Sep 15, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011 Ed Sessa

Theme: SSSH !! - The circled letters (see Answer Grid, highlighted in red in my write-up) orderly spell out LAMBS, and they're silent in all the theme entries.

14A. Corner-to-corner lines : CROSSWALK Silent L. OK, hands up for everyone who wrote in "diagonals"???

18A. Brand with a cuckoo mascot : COCOA PUFFS Silent "A"

34A. Recall aids : MNEMONIC DEVICES Silent "M"

55A. Disapproval : THUMBS DOWN Silent "B"

60A. Nassau Coliseum NHL team : ISLANDERS Silent "S"

And the unifier:

39. Characteristic of this puzzle's circled letters, which suggest a 1991 Oscar-winning film : SILENCE.

"Silence of the Lambs". Creepy movie that I have never been able to watch. But, I did recently see an extremely interesting documentary about the making of this film, with commentary from Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.

Did your puzzle have circles? Mine did not, but I didn't need them to suss this clever theme!

Marti here, and I hope that this is not a disappointing puzzle, after yesterday's blockbuster Don G and CC offering (aka DCC)!


1. Cabernets, e.g. : REDS. Yep, my favorite!

5. __ Ababa : ADDIS

10. It's in poetry? : TIS. Or, the sequel to Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes"

13. Ray's mom on "Everybody Loves Raymond" : MARIE

16. Blowing away : AWING. (On a wing and a prayer?)

17. Small smoke : CIGARILLO

20. Enunciate poorly : SLUR. The way I speak, after having too many 1As.

21. Spanish liqueur : ANIS. I know the spelling as "anise". Anyone else?

22. Literary schnauzer : ASTA. Oh, so now it's a literary dog??? When did he learn to read?

23. Invitation sender : HOST

24. Took care of : DID. I took care of DH last night...

25. Last pres. born in the 19th century : DDE. Dwight David Eisenhower, our 34th president.

26. Fish and chips fish : COD

29. Jazz guitarist Montgomery: WES

30. IM user, perhaps : AOLER. OK, I officially pronounce this clue/answer as dead! (...until I need it in a puzzle!)

32. News distributors : MEDIA

40. Adams's "Nixon in China," for one : OPERA. Interesting factoid here. Hands up for anyone who knew this opera?...anyone???

41. Rice follower, at the market : A-RONI. The San Francisco treat...

42. Colorful subway poster : MAP. Who wanted "graffiti artist"??

45. Reagan era acronym : SDI. "Strategic Defense Initiative"

46. Load : TON

48. CCCX x V : MDL. (What , not DCC???)

49. '40s film critic James : AGEE

51. Injury reminder : SCAR

53. Concert wind : OBOE

54. Herring prized for its eggs : SHAD

57. Not easily comprehended : HARD TO SEE

59. Like some pride : CIVIC

61. Coeur d'__ : ALENE. Idaho city

62. "The X-Files" extras : ETs. Extra Terrestrials.

63. Proposal rarely made on one knee : TOAST. HaHa. Funny clue / answer.

64. Arctic hazard : BERG. Just ask anyone on the Titanic...


1. Salad veggie : RAW ONION

2. "Spamalot" co-creator : ERIC IDLE.

3. Prehistoric critters, briefly : DINOS. Like this one.

4. Dreamcast maker : SEGA

5. Impeach : ACCUSE. How many U.S. presidents have been "impeached"?

6. Go with the tide : DRIFT

7. Having a mug like a pug : DOG-FACED. Awww, who couldn't love these faces?

8. "A miss __ good ..." : IS AS

9. Belarus, once: Abbr. : SSR. Soviet Socialist Republic.

10. Soapmaking material : TALLOW

11. Treat like dirt : ILL USE. (Hmmm... I think I'll use this one sometime.)

12. Hybrid apparel : SKORTS. Are guys disappointed to see what is underneath these...?

13. Crushed-stone surface : MACADAM

15. Words after a splash in a fountain, maybe : WISH

19. Artificially inflate : PAD

25. Dilating application : DROPS. I think of Abejo and his eye drops. How are you doing??

27. Poetic dedication : ODE. I'll let Clear Ayes choose...

28. Place to recline : DIVAN. Yes, I'll recline on my divan and watch some "Hoarders" on reality TV...

31. Genre of the band Jimmy Eat World : EMO. Hmmm, never heard of this group. You??

32. __ Nashville: record label : MCA. Label of George Strait and Scotty McCreery, among others...

33. Mattress filler : AIR. Hot?

35. "Waking __ Devine": 1998 film : NED. Great film. If you have never seen it, order here!!

36. Dún Laoghaire's waters : IRISH SEA

37. Trump has an elaborate one : COMB-OVER

38. Providing funds for : ENDOWING

42. Old golf club name : MASHIE

43. White as a sheet : AGHAST

44. Diver's quest : PEARLS. (Not muffs?)

46. Least likely to bite : TAMEST. OK, so the tamest pit-bull is least likely to bite? I don't want to be the one to test that theory!

47. Globe : ORB

50. Icelandic source of mythology : EDDA

52. Callers at round dances : CUERS. Yellowrocks, any comment??

53. Ballet's Black Swan : ODILE

55. Uproar : TO-DO

56. Unpopular worker : SCAB (Not to be confused with 51A)

58. Blast cause : TNT. Dy-no-mite!!

Th..Th..Th..Thats all, folks!

Answer grid.

Hugs, from Marti


Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Marti and friends. This was a fun Thursday puzzle. I got the Sounds of SILENCE early on, which easily helped with the circled clues.

I agree that Waking NED Devine was a cute movie.

I saw Nixon in China at the Met earlier this year. It was interesting and some of the music was good, but I don't think opera can stand the test of time. One needs to know the history of Nixon's visit to fully understand the story.

My favorite clue was Its in Poetry = TIS. I never read Frank McCourt's sequel to Angela's Ashes.

QOD: Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem. ~ Woody Allen

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Circles? What circles? I didn't need them to solve the puzzle, but I didn't have a clue what the theme was...

* DIAGONALS fit perfectly at 14A and I was so proud of myself for getting it right away. Oops.

* RED ONION also fit beautifully at 1D.

* I don't think I've ever heard of CUERS or ANIS before. But then, I'm not an aficionado of Spanish liqueur or round dances.

* I've heard of MACADAM, but didn't realize it involved crushed stones. I thought it was a coating, like on a raincoat.

* "It's in poetry?" was a great clue for TIS.

* It was really nice to see MENEMONIC DEVICE in the grid.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - This was a tricky rascal! RED ONION and CIGARETTE clogged things up for a while. Got the silent letter connection, but forgot to go back and suss out the lambs. Thanks for 'splainin, Marti! And yes, I suppose muff divers would find a SKORT to be more of an impediment...

Wow, DF first thing in the morning -! ;-)

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

This was a tale of two puzzles for me today. The south went smoothly, the North was a total slog. Opera/Nixon In China... never heard of it. Solved thanks to perps.

Many misdirections, so I'll start with 1D. Had Red Onion from the outset and it stayed until , out of desperation, I wagged "awing" for blowing away which had been "Oding". Corner to corner lines/crosswalk took a while to Wag since Skorts was another unknown. Eventually, after using most of an eraser, the North fell. It Damn near made me want to light up a Cigarillo, after almost 20 years of abstaining tobacco usage.

Can't say this was an enjoyable solve, simply fortunate.

Oh yeah, the other complete unknown was illuse. When I looked at that, I thought WTF, but by then whether the answers were right or wrong, I wasn't looking for another eraser.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I don't see how the "L" in CROSSWALK is silent (unless you're Barry G and live in Boston).

Does anybody really pronounce it "crosswok?"

Barry G. said...

Well, I do indeed live in Boston and pronounce it "cross wok." I had no idea it could be pronounced any other way.

Of course, I also pronounce Dawn and Don the same, so what do I know?

Anonymous said...

We also say "cross-wok" in the midwest.
Anis is the spanish liquer--Anise is the plant whose seeds give the licorice flavoring to the Anis.

Anonymous said...

to the hondo hurricane:
illuse is not a word or the answer for 11 down.
it is "ill use" for treat like dirt.

Argyle said...

One place keeping skorts alive is field hockey.

Yellowrocks said...

I thought this theme was very clever with some clues taking time to suss, but none obscure. Fun write up, Marti.

I, too, got hung up on red onion for a while.
In all my travels in the U.S.A. I have never heard the L pronounced in WALK (wok). On reading tests for 1st graders, it is deemed silent.

I have met EMO several times in crossword puzzles.

I know of the opera, "Nixon in China," but have never heard it. I agree with Hahtool that you would need to know the history.

In Scotland, we wore rain suits to hike 50% of the time. I fondly remember sitting on a stoop in the rain in Edinburgh eating fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, the beat fish and chips
I ever tasted and a fun meal with a friend.

Ill use as two words is quite common.

Yellowrocks said...

Round dancing, as we square dancers know it, is choreographed and cued ballroom dancing to ball room music. The couples are arranged in a circle around the floor and progress in that circle, instead of dancing randomly around the room. The dancers learn the names of the steps and the choreography to different pieces of music in classes taught by CUERS.
Round dancing often alternates with square dancing on the same night with CUERS calling the steps. I don't particpate but enjoy watching it.

D said...

Don't understand the question....

48. CCCX x V : MDL. (What , not DCC???)

Whether CROSSWALK has a silent L is very questionable as to regional usage; in my area of the midwest, it's not silent.

It's also amusing to hear non-Nebraskans pronounce Hooper (a small town in eastern NE), and Norfolk (a larger town whose main claim to fame is the hometown of Johnny Carson, while in fact, he was born in Iowa)

Mikey said...

I pounced on 14A with DIAGONALS and briefly thought this might be an easy Thursday, until I determined that 17A had to start with CIGAR and 5D and 6D didn't make much sense in the cross. Had ACING for "blowing away", but didn't like it much.

MNEMONICDEVICES fell quickly, but from then on it was struggle, mostly using brute intuition to compensate for lack of encyclopedic knowledge. But then again, that's where I get most of my enjoyment out of solving, so this turned out to be a normal Thursday after all.

The last chore was trying to figure out what a RACONION might be (remember ACING?), but once I saw that delicious ONION begging for my attention, a quick swap of a W for the C and I was done, with plenty of eraser left for the rest of the week.

D said...

(should've included this in previous post)
... in eastern cities such as Boston, do you WOK your dog ?

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, all. Great write up, Marti... except maybe TMI at 24a...

I felt a sense of pride when MNEMONICE DEVICES just popped in place, but it turned out to be false pride whin I put that in instead of CIVIC. Diagonals and Red ONION slowed things up, too. It eventually sorted out, though.

It felt about right for a Thursday. thanks for a great puzzle with some clever misdirections, Mr. Sessa.

thehondohurricane said...

To Anon7:41

Thanks for the education, but it still is a WTF. (In my peabrain, at least)

Abejo said...

Good Morning, folks. Thanks, Ed, for a great puzzle. Thank you, HeartRx, for an equally great write-up.

Jumped around on this quite a bit to get started. The unifier, SILENCE, came well before any of the theme answers.

I, also, had RED ONION for quite a while. Fixed that.

MASHIE was easy, five iron.

Since I printed this puzzle from Chicago Tribune, I did not have the circles. So, after a while, I went out to my driveway and got the newspaper. The circles helped, especially with 14A CROSSWALK. I had CIGARETTE, then fixed that to CIGARILLO.

The NE fell last, due to my not seeing the circles initially.

MNEMONIC DEVICES came easily, since as a former telephone man, we used MNEMONICS in all our equipment terminology. (ie: SATT--Strowger Automatic Toll Ticketing; CLR--Combined Line and Recording; POTS--Plain Old Telephone Service)

See you tomorrow.


My "L" is silent in WALK. However, it is pronounced in BALK, in my lingo, which is the Great Lakes non-accent.

Abejo said...

Oops. Sorry I went over, C.C.


kazie said...

Fun Cw today but I got hung up in the SW and had to google AGEE and ISLANDERS. I know we've had Agee before but I didn't remember what he was. Started with WRECKS for PEARLS and RED for RAW.

Also a fun write-up, Marti!
No, I didn't know Nixon in China was an opera, and I hadn't heard of the group Jimmy Eat World. I did have circles.

Barry G,
Are you confusing macadam with macintosh? Both were named after their inventors.

the D.C.C. question was a reference to yesterday's puzzle constructed by Don G, and our own CC, and the initials appeared in the puzzle as a Roman numeral and got some comments here.

Have a good one all of you!

windhover said...

It is always better to be lucky than good, and I say that is one lucky DH, and probably good as well.
Non to skorts, for exactly the reason cited by Dudley. They're just wrong.

Tinbeni said...

Marti/HeartRx: Nice write-up.

Not a fan of "circles in puzzles" especially when my CROSSWALK 'L' isn't silent.

Had to work at sussing out quite-a-bit, perps to the rescue, which is expected on a FUN Thursday.

Last to fall was that RAW-ONION/AWING.
Knew it couldn't be Red-onion, since 1-A was REDS, which I would have clued as "Commies?"

Hondo: 'Treats-like-dirt' well I think the answer
ILL-USE sucks. My mind was thinking abuses.

Fave was Husker's MASHIE.
Trump's COMB-OVER a close second, but biggest laugh!

A 'TOAST' to all at Sunset !!!


Spitzboov said...

Good morning to all. Nice commentary, Marti.

I, too, jumped in with both feet with 'diagonal', then had to get the jar of Wite Out® and enter CROSSWALK. Couldn't get the W in RAW ONION, but did guess correctly that there was an OPERA about Nixon in China. Didn't get the theme but didn't need it. Most fun fill was sussing MNEMONIC DEVICES. We see HOMES (1st initials of the Great Lakes) here a lot. BH prepares wonderful COD dishes; usually baked or pan seared. I see that SEA and SEE crossed under 36d. Overall, the bottom half was a lot easier than the top half like others have said.

COD - Flights from shore to aircraft carriers to provide mail, passengers and other supplies are called COD flights. (Carrier Onboard Delivery)

Have a great day.

Unemployed said...

Didn't know what Marti meant by the muff reference, so I looked up the phrase on my computer.
Unfortunately, I was at work. And now, apparently, I'm out of a job.
Thanks, Marti!

Husker Gary said...

Brrr! 36F this morning and ice(d) coffee stayed in fridge! Warmed up with hot coffee and puzzle (silent e)!

-W in aWed/raWonion crossing fell last. Thought onion adjective might be a proper noun
-Mnemonics – HOMES and ROYGBIV. Others? NASA is loaded with them!
-We will taste some reds at James Arthur Vineyards today!
-Marie mothered and smothered
-No to CIGARETTE today. A guy I golfed with yesterday lit up and reminded me of how much I hate that foul odor!
-Have been to DDE’s Abilene, KS a few times
-Yup, Marti, ANISE and RIP AOLER!
-Prefer Tommy AGEE
-I made more than one WISH at Trevi Fountain!
-My MASHIE (5 iron) is my “goto” club at 160 yards
-Marti! Muff diving at 5:30 am?
-The Prime Rib in Hooper, NE is waaay better than Lawry’s in Beverly Hills!

Avg Joe said...

Mnemonic devices in a puzzle has to be one of the best answers ever! At first I thought this theme was a little weak, but came around to it being pretty damn (silent N) good after giving it a little thought.

To D, I think Abejo sees it as correctly as it can be described. The L in walk is silent, as it is in balk. It might not quite be entirely silent, but it is vewy, vewy quiet. And it's true that in most regions it's not pronounced with a sharp O sound, as in wok (cept maybe Boston).

Agree that Hooper is one of the most often mispronounced city names out there. And it's not just non-Nebraskans. Most Nebraskans are guilty too. Norfolk has it's own reasons. It was originally named Norfork, but the post office made an arbitrary change. Same thing happened with Hickman. It was originally Heckman.

HeartRx said...

Good Morning C.C. et al.

Sorry, but (29A) Jazz guitarist Montgomery: WES
somehow was deleted in my post.

Yellowrocks, thanks for explaining the distinction between "round" and "square" dancing. I always thought they were different (regional) names for the same thing.

I do pronounce it cross-wok like Barry G. But, I originally thought the silent "L" appeared in CIGARILLO. C.C. came to my rescue, as always!

But that brings up a point - in a theme where "SILENCE" is the key, do you think that the rest of the fill should avoid such silent consonants? Or, is the constructor saved by having circles in the grid to specify which ones are to be used?

Unknown said...

It's all been said, I think, so I really can't comment! Good job, Marti!
Combover was my favorite. Who does his hair anyway?
A shop-vac?
"Black Swan", the recent film was as haunting as "A Beautiful Mind" was a few years ago. I'm going back to my promise to myself to only see movies for entertainment. There will be no more depressing films in my future. Do y'all think that I can make that stick?
Ta Ta!

Husker Gary said...

Son of Musings

-After I “paper and pencil” the LA Times puzzle and post a blog, I do the USA Today puzzle online. I usually make my goal of getting that one done in under 10 minutes! Yesterday the 29A clue was “Some office memos” and the answer was MEMOS. Hmmm…
-Are there other good online puzzles I can get every day?
-Does anyone know how to get superscript characters on this blog to put a degree sign in between the 36 and F? I don’t think it is possible as sup is not available to us.
-Off to the SAC Museum, Bakers Candies in Greenwood, NE and the aforementioned James Arthur Vineyards before watching granddaughter play Volleyball for Lincoln High tonight. This being retired opens up a lot of options!

thehondohurricane said...

Speaking of circles, I usually print the puzzle off the computer and circles never appear. Frankly, I consider their absence much less of a detriment then I am to myself.

Spitzboov said...

Husker said: -Does anyone know how to get superscript characters on this blog to put a degree sign in between the 36 and F? I don’t think it is possible as sup is not available to us.

On an IMAC, just hit option +numeral 0'. On pc's, just use your Character Set . You can search on-line how to do it. too.


Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Marti - well done, you naughty girl.

I have never, ever, ever heard anyone pronounce the "L" in WALK. Contrast BALK, per Abejo to get the difference.


I did the puzzle in pencil in the home-delivered FREEP, and had the circles, which gave me SILENCE. But I missed that the circled letters were SILENT as well.

I didn't enjoy this puzzle very much, but I think that's on me, not Ed.

It felt like a Saturday themeless, because the subtlety escaped me.

I did know of NIXON in China, but am not familiar with it. Adams is a minimalist composer. MEH!

Tricky Dick two days in a row. That is impeachable!



Husker Gary said...

OMG! Thanks Spitzboov! I have taught that skill 3 different ways in my physics and computer classes (ctrl + shift + + is one I use most) but tried to make it work with HTML script and gave up when told "not available"! Duh!


Avg Joe said...

Side bar referring to yesterdays puzzle.

I managed to avoid the ear worm of Gary Indiana all day (to my relief). But when I woke up this morning, there it was!! Still there, can't shake it.

You're welcome. :-)

Argyle said...

Unemployed @ 9:16 AM
You were fired for inaccuracy. The quote was Dudley's, not Marti's.

Jazzbumpa said...

The ultimate ear worm.

Eight days and counting.

You have been warned.


Grumpy 1 said...

Ah, yes, JazzB, the ultimate 'Music to muff dive by'.

Argyle, check Marti's 44d comment.

Anonymous said...

Unemployed ,
If you had to look up the meaning of ' muff '
I'm surprised you had a job to begin with.

Barry G. said...

Barry G,
Are you confusing macadam with macintosh? Both were named after their inventors.

Um, probably...

So, is that Macadam the same one that Macadamia nuts are named after?

eddyB said...


Embarrassed about my stupid mistake
made yesterday. Could have used
knowledge on to how use superscripts. Too lazy though.

Bottom did go faster.

Loved that movie. has circles.


Zcarguy said...

Morning Marti and all,
I hate to be a nitpick , but , none of the circled letters are silent on the down answers unless you had plenty of 1A
And 39D didn't specify clearly.
Also the movie is titled " Silence of the lambs ".

And please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you first Accuse then find guilty before you can Impeach ?

Bill G. said...

Fun puzzle. My mother (in Virginia) used to bake shad. Sometimes it had roe inside. I loved it though you had to be careful regarding the bones. I haven't had shad or shad roe in years.

I agree. Waking Ned Devine is a very enjoyable movie.

I too thought "It's in poetry" was a great clue.

Unemployed said...

Well, it's not entirely Marti's fault. We had a "10 strikes and your out" policy, so I guess I had it coming.

creature said...

Enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks, Ed. Naughty write-up. Thanks, Marti.

I had radishes for 1D and 16A was oding, which, considering the use of oded lately, made this entirely plausible. Problem was finishing the puzzle; and the perps finally made me let it go. MNEMONIC DEVICES was, indeed, the most pleasurable for me. I got the theme, but realize there ia a vast section of this country that does not hear the ‘L’ in CROSSWALK. I think many can hear it in talk, balk; wonder about ‘caulk’. Fellow Midwesterner has already spoken up; and I think we have already addressed this , so, onward.

Howe does one pronounce Hooper, NE.? At 0.6 sq. mi., it might be difficult to ask a native, let alone find one.

I like a ‘layered’ theme, so this is on the A-list for me.

Out to mow. It’s so beautiful with a little nip in the air.

Nice Cuppa said...

Thanks for the insights and hugs, Marti

I thought this was an easy Thursday. Plenty of strong fill, although I wrote in COIFFURE before the perps pinned down COMBDOWN.

I will repeat my mnemonic for the Lanthanide elements, learned from an Oxford Professor:

Lately College Parties Never Produce Sexy European Girls That Drink Hard Even Though You Look"

I am no Opera Buff, but NIXON IN CHINA was a big deal in the UK media when it was released.

I agree with several other posters, on what I would call "DESPERATE FILL":

AWING - "My God has been awing me for some time"

ILL-USE (transitive phrasal verb)"- "I ill-used my mulch the other day", perhaps.

SKORTS should be sent out Hall of Infamy; along with SPORK.

Barry - yup, you confused Macadam (road surface) with Macintosh (raincoat). And Macadam is classically mixed with tar/bitumen to make a permanent road-surface - i.e. not just a bunch of rocks.

Otherwise, no complaints.


windhover said...

The perfect music? Sure, but the same could be said for 'Happy Birthday' or 'O Silent Night'.
I could go for a little George Thorogood myself.
BTW, did anyone who watched that piece see that one of the tags was 'wiener'?
Now that you've got time on your hands maybe you can explore some of the finer things in life. You've obviously been sheltered. Come on in, the water's warm. And so is....
Never mind. Just try it.

HeartRx said...

I take back my comment about CIGARILLO. I was pronouncing it as cigarEE-YO. But I goes most of the world pronounces it as cigarILL-OH, where the "ll" is definitely heard.

Sigh, another nit squashed!

eddyB said...

Funny thing. People have been all over Danica for saying she was concerned about going to Montegi,
Japan for the race on Sun. Today they had an earthguake. Oval course
still damaged from last earthquake.


Anonymous said...

Isn't muff diving what Greg Louganis did on the platform that one time when he...

Oh, never mind...

Halfgainer said...

Sorry, that would be a 'diving muff'.
Close, but no cigar(illo), as Monica (might have) said.

Jerome said...


Bartender, I'll have a CC and VII. It's my CIVIC duty.

DINOS- Where you get di rhinoplasty.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, My goodness, only a little after 10:00 AM California time and there are already 45 comments.

Maybe it's the blending of so many accents in California, but most of us WOK and TOK.

In much of California or Arizona, CIGARILLO would be pronounced with a Spanish accent..CIGARI-YO. Not silent, but different. (I used to live in CAMARILLO/CARMARI-YO in Southern California.)

It's too bad Ed Sessa couldn't get his silent letters going for the corresponding perps. That would have been amazing!

I loved seeing 36)Dún Laoghaire's waters/IRISH SEA. I've changed my avatar for the day. The photo may be too small for detail, but the sign is of the Dún Laoghaire Harbor Ferry terminal. BTW, it is pronounced Dun Leery (or close enough). It is a lovely town and the 2005 ferry trip from Wales to Ireland was easy and relaxing.

degree of difficulty said...

Greg Louganis would have NOTHING to do with muff diving. And I mean that from a purely professional point of view, of course.

Yellowrocks said...

Today I have been researching pronunciation differences in the various regions of the U.S. The differences are quite significant. Apparently we all are correct in our pronunciation (or not) of the L in WALK, depending on where we live.
Actually, I do not pronounce the L in WALK, but neither do a pronunce WALK like the wok I use for cooking.
WALK /wÔk/ and WOK /wok/.
Also I do not pronounce COT and CAUGHT alike. COT /cot/ and CAUGHT /cÔt/. All are normal regional differences.

Avg Joe said...

For Creature, The best description of the local's pronunciation of Hooper is that it rhymes with hoofer (e.g. tap dancer) instead of the natural inclination to rhyme with cooper.

As for the rest of you. You've got WAY too much time on your hands. :-)

eddyB said...

Funny thing #2. Hope you all have read Pearls Before Swine today.


Avg Joe said...

I thought of that when I read it this morning too Eddy.


Anonymous said...

Husker Gary, there are three other high-quality daily puzzles available online aside: Newsday puzzles, CrosSynergy, and New York Times. The first two are free; the NYT charges a subscription fee. You can find links to all three, plus other weekly or semi-weekly puzzles, at the Today's Puzzles page over at Amy Reynaldo's Diary of a Crossword Fiend blog.

I can't for the life of me understand why, given the theme, 1-Across was not clued [Chiantis, e.g.]

Lucina said...

Good day, cyber friends. Again, Marti, you bring laughter and information, thanks.

WALK is wok for me, too, and taught it as such. Also, CIGARIYO, from the Spanish and it is in fact a real Spanish word adapted into English.

A fun run today until ILL USE, RAW, and AGEE stumped me. Finally I googled film critic, James and finished that SW corner.

Loved seeing MNEMONICDEVICES and don't recall ever hearing of the OPERA about Nixon in China.

MACADAM was in a recent puzzle I did, not LAT.

NED Devine was very entertaining, yes.

I would never wear a SKORT.

Have a super Thursday, everyone!

Anonymous said...

Husker G,
You may also want to check out The Onion. They publish their puzzle every Wednesday, and the cluing tends to be a bit more liberal (read: DF). Very entertaining (and raw?), as only The Onion can be.

Yellowrocks said...

Whatever floats your boat. Some of us are interested in spending time on one thing and some on another.

I am amazed at all the nits on ill use. It seems so normal to me. In many novels characters feel "ill used." I use the word myself, mostly in the past tense.

dodo said...

A good morning to all. Thanks, Marti, for a great commentary. Ed, why did I feel this was kind of a playful puzzle? Fun.

Marti, I was about to write 'play' for "Nixon in China" (which would have been too short) when 'opera'oozed its way into my consciousness! I dont even know why I would know that!

I knew 'mnemonic' didn't start with 'n' but couldn't think what letter. Tried 'p' and then looked up under 'm'. I had put down 'Doris'(Roberts) for 11A so I got no help from perps which ruined 4A and 17D, but I just figured they must be unknowns. Didn't know was 'dreamcast' was, so no help there either!. I left the mess until I came here. The rest was no problem!

More after I read the comments.

Tinbeni said...


Impeach definition:
1. a: to bring an accusation against
b: to charge (ACCUSE) ... Congress will vote on whether or not to impeach the Presidente.

Andrew Johnson & Clinton were impeached.

They were NOT convicted.

Bill G. said...

Did it seem a bit odd to have the clue for 15D plural (Words after a splash in the fountain, maybe) but the answer singular (WISH)?

Speaking of regional pronunciations, my wife pronounces Mary, marry and merry all differently and finds it interesting when others don't. Also, she would smile when students pronounced pen and pin the same.

Seldom Seen said...

Here is a clip linking 62A to 7D.

I am sure peta was AGHAST of Tommy Lee Jones' actions and tried to ACCUSE him of a THUMBS DOWN performance.

Although I love all REDS, I rarely drink any REDS while I am watching the REDS.

dodo said...

I grew up in the midwest and live in California and I say 'wok', tok, chok, and com. Is there another way?

But what is keeping field hockey alive, Argyle?

CA, you've brought up an interesting suggestion: for a really exhaustive discussion regarding silent letters, just try the Irish or Erse, as we write in xwords!

And BTW. ZCar guy, I do not say 'lambuhs'. Do you?

I will admit that while the 'l' is silent in all those words, it does affect the pronunciation of the vowel in a small way, distinguishing it a bit from a true short sound. IMHO, that is.

I am now hanging my head about my difficulty inspelling 'mnemonic'. I should have known it! Fie!

kazie said...

Bill G,
I have always had problems with people here in WI when they pronounced pin and pen the same way, not always knowing which was meant, as in "Do you have a p?n?"

Barry G,
"Macadam is a type of road construction pioneered by the Scotsman John Loudon McAdam in around 1820."

Macadamia Nuts:
The genus is named after John Macadam, a colleague of botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, who first described the genus.[1] Common names include Macadamia, Macadamia nut, Queensland nut, Bush nut, Maroochi nut, Queen of Nuts and bauple nut; Indigenous Australian names include gyndl, jindilli, and boombera. Check its history here.

"The Mackintosh or Macintosh (abbreviated as mac or mack) is a form of waterproof raincoat, first sold in 1824, made out of rubberised fabric. The Mackintosh is named after its Scottish inventor Charles Macintosh, though a letter k is added by many writers (this variant spelling "Mackintosh" is now standard)."

Yellowrocks said...

Bill G. I had the same question about WISH until I realized that a wish is composed of WORDS.

I pronounce Mary, marry, and merry quite differently.

After my research today, which I totally enjoyed, I realize that the dictionary usually chooses only one pronunciation, which 90% of the time agrees with mine. This choice doesn't take into account regional differences. Standardized tests accept the dictionary's single pronunciation. However can school children and teachers who speak differently cope with that? A few dictionaries carry an essay to explain regional differences. Sorry if I am boring anyone. This is a strong interest of mine. If you like, just scroll down and avoid me.

Anonymous said...

Man! Marti in happy post-coital state with her muff diving. Then Jazzbumpa gives us WEINER Philharmoniker with the ultimate arousal earworm-- Bolero! That's sure to cause more frustration than this puzzle. Which was a BUST for me since I started out with wine, then got crossways and cigarettes. The only things I got right in the whole top half were Addis, cocoapuffs and host. Coming to my good sources at the blog allowed me to start over with the first lines and work it from there. Thank you! And thanks, Jazz, I've been trying to remember Dudamel's name for ages.

Johnny Mnemonic said...


Grumpy 1 said...

I'm sure glad they added the 'k', otherwise I would probably be typing on my raincoat and wearing an Apple.

Dudley said...

Adding to the road pavement discussion: the word "Tarmac" has been showing up around here quite a lot lately, particularly in news broadcasts. It usually refers to various airport surfaces, be they ramps, taxiways, or runways. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Tarmac is actually a trademark or brand name, along the lines of AstroTurf. While similar to common asphalt pavement, AKA blacktop, I believe the Tarmac recipe is obsolete. I bet there is not one airport in the US with actual Tarmac surfaces.

Has the word been showing up in your part of the world?

Mikey said...

re D's post:
... in eastern cities such as Boston, do you WOK your dog?

I think they do that in Viet Nam.

HeartRx said...

Jerome, funny stuff, as always! (but I am not going to “laugh out loud”, for fear of getting cracked over the head with a bat….)

ClearAyes and Lucina, thanks for the local take on “cigarillo”. I did live in So. Cal for a while, and must have picked it up there.

Oh, and DH (dear husband, not “designated hitter”) says “tin” and “pin” for “ten” and “pen”. We tease each other about our different pronunciations all the time.

Anonymous said...

I have a suspicion that C.C. doesn't know what 'muff diving' is, which is why the posts are still there. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps CC is "Unemployed?"

PostPreserver said...

I think you have vastly underrated our fearless leader. She's been doing this for a while you know. Besides, what's so risqué about something everyone does? It isn't like it's politics or religion.

Anonymous said...

A lot of us Southerners do not call a "walk" a "wok." We actually pronounce the l.

Avg Joe said...

After all the comments made here today, all I can say is that all you people are certainly a bunch of cunning linguists.

Tinbeni said...

HeartRx/Marti 9:26am
Yes, I agree, if the reveal is SILENCE, the "circle letters" should be silent "both ways", across and down.

But they weren't "going down".
And now ... I'm in muff-DF-land.


Lemonade714 said...

I have waited patiently through 77 (Sunset Strip) comments and am amazed not one commenter has picked on the nit that Ms. Marteeee has given us our second consecutive September 14, 2011 puzzle. I know she lives in a quiet corner of New England, but I assume the days turn over there as well.

I married an Alabama girl and have visited with her relatives in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky and I have never heard the "l" in walk.

Lemonade714 said...

And "Did him?"

Really nice puzzle and write up thank you both. Ed is one of many bi-publisher puzzlers.

Edd said...

I resemble that remark!!

Mikey said...

Ooh, Avg Joe, well done!

HeartRx said...

Lemon, whatever do you mean???

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. You have all made good points today. Interesting and fun reading.

Had only one real hangup: my stubborn mind refused to recognize SKORTS, wanting and permitting only SKIRTS, making CIGARILLO into CIGARILLI, which I believe is NOT the plural :)

Loved some of the awesome fill, such as TALLOW, CIGARILLO, COMBOVER, DOGFACED, DIVAN, ISLANDERS, ENDOWING, and MACADAM. A toast of MacAllen tonight!

Didn't much like AOLER or MDL.

Heard of Nixon in China, but did not bother to go see/hear it. Don't really care for John Adams' music. I liked Tom Lehrer, though.

Best wishes to you all.

dodo said...

I have selldom felt really challenged by a Merle Reagle puzzle. Maybe it's just the day of the week. I've only once or twice done a USA Today puzzle and wasn't impressed.


Avg. Joe, too clever!

Clear Ayes said...

I've been away for a few hours and many cunning remarks have been posted.

Kazie, I love macadamia nuts! Thanks for the Wikipedia information about them being poisonous to dogs. That was news to me.

That reminds me, I had a tough time fitting BRACHYCEPHALIC (short headed) into the 7D)"Having a mug like a pug" spaces. Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, Pekinese, Shih Tzus and Brussels Griffons are all brachycephalic. These wonderful dogs can often have breathing problems or infections of their facial folds. I'd take me a little Japanese Chin anytime, but they don't come into shelters very often. I still have my fingers crossed.

When I did fill in DOG FACED, I thought of Fedor Jeftichew, better known as Jo-Jo, the Dog-Faced Boy.

Good catch on the second September 14th in a row, Lemonade. It's OK by me. I could always use an extra day to get things done.

LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~~

The puzzle was fun, the write-up was entertaining, (Thanks, Marti!) but I think I'm getting the most enjoyment from reading all the comments. Such funny, clever people on this blog! (Avg Joe ~~ 1st prize!)

Lots of good stuff in this puzzle. I really liked the theme answers and unifier. Once again I didn't see the best part ... I knew the circled letters spelled LAMB to go with SILENCE, but didn't stop to think about the fact that they're all silent letters ... sigh. I, too, was looking for more than one word for 15D WISH ... clever cluing!

Off to watch baseball ~~

Enjoy the evening!

creature said...

Let’s see Yellowrock; The biggest pronunciation phenomenon in my life was when I discovered in our East End social structure that I could always tell you if someone(female,usually) was a catholic or not, by how they pronounced ‘shower’. Catholics said(say) ‘Shire’ and non-catholics said ‘S how er’. It still holds true in most circumstances and my Catholic friends agree. I am a non Catholic.

It all started when I was in high school, and the challenges were many.

I’m saying that many influences were involved. If you are Catholic and your folks are from around here then this pronunciation rule holds true. It may be dying out, but I was a superstar when I discovered this.

OK, this was many moons ago.

I wear skorts all the time in hot weather. I do not wear shorts anymore; except to ‘work out’. The examples in the write-up are not the same as my skorts. I go to the grocery in them; to neighbors; etc.. I wear lightweight slacks or skirts if it’s later in the day, or I’m in town. My goodness, it gets to 100 degrees or better here. My children say I look fine in them. (OK, the children are not dumb), but I trust them on this.
They’re almost to my knees.

Jerome, Yeah!

creature said...

CC, I get enthralled with the sound of my own words. Please forgive me for this.

creature said...

" if someone Were a catholic or not,by how SHE pronounced...."

Ugh.... wine..

windhover said...

I know just how you feel. :)

Anonymous said...

I have friends that are Catholic.

Unknown said...

"Nixon in China" has been performed by New York's Metropolitan Opera many times--it's an amazing representation of the people of the period when Nixon visited China. It was on the Met's HD Saturday performances in movie theaters across the world.

creature said...

Anon6:36, Reread my post. I do, too.

What is your point?

Anonymous said...

Anons have no point. They/we are mostly idiots who can't even make up a fake name. Let it go.

Jayce said...

So creature, your skorts are knee length? Sounds good to me!

kazie said...

I think the anon was paraphrasing "some of my friends are Jewish".

Did anyone else notice what the Jimmy Eat World group's initials spell? I wondered if it was intentional.

Jayce said...

Kazie, I didn't notice that. Hmmm.

Wikipedia said...

Contrary to popular belief, the band name acronym (JEW) is not a reference to the band's religious beliefs. The band's name came from a crayon drawing made after an incident between Linton's younger brothers, Jim and Ed, who fought frequently. Jim usually won, but Ed sought revenge by drawing a picture of Jim shoving the Earth into his mouth; the picture bore the caption "Jimmy eat world".[3]

Avg Joe said...

LaLaLinda, I very much appreciate your bequeathment of first prize for the days efforts. And I go down on bended knee in acceptance.

windhover said...

Both knees, Joe. Both knees. And breathe through your ears.

Argyle said...

WH, you broke the blog with that one.

Bill G. said...

Of the three words, Mary, merry and marry, I pronounce the first two mostly the same.

Avg Joe said...

Time for a break from all this jocularity. How bout a tune?


Avg Joe said...

Or, we could change directions.


steely dan said...

Or" Stuck in the middle with you"
sorry i cant post it, but you can

Anonymous said...

Seven posts is a bit excessive.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. You can`t talk politics on here (too divisive) or religion (makes people uncomfortable and raises tempers) (Actually the reasons for not talking both those subjects are interchangeable!)
BUT, You can spend a whole day talking gutter language and no one is supposed to mind? I`ve also noticed that the same few escalate it, and ONE doesn`t show up much unless the subject is 14 year old boys locker room junk.
This may be deleted but it needed to be said.
How DF will the blog administrator let it get before (s)he puts a stop to it. You all seem quite do crossword puzzles after all! Aren`t you a little tired of arrested adolescents hijacking the blog?

(This may be a 200 response day after all!)
taking up so much space?

Argyle said...

Sorry, anon. Your comment was in the spam folder. I don't know why. I posted it for you and deleted your second post.

Annette said...

The Nixon in China opera had been discussed here on the blog just a few months ago, so it was familiar to me from that.

I love LOL because as a quiet person, it really means something if someone is funny enough to make me Laugh Out Loud! But for those of you that don't like it, I saw a related text term today - LQTS: Laughing Quietly To Self, which I'm much more likely to do!

And of course Windhover broke the blog. Let's hope that's all he broke this evening! It was almost 7:30 pm, so he'd just spent the past half hour drinking his beer, being a l.d. voyeur, and humming that tune mentioned at 8:46 pm! ;-)

Clear Ayes said...

It's a little late, but steely dan asked for it. Stealers Wheel's Stuck In The Middle With You will always remind me of Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs". Tarantino is well known for the violence in his movies, but the scene with Michael Madsen bopping around to this song is one of the most ghastly and cold-blooded I've ever seen.

Yelowrocks@2:45 wisely said about a topic she thought might not be interesting to others, "If you like, just scroll down and avoid me." Yellowrocks' comments were interesting, but it was still good advice in general. If anonymous posters don't like a certain subject, or poster, just scroll past. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...


How many posts did you have to delete tonight?

Debs said...

Thanks for this blog. We here on the east coast (Baltimore) have the same crossword in our paper as well. Y'all have helped me through some of the tougher spots that I have come across.

Anonymous said...

you would think that avg. joe could read. instructions. directions. helpful hints.

Jim said...

Love this blog and the humorous comments. Good puzzle, but wasn't Asta a wire haired fox terrier instead of a schnauzer? We are talking the Thin Man movies?

Argyle said...

Jim, the clue said (Literary schnauzer) and that is what Asta was in the books.