Feb 19, 2012

Sunday Feb 19, 2012 John Lampkin

Theme: "White House Counsel" - Clue/Answer reversal style puzzle. Six presidential pet names act as clues (hence all caps) and the sound they make are interpreted as "Advice" and are are placed as Down entries.

23A. BILLY : COOLIDGE'S HIPPOPOTAMUS. 80D. Advice from 23-Across? : SNORT. Did Coolidge keep the hippo at the White House?

41A. OLD WHISKERS : HARRISON'S GOAT. 77D. Advice from 41-Across? : BAA

57A. FIDO : LINCOLN'S DOG. 52D. Advice from 57-Across? : ARF. From the constructor: “Fido” in clues represents the generic pet pooch. Since I’ve never ever met a real dog named Fido I wondered how he got to be so famous. “Spot” we can assume achieved recognition from “See Spot run” primers yesterday, but who the heck was Fido? The net unleashed (ha ha) the answer and inspired this puzzle. Fido was Abe Lincoln’s dog. Who knew? Historians sometimes wonder why some presidents have made questionable judgments. This puzzle makes clear the answer—they got advice from their pets!

82A. SOCKS : CLINTON'S CAT. 3D. Advice from 82-Across? : MEOW. No Buddy. Can't have two dogs.

96A. MAUDE : ROOSEVELT'S PIG. 111D. Advice from 96-Across? : OINK

114A. DICK : JEFFERSON'S MOCKINGBIRD. 39D. Advice from 114-Across? : CHEEP. Odd name for a bird.

Clue/answer reversal is generally not my favorite theme type. I get bored quickly. This one held my interest since Socks was the only familiar one to me and I was intrigued by what kind of pet the others were.

Construction-wise, this puzzle was not easy. Hence no pangram, unlike John's other Sunday effort. Full spanning 15's as first and last theme entry sometimes make gridding easier for a week-day puzzle, a spanning 21's tend to make things tough. Plus, John challenged himself by limiting his options and putting all the animal sound in Down.

Clues are vintage Lampkin, fun and creative. Clechos (clue echos) abound, as shown by the green highlight in my write-up. Several pairs are consecutive. BZ (Brava Zulu), to steal a line from Spitzboov!


1. Freeway entrances : RAMPS

6. High flier : JET

9. Sour : GO BAD

14. Unexpected victory : UPSET. Linsanity. Are you feeling it? Me neither.

19. "__ the news today, oh boy": Beatles lyric : I READ. And 104D. "Not again" : OH BOY

20. Percent add-on : ILE. Percentile.

21. Give it a shot : TRY TO. And 89D. Beckon from afar : CALL TO.

22. Vertical : PLUMB

27. Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie : HOWE. "Mr. Hockey".

28. Banded quartz : AGATE

29. Where the Piper piped : HAMELIN. Rats!

30. Comical Martha : RAYE

32. Pockets picked at a deli? : PITAS. Delicious clue.

34. Gathers bit by bit : GLEANS

38. Play a part : ACT

45. "Hmm ..." : GEE. And 105A. "Hmm ..." : I WONDER

46. Certain Tibetan : LHASAN. I'm often confused about where to place the H. In Mandarin, the capital is just spelled as Lasa.

48. Choir section : ALTOS. 60. Choir section : APSE

49. L.A.'s Getty Center, e.g. : MUS. Oh, museum.

50. Whimper : MEWL

51. Action film heroes are often in it : PERIL. So was Anthony Shadid, in real life, simply the best of his breed. He was only 43. Dear God, why?

52. "It's __ Unusual Day": 1948 song : A MOST

53. Posed : SAT

54. "__ a stinker?": Bugs Bunny line : AIN'T I

55. Impetuously : HEADFIRST

61. Design deg. : MFA

62. Designer Saarinen : EERO

63. Speak against : NAY-SAY

64. Place to hear a cowbell : LEA. 84F. Flower toxic to cows, ironically : BUTTERCUP. New trivia to me. Ironic indeed then.

66. Fashion monogram : YSL. So Jason Wu for Target sold out in hours.

68. Lat neighbors : ABS

70. Poor writing : PAP. New meaning to me.

71. Fox sci-fi series : FRINGE. Knew the name only because I had to clue ABRAMS at one time.

74. Word in an ultimatum : ELSE

76. Strikers' org.? : PBA. Nailed it.

78. Sister of Lustica in "Born Free" : ELSA. Lustica means nothing to me. But "Born Free" is sufficient to get the answer.

84. Two-event events : BIATHLONS

86. Puts away cargo : LADES

87. Put away dishes? : EAT

88. Legend automaker : ACURA

90. "Good Eats" series creator __ Brown : ALTON. The Nutty Professor of Food Network.

91. Many MIT grads : ENGs. Engineers.

92. Address for a bride, often : MRS

93. Address the throng : ORATE

94. Leave no doubt about : ENSURE

95. Historical period : AGE

99. Orch. section : STR

100. On a streak : RED HOT

102. Longtime sportscaster Harmon : MERLE. Did he stymie you?

103. __ buco : OSSO

108. Air conditioner brand that's "hard to stop" : TRANE

110. Table d'__: fixed menu : 'HOTE. Literally "host's table". Prix fixe.

119. Once more : AGAIN

120. Came to a close : ENDED

121. One-eighty : UIE. Or UEY.

122. Mint product : MONEY. US Mint.

123. "Blame It on the __ Nova": 1963 hit : BOSSA

124. Docket load : CASES

125. Some govt. heads : PMs (Prime Ministers)

126. Small fry : TYKES


1. Too amusing for words : RICH. I don't get the clue.

2. Suffix for stink : AROO

4. Less ruddy : PALER

5. Star Wars letters : SDI

6. Shot glass : JIGGER

7. Home of Zeno : ELEA. Zeno of Elea. This answer often stumps solvers.

8. Neil Armstrong, e.g., before becoming an astronaut : TEST PILOT. Dangerous job.

9. Sporty VW : GTI.

10. "Oliver!" chorus members : ORPHANS

11. Go around : BYPASS

12. Physics subject : ATOM

13. Chucklehead : DOPE

14. Angle toward the sky : UPTILT

15. Shaver : PLANE. For Splynter/Jerome.

16. Bottom line amount : SUM

17. It'll never fly : EMU

18. USA rival : TBS

24. Six-Day War hero : DAYAN (Moshe)

25. Bank jobs : HEISTS

26. Korbut and others : OLGAS

31. Time and __ : A HALF

33. Play the fife : TOOTLE

35. It may be hidden : AGENDA

36. Gift to play with : NEW TOY

37. Baseball commissioner since the '90s : SELIG (Bud). He's not retiring after all.

38. A, as in Athens : ALPHA

40. "__ Bulba": Gogol novel : TARA'S

42. "Kitchen Nightmares" host Gordon : RAMSAY. He has quite a temper.

43. Auto financing org. : GMAC

44. __ a limb : OUT ON. Quite a few partials in this grid. Four I think. Maximum allowed.

47. Whence some moms are greeted : SIDELINES

50. Writes poorly? : MISSPELLS

53. Hoity-toity sort : SNOB

54. Novelist Seton : ANYA

56. Insect stage : IMAGO. From John again: Here is my photo of a mayfly imago, trapped in a spider web. For you romantics, mayflies mate for life! However, since they live for only a few hours it’s no big deal.

58. "Dies __" : IRAE

59. Caress, wave-style : LAP AT

62. First name in scat : ELLA (Fitzgerald)

65. Forest friends of Frodo : ENTS

67. Chip off the old flock? : SECT. Another fun clue. And 72. Like some chips : RIDGED. Potato chips.

69. Cathedral toppers : SPIRES

71. Pipe collar : FLANGE

73. Calendario start : ENERO

75. Glassy-eyed one : STARER

79. Yoga position : LOTUS. Lotus root is delicious.

81. Longtime Moore co-star : ASNER

82. Like one's conscience, hopefully : CLEAR. Ask yourself!

83. Get fresh with : SASS

85. Suspends : HANGS

92. Small engine : MOTOR

93. Command : OVERSEE

94. Innsbruck iron : EISEN. New word to me also. Looks so wrong.

96. Ivanhoe's beloved : ROWENA. I can never remember this name.

97. Edits : EMENDS

98. Racehorses : PONIES

101. Vintage stereos : HI-FIs

106. Minute minute pt. : NSEC. Nice clue too.

107. Portuguese lady : DONA

109. Tamiroff of "Touch of Evil" : AKIM. Learned from doing Xword.

112. Genealogist's handiwork : TREE. Family tree.

113. Slow Churned ice cream : EDY'S

114. Fast punch : JAB

115. Big head : EGO

116. Scale fourths : FAs

117. OR figures : MDs

118. Prime meridian hrs. : GMT

Answer grid.

Those who solve John’s puzzles regularly know that he is a Nature lover. He has just self-published a book, “Bugged Beyond Belief” which is a collection of the 40 best of his 10,000 macro-photos of insects. Amusing yet factual commentary peppers the pages. $20 Contact John for more info at



Argyle said...

Eisenhauer is German for "iron hewer"; now we know. But will we remember.

It's a Most Unusual Day(1:20)

I'd wish you all a most unusal day but I don't know if that would be a good thing or not.

fermatprime said...


Great puzzle, John; fine exposition, C. C.

Loved the animal theme. Caught on rather quickly (but certainly not at RHINOCEROUS)!

Still very tired today. Slept a great deal of the day and here I am at 4 AM, wide awake. Yuck! Had dinner out last night--a really, really rare event! Afterwards Chris' sil brought me back. He was under the impression that the easy-peasy sudokus on the iPad were the real deal. I taught him a bit. Then he installed CUPs pdf on my computer--I am not much good at programming UNIX. Learned many programming languages in my day.

Have a peaceful Sunday!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Mostly a straightforward effort today except for a few notable spots...

I just refused to accept that anybody (let alone a sitting president) owned a pet HIPPOPOTAMUS until the bitter end. And do HIPPOs really SNORT?

MUS was pathetic. Well, at the least the clue was. It could have been clued as a Greek letter with no problem, but as an abbreviation it just really sucks.

The bottom center section caused me to turn on the red letter help for the second day in a row. EISEN, AKIM and TRANE were all unknowns, and I had UEY instead of UIE (again) at 121A. UEY and UIE are both awful, but for some reason UEY seems marginally more acceptable to my eyes.

Middletown Bomber said...

Its always interesting on the perceptions we have about the clues. Like Barry I thought this puzzle the puzzle were very strait forward; however I did not have any problems. I got the Getty Center clue instantly both the L.A. and the e.g. led me to MUSeum. I still have nightmares about a TRANE AC unit; which stopped one very hot summer.
UIE - UEY must be regional.
It seems to me Lampkin likes to give straitforward clues and if he thinks they may be to hard give extra hints to make it easy 78A comes to mind.
thank you CC for the write up, And I hope everyone enjoys their sunday and holiday weekend.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, C.C. and friends. What a fun puzzle. I caught onto the theme with the MEOW and CLINTON'S CAT, of course! I was amused by all the other exotic pets some of the president's had. So Silent Cal had a HIPPOPOTAMUS named Billy!

Barry, I don't know if a Hippo snorts, but they don't make good Pets. Here's a man talking about his dangerous pet Hippo.

I especially liked how Poor Writing (PAP) crossed with Writes Poorly (MISSPELLS).

My favorite clue was It May Be Hidden = AGENDA.

QOD: If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? ~ Scott Adams

Hahtoolah said...

Here's a story on other Presidential Pets.

Mokus said...

Thanks to your link I found the Lampkin puzzle but my LA Times has Merl Reagle every Sunday. Why the difference? I'm not unhappy about it as they are both enjoyable. Just curious.

desper-otto said...

Hello Sunday Solvers!

Enjoyed Mr. Lampkin's puzzle, and I chuckled at your writeup, CC. So far as 1D is concerned, when someone hears something funny, she's likely to say, "Oh, that was rich!"

This one turned into a speed run (well, a Sunday speed run) for me. Didn't get the theme at first, so at 39D I wanted to put CREEP (Committee to Re-elect The President) to go with DICK (Nixon). That didn't last long.

I, too, liked Poor Writing crossing Writes Poorly. I already had the *ISS of MISSPELLS, and I thought 50A Whimper was probably PEWL (guess it would be PULE, wouldn't it?) At any rate, it provided an interesting start to 50D.

Have a great Sunday, everyone! Time to go walking through the 'hood.

xyz said...

Well done puzzle but I made a mess of "Oregon"

Mike Rush said...

Gosh, this one drew the line on our puzzle working ability! A few pockets of empty squares before I got here, of course. We broke the theme at "Clinton's Cat" and then my wife knew several of the other president's pets...leave it to a crossword puzzle to bring out unspoken knowledge from my better half after 34 years of marriage. Really enjoyed this one, and especially C.C.'s write up about spanning and echo clues. I don't know any of the crossword lingo, I barely know the answers.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. Thanks for your usual good commentary, C.C.

EISEN - AAS - As Argyle said. Eisenhower is a slightly anglicized version of the hewer of iron, a past president (without a pet?) and the leader of the ETO. Also think Eisenbahn, railroad. Great theming ; also with the paired down clues. I learned that Hippos make a SNORT. WAGS included YSL and AGATE. EMU was clever. Overall, fun to work on. I agree with C.C.'s approbation of the BZ for John's offering.

Have a great day.

Yellowrocks said...

I can't read Jefferson's mind, but a small bird is referred to as a DICKiebird. Mockingbirds are 8-10 inches from bill to tail, smaller than a robin, but not as small as a sparrow or a wren. This Dickie Bird song refers to all types of birds.
Link dickie bird

I think the AC ad "It's hard to stop a Trane" is clever, so I remember it.

PAP is soft food for infants so PAP in writing refers to lacking in substance.

I often hear, "That's rich" when someone tells an amusing story, usually something ironic, but not always.

LEA is a fine word, but is not used a lot outside of X-word puzzles. As a kid, I entered a poetry contest and came in second to a poor student and writer. Her poem had a reference to horses "out on the lea," which I am sure she never heard of. I looked it up and found that she copied a published poem. I didn't squeal, but I remember LEA.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning C.C. and Corner denizens all. Thanks for the write up and, John, thanks for a fun and educational puzzle. I figured out the theme from the title and jumping down to SOCKS/CLINTONS CAT to see who was telling the president MEOW.

I guess I got in too much of a hurry and messed up with an O instead of an A at the LHASAN/TARAS crossing. A little more thought would have straightened it out. Everything else filled without much difficulty.

Was Clinton following Sock's advice when he succumbed to temptation?

Grumpy 1 said...

Yesterday, I was working in the garage and was entertained by the songs of a mockingbird just outside the door. The laundry room is just off the garage and at one point the washing machine ended its cycle with a series of beeps, which it repeats at about ten second intervals. A few minutes later I heard the same series of beeps. I knew the washer wouldn't be at the end of a cycle again, but walked over to the door to check. It was then that I realized that the beeps were coming from outside. The mockingbird had heard the washer, too, and had himself a new song.

We love hearing the mockingbirds except when one decides to get amorous at three in the morning right outside of our bedroom window. Dang! those guys get noisy during mating season.

Lucina said...

Hello, weekend solvers. Thank you, C.C. for an amusing review and especially for listing the clechos.

This puzzle is RICH on so many levels: brilliant theme, witty clues, clever crossings, etc., etc.

My favorite clues were chip off the old flock, SECT and pockets picked at a deli, PITAS.

Like Barry, I could not accept HIPPOPOTAMUS as a pet so that one was the last to fall.

It will be a long while before I sit in LOTUS position; not until this leg heals.

MERLE simply emerged when everything around it filled.

AKIM was completely unknown to me so I left the M blank. Drat! Hate that.

Thanks, John L for a fun time today.

Everyone, have a super Sunday!

Husker Gary said...

John, what a lovely Sunday puzzle for Prez Day! As C.C. said in her great write-up, the learning and cleverness were wonderful.

-Our skinniest prez had the biggest pet?
-So that’s the origin of FIDO
-The Jeremy Lin story is fascinating to me – a bright kid who stuck to his craft until he found a place where he could succeed!
-Time and AGAIN? Nope! But AGAIN showed up later
-Pay the exterminator OR ELSE, Hamelin
-Orphans not urchins. Money not Mento
-Modern Gleaner
-The APSE’s in Angels and Demons held many surprises
-The setting for the Getty Museum is spectacular.
-Neil had more anxiety facing the press than the trip to the Moon
-Kingston Trio also had jigger of gin in Scotch and Soda
-Kardashian marriages only last a few hours

Argyle said...

There is an interesting write-up that goes with Husker's Kingston Trio link. The composer of "Scotch and Soda" is unknown.

Yellowrocks said...

I, too, wondered how a hippo could be kept at the White House, even though it was only a pygmy hippo. I learned that Billy spent most of his life at the Smithsonain National Zoological Park, entertaining the crowds, and most especailly acting as stud.
Link Billy

Virginia said...

Good Morning everyone. This was a lot of fun. Of course I had to cheat to get it filled in but was having such a good time I don't even feel guilty. Learned a lot from the write-up too, I just love learning and chuckling at the same time. Thank you C.C. and Mr. Lampkin for a pretty great Sunday morn. Plus, who knew Jefferson had a mocking bird? Oh! and a new word for me: Clecho.

Irish Miss said...

Good afternoon everyone:

Great expo, CC, and kudos to Mr. Lampkin.

All I have to say is I finished, without help, but with a few write-overs. Unlike most posters, I had a lot of trouble in several areas. I think my brain is still asleep.

Happy Sunday to all.

eddyB said...


Maybe NASCAR should also stay off
of high banked ovals. Gordon wound
up on his roof after barrel rolling.

Matt Howe joins his father-Gordie-
in the Hockey HOF tomorrow.

Didn't do the cw. Copied the answer
page and read the clues last night.

Solid over cast so far. eddy

Anonymous said...

It is a sad state of affairs when a puzzle suggests that former presidents used their "pets" as their counsel. Not worthy of being published in any newspaper.

CrossEyedDave said...

in addition to uie/uey
a lot of other clue/answers turned my puzzle into an inkblot:

6A high flier, i put "ern" figuring i would come back later

21A give it a shot=try"it"

31D time & "again"

54A "whata" stinker, yes aint i is much better but i could not remember it

60A choir section = "bass"

94A leave no doubt about = "assure"

85D suspends (i put halts)

95A historical period = era

106D minute minute ppt = millisecond

122A mint product = coins

& finally 122A some gov't heads,,,
(i really wanted to put "PIN")

Lucina said...

Somebody got your goat? No sense of humor, I see.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Wow, what a multi-faceted construction. Very elegant. As Virginia said, I just love learning and chuckling at the same time. This was truly a pleasurable way to spend Sunday morning. Best wishes to you all.

Jayce said...

Nowhere is it said or implied any president ever TOOK advice from his pet.

Papa Cass said...

Didn't get 59D LAP AT. I was thinking it was some hair thing. Great clue.

I also kept trying to misspell hamlet for HAMELIN for 29A.

Nobody has said it but girls didn't you want 36D to be MENTOY. Come on admit it.

Fun puzzle, great write-up.

Donald said...

FYI regarding your response to the answer to one down. You have to be old enough to remember the phrase that answered the clue. It was "That's Rich". ergo "rich" would be appropriate and when you're that "old" but can still remember. It's my 78 birthday and yep! I still have the faculty to remember.

JD said...

Good morning C.C. and all,

What a great theme, and a fun puzzle, although it took me an hour with lots of WAGS and a few look ups.Having so many easy 3 letter fills kept me going.Wasn't so sure about paps and tootle.

loved "it'll never fly= emu and, mint product= money.

nice trivia about Fido meaning "I am faithful." Odd about having a pet hippopotamus, and his son having a few alligators.Liked that link, Hahtool.

a bigger family day than usual today- niece and family visiting from Oregon

Rube said...

My FOTD is that eisen with a small e refers to ice and Eisen with a cap E is iron, in German.

Had TARAS Bulba in a xword a while back and put it on my Netflix que. Got around to seeing it last week. Don't bother.

Poker chips also have ridges.

A mockingbird showed up in our neighborhood 2 years ago and it's "calls" wer most interesting. Last year another showed up and they put on a very noisome and wearying tirade all summer long. I'm not looking forward to this year.

UIE! Shame on you Mr. Lampkin.

I went to check on UIE at Xword Info only to find out that you now have to register! Bah, humbug.

Otherwise, a very fine puzzle.

Lucina said...

Thank you for linking that article on the presidents' pets. Very interesting.

I hope your toe is doing better.

Husker Gary said...

Musings 2

-I wonder what else I have done and said a thousand times like flip a UEY/UIE that I never thought of how to spell.

-My first principal called the kids who got sent to his office “little dickey-birds”

-Reading what middle school kids write for 42 years exposed me to a lot of PAP

-In the tropics you can get a jigger bite, here in Nebraska Mom warned against getting chigger bites when lying in the grass.

-After $131 for a Windows 7 reinstall, I can now use my laptop again. I also have to reinstall a lot of other items. Curse you Microsoft! Old man iMac just keeps rollin’ on.

-Big Downton Abbey finale tonight! Beat the rap Bates! Claim justifiable homicide!

Mikey said...

I clung to 40A:ALTO to the bitter end, and finally declared a DNF and came here to find that C.C. had ignored it altogether. But with the perps,APSE made perfect sense. Had I been a Gogol fan I would have known TARAS and, with CHEEP, perhaps gotten it myself, but nothing was working with ALTO, and I was tired of it at that point.

Still, some nice clues, but since I rarely DNF on Sunday, humbling. Got to learn to be more flexible. And maybe read some Gogol.

LaLaLinda said...

Hi Everyone ~~

Thank you John Lampkin for a fun Sunday puzzle! I remember that you mentioned you had a Presidents' Day puzzle for us so I was happy to see it today.

I caught the theme with SOCKS and 'Clinton' and went from there. MOCKINGBIRD and HIPPOPOTAMUS were my last to fill ~ I couldn't imagine the latter as a pet!

Thanks for a wonderful write-up, C.C. ~ you helped me to make sense of a number of things, especially MUS - it filled in but I had no idea. I'm glad you pointed out all the "chechos" - I missed a number of them.

~~ I had some Beatles CDs playing as I filled in 19A - I READ, and amazingly that song actually started at the same time! (ya had to be there)

~~ I remembered "It's a Most Unusual Day" from a Seinfeld episode where it was sung completely off-key.
~~ Favorite was 'Chip off the old block' - SECT.

Enjoy the day!

Jayce said...

Today's NYT crossword puzzle is a perfect example of why I hate the NYT puzzles. As far as I am concerned, it's not even a crossword puzzle; it's some other sort of puzzle. Don't even call it a crossword puzzle, because it isn't.

End of rant.

Mikey said...

Forgot to express my admiration for CrossEyedDave's solve of 125A (12:45). Wonderful!

Irish Miss said...

Jayce @ 3:07-I agree one- hundred per cent. I just finished it and am surprised I can still think straight!

Jerome said...

You are a marvel, Mr. Lampkin, an absolute marvel. And... 'twas a smart thing putting RICH at 1 down :)

Lucina... "Somebody got your goat?" Now that's rich!

MUS is "pathetic". It's a friggin, effin' miracle that any constructor participates on this blog with that dude usually starting the commentaries. Unbelievable!

Jayce said...

Irish Miss, at least you finished it, for which you have my admiration.

Husker Gary said...

p.s. I just had time to read the comments from Friday and I want to say thanks for all the nice 45th wedding anniversary wishes. The play we attended that night for our granddaughter was, uh, a high school musical but there was a little 95-pound girl who played the wife of the King of Siam and she blew the doors off the place. What an instrument. Her singing of Something Wonderful was fabulous.

On the grammar issues raised that day, I had a friend who, when asked if he wanted more coffee, responded, “None for I.” I grimaced and let it go. As Ann Landers used to say, “Is anything any better because I say this?” For me, nope!

Off to the Y.

Bill G. said...

Sunday puzzles are a bit daunting because they take longer but a good theme helps with the enjoyment. I liked the theme and it helped me with the solving as I began looking at the crossing letters to reveal part of a president's name or an animal.

I saw Jeremy Lin in action a week or so ago against the Lakers. For a guy I'd never heard of, he was very impressive. I'm not crazy about his (and Tim Tebow) giving God credit for their success. I don't know why God would care about the outcome of a professional sporting event and smile on Lin rather than my Lakers. I would rather Lin take the credit for his innate skill and hard work.

Bill G. said...

Part 2

I had a chance to have a pet mockingbird for a few weeks. A baby fell out of its nest. We fed it meal worms, cat food and other good stuff. It would ride around the house on my shoulder. When it seemed impatient with being inside, we put it in a cage outside with the door open. It hung around for a few hours in the bushes and then it disappeared. A couple of days later, a neighbor across the street told us about her young daughter who was sitting in a little plastic wading pool in their backyard when a gray bird came down and lit on her leg. It had to be Chico. I missed the little guy.

Jayce, I have only tried the NYT crosswords late in the week a couple of times and didn't like them much. What did you find so objectionable about today's?

miked said...

Sorry, but my Sunday puzzle in the Appleton Post Cresent was "Coif It Up", by James Sajdak. Same grid, different clues, and answers. Now that was puzzling.

Bill G. said...

Husker Gary, I know what you meant about saying something about correcting someone's grammar mistake. But unless somebody points out my mistakes, I keep making them. My daughter commented one day about my saying "different than" rather than "different from." After checking around a bit, I agreed she was right and have tried to correct that mistake. However, most often I bite my tongue too.

A few days ago, I mildly fussed at a woman and child standing absent-mindedly in the middle of the bike path. I didn't do it to vent my frustration but hoping that I might save her and/or her child the harm that might come due to a speeding bicycle rider less attentive than I was.

Jayce said...

Bill G, what I found so objectionable, at least with today's NYT puzzle, is that the answer is not found by putting one letter in each square, but an entire word in one square. In this case, that word was BOOK. For example, I knew that one answer had something to do with FACEBOOK, but for the life of me I couldn't fit it in. I looked for the "trick" but it never entered my mind to squish BOOK into a single square. To me, that puzzle is a whole different subspecies of beast, but it's not, IMO, a crossword puzzle.

Hippo-Nonymous said...

EISEN down a drink? OH, BOY - don't tell TinB! He'll refuse to finish the puzzle.

"It'll never fly." I pictured an EMU, in the cargo hold of a transport PLANE, giving us all the, um...bird.

Even if you have all the Beatles albums, I highly recommend picking up the Love soundtrack. Fantastic production, and you'll hear some of the old songs in a completely new way.

Bill G- if an athlete wants to thank and praise his god, how does that affect you? Live and let live.

I'm still waiting for my diamond ring, but that MOCKINGBIRD just won't shut up!

Yellowrocks said...

Hahtool, sorry I posted what you had already done. I somehow missed your link.

NYT itself had the BOOK trick puzzle last week. I eventually figured it out. The NYT Sunday frequently has more than one letter in a square. When the NYT puzzle is published in another paper I think it runs one week behind.

This week the NYT puzzle was easier. I got IER with perps for "Back to front?" It was correct. But why? Other blogs don't explain things like ours does.

Today we went out with 32 friends for an authentic Chinese dinner, Fabulous food! Fabulous frineds! What could be better?

Avg Joe said...

The NYT has their first run Sunday puzzle in the "real" Times on the day of issue. They then run it on a syndicated basis the following week. IOW, in any other paper, you're a week behind. I managed to finish it today, but not without considerable grousing. It was a cute trick, but the theme was badly diminished by so many other cutesy "?" denoted clues.

As for today's LAT: Loved it. I gotta say that John is my favorite constructor at the risk of offending all the very talented constructors that are regular residents here. Who knew that such a menagerie of Presidential pets existed. I would agree that "UIE" is on the weak side, but it's forgivable. I hope I never resort to calling a clue pathetic.

More later. Someone is at the door.

LaLaLinda said...

Yellowrocks ~

On the NYT puzzle today ~~ I didn't even notice that IER had filled in until you mentioned it. I'm thinking that -IER is the back to the word FrontIER?

Spitzboov said...

All German nouns are capitalized. Eis is ice; Eisflacken are ice floes for example.

Different than - different from --- Opinion is divided on which form is acceptable. 'Different from' is preferred by most authorities. OTOH different than is preferable when the use of 'from' would result in awkwardness or verbosity. For example: The weather today was quite different than yesterday. (instead of 'from what it was' yesterday) Yep , clear as mother's milk.

Taras Bulba was a movie quite a few years back starring Yul Brynner.

CrazyCat said...

Hi everyone. Thanks to C.C. for a helpful write-up and to John Lampkin for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.

This was a long haul for me, but in the end I loved it. I actually left one square blank. It was the cross of IMAGO and FRINGE. Never heard of FRINGE and must have missed IMAGO in my insect development education.

Agree with others that CHEEP is not a sound I hear from the MOCKINGBIRDS in my yard. They can get pretty damn noisy at times. I have the same problem as Grumpy 1 with those pre-dawn amorous adventurers. They also dive bomb my cats. What a sad sight that is to behold.

Lois- Happy, happy belated birthday. Hope it was fun!

Chickie- Hope your toe is feeling better.

CrazyCat said...

I forgot to say I had RIOT before RICH. Now I see - brownie points!

Abejo said...

Good afternoon, folks. thank you, John Lampkin, for a great Sunday puzzle. Thank you, C.C., for an equally great write-up.

I could not get this puzzle to appear on my IPad, so I printed it from Chi. Trib.

It was a great puzzle. Caught on to the theme with CLINTON'S CAT and Meow. The rest came easily, even COOLIDGES HIPPPOPOTAMUS, once I had a few perps.

My tough area was the upper West. I put in AGAIN for 31D. Had BASS for 60A. That whole area was open. I had TARAS, then got CHEEP, then ALPHA. Then I fixed my two errors to A HALF and APSE.

Thought APSE was clever. Did not think of the section of the church that the choir was in.

To Mokus: I had the same problem with the L A Times Sunday paper while I was in Long Beach. I walked two miles to buy one, and then it was the wrong crossword. So I went to the hotel desk and had them print one from the Chicago Tribune site. So, I had it. upon getting home I wrote Rich Norris a letter (snail mail) and explained my confusion. He sent me a very nice answer that said that was the way it was, the L A Times Crossword is not in the L A Times on Sundays. Hope that helps.


windhover said...

Avg. Joe,
It wasn't Sir Paul and Wings, was it ?

Jerome said...

Avg Joe- No constructor would take offense for calling John your favorite. He deserves the praise.

Jayce said...

LaLaLinda, good catch about frontIER! I never would have figured that out.

You folks sure are smart. And funny. And perceptive.

Bill G. said...

Are any of you northern midwest types catching the auroras? Apparently, they are being seen in Minnesota, Nebraska, etc. during this period of high sunspot activity. I've seen photos and they are really pretty.

I saw auroras once while at Cornell in Ithaca, New York. Very unusual.

Irish Miss said...


The puzzle you did today was the one I did last week. The one I did today was a " true" crossword but not a very good one, IMO. I prefer the LA Times puzzles. I also prefer this blog and its obvious community spirit and camaraderie.

Yellowrocks said...

LaLaLinda @4:53. Thanks. That's it! I shoulda known. Very clever.

I have been taking it easy and not overdoing it, but tonight there is pain. I realize that what I skipped today was rest and elevation. I will lie on the couch, put my feet upa and watch Netlix.
Good night, all.

John Lampkin said...

Thank you all for your kind comments and cheers. Boos and hisses for UIE are welcome also. Sometimes it's weak entries like that that make the fun stuff possible. According to my database, UIE has been used in crosswords 32 times since 2000, so it's a common "last resort" for constructors.

Hey it's so great to have a knowledgable blogger like C.C. at the helm. Since she is now an experienced constructor she can appreciate pretty much at a glance the challenges this puppy presented, and she did a terric job explaining what they were.

Yes, Jerome and CrazyCat, using RICH at 1 Down was obviously sucking up to the boss. In fact, my advice to all constructors is to work the name of your editor in there at 1 Down and your puzzle will be immediately accepted no matter how many UIE's are in the rest of the grid. Wait... it's too early for April Fool...

Perhaps the most satisfying thing to me today was to know that many of you looked up some of this very interesting trivia for yourselves, learned some surprising info and had fun doing it. That's exactly what happened to me while creating it.

PK said...

Great puzzle and write-up. Thanks, John & C.C.

Took much longer than usual because I was "Lin-sane" and actually watched an entire Knicks game for once. Lin is worth watching, especially winning over the national champs Mavs today. Mavs are a bigger, bully team. Did the puzzle during commercials.

Then I had to see if Mickelson was going to win for two straight weeks. Got interesting with a three-way tie play-off and everyone in trouble at the last. Phil & Keegan lost to Haas. Golf has more suspense without Tiger.

Grumpy, as for Clinton's cat: Tomcats do what tomcats do!

chan said...

Yellowrocks, I loved your link about Billy at 10:59. "As Hannah's fourth pregnancy progressed, zookeepers noticed she seemed to be less agitated than previous pregnancies and attributed this to their new quarters: during her previous three pregnancies, Hannah had lived in the zoo's lion house, a stressful environment for a pregnant hippo." I would imagine! That's RICH!

Did noone else have a problem with 126A, with a plural answer to a singular clue? I got it, but struggled where I need not have.

Spitzboov said...

Chan: I took small fry as a plural word. I guess it can be singular or plural. Just put is or are after it to see what sounds right.

Steve said...

Late to the party again, but loved the puzzle and the learning that went with it. Thanks for pointing out everything that I missed, CC - especially the numerous chechos.

Close to a Natick with DAYAN and RAYE - I'm sometimes answer-blind with the downs, my eyes somehow just don't parse the letters as easily. Finally saw the Y and I was done, woo hoo!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Now just three minutes to the season finale of Downton Abbey.

We're ready...

Grumpy 1 said...

Thanks for stopping by, John. 'Twas a most enjoyable solve. I remember that you mentioned a President's Day puzzle was in the works. I see that you left enough presidents unused that you can come up with several more puzzles in future years.

Our Naples News gives us the LA Times syndicated and the NYT syndicated puzzles on Sundays. I've done enough of the 'cram a wholeword into a single square' puzzles from NYT and Chronicles of Higher Education that I don't mind them. It's just a matter of finding the 'hook' and go with it.

125a could have been clued as 'malady perhaps afflicting those that find 121a pathetic'

Occasional victim of PMS said...

Wow, that's harsh!!

Dudley said...

WHEW! A lot to absorb!

Still I'm happy with the outcome...

Coach J said...

John Lampkin, thanks for your fun puzzle...can only imagine what it takes to construct one of these.

Cross eyed Dave 12:45....very funny comment on 125A.

Which brings me to today's workout that I finally got to after work...LONG day. Made a valiant effort but fell short in the NE. Just could not finesse it without help, so technical DNF. There's always tomorrow!

Dudley said...

To highlight: Lord Gratham may be an aristocrat, but he's not an impossibly hidebound musty old poop. He's a reasonable, rational, and compassionate man. He absorbed the news from his wife of his daughter's unplanned tryst with dignity. He let said daughter know of his newfound awareness without firebombing the perfect skin right off of her. Great dad!

We're left wondering about a great many plot points now, but at least we know that Matthew managed a real, heartfelt proposal to lovely Lady Mary. At last! And she accepted without hesitation!

Take the time you must, BBC, we'll wait for you. And keep up the good work. :-)

Lucina said...

Hear! Hear! Series 3 is eagerly awaited.

Few Notches Down said...

Fun puzzle. I think it is great that John Lampkin commented here. We should be honored.

Great golf finish.

Susan said...

Jayce, my Sunday paper only carries the NY Times puzzle and I agree with you completely--today's was ridiculous! The only way I could figure out any of it was by looking at the answers. Once I got one that way, I was able to get the others. It's funny; at the bottom of the puzzle there is a number to call for any three answers for $1.49 a minute. However, the answer grid is at the top of the page---?

I usually print out the LA cw, but I am out of ink. I tried doing it on line, but I just don't have the patience for doing it that way. New cartridge by next Sunday for sure.

Anonymous said...

Does BBC produce it, Dudley?

Anony-mouse said...

Its 3 o'clock in the sfternoon on a beautiful Monday, in the Near East Asia, and its 98o - a tinge on the warm side. Its so hot, that a dog barked at me in single syllables. Ba-aaa-ar - kh.

I couldnt do the puz, but all your comments were far more entertaining. I was worried I might miss something dramatic, while I was gone - but now I realise northing much changes - even the trolls.

Have a good week, you all.

Dudley said...

Oops, it appears the BBC didn't produce it. Got that wrong somehow.

Dudley said...

Cruciverb users:

I have not been able to access Cruciverb within the last 12 hours or so. Presumably their server is down. Anybody else having trouble?

Anonymous said...

I've done this puzzle very late. Don't think anybody will still be looking, but just in case ...

I don't understand the 2D clue: I can find stinkeroo in the online dictionaries, but not stinkaroo. Or is it referring to a suffix meaning stinker to another word? Not familiar with words ending in aroo, except for buckaroo; which I don't think means stinky buck.

Other than that, this was a fun puzzle to do. Only started doing the LA Times for about a week now (mid-March).

Argyle said...

George, when you say late, you mean late.

Stinkaroo is just an alternate spelling of stinkeroo. I found it on and