Jun 21, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012 Jack McInturff

Theme: "The play's the thing". Not to catch the conscience of the king this time, but to have fun with words that can follow "play". As in:

17A. *Personal history : BACKGROUND. Playback and playground.

24A. *Russia's is the largest in the world : LAND AREA. Playland and play area. Two similar meanings there. I'm not sure if "play land" is referring to a specific theme park (Like Rye Playland in NY), or just a generic "play land", like at McDonald's or something...

37A. *Only women understand one : GIRL THING. Play girl and play thing. Also two similar meanings??

53A. *Many a dorm resident : ROOMMATE. Play room and play mate.

61A. Exciting inning ender, and an apt description of the answers to the starred clues: DOUBLE PLAY. Each word, or in the case of 17- and 53-Across, each part of the word, can follow the word "play". Whew! I was really worried that this was taking me into the alien world of baseball for a minute!

Marti here, to play around with the other entries.


1. Statistician's fodder : DATA

5. Broke out of a slump? : SAT UP. Fun clue.

10. Soft drink seed : KOLA

14. Verve : ELAN

15. "___ porridge hot..." : PEASE. Recipe, if anyone has a mind to...

16. Asian sashes : OBIS

19. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" threats : ASPS. "I hate snakes!" 0:15

20. Queen in Showtime's "The Tudors" : BOLEYN. I just finished reading "The Other Boleyn Girl", so this was a gimme.

21. Many a surfer : AOLER.

23. Talk show complement : PANEL

27. Québec sidekick : AMI. French for "friend". "Amie" would be "girlfriend".

28. Team-building sessions : TRYOUTS. Another fun and misleading clue.

31. Mover, but hopefully not a shaker : VAN. Especially if you are moving your crystal and china!

32. South American rodent : PACA. Remember him?

34. Small salamander : NEWT. And him?

35. They have their own page : OP-EDS. "Opposite the editorial (page)(s)"

40. Out in the open : OVERT. Not to be confused with covert ops (eds?)

43. Serengeti predator : LION. I ain't lion - it's true!

44. Takes in slowly : SIPS. As a fine cognac. Tinbeni, do you sip at sunset?

48. ___-les-Bains: French commune : AIX. Geography lesson of the day. Between Geneva, Switzerland and Grenoble.

49. Caviar variety : SHAD ROE. Not as fine as sturgeon caviar.

52. Came upon : MET. Phew, dodged another baseball answer!

55. Nasal walls : SEPTA. Not to deviate from my task, but one would be a septum...

57. Water buy : LITER

58. First known European to reach New Zealand : TASMAN. I did not know this bit of trivia! I guess he was quite a devil.

60. Jacket-and-tie affair : GALA. Like a 1-down?

65. Bit of progress : STEP

66. "Aunt ___ Cope Book" : ERMA'S. Erma Bombeck, the perennial crossword comic.

67. Domesticate : TAME

68. Sol lead-in : AERO. Can you say "aerosol"?

69. Printer's proof : REPRO. duction.

70. River of Flanders : YSER. Ok, geography lesson # 2.


1. A ball may be thrown for one : DEB. (And a baseball clue averted!)

2. Tuskegee's locale : ALABAMA. Geography # 3.

3. Mount Greylock's range : TACONIC. Geography # 4. I always think of it as being in the Berkshires. Beautiful hiking trails. We used to ski out there sometimes - natural terrain, great for cross-country.

4. Low joint : ANKLE. In the neighborhood of low digits...

5. Agile : SPRY

6. Many millennia : AEON

7. Ancient cross shape : TAU. Here is a window from the convent at San Anton, Spain with Tau crosses.

8. Where many subs are served?: Abbr. : USN. United States Navy. Well, I guess they might have a lot of submarine sandwiches for lunch in the mess, but I don't think the sailors would find the nuclear kind very appetizing.

9. Intellectual showoff : PEDANT. Please don't think I am being a pedant, when I go off on a tangent explaining an answer!

10. Leaf-eating critter : KOALA. Awwwww...

11. Watch : OBSERVE

12. Compensate for a hearing loss, in a way : LIP-READ

13. Biblical mammal : ASS

18. Dinero : GELT. Yesterday we had "jack" as a synonym for money. Is "gelt" more familiar?

22. Has way too much, for short : ODS ON

23. Drivel : PAP. From German "pappe", meaning "cardboard". A nursery word that was used for bread soaked in water, having little nourishing value.

24. Good time for clamming : LOW TIDE

25. Name on the cover : AUTHOR

26. Solution: Abbr. : ANS. Like this one!

29. Furlough, to a GI : R 'N' R. "Rest and Recreation". I know some marines who called it "I & I" (Intoxication and intercourse).

30. Scold : YELL AT. Don't yell at me! I was only joking!

33. Growing field: Abbr. : AGR.iculture.

36. Some film ratings : PGS. "Parental Guidance"(s)

38. "I'm home!" relative : IT'S ME.

39. Goddess who rescued Odysseus : INO. I know! She gave Odysseus a veil and told him how to return to Ithaca.

40. Backwash creator : OAR. Our simple sculler's need is getting trickier as the week progresses...

41. Break, as laws : VIOLATE. Who, me??

42. Wayne Gretzky, notably : EX-OILER. Ex-Met, Ex-Pat, Ex-Cub, Ex-Lax...

45. Graceful antelopes : IMPALAS

46. Honey or sugar : PET NAME. Aw, shucks, sweetie!

47. MTA stop : STA.tion on the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Might as well link it! 2:25

50. More demanding : HARDER. This is getting harder and harder...

51. Being, to Cato : ESSE. Latin "to be" (or not to be?)

54. Highest pt. in the Philippines : MT APO. Geography lesson # (what, are we up to five already??)

56. Like some promises : EMPTY

58. Slope conveyance : T-BAR. Finally! One that I could fill in without hesitation!

59. In addition : ALSO

60. Fed. purchasing group : GSA. General Services Administration.

62. Refinery input : ORE

63. One who wears a mask every fourth game : UMP. Uh-oh, a baseball clue and answer that I couldn't dodge! So a quick search tells me that there are usually four umpires in baseball: One at home plate, and one at first, second and third bases. They switch positions at each game. Only the umpire at home plate requires a mask, because he is directly in the path of the pitcher. Hence, the reason one wears a mask every fourth game. TA-DA!!

64. "___ out!": 63-Down cry : YER. Yes indeed, I am outta here!

Answer grid.



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Definitely a challenge worthy of a Thursday today. French and Geography are my two main weak spots, and this one had both...

Did not know TACONIC in the slightest, despite the fact that it is apparently in my home state (to be fair, though, it's in Western Massachusetts which we Easterners barely acknowledge as even existing). AIX-les-Bains was another complete unknown. Both required every perp to get. Fortunately, however, MT APO was buried in the back of my brain and I was able to retrieve it with minimal help from the perps.

Loved the cluing for TRYOUTS. Had to think for awhile and then smiled when I got it.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Marti and friends. I did well on the west side of this puzzle, but stumbled on the east. Interesting theme.

Nice fresh new clue for the ASP, which is a crossword staple.

When in doubt on a European River, YSER is a good bet. (Not to be confused with the UMP's cry of YER Out!)

Tuskegee is also know for the Airmen and the shameful medical

Will Op-Eds be going by the wayside? Later this year New Orleans will no longer have a daily newspaper. Will other cities follow?

Mover but not shaker = VAN was my favorite clue of the puzzle.

QOD: Insanity is relative. It depends on who has locked who in what cage. ~ Ray Bradbury

HeartRx said...

Good morning all!

I figured I had better link a
Playmate, before there is mutiny on the Corner!

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Jack, for a good, but tough, puzzle. Thank you, Marti, for the review.

Thursdays should be a little tough, and this one was.

I got the SE area first. Got all the themes.

My hangup was the West. Crossing TACONIC and PACA was too much for me. I had to look up the mountain range in the dictionary.

TASMAN was interesting. That must be where Tasmania got its name. Just a guess.

Thank goodness for the perps for AIX.

Steak Fry went great last night.

I may go to Virginia tomorrow. My cousin's wife died yesterday. 47 years old. Had a brain aneurism five months ago. Was in a coma the entire time. They have a young daughter. Really sad.

See you tomorrow.


Tinbeni said...

Marti: Wonderful write-up & geography lessons.

Hahtoola: Just the opposite, I aced the East and stumbled in the West.
Needed all the perps for TACONIC & AIX. Mt.Greylock & the French commune were complete unknowns.
USN brought on the V-8 can head bonk (and a lol).

Not a fan of the Gretzky/EX-OILER clue/ANS. I feel for the non-sport/hockey-fans solver's on that one.
(Plus, with the LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup last week, I think of him as an Ex-King.
Yeah, I know, he WON 4 Stanley Cup's with the Oiler's. But "notably" he's known as "The Great One".)

As for my Sunset "toast" ... SIPS are the only way to enjoy Avatar (Pinch).

Yellowrocks said...

in STEP and crossed my fingers. That did it.

I didn’t see the theme until I read Marti’s explanation. V8 can, please.

Marti's recipe for PEASE PORRIDGE sounds like a thicker version of split pea soup which I love, but my family doesn't eat.

I have hiked in the TACONIC range in Harriman State Park and knew of Mt. Greylock farther north. The Taconics are beautiful.

AIX les Bains sticks in my mind for some odd reason and helped with EXOILER.

Abejo, how said for you to lose your wife's cousin. My sympathy to you and your wife.

SHAD ROE always reminds me of Ella.
Link Waiter bring me shad roe

Yellowrocks said...

My first few lines were eliminated in my post. I enjoyed this witty puzzle. Marti's lively and informative post was super. I moved at a sprightly pace with a slight hangup in the SW. I forgot GSA and didn't know MT APO. Fiilling in STEP completed the puzzle for me.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

This was a fairly easy romp today. I confused the TACONIC range with the CATOCTIN range, where Camp David is located. Guess I didn't know there was such a range. Amana, yes, TACONIC, no.

Marti, thanks for explaining the theme, which I totally didn't get.

I had to WAG the M in ERMAS/UMP. I did not know that rotating umps fourth game business. Of course, the last time I went to a baseball game it was to see the Milwaukee Braves play in County Stadium with Earl Gillespie doing the play-by-play on the radio. I've heard rumors that they're no longer in Milwaukee.

Anonymous said...

Great puzzle tough Thursday as usual keep them coming

Mari said...

Lots of geography and animals today.

I didn't know PAP (tried BAH for Drivel). Never really knew what Op-Ed stood for - thanks!

Sol lead-in : AERO. D'Oh! I thought Mi Fa (do re me...)

I tried EX NHLER for Gretzky.

But these tricky clues are par for the course on Thursdays. Some great clues today included: 28-A Team-building Sessions: TRY OUTS and 21A Many a Surfer: AOLER.

Enjoy your day!

Mari said...

Abejo, Sorry about your loss. Last week we lost my DH's cousin. She was 43 and had 3 small children.

HeartRx said...

Mari and Abejo, I am so sorry to hear of these untimely losses. And both so young...

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Typical tough Thursday but finished w/o help or write-overs which is always a good way to start the day.

Liked the clues for USN, tryouts, and Taconic was a gimme as Mt. Greylock is close to where I live.

Thanks Mr. McI for a nice challenge and Marti, you outdid yourself with your very witty expo and repartee.

I am typing this on my laptop and the Comment Box is at the top of the page, whereas on my iPad, it is at the bottom. Strange?

Abejo and Marti, sincere condolences on your recent losses.

Have a great Thursday. Another scorcher here today.

HeartRx said...

Irish Miss, I believe you meant Mari in your next to last sentence.

On your laptop, the window is probably wider than it is on your iPad. You can make the window narrower on your laptop by clicking on the lower right corner and dragging the window into a narrower format. Then the comment box will appear at the bottom.

Lemonade714 said...

Happy summer all. Martin you are a true treat, thanks for this Thursday. JackMac you know I really enjoy your puzzles. Finding the clues where both words (or parts) will go with a third word must be very difficult. You really had some very fine new clues as well. I was particlularly impressed that this "PLAY" puzzle is on a Thursday; in French, the day is JEUDI, whioh means PLAY DAY!

Well sadly for me this is another WORK DAY

a bien tot

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

DNF. Couldn't get BOLYN, of all things. That's no way to get ahead.

Could not come up with GIRLTHING, though I do have a THING for GIRLS. PLAY GIRL? I forgot there was such a THING.

Wanted JACK for GELT, then misspelt it GELD.

Misread refinery "input" as "output" [WTH?!?] and entered OIL. That gummed things up.

Really dislike EXOILER; crossing AIX made a Natick. Ditto TACONIC - PACA.

Concert at 7:30 tonight in Kellogg Park, Plymouth, MI. Free, and a great time for all. Stop by if you're close.

Cool regards,

Ron Worden said...

Good morning to all and happy Thurs. What Tin said goes for me too. Especialy about The Great One. Great write-up Marti,thanks as always. So sorry for your losses Abejo and Mari. To Hahtoolah I thought insanity was hereditary, you get it from your Kids. Have a great day to all RJW.

Irish Miss said...

Marti: Sorry for the mix-up.

Mari: I was offering my condolences to you. Didn't proof carefully.

Anonymous said...

Good morning everyone.

Fun puzzle, but DNF because of ignorance and stupidity. When I saw the answers to some, I really wanted to smack my head. But I did get quite a few correctly. And didn't get the theme, which of course did me no good.

And to have ITSME of course sets me off on my school teachery rant.

Most enjoyable write up, HeartRX. Thank you. Enjoyed the snakes in the plane and many others in your clever way.

Sorry to hear of your losses, Abejo and Mari.

And break a let tonight, JazzB.


Yellowrocks said...

Although IT'S ME is technically incorrect in serious usage, IT'S ME is colloquial and informal. I would bet that more people say that as they walk in the door, than IT IS I. We use many informal and slang type words and phrases in x-words.

In the words of an old Gospel hymn:

It's me, it's me, oh Lord
Standing in the need of prayer;
It's me, it's me, oh Lord
Standing in the need of prayer.
Not my mother, not my father
But it's me, oh Lord
Standing in the need of prayer.

C.C. Burnikel said...

In fact, IT'S I is not allowed in LAT crossword. Rich said it's too contrived.

Misty said...

A real Thursday toughie but very rewarding--thanks, Jack--although, like Abejo, had trouble with TACONIC and PACA. I also never "got" the DOUBLE PLAY until Marti's write-up, so many thanks for that, and for the cute KOALA picture. A little cuteness is always nice at the start of a cloudy day.

Abejo and Mari, I too am sorry to hear your sad news. So young, and with children. Sad.

Have a good day, everybody.

Spitzboov said...

Good afternoon everyone. Good job Marti.

Lurched around a little on this one but evenually got all.
Abel TASMAN, a Dutch explorer, was a gimme. So, for me, was TACONIC, being a native of eastern NYS. I agree with MARTI about the BERKSHIRES, but geologically, I guess they're related. I thought AOLER was very week. I didn't fully get the theme before coming here. GELT is German and Yiddish for 'Moolah". Gelt is probably related to the German word for 'gold'. Liked clueing for SAT UP and KOALA.

Hotter than a f f fox in a forest fire here today.

Have a great day.

Lucina said...

WARM greetings Marti (113 today) and mes AMIs.

Lively expo, Marti; I appreciate the DATA and BACKGROUND you supply. Alas, this was a DNF for me with two Naticks, PAP/PACA and AIX/EXOILER. ALSO, TACONIC is completely unknown to me.

I blithely entered RATA because that is a rodent though of course PAR isn't drivel unless one is a golf hater I guess.

And we have seen AIX les-bains before but I just could not make it surface.

Altogether, though this was a fun romp from Jack Mac, thank you.

Loved seeing GIRL THING and lest we think we've seen the last of NEWT he is now on the stump for his former rival.

Abejo and Mari, I am so sorry for your losses. It's tragic to lose such young people.

Enjoy your Thursday, everyone and do stay cool!

Mari said...

JzB @ 10:13 am: The only folks I've ever known to read your "Girl Thing" have been men! If you know what I mean ;)

Bill G. said...

Fun puzzle. I couldn't figure out the theme even after I read the unifier. Thanks Marti for the explanation. Are T-bars used anymore or are they obsolete like CRTs? The first time I went skiing, I had a terrible time with the T-bar and fell off it halfway up.

You guys back east must be suffering in the heat today. I hope you all have AC.

Simple one: Patti can wax her car in two hours. Her friend takes three hours. If they work together, how long will it take?

Harder version: Paula the painter, with Humphrey as a helper, each paint at constant, but different, rates. They always start at 8:00 AM, and they always take the same amount of time to eat lunch. On Monday both of them together painted 50 percent of a house, quitting at 4:00 PM. On Tuesday, when Humphrey wasn't there, Paula painted only 24 percent of the house and quit at 2:12 PM. On Wednesday Humphrey worked by himself and finished the house by working until 7:12 P.M. How long, in minutes, was each day's lunch break?

Husker Gary said...

A beautiful day on the plains and a fun puzzle by Jack! I have two dicey letters and I will see what the lovely Marti has to say to see if I get a gold star.

-There are lies, damned lies and statistics (DATA).
-TRY OUTS can bring tragedy and triumph. I mostly shared my daughter’s joys but had tears on my shoulder once.
-paCa! Yay, I got the first mystery letter!
-An interesting OP ED piece this week had a man telling of his travels through Iran and how he found many people who loved and wanted to be like Americans
-Men I know seem to be more OVERT than the women I know. Is it just me?
-Dang! aiX/eXoiler got me! I had no shot on the French and thought of EN for Edmonton. Mon Dieu!
-Water by the LITER is more expensive than gasoline at Disney resorts.
-Sweet Home Tuskegee, where the skies are so blue.
-George agreed with girl friend that William Safire could be PEDANTIC, although he had no idea what it meant.
-My childhood had a whole different herd of IMPALAS
-You’re right Hahtoola, print news may go the route of the buggy whip!
-My condolences Mari and Abejo

PK said...

Fun puzzle and clever commentary!

Uh, Marti, I think OP-ED stands for opinions and editorials. At least, that's what it meant at the newspaper I edited.

When I saw TACO___ at 3D, I confidently put in "man", thinking there must be such a range near Tacoma, WA. Had PAP at first, but nothing fit there, so erased it. Finally, put nAmEs at 23A. Never heard of GELT or PACA.

I also wanted 62D Oil going to the refinery. Which gave auntie an odd name EiMAS which I thought might be Yiddish. Never heard a printer's proof called a REPRO-- maybe printout or just proof.

I had everything else, but didn't catch on to the theme until Marti said. Wondered why an UMP would wear a mask only one in four times. Thought maybe it was like Russian roulette--macho to go without part of the time.

Husker Gary said...


Only time for the easy one as I have a 2 pm commitment and need a shower after 31 holes today.

1/2 + 1/3 = 1/t
3/6 + 2/6 = 1/t
5/6 = 1/y
Cross multiply
5y = 6
Y = 5/6 hr
Y= (5/6)(60)
Y = 50 minutes

Bill G. said...

Gary, wouldn't y (or t) be 6/5 or an hour and 12 minutes?

The harder one was much harder for me to figure out.

Husker Gary said...

Dang! Yer right Bill. Divide by 5 on both sides not 6! Haste makes waste.

BTW, I shot 83 today. I can't beat Marti but I am improving.

Out the door!

Anonymous said...

31 Across clue: ... hopefully not a shaker


placematfan said...

DNF. Couldn’t nail the X in EXOILER; had ETOILER instead, thinking that some mutation of ETOILE (which I know from crosswords but can never remember what it means) must be what Wayne Gretzky is known for. But I should have been able to suss out AIX. So I’ll own that.

Jack McInturff is a big name in crosswords; TACONIC crossing PACA seems sloppy. I’m biased, because what could have been two Learning Moments ended up crossing each other at a Natick. But I’m not going to own that one.

What an awesome clue for UMP.

Reflecting upon one clue much longer than is healthy, I realize that, for me, a critter is an animal that’s bigger than a bug but smaller than a medium-sized dog; I don’t know when or why those parameters evolved, but they obviously did because I always get a little irked when an editor uses "critter" to clue something larger than a Beagle.

placematfan said...

Yellowrocks, this is one of those grammar issues I research in depth about once a year, but can never seem to readily recall what that research yielded. “Can I speak to so-and-so?”: Is the proper response “This is she” or “This is her”? I think it’s a linking-verb issue, but, of course, I can’t remember exactly what a linking verb is. . . . What I do remember, hopefully correctly, is that this is one of those topics on which strong authoritative sources disagree, so it ends up having a wave/particle duality about it. Kinda like how once upon a time Don’t End a Sentence With a Preposition was a Proper Grammar 101 rule; but nowadays someone who points out another’s ending a sentence that way is considered to be a PEDANT.

Hahtoolah, when you overtake Bartlett, please be sure to put today’s QOD on the first page of your book. Some things say it all. But shouldn’t the second “who” be “whom”?--Wait, never mind, don’t tell me; I’ll forget by next week.

Lucina said...

PK, I, too, thought OP ED meant Opinion and Editorials.

My mistake, tomorrow's forecast is for 113 degrees, today's is a mere 111!

Lucina said...

Actually, shouldn't that be "May I speak to so and so?" LOL

placematfan said...

Good call, Lucina.

HeartRx said...

PK @1:23, look online – you will find many sources (including Merriam-Webster’s, American Heritage and Cambridge) that all define it as “opposite the editorial” page I think we have had this discussion before at the corner – at least, that is how I remembered it.

Anonymous said...

Hahtoola/Husker G
Re:Op/Ed & Newspapers.
I'm still amazed that newspapers
gave away their products for FREE
on line, then wondered why the
circulation #s went in the tank.

CrossEyedDave said...

I looked at the theme every which way, except the way Marti explained it.

DNF via FIW (in 3 places)

I came to the Blog to complain that the Edmonton Oiler clue should be marked Abbr. if the answer is going to be Ed.Olier. (dang that French!)

32A S. American rodent, all i could think was Capybara, so Paca was a total WAG.

22D i had NDSON hoping it might mean "& so on." (21a surfer had me looking for MoonDoggie.)

Shad Roe? I thought you wanted a "brand name" , & Google only came up with Athena as a rescuer of Odysseus.

I never saw Pease Porridge, & Google images make it look like Pea Soup, However the cold version appears to have the consistency of peanut butter!

HeartRx said...

CED, Ino was her name as a mortal. When she died (leaping into the sea with her younger son, to escape the mad rage of her husband), the marine gods renamed her Leucothea. That is the goddess who saved Odysseus from Poseiden by carrying him on her buoyant veils.

So to say the Ino was a goddess is technically incorrect. But, I didn't want to be a PEDANT while doing the write-up, so I just gave a pithy answer...

Lemonade714 said...


It is I (She) are correct because the verb is linking, as you suggest. Linking verbs are words like "is," "was," "were," "appear," and "seem," which don't describe an action so much as describe a state of being. When pronouns follow these non-action verbs, you use the subject pronouns such as "I," "she," "he," "they," and "we." (Copied from various sources).

I too think Jack McInturff is a one of the classics, and the PACA crossing was borderline.

All porridge has that consistency, that is what makes it porridge.

Tinbeni said...

Bill G. asked the Question:
"Simple one: Patti can wax her car in two hours.
Her friend takes three hours. If they work together, how long will it take?"

OK, in what 'alien-world' is Patti waxing her car?
I think "if her friend" comes over, they say: "The hell with this car waxing. That's our guy's job.
Let's go to the mall."

Cheers !!!

Manac said...

Bill G.
my take on the simple one..

Five hours.
If I'm going to help wax someone's car, they sure as hell are going to help me
wax mine.

LiAne said...

Well, this Thursday one got me! Never heard of TACONIC, maybe TACOMIC in Washington state? That would make talk show complement CAMEO, but CAP didn't make sense for the perp. Shoulda thought of PAP! And just plain didn't know GELT.

Spitzboov said...

Bill G - Wax job. Working together takes 1 hour and 12 min.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. DNF today, for several reasons. I didn't know TACONIC, and our newspaper printed the clue for 27A as QuZbec sidekick, which I didn't know and guessed might be a comic book super hero character of some sort. Anyway ...

It always bugs me to see it as PEASE porridge rather than peas porridge (porridge made out of peas), but research shows it is "correct."

Wanted oil instead of ORE, which blocked me from finishing the bottom center.

I'm totally with PK about OP-ED (there was the editorial page and the opinions page), but I guess definitions and usage change over time.

And I, too, didn't get the theme at all. *shrug*

Best wishes to you all.

Yellowrocks said...

I have seen PACA frequently in LAT crosswords and others, but not very often elsewhere. At I found PACA under "Words that are high-frequency in crosswords but low-frequency in everyday use."

Anonymous said...

Amazing, Biil G. posts the answer at 1:32 and Spitzboov figures it out by 4:07.

PK said...

Well, live and learn about OP-ED. I googled this and see that the origins were about giving a page in opposition to the editorials, Marti.

However, in today's practice, most newspapers put both on one page because they don't want to devote two pages to it. 20 years ago I had a little tiff with my publisher when I used two pages to air public reaction to a controversy. He objected to the added expense.

The daily I read just puts OPINION at the top of one page on which there is usually a sub-section titled EDITORIAL. We labeled our page OPINION-EDITORIAL and included letters to the editor, etc.

I guess it's a matter of colloquial usage or dictionary definition. In my OPINION, we're both right, Marti.

Marge said...

Hi all,

Had some problems with the puzzle, only got about half.

I couldn't believe I didn't get impala-our car is an Impala.

Never heard of gelt,didn't know umps rotated. My DH did.

Desper-Otto- that was a long time ago. I have never forgiven the Braves for moving to Atlanta. I have to be a Brewer fan now. I wish they could get in to a winning streak like they did last year.

Good evening all!

PS-Thanks Jack and Marti for a
fun puzzle and write up.

Lemonade714 said...

Online newspapers generate income two ways for publishers; from ad revenue and from 'clicks' which is a part of the internet which had made Google and Facebook founders very rich. Don't understand, and really do not care to, but it is not giving the paper away for free. Nothing is free.

ARBAON said...

Snarky anon @ 4:30. There`s an old saying: "Hurting people hurt people."

Avg Joe said...

My thinking is that if it's a Brazilian wax it'll take all day.

placematfan said...

Lemon, my take is that this an example of the English language being an organism that is going to do what it wants and isn't always going to play within the parameters we set up for it, kind of like Jurassic Park dinosaurs.

It seems predictable that in the near future "This is she" will sound more pedantic than it does today; twenty, thirty years ago it sounded smart; eventually it will fall under the umbrella of hypercorrection, if it hasn't already.

Grammar Girl's summary opinion:

[open quote]In her aptly titled book "Woe Is I," Patricia O'Connor notes that almost everyone says, “It is me,” and that the “It is I” construction is almost extinct.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage says that it’s a style choice, and that “It is I” is a formal style and “It is me” is a more casual style. In fact, most people who write about language agree that unless you're answering the phone for the English department at the University of Chicago or responding to a Supreme Court judge, “That's me” is an acceptable answer.[end quote]

Btw, the "Woe is me" discussion at the bottom of the Grammar Girl page--it's things like that that made me quit trying to get down all the rules of grammar, syntax, and punctuation. Most of my attempts to master the English language (to that extent) ended up preempting my enjoyment of it.

Manac said...

Avg Joe

All day???


Argyle said...

This is epic: I started with the Aix-les-Bains link, and using Google street view I'm now on Route des Tours Saint-Jacques, Allèves, Rhone-Alpes, France. Link.

fermatprime said...


Thanks for interesting puzzle, Jack, and swell discourse, Marti!

PACA surfaced from the recesses, avoiding Natick at the C. Yippee for the ta-da! No cheats. As I recall, we had a similar type of theme recently. At any rate, sussed it out after the fact. (Sure did not help before hand.)

Bill G: 48 minutes, I hope. (It is very difficult for me to write. Should have used MathType before Excel. Note: much clearer to use 12 minute intervals for measurement of time. Sure do miss Mathematica, but cannot afford it, as school no longer provides.)

Had my interview for a reverse mortgage yesterday. Passed it, fortunately. Still looking into this. Meanwhile have signed about a zillion papers for a conventional mortgage so that construction workers can get their massive amount of money from the termite debacle.

Am waiting for life to start getting better!


Bill G. said...

Fermatprime; yes, 48 minutes. I wonder if you got through the algebra in the same way that I did?

I thought the "Woe is I" discussion at the bottom of the Grammar Girl page was interesting. I know I can't get all of that stuff correct all the time but I enjoy reading about the ins and outs of our language, and making the effort to write, speak and spell correctly.

Yellowrocks said...

placematfan. Thank you for an interesting post. I have long maintained that English is a constantly evolving language. The grammar rules and vocabulary we learned in high school and college 40 or 50years ago are changing. Popular usage eventually sets the new standard. That is why we no longer speak and write Elizabethan English.

I have read that publishers and educators are the last hold-outs to these changes. I can understand why publisher's look for a consistent paradigm so that they do not have a hodge podge. But, eventually even they have to acknowledge that English changes. I am not sure why educators are so resistant to change. I think the changes keep the language fresh and expressive.

Blue Iris said...

Totally didn't get theme. Did not know multiple fills...TATONIC, PACA, AIX, INO, SHADROE, etc. even had trouble with ERMAS (Erma Bombeck...duh).

Marti, thanks for link on pease porridge. When I was a kid we said please porridge because that concept did not fit into our universe.

Our local zoo had a KOALA on loan. They sleep 18 hours a day so no one ever saw it move. Only stirred when zoo was closed at night. They only eat fresh eucalyptus leaves, so had them flown in daily. Although, he sure was cute!

I plan to discontinue the daily paper when my husband retires and read online. Probably about that time they will start charging for app.

Late again, have a good evening.

Blue Iris said...


Bill G. said...

The best juggler you've never heard of. Funniest too.

I see where the LA Times wants me to pay for articles I read online. I guess I will do so but it is hard to gracefully accept paying for something that you had always gotten for free.

Bill G. said...

Whoops! Now I just came across the funniest ventriloquist I'd never heard of. Enjoy!

PK said...

Can't you hear that juggler's mama saying, "Put those balls away and practice the piano like everyone else. You'll never make anything of yourself."

Anonymous said...

The easy way to remember any of these grammar puzzles is to turn them around and make it an IT sentence. You wouldn't (I hope) say,"Me is it." Or "Her is it." Or "Them are it."

And I believe there never was a rule about ending a sentence with a preposition. It is said that Winston Churchill said, "That is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put."

What fun to talk about grammar. I wonder if it is even taught any more, along with spelling, punctuation, or cursive writing.

Lucina said...

Bill G:
Those videos are hilarious! Thank you for posting them.

Speaking for myself only, as to why educators are so reluctant to embrace changes in grammar and usage I can only say that after decades of teaching the rules of grammar (55 years in my case) they are deeply ingrained into the psyche; so much so as to make flexibility almost impossible.

Interestingly, though, in my personal every day speech I adapt to the current changes. it is in writing that I adhere more strictly to the rules.

There is a new philosophy among some teachers of allowing students complete freedom of usage, especially in their writing. From what I have seen of it, I believe it does not bode well for the language which I believe should facilitate communication not impede it.

James said...

Interestingly, SEPTA is also the transit in Philly.
South East Pennsylvania Transit Authority.

Just throwing that out there.

Argyle said...

James, you were stuck in the spam filter for a bit.

We haven't had that happen for awhile. I hope it's not starting up again.

Anonymous said...

amen brother

fermatprime said...

Lucina: You have been teaching rules of grammar since you were in kindergarten?