that need doing. Jeannie, my appologies, but work that brings in money has to come first.

Sad note today, we had to put down our 18 yr old kitty...we also put down our 87 Taurus that ran great, and my husband refused to get rid of because it did...Bless the state of Calif( you will hear me say this once) and their buy back of cars in running condition older that 89...the size of the check lessoned his pain of giving up that blasted car( which he never drove)...and he drives a 3 yr old fancy scmancy F150...go figure. BTW...he has exceeded his surgeon's expections in his healing process and is doing great.

Hope everyone has a terrific holiday season.

Oh Coen Bros movies...Fargo is my favorite!

Robin said...

doo bee doo bee doo......doo doo da di ya..................doo bee doo bee...doo....chocolate could be ya....... It turned out so right, sweet chocolate in the night........

WM :( so sorry. kitty

Rich said...

I won't reveal Merl's motivation for this puzzle, but I can lay one rumor to rest: my birthday was in November. Maybe next year, Merl? ;-)

Today does happen to be Beethoven's birthday. Merl's theme wasn't motivated by that, either, but it's a neat coincidence. I just hacked my way through the "Moonlight" in honor of it.

Argyle said...


MJ said...

Loved today's puzzle! So many fresh clues for frequent fill. Can't wait to read Merl's revelation.

Elissa-Nice to hear from you!

WM-Condolences on your kitty. We had to put our two kitties (womb-mates) down a year or so ago (at separate times), and I miss them so much.

Susie said...

WM -Sorry about kitty. Been there, done that more than once. No fun. I'm shedding tears just thinking about it. They leave footprints on your heart.

DCannon said...

WM, I'm sorry about your kitty. I've been there more than once - 2 cats and a dog. Hard thing to do. Still miss all of them and the one that died at home.

Re: the car. We finally figured out that we were spending more to pay for yearly inspection, tags, and keeping decent tires on our old pickup than it was worth. Finally sold it.

carol said...

WM - so glad to hear from you! Glad your hubby is doing well, I was concerned for you both when we had not the pleasure of your comments here.
I am so very sorry to hear about your kitty....there are a lot of us here that can share your pain! As you see our avitars- we all value our furry family members.

Elissa - I am happy to hear from you again has been way too long!

Robin - can't you just see a hot tub set on warm and full of chocolate...puts a new meaning skinny dipping.

Annette said...

WM: I've very sorry to hear about your kitty. I've only been thru it once, a few years ago. His brother (my avatar) is now 21 years old, and I worry about it being "his time" almost every day. I like to think our pets are happy and healthy, keeping our loved ones who've also passed, company for us.

carol said...

Annette - your sweet avitar kitty looks so much like my cat that died of cancer in 2000..he was only 12 1/2. His sister, my present avitar lived to be 20 1/2 and we had to put her to her rest a year ago in Oct. They are special and I still miss them both.

Annette said...

Thank you, Carol. His brother was all black except for 2 little white spots underneath. He died of cancer too.

They were the first real pets I ever had. It's amazing how important they become to us!

JD said...

WM, so sorry about kitty.As everyone said, it is very hard to lose our pets, especially when we've had them for so long.They are part of the family.

Congrats on getting Ahnold's dollars for the car. I never understood that program; people are using the money to buy foreign cars,which I totally understand, but doesn't it defeat the purpose of the program?

Carol, I'd like a layer of whipped cream smothered over that chocolate.

Anonymous said...

Is the 7:23pm Rich Mr. Rich Norris?

Bill G. said...

Anon 9:29 "Is the 7:23pm Rich Mr. Rich Norris?"

Dunno. Who are you?

~ Bill G.

Orange said...

Al, if you don't like waiting until Sunday to get Merl's weekly puzzle, you can go to Ephraim's Puzzle Pointers on Saturdays to download Merl's puzzle for that weekend.

Jeannie said...

Anon, indeed it is. We have many constructors that feel we are a worthy group to respond to. Just a short aside, you can easily make yourself "a person" and not an anon as C.C. has posted the "how to" link on her profile page.

Jeannie said...

Wolfmom, don't sweat a thing...I am just happy to see you posting here once again. I understand your life has been in turmoil and only hope the best for you. You are a talented, strong woman and I KNOW you will deliver when you "feel" the mood for my daisies. In the meantime make hay while the sunshines. I am also very sorry about your loss of your kitty. I have to admit I am not a cat lover as I am very alergic, but understand the bond non the less.

I made a potroast in the crock pot-sadly for one, coming up with a root vegetable soup recipe tomorrow. Gotta try it first.

PJB-Chicago said...

We've missed you lots. I'm glad to hear that your husband is doing so much better, and that you're well and back to painting. Something tells me that your muse was waiting for the right moment to meet you and the paints at the canvas. I hope you'll share photos of your new works with us when you're ready!

As for your beloved cat, I'm sorry to hear the news. As several people here have pointed out, grief hurts. There's no three day miracle cure for it--as we all know but somehow forget as we swim into and through it. If I wore mascara, it would be running down my cheek now....
Enough said from me.

I hope we'll hear from you again soon.
Cyber hug from......pjb

Al said...

@Orange (and others), thanks. That's just what I had hoped for. I was all over the Cruciverb site and just wasn't seeing it there (you know, male eyesight and all). Only now with all those collected in one place, I might not have time for anything else...

@WM, sorry to hear about your pet. 18 years is a long time to have one. Some years back I had to bring in our 14 year old tortie. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

Chickie said...

Hello All--Very late tonight as it was a busy day. I had the same comments as almost everyone else on the puzzle. Nuff said.

I wanted to tell WM and Elissa both a hello and glad you are back with us.

I'm so sorry about your kitty, WM. Our pets are truly part of our families and when we have to put one down, it does hurt the heart.

Here at our house, Fargo is one of our favorite Coen Bros.films .

Merle, we all want to hear your revelation on the crossword today. You sent out just enough of a teaser, to keep us all in suspense.

Crockett1947 said...

@wm So sorry to read about your loss. Having done the same a month and a half ago, I know too well the emptiness and the sorrow that you must be experiencing. Keep all the good memories close to your heart.