Jan 24, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014, Daniel Nierenberg

THEME: From GEEK to CHIC, climb on our word ladder

In the never ending world of Friday puzzles looking for new ways to bamboozle and entertain the solvers, two items from the games page, Crossword Puzzles and Word Ladders, are combined. The Miami Herald runs a word ladder daily, which if you are unfamiliar is a series of words where you go  from word A (the first word) to word Z (the last word) by changing only one letter in each successive word. TEN to PIN would be ten-tin-pin. In this instance we also get a reveal of sorts, commenting on the joy of going from Geek to Chic. Obviously lots depends on the perps since there are no independent clues for the ladder words, though once you get a couple, you know you have a very limited choice for the next step. Some Friday difficulty, but since the theme words are only only four letters long there is  room for some fun fill like GLUTEUS in addition to toughies like OCELLI,  so lets climb down the ladder and see what Daniel used for the remaining fill.

1A. Start of a word ladder : GEEK. (4).
5A. Word ladder, part 2 :       PEEK. (4).
9A. Word ladder, part 3 :         PEEN. (4).
22A. Word ladder, part 4 :         TEEN. (4).
52A. Word ladder, part 5 :           THEN. (4).
64A. Word ladder, part 6 :              THIN. (4).
65A. Word ladder, part 7 :                CHIN. (4).
66A. End of the word ladder :             CHIC. (4).

37A. "West Side Story" song, or a hoped-for response after experiencing the transition in this puzzle's word ladder : I FEEL PRETTY. (11).  CLASSIC. (3:43).


13. Muscat native : OMANI.  This very common fill saved me from the initial frustration of knowing nothing.

15. Rough words : OR SO. Rough as in estimate.

16. "A Death in the Family" author : AGEE. James Agee is a regular answer, and if you are interested, he did a lot in a short life. LINK.

17. Tech giant : GATES. Interesting, as initially trying for a company name not Bill from Microsoft.

18. Alienated : ESTRANGED. Women left at the altar, or left after marriage used to sue their fiances' (husbands') new love interest for Alienation of Affection. The law still exists in 7 or 8 states.

20. Parts of wedding scenes : AISLES. Perfect juxtaposition for our cheating husband.

23. Buttocks muscle : GLUTEUS. There are actually FOUR, not just our friend Maximus.

25. Clothing : RAIMENT. Related to the concept of ARRAY. A nice old word.

30. Deadly biter : ASP. Cleopatra anyone?

31. Bites playfully : NIPS. The lesson, do not play with an asp.

33. Touch-y service company? : MIDAS.

34. It might be twisted : ANKLE. A very common problem in the NBA where the giant people are forever landing on each other's feet.

36. "!" on a road sign : DANGER. Hmm...

39. Positive particle : PROTON.

41. Advertising target : SALES. Target/ Goal?

42. Like some cereals : OATEN.

43. Filter : SIFT. Sometime, you have to let your brain sift through many choices before entering fill.

44. Political initials since 1884 : GOP. I think the initials have been used since 1874, though the Republican Party itself began in 1854. LINK.

47. Tut, e.g. : PHARAOH.  Most memorable TUT (2:39)?

49. Pudding starch : TAPIOCA. So confusing...

54. Picnic downer : SHOWER. The rains fall down? A pun?

55. Get-together request : CAN WE MEET?

60. Blue dyes : ANILS.

61. Word of dismissal : SHOO. Kitty, kitty.

62. "__ kidding?" : IS HE.

63. Part of an address, maybe : TITLE. What do you say to a Duke? LINK.


1. Be extremely excited : GO GAGA. While this was a perfectly fine clue/fill, the absence of any crossing words, made starting out very tricky. Great set of letters, like COO COO for Cocoa Puffs.

2. Modern messages : EMAILS. Is it one word, or E-Mail?

3. Devours : EATS UP. Do not parse E-atsup.

4. Showed reverence, in a way : KNELT. Just before you are knighted by the King, his majesty.

5. "The Gold-Bug" author : POE. Not my favorite of his short stories, but he won a $100.00 prize for it, which was probably the most he earned for any writing in his lifetime.

6. Once, old-style : ERST. Another old word.

7. Fragrant compounds : ESTERS.

8. North or South follower : KOREA. With all the North/South combos, this is the only 5 letter one I could think of.

9. God of shepherds : PAN. There was a wonderful movie called PAN's LABYRINTH.(1:04), sorry about the 15 second ad.

10. Whisking target : EGG. That clue should stir things up around here. No beating around the bush.

11. Broad size : EEE. None of the broads I know are triple Es.

12. "The Simpsons" character who says "Okily-dokily!" : NED. For all the non-Simpson should last 7 seconds

14. "Got it!" : I SEE.

19. Bring to life : ANIMATE. Just like Ned Flanders; I see, it all fits together and makes sense.

21. Submerged : SUNKEN.

24. Cat's perch, perhaps : SILL. I will let CED do his cat magic for cat's on sills, though my challenge will be to find a video of a feline with Beverly Sills.

26. Diner freebies : MINTS. When I was a baby in the crib, my parents said they would give me the mints the restaurants gave out, and I would just fall asleep holding them in my hand.

27. Anxious : EDGY. The sugar rush never made me edgy.

28. Glaswegian's negative : NAE. One from Glasgow is a Glaswegian for the same logical (?) reason someone from Norway is a Norwegian.

29. Original Dungeons & Dragons co. : TSR. Interesting I heard on the radio that this is the 40th anniversary of D&D which was created by people who called themselves TACTICAL STUDIES RULES. The first of the modern complicated role playing games, left in the dust by WOW and Magic the Gathering.

32. Brand originally named Brad's Drink : PEPSI. Oddly, I recently linked this piece of bubbly history.

34. "__ you" : AFTER. A part of vaudeville and silent movie HISTORY. (1:11).

35. One just born : NEONATE.

36. Change symbols, in math : DELTAS. If I were on Who Wants to be a Millionaire I would use Fermat as my lifeline, and have Bill G. ready. In the meantime LINK.

37. Wee bit : IOTA. Another Greek letter doing double duty.

38. It may be inflatable : RAFT. So was George's ego, I heard.

39. Father : POP. My youngest is currently calling me Pop or Pops.

40. Cheerleader's shout : RAH. Rah ree, kick'em in the knee. Rah rah rass, kick'em in the other knee.

43. "Holy cow!" : SHEESH.  They say this is a euphemism progression from Jesus. LINK. I wonder about the Lebanese, Sheesha, or shish.

44. Accompany : GO WITH. Will you accompany me to the senior prom?

45. Spots on a peacock train : OCELLI. From the Latin, diminutive of OCULUS, an eye, because they look like little eyes.

46. Astronomical distance : PARSEC. Another area where I have little KNOWLEDGE. Followed immediately by....

48. Resistance-related : OHMIC. OHM (symbolized by the Greek Omega!) is a measure of resistance named after Georg Ohm.

50. Slangy "Superb!" : PHAT. You can learn about BACKRONYMS.

51. Corinthian cousin : IONIC. Doric being his brother?

53. 90-year-old soft drink : NEHI. Go Radar.

55. Missouri hrs. : CST. Central Standard Time, and the official time of the Corner.

56. Sound at a spa : AHH.

57. "There's __ in 'team'" : NO I. Nor an O or U...

58. Prevailed : WON.  (almost looks like wonton, wonten and of course then to the wanton).

59. Sign of perfection : TEN. still classic?

Well with Bo in your view, running toward you, I am going away for another week. I do not recall if we have ever had a ladder puzzle in the LAT, though they appear in the NYT often. It looks like Daniel was busy as this was his second LAT barely 2 weeks after his maiden. Look forward to hearing the response from all; I wish you all a wonderful final week end in January 2014.  Lemonade out.


OwenKL said...

I Feel Pretty Sharp

Oh, I started out in school to be a GEEK,
But no girl would at me even give a PEEK.
In shop I couldn't tell a hammer from a PEEN.
In short I was a most disgraceful TEEN.
!-- But THEN --!
I grew some muscles where I once was THIN!
I grew a mustache and a hairy CHIN!
Now pretty girls dance with me cheek to cheek,
Because it's only jocks who can be considered CHIC!

(For those who think that final line I mispronounce,
Here's an alternate I hope will hold you for the nonce
So now I am a magnet for every winsome chick,
That, my friend's, the story of how I became so CHIC!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Gee, a puzzle where eight answers have no useful clues whatsoever and we have OHMIC as a bonus. What's not to love? Well, that, I suppose.

Did manage to finish unassisted, but it wasn't an enjoyable experience for me. I hope others had more fun.

HeartRx said...

Good morning everyone!

So, how do you make a word ladder that goes from PHAT to flat? Because that's how this one left me. I'm not a big fan of this type of puzzle, but it was well done and I'm sure others enjoyed it immensely.

So it's a good thing I had your write-up to enjoy, Lemony! Thanks for all the info and links. (I couldn't get the NED one to work, though.) I had never seen Steve Martin do TUT - hilarious!

It is so cold here that I spilled coffee on the step and all I had to do was lean down and pick it up because it immediately turned into a chunk of ice…and they say it's going to be like this for a while???? Ugh!

OwenKL said...

After yesterday's disaster, this one went very smoothly. True, I did it in red-letter mode from the start, which saved me from Intel instead of GATES, cuss or oath instead of OR SO, Coke instead of NEHI, and eye something instead of OCELLI (an unknown word to me), but I'm sure perps would have cleared those for me anyway.


I don't understand why both our PKs are being so adamant (dare I say pig-headed?) about either going blue or using a different sign-in. As for going blue, it's not necessary to actually write a blog. Heck, you don't need to reveal ANYTHING! Give a phony name and everything else, use an email address from, and don't use the account for anything except to sign on here! I like the comments you BOTH make, but unlike others, I can't tell which is which. If you're not willing to go blue, then change your handle: PK1 for our established PK, and PK2 for our newcomer.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Not WBS, for a change. This one went along pretty smoothly, even seeming a tad easy for a Friday. Subsea preceded Sunken, but it was close enough. Working out the ladder puzzle helped up north, where I didn't know who wrote The Gold-Bug or the meaning of Erst. Ocelli came from some less-travelled cranial fold.

I expect there will be some dissatisfaction over Ohmic, which is more familiar to me as Ohmic heating, aka resistive heating. It's the property of a conductor that makes it possible for a toaster to toast.

This Arctic blast stuff is getting old. I'm ready for Spring.

TTP said...

I had no idea what a word ladder was and thought I would be at a disadvantage in trying to solve this gem. Thanks Daniel. I liked it. My failure was at the intersection of ANILS and OCELLI. Didn't care very much for OHMIC.

Thanks for the writeup Lemonade. I wanted INTEL for Tech giant. First though was sphincter for buttocks muscle. Then Gluteus (maximus).

North or South with five letters ? Texas. Along with Central, East and West. 5 distinct biomes in one state. "It's like a whole other country." I miss it. Think I'll buy a winter house and move back, and then bug Desper-otto and Anon - T.

Another long work day ahead.

See y'all later !

MaryLou Guizzo said...

Fun puzzle Daniel Nierenberg! Count me among those who enjoyed.

Hope everyone is staying warm!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

My newspaper was wrapped in ice-covered plastic this morning. I had to defrost it before I could open it. Ugh!

I thought this one was pretty easy for a Friday -- I solved it in normal Tuesday time. Except for OCELLI, all the words were in my wheelhouse today.

In my ute I liked to build electronic kits -- stereo amps, tuners, digital clocks (remember nixie tubes?), etc. I kept my trusty ohmmeter at my side -- when you're color-blind those little colored bands on the resistors are impossible to read.

Al Cyone said...

This turned out to be fun but it could have been ugly (i.e. DNF). The word-ladder turned out to be easy if you got it but could have been a deal-breaker if you didn't.

I first thought OHMIC but immediately dismissed it. Go figure.

My last roadblock was OCELLI (I was at first guessing OCU as the beginning). ANILS must have come from wherever in my brain I round up the usual subjects. And I had PHAB (?) before PHAT so TITLE came late.


1° at sunrise here in the beautiful mid-Hudson valley. At least, thanks to Dan Fahrenheit, it's above zero.

D said...

I get the Word Ladder thing.....but how do those letter changes result to a hoped-for response "I Feel Pretty"

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Daniel Nierenberg, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Lemonade, for a fine review.

Well, this one was different. Had no idea what a word ladder was or is. The only thing that saved me was that the puzzle was much easier than a normal Friday. After a while and after I FEEL PRETTY appeared, I figured out what was up. The eight-word commonalities helped a lot.

My tough spot was the SE. I wound up with everything filled in, except I had PHAB instead of PHAT. BITLE meant nothing to me. I started changing letters and PHAT worked. That was it. Nice thing about the IPad is that it tells you when you are correct with the whole puzzle.

I had OHMAL at first, but fixed that to OHMIC with SHEESH and CHIN. I worked with ohms all my life and Ohm's Law was my bible. Important when you are working on a 10,000 amp power board. Or setting battery cells that weighed 1500 pounds each, at 2.17 volts per cell. Enough of that. Pure nostalgia for me.

Anyhow, I am off. Thank you folks for your kind wishes yesterday for my mother. She improved daily.

See you tomorrow.


(116 2583995)

Mari said...

Good morning everybody, and happy Friday!

I took one look at the clues today and thought, "SHEESH!" I knew this was going to be tough. I don't like the clues that reference or build off each other. However, I was able to finish this with minimal write overs.

I had GARMENT for RAIMENT and believe it or not I had SHAZAM for SHEESH.

I liked the clue for 33A: Touchy-service company? Midas. But not until I figured it out. Before then it was driving me absolutely insane. I was thinking more "touchy, feely" company.

Well I'm off to work. I hope you have a safe and warm day. I am so glad that this will be the last weekend in January 2014. Good riddance!

Mari said...

Wow - how did I post twice? SHEESH! Sorry about that folks.

HeartRX and Desper-Otto - I like your icy morning stories. Picking up the frozen coffeecycle sounds about right for Chicago too.

thehondohurricane said...

Good morning everyone,

I won't even mention what my thoughts were after looking at the initial three clues, but I decided to go forth even though I had no idea what a word ladder was. After two cups of Hi-Test, plenty of cursing, some wags and a lot of eraser, I met with success.

Some wags were NED, PAN, NEONATE, & OCELLI. OHMIC I remembered from my aerospace days when some engineer friends would try to keep me educated about terminology & the latest technologies.

Can't say I did not like the puzzle, but it never felt comfortable because of not knowing what a word ladder was until reading Lemon's write up. Maybe the puzzle was the cause for the pain that has developed in my GLUTEUS!

Wouldn't be surprised if a bunch of DNF's are on the horizon to balance the books.



A fun puzzle and sort of easy peasy for a Thurs.
I always enjoy learning a new word, like OCELLI.
Thought it might have something to do with O-CELLO Sponge Mops.

Stay Warm
Just 54 days and 9 hours till spring ... yikes !

kazie said...

DNF. Learning moment: word ladders, of which I had no idea or knowledge.
I never completed PEEK, KOREA, ORSO, THEN, PHAT,TITLE, AHH (I had AAH), SHOO, IS HE, CHIN, CHIC, SHEESH. I've never heard phat or sheesh used in my circle of reference either. I didn't notice the clue for NEHI, or perhaps it would have appeared, but all I had there was the E.

Lately I am worried because I even have trouble coming up with common and familiar words or names that I know I know, such as TAPIOCA today. I kept thinking tabouli, which I knew wasn't what I wanted, but until I got the "I" and "C" it wouldn't come. Not something I have in my kitchen.

I wish you all a great weekend. After this dismal effort, I'm retreating back to the newsletter I'm working on!

LaLaLinda said...

Hi Everyone ~~

I like word ladders so I really enjoyed this puzzle. I had fun with the progression and thought the I FEEL PRETTY unifier was clever.

Things went pretty smoothly until RAIMENT. As perps began to fill it, I remembered seeing it before. OCELLI, however, was a complete unknown. I can never remember TSR either and I know that's been in puzzles we've had.

Since I also needed perps for PARSEC the SE corner was my toughest. I'm not sure I would have spelled PHARAOH correctly if not for the NEONATE crossing. Hmm ... I said it went smoothly ~ after all that, it wouldn't seem so!

Of course I thought of Jayce with SHEESH.

I can't ever SHOO a kitty. =^..^=

Yellowrocks said...

I LOVE word ladders. It is fun to compose your own ladders, too. Going from being considered a GEEK to being considered CHIC would make a girl FEEL PRETTY. Clever!
I liked your blog, Lemony, especially the links for PHARAOH (hilarious)and PHAT. PHAT is common in ads here. It was first used around here by blacks and then by many other young people.
The NW was easily filled. After the gimmes, EMAIL, OMANI, GLUTEUS, and ASP the others perped right in.
The change a letter progression really helped.
Great puzzle, Wednesday easy and great blog.

Big Easy said...

I finished the puzzle not having a clue about word ladders while watching Nadal play Federer in Australia. Since I work it on paper, I didn't know if I had it correct until I checked this blog. I initially had GARMENT for RAIMENT, complete unknown. TSR, SHEESH, OCELLI. I FEEL PRETTY was easy but I had no idea how it related to the 'ladder'. It was sheer luck that I did it correctly.

Bumppo said...

I'm not "politically correct" myself, but aren't some offended by the appearance of religious slurs in crossword puzzles? E.g., SHEESH: It's an expletive for Jesus. Ditto with GEE (and perhaps GEE WHIZ would be even worse).

Lemonade714 said...

D. The best way I can explain the unifier, I Feel Pretty, is by this LINK to a classic geeky girl becomes chic, but with a twist.

Are euphemisms slurs? Is SHEESH actually an attempt at respect to not say JESUS in vain?

Mari the double post happens to all of us

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

I FEEL PRETTY good after completing this opus. From GEEK to CHIC. Not too shabby. Normally abhor word ladders, but I let this one help; knowing that three letters would be the same at adjacent ladder steps. Only wite-out was was that I had sofa before SILL. Don't recall having seen RAIMENT before in a puzzle. A re-learning. Overall a well crafted challenge; Daniel left just enough 'crumbs' along the way to lead me to completion.

4º today. Sure glad we have Nat. Gas instead of propane.

Have a great day.

buckeye bob said...

@ Spitzboov --

I watched an old N.C.I.S. re-run the other day and that made me wonder:

Why is a surface vessel called a "ship" while a submarine is called a "boat"?

David R said...

It is interesting to see how easy an editor will make the remaining fill when you have an unknown that needs to be filled in. This is primarily an editor's decision since fill can be toughened up in the cluing arena.

For this one the unknown, if you knew what a word ladder was, wasn't all that unknown and could be deduced in most cases. That combined with the easy cluing/fill made it a smooth fill with very little resistance.

Husker Gary said...

Like our NE friends, I got “snowed-in” in the same locale. I thought the word ladder would maintain a theme but GEEK to CHIC was the only part of that. Don’t over think it Gary!

-POE and AGEE had to be because they are so crosswordy but not EOS today
-Rough words were not SASS, there was not Whisking of a MOT
-Cleo’s ASP (nor her GLUTEUS;-)) gets no mention in the History Channel’s Rome series
-One bad ANKLE on a 19 year old QB can change the fortune of 100,000 people in a stadium
-Advertising for SALES on daytime TV – Viagra, Depends, Walk-in tubs, Canes, Reverse mortgages, Enbrel, Aleve, Probiotics, Life Alert… anyone see a theme?
-It’s hard to believe PHAROAHS, Emperors, etc were once thought of as Gods
-I’ve never felt the need to have KNELT before anyone or anything
-Like the Emperors of Rome, Kim Jung Un can only be safe as long as he keeps his army contented
-Stupidity of my ute, “I SEE said the blind man to his deaf wife”
-My dad always had a pocketful of these MINTS
-My kids calculated a lotta Δ’s in my physics lab
-George RAFT turned down the lead in The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and High Sierra. Gee, I wonder who built a career on his bad decisions. ;-)
-What TV second banana frequently said to the temperamental lead, “SHEESH, what a grouch!”

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I just lost my post; I've been having trouble with the site, but it could be my iPad acting up.

Anyway, my post was brief. This type of puzzle is not my cup of tea. I agree with Barry so let's leave it at that. (Maybe the Arctic temps are making me grumpy!)

Nice, lucid expo, Lemony.

Stay warm and safe.

Spitzboov said...

Buckeye Bob @ 0929 - From Wiki:

" The noun submarine evolved as a shortened form of submarine boat (and is often further shortened to sub).[1] For reasons of naval tradition, submarines are usually referred to as "boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size."

BTW - I try to call them 'ships', but if talking to a submariner, I would try to follow his/her lead in reference to them.

buckeye bob said...

Thanks, Spitz!

Tinbeni said...

Thumper's opinion (0.11)

No booze either ...
So, I totally agree!

kjinkc said...

Unlike seemingly several others today, I actually liked this puzzle and felt it was easy for a Friday.

Owen - enjoyed the I Team link.

Lemon - very good links today and especially enjoyed 'Tut'; been years since I've seen that clip and it's still hilarious. Overall, a superb writeup today. Thanks!

desper-otto said...

Husker, that would have been Ed Norton, the sewer guy, referring to Ralph Kramden, the bus driver.

buckeye bob said...

Thank you for the challenge, Daniel. Thank you for the excellent and review, Lemonade!

I misunderstood what a word ladder is, which held me up a long time. I thought the last letter of a word was the first letter of the next word. I tried that and got nowhere. That must be something else I was thinking of.

After some perps helped some of the word ladder appear, I realized I was thinking wrong and re-looked at the ladder clues and partial answers. After I got a few more with perp help, I saw what was going on.

I finished in about normal Friday time, but no ta-da! That’s getting to be a trend, Bob! I turned on red letter help and had 3 wrong letters. I had carelessly misspelled ESTRANGED as ASTRANGED and didn’t notice it. When I fixed that, POE appeared and made way more sense than POA. I fixed the other 2 red letters and ta-da!

So I learned what a word ladder is and I think I like it as a stand-alone, but not in a crossword puzzle. The clues were vague and not helpful. There seems to be a lot of negative feedback today. I hope Rich is “listening”.

I did not understand how to relate the theme answers to the reveal until I read Lemonade’s expo. I was trying to look at all the theme answers instead of just seeing the transition from GEEK to CHIC. Doh!

Al Cyone said...

Bumppo@8:57: "aren't some offended by the appearance of religious slurs in crossword puzzles?"

People who are offended by the appearance of words should probably avoid crossword puzzles. In any case as Lemondade714 noted, euphemisms are a way to not offend. As when one hits his thumb with a hammer and cries, "Shoot!".

Lucina said...

Good day, Word Worriers! No, that is not a misspelling.

Superb commentary Lemonade. I'm so glad you explained OCELLI because that was almost my downfall. And great fun from Daniel Nierenberg; thank you both.

Had any of you been in my fourth grade class you would have experienced a word ladder at least once a week to build vocabulary!

I loved this puzzle and the ladder itself was easy to suss which helped with some unknowns,especially NED.

PHARAOH's tricky spelling was aided by the crossing of NEONATE as someone already mentioned.

Well, Tin, we have PEPSI and NEHI but I know that's not strong enough for you. Maybe as mixers?

I like to make desserts using TAPIOCA.

Have a fantastic Friday, everyone and stay warm you in the frozen reaches of the land!

Crabtree said...

My opinion of Richard Sherman's(of the Seattle Seahawks) rant is different from everyone here on the blog.

I think Erin Andrews caught him while his adrenaline levels were still extremely high and coursing through his body. Thus was extremely excited and GOing GAGA. I feel his calmer explanations were accurate and the on-the-field game sound, sinced released, show he is not the villain many made him out to be.

Now Fox has released a cute video reenactment of the incident.

I'm looking forward to the competition between Richard and Peyton.

Avg Joe said...

Put me in the whelmed camp for this one. Quite a bit to like in the way of "other" fill and the ladder answers were easy enough to figure out once you understood the game. But it seems a bit too-too overall.

Spitz, we're on propane. Our supplier slipped in on either Tue or Wed and dropped off around 100 gallons bringing our tank to 52% full. I wondered why it was so little until I read the paper this morning. That will get us through the coldest part of winter, but I sure hope it drops back to reasonable levels quickly. If not, I can see a ground-water heat pump in our not too distant future.

Lemonade714 said...

Should we excise the extraneous Richard Sherman comment?

My feeling about the word ladder inside a CW Puzzle, is similar to the old Thursday Quote Puzzles. In each case large parts of the puzzle are unclued answers that are totally referential. I think the real challenge of creation is to make the words that are next to each and on top etc. be interesting. As far as dissatisfaction, this puzzle has generated only mild negativity, so....

Point of order said...

Couldn't the 2nd & 3rd words of the word-ladder been SEEK & SEEN?
(if the down clues had been changed?)

Crabtree, nice critique of the puzzle.
BTW, I don't think "everyone here on the blog" has the same opinion about the rant.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

High marks for execution today, and the transition from GEEK to CHIC, coupled with I FEEL PRETTY is brilliant.

That said, though, I think the word ladder is a flawed theme concept. Having 8 essentially unclued theme entries illustrates the point.

Lots of great fill, and no real clunkers, though OHMIC is a bit of a head shaker.

So - very mixed feelings on this one.

Bummpo - that is really trying to hard to contrive a problem where none exists.

Ten deg. here, and more snow on the way over the weekend.

Royals @ Tigers, March [!] 31, 1:05 pm, only 66 days away.

Cool Regards!

Crabtree said...


Yep, and if you changed 3d to EATS US, then 30a would be ASS.

What's your point.(See what I did there?)

Another cute NFL video just for poo.

Tinbeni said...

Lemon @11:24 said ...
"As far as dissatisfaction, this puzzle has generated only mild negativity."

What part of "No booze either ..." in my comment @10:03 don't you understand?

"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere!"

Misty said...

I got a Friday puzzle--hurray! Thanks a million, Dan! My heart sank too when I saw it start with a bunch of WORD LADDERs (whatever they are, I thought). But as soon as I got GEEK and PEEK I remembered that I've done these before someplace and had the principle. That made the whole puzzle easier. I even got the reveal and related it to CHIC, although I didn't see the transition from GEEK (me, I'm afraid) to CHIC (not me, I'm afraid) until Lemonade's expo. Anyway, I thought this was a lot of fun for a Friday!

Fun poems, Owen.

PHAT was Greek to me. I guess I'm just not hanging around kids enough these days.

Rita Mareno, who sang I FEEL PRETTY (I think) has won an award and been in the news lately. Looks and sounds terrific for her age.

NEHI always reminds me of Radar O'Reilly on "MASH." It was his favorite soft drink.

Great photo of TEN, Lemonade.

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

Lucina said...

Point of order@11:24:
The whole idea of a word ladder is it's relative difficulty in achieving a totally unrelated word at the end.

fermatprime said...


Thanks Daniel and Lemonade! (Thanks for shoutout! I would hope that I could live up to it. Nice to have a calculus clue/answer in the puzzle.)

Did not know what a word ladder was (perhaps knew at one time!), but caught the idea, eventually. Now I shall have to look for some ladder puzzles to do too! No cheats, but took awhile to get rid of one stupid mistake. OHMIC is new word for me, but it was pretty obvious.

OB/GYN sent me to an internist down the hall who decided that my pain was muscular (not dreaded ovarian cancer). (I am a hypochondriac, but one with real problems. Kind of like being paranoid, but…)


john28man said...

I think this is the first time I have finished a Thursday puzzle without help. I did have some bad moments because I wanted rainment instead of RAIMENT and I guess I didn't know what a word tree was and when I the EE in the first and second I put in EE in for the rest until I got to NOI.

All in all I am neutral about the how much fun this one was.

john28man said...

Yes I know its Friday.

CrossEyedDave said...

DNF because I could not let go of Shazam for Sheesh.


You want a pic of Beverly Sills with a cat??


Well, 1st things 1st... Cat on a windowsill.

Try as I might, I cannot find a a video of Beverly Sills with a cat!

I found a cat that sings like Beverly Sills.

I found a cat named Beverly Sills

But this is the closest I came to finding Beverly Sills with anything even remotely resembling a cat...

CrossEyedDave said...

Oh, I also had to watch 26 minutes & 29 seconds of Beverly Sills with animals.


Thanks a lot Lemon!

Lemonade714 said...

Well CED you are the Corner magician, so....thank you. Cats were/are not big on the Muppet Show. They are clearly dog people.

Anonymous said...

What crossword level would a person be on who solved this one without looking anything up, while sitting on the porch in 25 degree weather (very high distraction index) :)?

CanadianEh! said...

SHEESH! The server went down just as I was posting (@2:20)! Now I have to rewrite everything.

Good afternoon from frosty Canada (-12C or 10F here but windy and we have blizzard warnings for tonight). Spring can’t come soon enough this year.

I was able to figure out what word ladders meant and thus get some traction. SE corner was last to fall because I didn’t know OCELLI but perps helped out.

Hand up to OHMAL before OHMIC, but I was sure about the OHM part because I learned that one here! Same for NEHI which I have not seen in Canada.

Daughter was teaching in S.KOREA for 2 years so I got that clue.

My cherry pie recipe uses TAPIOCA as thickener but I have not had Tapioca pudding for a long time even though I like it.

CrossEyedDave said...

Au Contraire...

They had lots of cats on the Muppet Show.

I was just trying to have a little fun with the word "sheesh."

Thanks for the Segue lead in Lemon:)

(i was having a lot of trouble trying to find a funny word ladder...)

River Doc said...

Happy Friday everybody!

Started off as so many others did by not having a bloody clue how the whole word ladder thing was going to work out. Eventually down crosses revealed the theme, which I ended up employing to solve at the end....

That being said, my misspelling of PHARAOH prevented the Ta-Da today...

The only West Side Story songs that leapt to mind were America and I Just Met a Girl named Maria, neither of which fit....

Tin, doesn't NIPS count as an alcohol reference...?

Doc out....

Tinbeni said...

River Doc
NIPS was clued as "Bites playfully" ...

My Dimple Pinch (NEAT!!!) is smoooooooooth.
(There is NO 'playful bite' when I sip it. lol)

At least the puzzle didn't have THAT certain "3-letter word" which will always lead me to a DNF.

Yellowrocks said...

Here is another word game I like. Start with one letter for the first answer. Add another to it for the seconds answer. For the next answer, add a third letter, etc, etc. The letter order may be scrambled.
Given the following clues, fill in this puzzle:
__ 1. Key on a piano
__ __ 2. “Name I call myself”
__ __ __ 3. Radiation measure
__ __ __ __ 4. To juice an orange
__ __ __ __ __ 5. River in France
__ __ __ __ __ __ 6. Assign a new appellation to

PK said...

Hi Y'all! I've been doing word ladders on the Sunday kids' section in our paper for years, so only mild consternation upon seeing today's appearance. I had some trouble starting, but GLUTEOUS & OMANI got me going. Slight pause after reading MUSCAT as "Muskrat". Thanks, Daniel. I found it fun.

Lemon, you are in good form as always.

Natalie Wood sang "I FEEL PRETTY" not Rita Moreno in the movie.

One bad mistake quickly remedied was thinking Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote "Gold Bug". ACD didn't work for POE. I gotta Google ACD and see what I was thinking.

Lemonade714 said...

Funny, today both JOHNSNEVERHOME and john28man refernced today's puzzle as a Thursday; to me it supports the idea that word ladder puzzles are like the Thursday quotation puzzles.

CrossEyedDave said...




I get stopped at that French river every time!

Keith Fowler said...

Fun. I wasn't sure what a "word ladder" is, but once it began to take shape that became (Doh!) clear. Well, it didn't actually take shape until I was almost done solving them through perps (Doh! Doh!!).

I knew (don;t we all?) of the peacock tail's "eyes," so started the SE corner with OCCULI & gradually worked that around. Up in the NW I intuited GO GAGA almost from the start. SHEESH came from the same mental recess. Others fell into place.
We all know OHM from many Xwds, so OHMIC, though it felt made-up, was easy enough.
GLUTEUS is one of my favorite words.

All in all, very enjoyable, Mr. Nierenberg. Thank you!

~ Kf

PS. Like others I had to rewrite PHARAOH - it felt like the "Karaoke" problem all over again.

buckeye bob said...

@PK 5:36 PM --

Well, sorta. That's what the movie people want us to think. But actually Natalie Wood's singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon.

Reference the IMDb on West Side Story --

1 - Soundtracks, I Feel Pretty;


2 - FAQ / Did Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer do their own singing?


buckeye bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lemonade714 said...

Buckey Bob, it is what we call ingenuity, if you don't know it one way, you will another.

Well done

Yellowrocks said...

Buckeye Bob, You spoiled it!! Please take it down so others can try, Yes, one of the stategies is to work from the bottom up, as well.

Lemonade714 said...

BB, I owe you an "e" sorry.

Yellowrocks said...

Bob, sorry for my original dismay. Congratulations on finding a good strategy. Here is another one.
__ 1. Loud musically
__ __ 2. In the event that
__ __ __3. I don’t give a ____.
__ __ __ __ 4. Talent
__ __ __ __ __ 5. Confrontaion
__ __ __ __ __ __ 6. _____ wig.

I went to the ortho doc today. Although I have a full tear and a partial tear, he is astounded at my mobility, strength and range of motion. Very rare. He pointed out that surgery could give me a larger range of motion and greater strength, but, not necessarily, at my age. He said surgery does have risks. As to recovery, he advocates immobilizing the shoulder for 6 weeks to avoid future tears which means six weeks of no driving and a long recovery period. . He says that re-tearing occusr in 10% of those who follow early, more aggressive PT. He admitted that immobility causes frozen shoulder in 10% of those who immobilize for 6 weeks. He said frozen shoulder is easier to treat than re-tearing.
I asked what he would advise his own mother to do. He said he would advise against surgery. I agreed for now. He gave me exercises to do. We will keep checking progress.

HeartRx said...

HG @ 9:54, I remember it as “I SEE said the blind carpenter as he picked up his hammer and saw…”

Husker Gary said...

Yeah, Marti, I remember that one too! Ah, the classics! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid to post anything now. Either Yellowrocks will admonish you or Argyle will delete you.

What a fabulous blog you have here.

buckeye bob said...

Just to clarify -- that Anon at 7:04 was not me.

windhover said...

Wasn't me either. :)
This puzzle's only saving grace was that most of the clues and fill were relatively easy (for Friday).
Not a big fan of the type, but still preferable to the self-referential clue type, which I detest.
But I got it, so let the weekend begin. Weather here is still hazardous for brass monkeys.
See you Monday.

Yellowrocks said...

C’mon guys and gals. Others have complained about the revealing of the ID of the next day’s puzzle constructor, the answers for the current NYT puzzle, the immediate answers to puzzles and games posed by other Cornerites, the outcomes of sports events, the plots of popular soap operas and other dramas, etc. These reveals have prompted warnings of spoiler alert. Revealing the answer in 15 minutes or less after posting prohibits others from having the fun of thinking about it. Why don’t we publish the solution on the same page as the puzzle?

The first one to email me on the answer gets props in my book.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

This was a bugger for me. I didn't know what a word ladder was, nor anything about West Side Story (except there was a knife fight that turned into a dance or some such).

So Google to the rescue to get me going. 13a, 16a, 37a (yes, I Googled the reveal), 5d, and 45d. With that foothod things started comming together and I saw the pattern between "ladder clues" That helped with the Texas area. QED.

Thank goodness for PHARAOH discussion three weeks ago. I could spell it this time.

TTP, come back and bug D-O and me. Just don't come in on IAH tonight and try to get to the southwest of town. My brother was going to stop by from STL on his way to NOLA, but the closed interchanges changed his mind.

More work to do, so later... Cheers, -T

TTP said...

Anonymous T,

I saw the weather you had in Houston today.

It was around 84 or 85 that KHOU or one of the other stations set up a live feed on the SW Freeway at west loop 610 and car after car was just sliding and crashing on that bridge in one of those rare ice storms. Looked like you has some of the same.

You must be somewhere around Sugarland. I went to school at Westbury. Later, I had an apartment down that way off of (I think) Bissonnet or Belfort and Cook Rd at one time. Too many years ago !

Time for me to hit the hay after another long day.

Anonymous T said...

TTP - Nailed it. My turn to sleep, so you keep the interwebs running. C, -T