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Jun 22, 2014

Sunday June 22, 2014 Mike Peluso

Theme: "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" - Long E sound is changed into short O or "Ah" sound.

23A. Clancy explaining the spelling of his name? : THERE IS NO "I" IN TOM - There is no "I" in team. Tom Clancy would have confused me if he did explain so.

38A. Victoria's Secret seasonal line? : SUMMER BRAS. Summer breeze.

64A. Trading Clue, Monopoly, Life and Boggle? : FOUR-GAME SWAP. Four game sweep. World Series.

75A. Monastery grounds? : LAND OF THE FRA. Land of the free.

98A. Bathrooms decorated in denim? : LEVI'S JOHNS. Levi's Jeans.

116A. Character in "Satanic Star Trek"? : SPOCK OF THE DEVIL. Speak of the devil.

17D. Gorgeous farm gal feeding the pigs? : SLOPPING BEAUTY.  Sleeping Beauty.

49D. Stain left by a pool disinfectant? : CHLORINE BLOTCH. Chlorine bleach.
 
I hope I got the theme correctly. Sound change gimmick is always hard for me. I don't have problem with consonants or long vowel sound. It's those short ones that bother me, esp short E and short A. I pronounce "bad" & bed" the same.
 
Mike Peluso is a language expert. He taught French, German, Spanish and Latin at high school level. 
 
Today's grid is hard to fill. Look at the 18 7-letter entries alone! 6 pairs are stacked along the edges, intersecting at least 3 answers of 6-, 7- or 8- letter long. And a 140-worder. You rock, Mike!

The clue for  PASS GO (19D) should be "Round the Boardwalk corner". Cruciverb has "Round the Broadway corner". 
 
Across:

1. Favoring Mideast unity : PAN-ARAB. I wanted PRO-ARAB, but 2D said "No" immediately.

8. Jungle chopper : MACHETE

15. Creator of a cocky hare : AESOP

20. One who stole from thieves : ALI BABA. Also China's biggest e-commerce company.

21. Like spring jackets : UNLINED

22. __ fast one : PULL A

25. Walks heavily : PLODS

26. Costa __ : RICA

27. It's nothing to Hollande : RIEN. It's human nature to sin. God can't help us.


28. B followers : CDE

29. Blue gem, briefly : LAPIS

30. Provo neighbor : OREM

31. CXXII x V : DCX. 610.

32. 1978 film based on a Harold Robbins novel : THE BETSY. Never saw the film.


36. Square problem? : PEG. Nice clue.

37. Many OCS grads : LTS (Lieutenants)

40. Soup with a bento : MISO. You won't find Miso soup inside a Bento box though. Bento is for cold food. Miso is hot.

41. Run on : GAB

44. Sonora Mrs. : SRA

45. Like adobe : EARTHEN

47. One leading a Spartan lifestyle : ASCETIC

51. Barely move : INCH

54. Serenaded : SANG TO

57. Distinguished types : SCHOLARS

59. Bite-size appetizer : PUPU.  Pu-pu platter.

62. Treasury secretary under Clinton : RUBIN (Robert). From Wiki: He received more than $126 million in cash and stock during his tenure at Citigroup. 

63. Bear's cry : SELL

69. Photo lab process: Abbr. : ENL

70. First album in a Green Day trilogy : UNO. News to me. The ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! trilogy.


71. Pro Football Hall of Famer Nagurski : BRONKO. Unknown figure.


72. Chances to golf with Mickelson or McIlroy : PRO-AMS. Yes to Mickelson. What a  gentleman!

73. Salty assent : AYE. The sailor "salt". And 34D. Salt : TAR

74. La Méditerranée, e.g. : MER

77. I'm-here link : OUTA. I use "outta".

78. Susan's "All My Children" role : ERICA

80. Sailing, perhaps : ASEA

81. Attacker of Athens, per Plato : ATLANTIS

83. Type A, often : DYNAMO

85. Reddish horse : ROAN

88. [Headslap] : SILLY ME!

89. Spewed out : EGESTED

93. Itinerary word : VIA

95. Nevada city on US 50 : ELY. What's it famous for?

96. Melville title starter : MOBY

102. Four in a gal. : QTS. I did not see the . after gal.

105. Rose of rock : AXL. Of Guns N' Roses.

106. Cabbage side : COLE SLAW

107. Word with order or reel : GAG

109. Exec : SUIT

110. Rhone tributary : SAONE

112. Prez, to GIs : CIC. We just had this in Splynter's post yesterday: Commander In Chief.

113. Latin 101 verb : ESSE

114. Mozart's "__ kleine Nachtmusik" : EINE

115. Choir voices : ALTOS

120. Legal decrees : DICTA

121. Tiny stinger : FIRE ANT

122. How many a management group is trained : AS A TEAM. Oh, I read "How many" as a unit. Don't. Split it. 

123. One of Israel's 12 tribes : ASHER

124. Spoons : CUDDLES

125. "Don't beat around the bush!" : YES OR NO

Down:

1. Keep the beat? : PATROL. Another nice clue.

2. "Sugar Lips" trumpeter : AL HIRT

3. Holiday visitors, perhaps : NIECES

4. Garfield's middle name : ABRAM

5. Nunavut's __ Strait, named for an explorer : RAE. Named for John Rae.

6. "__ in the hand ..." : A BIRD

7. ABCs : BASICS

8. Subatomic particle : MUON

9. Singer DiFranco : ANI

10. "Hot enough for ya?," e.g. : CLICHE

11. Block : HINDER. Deluge in our area due to the excessive rain. Luckily the plumber arrived in time last week, otherwise, our basement might be totally flooded.

12. 1976 airport raid site : ENTEBBE

13. Formula One racer Fabi : TEO

14. Oilers, on NHL scoreboards : EDM (Edmonton)

15. Be relevant : APPLY

16. Faulkner vixen Varner : EULA. So hard to remember her name.

18. Many playlist entries : OLDIES

24. Connecting point : NEXUS. Or what's in D-Otto's hand.

32. Still destroyer : T-MAN. I googled and found out "Still" refers to the "Distilling device".

33. Many a presidential term, historically : ERA. Clinton era, e.g.

35. Bygone fliers : SSTS

39. It may be done on one foot : MRI. I was thinking of some tricky Yoga maneuver. Can you do this, Marti?


40. File __ : MENU

41. Natural sci. : GEOL

42. The pond, in the U.K. : ATL

43. Former Nigerian secessionist state : BIAFRA. No idea. Wiki said it existed from 1967 to 1970, "taking its name from the Bight of Biafra (the Atlantic bay to its south)".

46. Strings with pedals : HARPS

47. Fictitious : ASSUMED

48. Attraction for shutterbugs : SCENERY

50. Sing like Bing : CROON

52. One for whom Apr. is the cruelest month? : CPA. Fun clue.

53. Disgruntled word : HUMPH

55. Father of Tulip Victoria : TINY TIM. Never heard of Tulip Victoria.

56. Like most fleet cars : ON LEASE

58. __ Islands: Malay Archipelago group : SUNDA. So, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Bali, Timor are all part of the chain. Good to know.

60. Mari de la mère : PERE. Mari = Husband.

61. Lady Liberty's land, proudly : US OF A

65. Bygone theaters : RKOs

66. Menial helper : GOFER

67. __ and all : WARTS

68. Charlotte __ : AMALIE. Capital of the Virgin Islands.

71. Find fault with : BLAME

76. Eastern ideal : TAO. Literally "way". Spelled as "Dao" in Mandarin.

77. No more than : ONLY

79. Sly : CAGY

82. Every one : ALL

84. Scandinavian capital : OSLO

86. Declare frankly : AVOW

87. Biomedical research agcy. : NIH

90. __ Aviv : TEL

91. Apple consumer : EVE. I like this clue also.

92. Strife : DISCORD

94. Teen phase, often : ANGST

96. Israeli desert fortification : MASADA. I bet this is a gimme for Hahtoola, Yellowrocks  & Lucina.

97. Wood sorrel genus : OXALIS. We had this before. Some articles says it's tart and tasty, and that the Algonquin Indians considered it an aphrodisiac.



99. Cut through : SLICED

100. Canine predator : JACKAL

101. Walk casually : SASHAY. Hi there Lucina!

102. Shake : QUIVER

103. Strategic WWII island in the Northern Marianas : TINIAN. Total stranger to me.

104. High seas patron : ST. ELMO

106. Activist Chavez : CESAR

108. Monogamous waterfowl : GEESE

109. Take care of : SEE TO

111. Take heed : NOTE

113. Young newts : EFTS

116. Army E-7: Abbr. : SFC

117. More, on a score : PIU. Italian for "more".

118. 1300 hours : ONE

119. German article : DAS

Hope to see some of you at the third Minnesota Crossword Tournament this afternoon.
  
C.C.


49 comments:

OwenKL said...

An 18th-century queen-consort Charlotte AMALIE
Helped to rule both Denmark and Norway.
The small island nation
Where Blackbeard kept his station
Dubbed her town in the Caribbean Sea.

There once was a lady named BETSY
Who used to worry and fret; she
Wore herself down
Till she weighed half-a-crown,
"That's as thin as I worried I get, see!"

To ask, 'does a BEAR sit in the wood?'
Is a CLICHÉ that is well understood;
For it is a BEAR's calling
To ASSUME the sky's falling,
That to SELL on the Street would be good!

In Hawai'i a PU PU platter
Is canapés to munch while you chatter.
They aren't very much,
Just sushi and such,
If they taste like PU PU, does it matter?

OwenKL said...

DNF, and very unsatisfying. So many clues that just seemed wrong. Favoring Mideast unity, I'm trying to think of a person or group trying to reconcile Jews and Arabs, not one wanting to exterminate Israel. Holiday visitors, what do holidays specifically have to do with nieces in particular? And on and on. Not only the straight clues, but the theme clues were contrived and convoluted, but not consistent. The replacement syllable was sometimes ah, sometimes oh; the replaced syllable was in the last word in the first 5, the first word in only 2 out of 8 total. In some venues, just that the (nearly) same gimmick has been used would be sufficient, but LAT has set the bar higher in the past on balance and uniformity.

fermatprime said...

Greetings!

Falling asleep again. Interesting puzzle, Mike. Thanks. Nice expo, CC.

Took a while but got 'er done w/o cheats.

Maybe more later!
Cheers!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

This one was too much for me. I got the theme, more or less, but thought all the theme answers involved the letter O. Therefore, I was completely blind to LAND OF THE FRA and FOUR GAME SWAP. It didn't help that AMALIE was completely unknown to me.

Elsewhere, there was just way too much stuff I didn't know. The crossing of OXALIS and SAONE was impenetrable (I had OXELIS/SEONE). And the proper nouns (BRONKO, RUBIN, BIAFRA, etc.) just killed me.

Ah well, there's always tomorrow...

Barry G. said...

Oh -- add SUNDA to my list of unknown proper nouns. That one crossing BRONKO was just plain unfair as far as I'm concerned.

Leaning moment of the day, btw, was finding out that PUPU is actually an individual thing and not just the name for the whole platter.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

This one went into overtime -- well, one minute into overtime. I got the gimmick at THERE IS NO I IN TOM, and that helped immensely with the rest of the puzzle. You're right, C.C., I was doing this one on my Nexus since the Barnacle no longer carries the Sunday LAT. The PASS GO clue was correct in Shortyz. I, too, thought immediately of Lucina at SASHAY. Good to hear that you're not bailing water in Mpls.

C.C., Tiny Tim (not the Dickens character) was an outlandish performer who actually scored a mild hit record with Tiptoe Through The Tulips. He got married live on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. He died before you arrived in the US. He wasn't all that famous, and he didn't play baseball, so I'm not surprised that you're not familiar with him.

TINIAN was a gimme. MASADA and BIAFRA came to me with just the first letter filled. I had to wait for the perps to decide on MUON/PION.

Now for that 10-mile bike ride...

Big Easy said...

Guessing the theme was easy but figuring out the unknowns required a lot of head scratching. The NW started smoothly since AL HIRT was from the Big Easy and only had to perp RAE and ABRAM. I worked my way to the SE slowly not exactly sure how to spell ASCETIC or BRONKO. PUPU TINIAN RIEN EULA PIU ASHER OXALIS were new to me. I always thought it was 'outta here' instead of OUTA.

I once rented a car in CHARLOTTE AMALIE. It was weird driving on the left side of the road. It is part of the USOFA. We took the ferry to St. John for a day trip and on the way back to St. Thomas, a TRASH TRUCK full of tree trimmings got onto the ferry behind our car. I asked the driver why he was hauling tree branches from one island to another and he told me that since most of St. John was some Federal wildlife reserve that it was ILLEGAL to leave trash on that island. So if a tree falls in the woods, do the limbs have to be transported to another island. Absolutely ridiculous.

Big Easy said...

One note- my newspaper had 19D as 'round the BROADWAY CORNER' instead of BOARDWALK. I had AESOP and PULL A fast one and just guessed it was a misprint.

HeartRx said...

Good morning C.C. et al.

Have fun at the tournament today, C.C. !! I wish I could be there, but it’s just too difficult to get away right now. Some day…

The yoga pose you showed is the Naṭarājāsana (Dancer). I can only get as far as Vīrabhadrāsana III (Warrrier 3) pose because of my back. But at least I can do it on one foot!

I wasn’t a big fan of this puzzle, for some of the reasons Owen and Barry have said. The title wasn’t much help, either, since some of the “ee” sounds were changed to “aw” and some were changed to “ah.”
T(EE)M – T(AW)M
SL(EE)PING – SL(AW)PPING
FR(EE) – FR(AH)
BR(EE)ZE – BR(AH)S

And I had to totally SWAG the crossing of SUNDA / BRONKO. Oh well, it was still a nice diversion for this beautiful Sunday morning.

Enjoy your day, everyone!

June said...

CHARLOTTE AMALIE is on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Great sailing and extremely beautiful. Those ferry rides are very interesting with the BVI Native People handing out rum punch any time of the day to make your ferry ride more fun.

Lemonade714 said...

I loved the theme and thought the theme answers were especially witty.

I had some unknowns, The Betrsy RAE and TINIAN. What makes the puzzle fun is the diverse clues. Bronko Nagurski is a pro football legend who played long before I was born. The wedding of Tiny Tim (his last name was Khouri I think, I had a science teacher with that name at the time) and Miss Vicki on Johnny Carson may have spawned reality tv.

Al Cyone said...

A very satisfying Sunday puzzle (though I wouldn't have thought so if I hadn't solved it!). I had to fix few typos (e.g. BRONCO/BRONKO and OREN/OREM) but what nearly did me in was "Spoons". I was, of course, thinking of it as a plural noun (and didn't know SFC or PIU). But it finally dawned on me. Guess it's been too long since I spooned. [Sigh]

[33:47]

desper-otto said...

Marti, I think that's your Bahst'n accent showing through. In these parts it's TAHM and SLAHPPING -- same vowel sound as chopping. All of 'em were changed from 'EE' to 'AH'.

Al Cyone said...

A simple math problem for your consideration:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

Chances are your first answer will be wrong (mine was!). Click here for some more info. The problem's been in the news lately. Apparently people who speak a second language do worse when they try to solve the problem in their native language. It seems the language you're thinking in can affect the decisions you make. Click here for more info.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Kudos to Mr. Peluso for his creativity and craftsmanship. That said, I will now defer to Thumper.

Seeing sashay and thinking of Lucina was the best part of the solve. Very nice expo, CC.

Have a super summer Sunday!

Math Teacher said...

The Ball is 5 cents and the bat is $1.05, making the bat uno dinaro mas.

HeartRx said...

d-otto, I guess I have to get around the US more. Both the McMillan and Oxford dictionaries give the "aw" pronunciation for SLOP before "ah." But, they say that is the UK pronunciation, and that in the US it is pronounced "ah."

Time to go slahp the hahgs...

Husker Gary said...

SAONE, ASHER and OXALIS did me in and so I’ll take 3 bad cells but I had a fun run with great theme answers. Hey, I got PUPU/PERE.

Musings
-Michael Jordan famously said, “There is an I in WIN”
-Yes, CC, I put PAST GO for “rounded” and use OUTTA
-Murderous ISIS wants to have Mid-East unity as an Islamic caliphate
-Were the Spurs the tortoise to the Heat’s cocky hare?
-I knew (and have had) MISO, now I know what a BENTO is.
-Sesame Street advice about about INCHING along through life (2:35)
-At 6’ 2” and 225 lb, BRONKO could play in any era. His 19 ½ ring size is the largest championship ring in NFL history
-A side of COLE SLAW was an option in the restaurant last night but I took the loaded baked potato. It cost us $61 without any wine, appetizer or dessert and a 15% tip for mediocre service.
-BTW, Jersey Boys on screen is darker that the stage play but is a wonderful 2 hrs in the theater where everyone looked our age. Two other shows were sold out and so we had to go late.
-HOT/COLD enough for ya? Very common here
-TINY TIM was one of those oddities that came and mercifully went
-A construction company doesn’t LEASE and so he bought 18 brand new, badly hail-damaged pickups in Blair last week for a song. He reasoned his men would beat ‘em up the first day anyway.
-Of course TINIAN was the August 1945 departure point for this famous plane
-As Gilda, who did Rita Hayworth sing should get the BLAME?

Husker Gary said...

Many thanks on the deciphering efforts on my “grasshopper cartoon” yesterday, especially Owen’s yeoman effort in ferreting out what seems to be the answer. An editor getting “too cute” with the caption seems to be the culprit here and I’m sure many of us solvers and constructors here might think the same of Rich ;-)

Here is another Joseph Farris cartoon (amid a slide show of others) that seems to fit our management desire to train AS A TEAM

Bill said...

The Across Lite version that I downloaded also had "Broadway" instead of "Boardwalk" at 19-D. I was thinking that was somehow a term for that corner of the Monopoly board, which didn't make sense because the properties are in Atlantic City, not Manhattan. It appears to have been an editing error.

desper-otto said...

Actually, Marti, here we'd slahp the hawgs. I've heard some folks say "hahgs," but not often. Let's hear from folks around the country. Which do you say? (My name is Tom, so I'm prejudiced.)

TOM - TAHM or TAWM
SLOP - SLAHP or SLAWP

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Pretty much WBS. I was unable to finish this without some cheating. I kinda got the theme, but not solidly enough to figure out that the sound change was consistent. That southwest corner was a tough cookie, had to turn on red letters for that.

Tiny Tim seems very forgettable to me - C.C., you didn't miss much!

Steve said...

Bronko Nagurski belongs in the "All Time Great Names" Hall of Fame!

I'm not a huge fan of the "sound change" themes because it depends very much on your accent as to whether the sounds appear to change consistently or not. I'm sure some people hear "Tom" and "Bra" as a rhyme, I certainly don't.

I finished in pretty good time, I didn't have the noun Naticks that seem to have caused trouble for others. The Monopoly mis-clue also didn't bother me - I've never played the US version so "Broadway" seemed fine to me. In the UK version it's "Mayfair" - odd in that it's the only property which is a district (of London), not a street.

Bill G. said...

I feel definitely mixed about this puzzle. I didn't understand the theme in a consistent way (though I got it all) and I didn't care for PANARAB and NEICES. Also, why is April the cruelest month for a CPA? Sure, they are busy but it's when they make most of their income. But there was lots of cleverness to offset some of the not-so-good fill.

Al, that math puzzle is a classic and seems to confound some people. I've never understood why though.

Lucina said...

Greetings, fellow puzzlers. C.C., if it weren't for your explanations, I'd be "at sea." Thank you.

And it's great for Mike Peluso to be multilingual, but what about the rest of us? One or two French words I might be able to handle, but idioms and phrases, not so much.

Needless to say this was no SASHAY for me though some gratuitously easy fill was much appreciated as it gave me an anchor in the more difficult areas. I mentally WAGged BRONKO then thought, naw, too easy. But it was right.

I enjoyed the theme and in a couple of spots it actually helped to complete the phrases.

There's more but I have to run. OUTA seemed to lack a 'T', outta which I don't like anyway.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

Dudley said...

What Lucina said. I first rejected "outa" as the answer because it seemed to be missing a T.

Yellowrocks said...

Interesting puzzle. My unknowns, Tinian, The Betsy, Bronko,and Sunda were quite doable with perps and wags. I needed just one or two letters for Tiny Tim, Biafra, Saone, Asher, Eula, and Oxalis, as I was lucky enough to be familiar with them.
This time I happened to pronounce all the theme changers as AH, but in instances like this it helps to be aware that there are several regional pronunciations and choose those that fit the theme. I say slahp the hawgs and feed the dawgs. Although mass media is making pronunciation more standard, I find the regional differences to be fascinating.
My newspaper and the Mensa site had Boardwalk written correctly.
My son, a CPA, is vice president at an accounting firm doing books for corporations. His cruelest months are February and March, many, many late nights and Saturdays. His routine consists only of bed, train, office, train and bed again for weeks. There is no overtime compensation at that level.
The clue said the soup was WITH the bento box, not in it. The room temperature bento box may be packed at home and supplemented with a Thermos of hot miso or it could be bought in a department store with a serving of hot soup bought on the side.

Lemonade714 said...

In my college days, Biafra, while short lived was very much in the news for the levels of malnutrition.

I say TAHM

SLAHP. they were the same sound to me.

I like PIU and PUPU in the same grid

Spitzboov said...

Good afternoon everyone.

The puzzle was made a little easier for me with the strong geography suit: RICA, ENTEBBE, TINIAN, BIAFRA, AMALIE, SAÔNE. MASADA, and SUNDA. SUNDA is also a strait in that region. Cool clecho of ATL and ATLANTIS. On Friday, we had CPO; today, SFC.
DAS - German articles are always a crapshoot.

Overall, fun to work on. Favorite fill was SLOPPING BEAUTY.

51a - INCHing is a kind of non-metric movement.

Bill G. said...

Here's another vote with Lucina in not liking OUTA as opposed to OUTTA. I remember it seemed wrong when I put it in. (Spell check doesn't like it either.) If I didn't know better, I'd think this puzzle was approved without passing inspection by Rich Norris. It doesn't seem like his style. It would be great to hear from him about OUTA and others.

Nancy Murphy said...

This puzzle took me quite a while to solve. SUNDA and BRONKO were unknowns, but I got them when I WAGGED the N. I had SEINE before SAONE and PFC before SFC.

Lucina said...

Hello, again. Earlier I was in too much of a hurry and didn't read your comments. So, thanks for the shoutouts on SASHAY and OUTA. Ooh, that makes me grit my teeth!

I've seen OXALIS clued as African daisy but wood sorrel is meaningless to me so the across/down solve saved me.

As for the sound effect theme, no time for that either but I doubt it would have helped. For me it's Tahm and dahg (hi, desper).

As obscure and contrived as some of the fill appeared, I love seeing ASCETIC, SCHOLARS, and MACHETE. They somehow make up for the clunky fill.

From last night, thanks, BillG, for enlightening me on the antics of the Coen Bros. Had I read all the credits as well as the commentary included in the DVD I might have known it was a hoax.

Youngest granddaughter arriving soon, so no more time to blog.

Anonymous said...

I wondered whether OUTA was legit, too, but I can find many examples of its usage, although OUTTA seems to be much more common. So no nit.
YELLOWROCKS from my Kindle.

Anonymous said...

I wondered whether OUTA was legit, too, but I can find many examples of its usage, although OUTTA seems to be much more common. So no nit.
YELLOWROCKS from my Kindle.

Spitzboov said...

OUTA - While outta may be spelled with 2 t's, there is no need to add the 2nd t to preserve the sound. Since ou is a diphthong, its sound doesn't change when adding a syllable.
Compare 'gotta' as in gotta go. Here without the 2nd t you would have go ta. The vowel is open creating long o and needs to be closed. Ergo got-ta.
(I realize both spellings are used:-))

Hope this helps.

Husker Gary said...

Fuel for the OUTA/OUTTA debate. Name the movie.

HeartRx said...

Spitzboov, very astute observation about the "ou" dipthong. You're right!

I'm not sure I even understand the debate about OUTA Vs. "outta"…they're both wrong! (^0^)

HG @ 3:41…awwww (or, should that be ahhhhh???), that one is just too danged easy! But I don't think I want to go back there...

Anonymous said...

June, Charlotte Amalie is on the island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

Yellowrocks said...

OUTA and OUTTA are idioms which, although not standard English and not acceptable in educated writing and speaking, are very much in the language and are commonly used.IMHO they are as acceptable in Xwords as slang is. Using idioms, common non standard words, regionalisms, slang, acronyms, and old fashioned words make puzzle solving more colorful and interesting. Forcing Xwords to observe the strictest rules of grammar and spelling, expecting them to stand up to parsing as diphthongs, and to insist on using only the most exact synonyms would detract from the fun.
IMHO NIECES as holiday visitors was an easy and normal answer. Holidays are times for extended family gatherings. The clue is much like the common one where AUNTS are considered attendees at reunions.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Heavens to BETSY, I found this very hard, but eventually filled it. It was made more aggravating by losing the whole puzzle halfway done and having to refill it to go on. I caught on to the theme with TOM, but didn't think it helped much.

I didn't know of PUPU as something edible and thought that word described how I felt about the puzzle. Too many names and words not in my vocabulary. MUON? Whazat? I did a number of red-letter alphabet runs.

My memory bank had thankfully erased Tulip Victoria and her daddy.

But somehow I knew TINIAN, expecting it to be wrong. After Charlotte Russe didn't work, I went to AMALIE with more success.

About all I can say about this puzzle is that it passed a lot of time on a mostly sleepless night.

Inanehiker said...

tough puzzle, but still a fun challenge. WEES about saone, sunda,and oxalis, but a few challenges for other were hard-wired in my brain. First, when I was in grade school Biafra was where your parents were going to send your food if you didn't appreciate it enough to clean your plate! And my father (who was in WWII) in his later years had stroke-related dementia could still always relate the same story over and over about Guam and Tinian.

SwampCat said...

D-Otto, down here in N'Awlins I say Tahm and slahp...if I did such a thing!

But no two people in New Orleans pronounce Anything the same! It Is a wonder we can even speak to each other!

There are the Uptown matrons who sound almost Brittish, and the 9th ward folk who could very well be from Brooklyn....and all of us in between!

And that's just one city...

Linda said...

My dear C.C. God CAN and does help people not to sin...but only when they believe He IS God and can. What is so wonderful is that He knows we have the propensity to sin and so He has provided an Immediate solution. When we honestly blow it, repent and receive forgiveness. I felt free to chime in because you opened the door. Thank you!

Yellowrocks said...

Favoring Mideast unity, PANARAB, not the entire Mideast, but the Arab portion of the Mideast. PAN is a prefix meaning all, pantheism, pandemic, panarama.
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification of the countries of North Africa and West Asia from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. Think of the United Arab Emirates.

Anonymous said...

Linda, how did CC open the door? You are flaunting the rules.

Al Cyone said...

Well, CC said, "It's human nature to sin. God can't help us."

Bill G. said...

I appreciated and agreed with YR's opinion that we shouldn't get too picky with crossword idioms and slang at the risk of giving up a clever theme and sparkling fill. Still, some people make excuses for poor language often saying it's a variant and can be found in the dictionary.

We often have small, friendly little debates about English usage around here. Often there aren't right and/or wrong answers, just better/not as good. The fact that you can find many common examples of certain sub-standard usages doesn't convince me. I'm sure "I feel badly for her" is said all the time. So is 'comprised of" as in "The Crossword Corner is comprised of many clever solvers and constructors." Ukulele has been misspelled as ukelele so many times it's often listed as a variant.

I have never been a great writer. When I started writing my little "Mind Games" newspaper column years ago, my first editor took me under her wing and helped me with usage, syntax and style. I learned to hyphenate two-word modifiers, To say/write "different from" rather than "different than." I began to notice little things that I had never paid attention to before; things like flout vs. flaunt; how to use "comprises"; loan vs. lend; uninterested vs. disinterested, never to use "alot"; lay vs. lie. (I still am not sure how to use "begs the question" correctly.)

My standard is this. If I were applying for a job as assistant to the English professor at a college and had to write an essay as part of my application, which usage would I choose? I don't think that makes me a grammar nazi; just someone who tries to learn from mistakes and tries to do better.

No offense intended. Your mileage may differ.

Bill G. said...

Maybe CC cracked the door open. It may be human nature to sin but the only guideline that I need is the good old Golden Rule.

Anonymous said...

My newspaper misprinted the tense: "RoundED the Boardwalk corner." Drove me nuts. I didn't know this happened in a crossword!