May 16, 2019

Thursday, May 16th 2019 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: The Modern Prometheus - all the theme entries refer to the alternative title of this novel:

17A. Classic 1818 novel: FRANKENSTEIN. Here's the cover of the first edition:

20A. Unnamed character in 17-Across: THE MONSTER. "It" is known by number of names in the novel, none of them particularly flattering, including "It".

35A. Author of 17-Across: MARY SHELLEY. She wrote the novel when she was 18, she was 20 when it was published. Her, her husband Percy and Lord Byron had a competition to see who could come up with the best horror story.

47A. 1974 portrayer of 17-Across: GENE WILDER. Here's the classic moment from the movie when Wilder meets Marty Feldman's Igor for the first time.

53A. 1931 portrayer of 20-Across: BORIS KARLOFF. A little before my time, but surely everyone has seen Karloff's performance in this classic movie.

So, a nice challenge from Jeffrey, I didn't really get a toe-hold until the SW corner, then it was a question of working across and back up. The Karloff theme entry was my first, then it was just a question of fitting the pieces of the puzzle into place.

There's a lot of fresh fill in the puzzle too. SEED HEADS in the center of the downs was impressive as it crosses all five theme entries. Let's check out the rest.


1. Expert in Islamic law: MUFTI. A learning moment. I knew the word as a military term for civilian clothes but not the Islamic connection.

6. Classroom tools: RULERS

12. Nation partly in the Arctic Circle: FINLAND. Brrr. Not a whole lot of daylight in winter, either.

14. Left: GONE OUT

15. "I didn't lie!": IT WAS SO!

16. Select, as a jury: EMPANEL. I'm not sure I knew this. Crosses filled in a lot of it for me.

19. Otoscope target: EAR. I learned "oto-" from this photograph of David Niven in his book "The Moon's A Balloon". The caption read "Cupid developed otosis as a result" which sent me scurrying for the dictionary.

24. In a calculating way: SLYLY. Just pipped by "rhythm" as one of the longest words with no vowels.

27. Antipoverty agcy.: O.E.O. The Office of Economic Opportunity. Established by Lyndon Johnson to manage his War on Poverty programs. It was abolished in 1981.

28. Actor Stephen: REA. I had him as RAE first which slowed things down a tad.

29. Prefix with plus: SUR. Surplus.

31. Reduce in status: DRAG DOWN

37. Slapstick reaction: SPIT TAKE. Never heard of this term before either. One of these:

39. Borrow, but not really: BUM. "Not really" because you'e not going to give it back, as in "bum a smoke".

40. "__ you serious?": ARE

41. Talk and talk: YAP

43. Namely: TO WIT

52. "__ scale of 1 to 10 ... ": ON A. Fill it in and move on.

56. King in 1 Kings: SOLOMON

59. Shoulder piece: EPAULET

60. Like some rural bridges: ONE LANE

61. July 4, 1776, notables: SIGNERS. I tried FATHERS first, knowing it was probably wrong. I proved myself right (wrong) eventually.

62. Green field?: BOTANY. Field of study.

63. Campus figures: DEANS


1. Kind of heart valve: MITRAL

2. Easily led astray: UNWARY

3. Rich dessert: FLAN

4. Something to do: TASK

5. Map box: INSET. Took me a while to figure this out, even though the clue is familiar enough.

6. "Did my heart love till now?" speaker: ROMEO. Yay! I actually knew this.

7. Detach, as a dress pattern: UNPIN. My mom used to make her own dresses, I witnessed lots of unpinning of patterns as a kid.

8. Isn't straight: LEANS

9. Big stretch: EON

10. Deeply regret: RUE

11. Mo. town: STL St. Louis.

12. High winds: FIFES. Nice clue. A fife is a high-pitched flute.

13. Honolulu-born singer: DON HO

14. Go back for a second helping: GET MORE

18. A dandelion's are called blowballs: SEED HEADS. We used to drive my dad nuts blowing the seed heads; as fast as he was trying to get the pissenlit out of the lawn we were just compounding the problem.

21. Fox NFL analyst Aikman: TROY. He's actually pretty good as an analyst; the Cowboys did something right, Tony Romo is a quite excellent announcer.

22. "Ick!": EEW!

23. Fled: RAN

25. Future JD's exam: LSAT

26. Mongolian tent: YURT. Now available as expensive "glamping" accomodations in Big Sur, among other places.

30. Shaggy rug from 12-Across: RYA. Remembered from crosswords past.

32. Kosovo neighbor: Abbr.: ALB. Albania, on the Balkan Peninsula.

33. Surfeit: GLUT

34. How-to presentation: DEMO. I've demoed a lot of software in my time. One of the more enjoyable parts of my work day.

35. Bearing: MIEN

36. Prominent New York City feature: SKYLINE. The most impressive skyline I've seen is Hong Kong island overlooking the harbor, especially at night when all the buildings are lit up in neon.

37. Give a little: SAG

38. Not post-: PRE-

42. Short dogs, for short: PEKES

44. Like some scarves: WOOLEN. This gave me pause for quite some time. I've always spelled it with two "L"s.

45. Works out: INFERS

46. Last family to keep a White House cow: TAFTS. Two cows actually, Wooly Mooly and Pauline Wayne. There's that single "L" again in "Wooly".

48. Dangerous virus: EBOLA

49. Lennon love song: WOMAN. Written for Yoko, as 57D cross-references.

50. Twist: IRONY

51. Fleet: RAPID

54. Heated state: RAGE

55. Large green moth: LUNA. Quite impressive-looking things. I don't think I've ever seen one.

56. One may be choked back: SOB

57. Dedicatee of 49-Down: ONO

58. __ alone: not to mention: LET

And with that, I'm on my way. Have a great day!



Lemonade714 said...

How nice to wake up to a JW presented by Steve. Coincidentally, I was speaking on the phone last evening with my son as he was driving to Melbourne for an early morning meeting there and we were discussing Lady Caroline Lamb notorious for her affair with Lord Byron while married to the second Viscount of Melbourne. We were discussing why the city was so named (after its first postmaster who had lived in Melbourne Australia) and Byron's time with the Shelleys and the contest to write the best horror story.

The theme was much fun, and as Steve said lots of sparkle in the fill. A Shakespeare quote, the unknowns for Steve were all gimmes to me having empaneled many juries and watched too many comedies to not know the SPIT TAKE buy needed all the perps for RYA which I forgot and ALB which did not compute.

My favorite was the MOTOWN pun with DETROIT and ST. LOUIS having the same number of letter.

Thanks guys.

D4E4H said...

Good morning POSTer CORNer FLAKES, and those that are still sane!

Thank you Jeffrey Wechsler for this tough Thursday CW. I had to reveal 3 letters including the "F" at 12. I wanted the high winds to be Gales.

Thank you Steve for your excellent review. You are well qualified to assess skylines, 36 D.

More to come.


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Spent my time doing the Hokey-Pokey -- FIFES went in and came back out. FLAN went in and came back out. FINLAND went in and came back out. My worst misstep was FINEGAN'S WAKE (Yeah, I know there are two Ns. Hi, Misty.). Anybody else try ATRIAL for that heart valve? Thanx for the workout, JW, and for the tour, Steve. Time to order more Wite-Out.

"Words without vowels" -- How 'bout SYZYGY. We always joke when someone has more than $20K heading for the bonus round on Wheel of Torture, they're going to be getting the SYZYGY puzzle. I learned SYZYGY from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

DON HO: What one of the beauty contestants in Miss Congeniality calls Miss Hawaii.

"Wooly": Steve, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs spelled it with one L -- Wooly Bully.

Anonymous said...

10:05 today, and this time I saw (and used) the theme.

I've not seen the Karloff version, and … ,stop calling me Shirley.

Lemonade714 said...

I also like the CSO to JOHN LAMPKIN who introduced us to the fabulous Luna Moth.

Big Easy said...

I'd heard of MUFTI but really wasn't sure until the perps confirmed it. FINLAND was an easy gimme (only 7 letter country) so it allowed the FIFES to blow instead of the GALES. After filling the NW FRANKENSTEIN THE MONSTER and MARY SHELLEY were easy fills. All of us (older people ?) know BORIS KARLOFF and I remember GENE WILDER in the Frankenstein comedy way back when.

I had to change DROP DOWN to DRAG DOWN because there isn't any country in the Balkans close to Serbia, Kosovo, or Bosnia that begins with an 'O'; ALBania it had to be.

EPAULET- a crossword puzzle word. LUNA was perps.
SPIT TAKE- you're not the only person who had never heard the term before.
SEED HEADS- a new term for me but and easy fill.

The first NFL analyst from the Cowboys-- Don Meredith on Monday Night Football. ABC was lucky because Howard Cosell knew nothing about football. And with that tidbit of info I'll just say:

"Turn out the lights, the party's over"

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Thank you, Jeffrey, for another mind stretching treat. Thanks, Steve, for a great expo. I hadn't known the story of the writing of "Frankenstein". Fun to know.

Last to fill was MUFTI/MITRAL. I had a friend who had MITRAL valve problems, but that was many years ago. Tried ventral. The whole NW corner stumped me on first pass. Then I rapidly filled the NE and had STEIN so backed into FRANKENSTEIN. I was surprised it was right. Like Steve, I associated MUFTI with something military. I was thinking French Foreign Legion.

Slapstick reaction = SPITTAKE? EEW!

YAk before YAP.

Lemonade714 said...

great reference to Dandy Don the Dean of Cowboy analysts.

Gunderson said...

"Percy, do you think I should use my real name as author of this horror story?"

"Mary Shelley? HELL YES, MARY!"

"By the way, who was the inspiration for the name, Frankenstein?"

"AL and Gertrude"

Husker Gary said...

-Dang! I put SIGNEES and ignored INFEES. Sigh…
-Most forget that FRANKENSTEIN wasn’t the MONSTER, but rather its creator
-For good or ill, BORIS KARLOFF was typecast from then on
-Rulers in my science class were always metric
-Trying to EMPANEL a jury was one of the many OJ trial dramas
-An administrator can inspire or DRAG DOWN a staff. I’ve had both
-What I think of when I hear SOLOMON, albeit in the New Testament
-Keeping a LEANING building from falling post-earthquake in Taiwan
-FIFES fills in for OBOES today
-Always a delight, Steve!

Yellowrocks said...

I wonder why this took so long for me, when there were no unfamiliar words. I wanted FRANKENSTEIN early on, but thought it didn't fit. Duh! BORIS and MARY tipped me off and I acquiesced. Thanks for the interesting puzzle, Jeffrey and the fine expo, Steve.
Spit take brings up this picture. Have you ever seen someone drinking coffee when a joke was made and he laughed so hard he spit the coffee out. EEW! as PK said.
I have seen a beautiful luna moth twice, both times while camping.
Old fashioned military uniforms and some present day band uniforms have epaulets.
Grammarists say a vowel is only a sound and not a letter. Dictionaries say it can be a letter, too. Grammarists disagree on how to classify Y and W. I learned the vowels are AEIOU and sometimes Y and W, as in SAY and HOW. They certainly are not used as consonants in these words. My preference is to call Y and W vowels in this case. YMMV.
The older I get the less black and white I see. I see more gray areas to match my graying hair. I am not a purest or an absolutist. I often say, "On the other hand." "Both/and" I found many quotes in print for WOOLY and WOOLEN and many for WOOLLY and WOOLLEN. BOTH/AND

oc4beach said...

Another Jeffrey Weschler Thursday level puzzle bordering on a Friday level. Good one. Steve provided background on Frankestein that I had never heard of. Very interesting.

It's Alive! It's Alive!

Officially a DNF because I looked up FRANKENSTEIN, but then everything sorta fell into place.

A few hitches along the way. I had YAK before YAP and I misspelled MIEN which held up filling in SPIT TAKE.

Have a great day everyone.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I was very surprised by the non-word play theme from JW, but his signature devious and deceptive cluing was as challenging as ever. On my first pass, I had mostly white spaces, not knowing the title, therefore, none of the other long themers. Once I filled in Frankenstein, the rest fell into place easily. I had Covered before One Lane and, for reasons unknown, read the Mo. Town as Fall mo. and entered Sep. (I either need new glasses or a new brain!) Gales were eventually shown to be Fifes. I've seen Spit Take before and remembered the other meaning of Mufti from a previous puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed the solve but I prefer the word play wizardry that JW is famous for.

Thanks, Jeffrey W, for an enjoyable change of pace and thanks, Steve, for the concise commentary.

Have a great day.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

YR @ 1002 - the AY and OW I would call a vowel digraph.

What a delight to take on a challenging Wechsler puzzle. Finally got it all but I found it easier to work from the bottom up. Eventually, words like MUFTI and MITRAL came to me with a little perp help. Favorite clue/fill was FIFE.
SPITTAKE sounds like it could be a type of East Asian mushroom. :-(
EPAULET - We had shoulder boards on our Khakis and Whites to depict rank.
FINLAND - An early candidate but held off until FIFE flew. The Finns are great people; very friendly and very honest. Their cuisine is not talked about much. They seem to love boiled potatoes sprinkled with parsley along with salmon.

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

CanadianEh! said...

Terrific Thursday. Thanks for the fun, Jeffrey and Steve*.
My newspaper does not credit the constructor; I arrived here to see that this was a JW creation and immediately understood why I was challenged.
I did finish with many inkblots but arrived here to discover I FIWed with Signees instead of SIGNERS (hello HuskerG).

Shall I count the inkblots? Carloff changed to KARLOFF, Gab to YAP, Ria to RYA (I also noted REA). I started with an Aortic valve (and noted the similarity to cross of the Arctic** Circle nation), moved around the heart to Atrial (hello d'o) and finally reached MITRAL.

I toyed with Elan before MIEN, and Tort (but that's the legal word) before FLAN. Perps decided between E Coli and EBOLA. Hand up for wanting Gales before FIFES.
I fought TAFTS with the S because "Last family to keep a White House cow" inferred a singular answer, The Taft family, to me. But I will concede that you could answer "The TAFTS"!
Unknowns included SPIT TAKE, MUFTI (as clued).
I loved the clue for SAGS=give a little - LOL.

I had to decide between wooly or woolly when I wrote about the Pom-pom on the Toque last night. I chose the British woolly. (BTW, Thanks for the Doug & Bob, AnonT)

Wishing you all a great day.

*(The grammarist in me said EEW at "Her, her husband Percy and Lord Byron had a competition to see who could come up with the best horror story." It's OK; we love you Steve!! Thanks for all your hard work on the blog.)
**I noted on Wheel of Fortune the other night that Connecticut is another word like Arctic where the 2nd C is silent.

Misty said...

Woohoo! I got a Thursday Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle without cheating. Woohoo! Had mostly blanks at first until I got to the bottom right which filled in and gave me KARLOFF. That gave me BORIS and when THE MONSTER and ___STEIN filled in I knew it was FRANKENSTEIN and that gave me MARY SHELLEY. A delight to get the theme, many thanks, Jeffrey. Like others I had GALES and once again didn't stop to consider that "winds" may refer to something besides weather. I also had ATRIAL before MITRAL. And I kept wondering if SPIT TAKE could be right when I've never heard the term. But there was Steve's picture to prove that there is such a thing.

Off to the dentist to get my crown replacement today. Hope the rain doesn't get too stormy on my drive. Have a great day, everybody.

CrossEyedDave said...

Another JeffWich,

I almost gave up, then discovered Frankenstein...

That kept me going for a long time, but the NW corner did me in.
I found Fifes, but had to look up Mufti, which finally gave me perpage...

I guess Jeffrey is not in my zip code...

Yellowrocks said...

From a teacher's manual. "Vowel digraphs are combination of vowels that combine to make a single vowel sound like the OA in boat, the AI in rain, the EE in feet, the EA in sea, and the OO in moon. (The digraphs AW, EW, OW, OU, and OO as in wood are covered in vowel digraphs unit 2)."
The dictionary gives (kuh-net-i-kuh t) as the pronunciation for Connecticut. I have never heard the second C pronounced by anyone except foreigners and small children. With the state being so close to NJ, almost everyone here has heard the correct pronunciation. The Connecticut spelling is a poor transliteration of a Native American name.
The C in indict and indictment is also not pronounced.
Although the first C is pronounced in the standard pronunciation of ARCTIC, many dictionaries gives as an informal alternative, a silent first C. When I was a kid we called winter boots arctics. Funny, we did not pronounce the first C for them, but we did for Arctic Circle.

In some dictionaries there is an alternate spelling for library with the first R silent, although saying the two R’s is standard. Some things we used to consider wrong have become informal alternatives.
The English language is endlessly interesting, as it grows and changes.

Anonymous said...

It's not just YR. There are different reasons for each departure. Mine was the deepening culture of cliquey relationships. It seems if you are not part of the clique, you are ignored or even disrespected. Then you are deleted. Go ahead there TTP. Do your dirty work.

Lemonade714 said...

While do not feed the trolls is a wonderful anthem, I cannot help but ask anon 12:22, who are the people in these cliques and when were you ignored or deleted? Other than personal attacks I am unaware of any comments randomly removed.

Many of our posters were/are teachers. As such they tend to comment as if they are lecturing (teaching) hardly something to get riled over unless you really hated your schooling.

Abejo said...

Good afternoon, folks. Thank you, Jeffrey Wechsler, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Steve, for a fine review.

I had lots of errors in this puzzle which caused me to look at everything again. My first was putting in ICELAND for 12A. I was able to make the LAND part work, but the ICE did not. I finally figured out FIFES and that gave me FINLAND. Phew.

Had DROP DOWN before DRAG DOWN became the answer.

With a few perps I tried FRANKENSTEIN. Then later I got BORIS KARLOFF with a few more perps and the fact that I already had FRANKENSTEIN. MARY SHELLEY and GENE WILDER eluded me for quite a while. Finally got them with perps and wags.

TAFTS was interesting. The white house cow. History never hurts us.

Remembered YURT easily. We have had that through the years in crosswords.

My mother sewed so she UNPINned. And my wife sews, so she does it a lot as well. Our dining room is a sewing sweat shop.

We just had an old fashioned downpour here. Weather was nice for a few days, and then wet (again).

Lots to do today. See you tomorrow.


( )

Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIW, missing SUm x mYA. Erased iceLAND, went OUT, Stephen Rae, Drop DOWN, YAk, EcOLi for EBOLA and aortic for MITRAL.

How will Jinx get his Honda to Florida in December? TOW IT.

Folks with heart murmurs must take big doses of antibiotics before going to the dentist to avoid MITRAL valve prolapse.

Cornerites who are also Jumbleites were just treated to a Mary Shelley riddle. I try to solve the puzzle without decoding the anagrams, but I'm not successful very often recently.

Great puzzle as usual, JeffWech, And another fine review from Steve. Good blogger - BISCUIT!

Time to play with the DirecTV tech. I can get standard def but not HD channels. I know what's wrong, the trees have grown to block the satellite at 99 degrees but aren't big enough to block the one at 101 degrees.

AnonymousPVX said...

I have no issue with YR or any other poster putting up posts that explain. There is also no rule that you have to read them if you do not like the length or context.

There are folks who have been here much longer than others, so it isn’t surprising there is friendliness between posters who have posted for a long time.

I haven’t been here that long, I’m hardly ever mentioned but I do not feel there is any exclusionary process here, just the difference between familiarity and the lack of same.

And so on to this Thursday puzzle. Any Wechsler puzzle means go slow, and I did.

Hard to get a foothold anywhere, so I just started with short stuff in the south and worked back up. markovers today and no bad cells.

But this is only Thursday, 2 tough puzzles left this week. See you tomorrow...hope this wasn’t too long.

TTP said...

12:22. no, you never left. You just decided not to post with your blue name for the last 4 or 5 years.

Some of your posts have been quite amusing, and others have been relevant observations about words or discussions in the puzzle. Your playing of "relevant name game" sometimes bring a smile. Your style and mannerisms of writing are consistent, and often immediately recognizable.

I've only deleted your posts when you've attacked various regulars, or tried to disrupt the blog. I find it amusing when you post as if you are three or four different people; that you would think that most of us aren't aware you are pretty much this blog's singular troll.

I have deleted other comments of yours that would have been (and are) tolerated when regulars and other anons write them. But you tend to take it over the top, like when an answer with an obvious error slipped past Rich and Patti, and you criticized to no end. Most everyone recognized the error. Some made a comment about it. You wouldn't let it go.

So yes, after your attacks and mean spirited criticisms of others, as well as your sanctimonious posts of what should be and what should not be allowed on this blog (as if you had standing) I am far less tolerant of what you want to say, and you are more likely to get deleted.

Simply consider the hundreds of your posts that have not been deleted. If you stay in your lane and play nice, your comments won't be deleted. Sound reasonable to you ?

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Wechsler is my favorite puzzle constructor. It’s always a fun challenge. I love this blog and never find it cliquish. I appreciate all the hard work that goes into producing this blog each day. Thank you!

Lucina said...


A million thanks Jeffrey Wechsler and Steve!!! This was great fun and a lively romp. I started on a completely different track thinking of 19th century literature. First,The Leatherstocking Tales and James Fennimore Cooper then Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom's Cabin but none of that worked out, of course.

Finally, I recalled the scandal of the century when MARY SHELLEY abandoned Lord Melbourne for Lord Byron and they fled to Italy; in a moment of whimsey they held the contest which led to the creation of FRANKENSTEIN. In my previously sheltered existence I didn't study about such things but only learned them later in life.

My eraser took a beating in the NW with GALES and GUSTS before FIFES. FINLAND is a beautiful country and since we were there in August the weather was mild. I was vastly impressed with the enormously tall trees and the kindness of the people. We crossed the Arctic Circle as we left Russia to enter FINLAND.

Hand up for never having heard of SPITTAKE and remembering RYA from previous puzzles.

In the sewing days of my youth I also would UNPIN fabric from patterns and for many years made my own clothes.

Drat! I missed MUFTI/MITRAL with sufti/sitral.

GENE WILDER in Young FRANKENSTEIN has to be one of the best comedies in existence.

I always taught vowels as a,e,i,o,u and sometimes y.

Have a spectacular day, everyone! It's really windy here.

Anonymous T said...

I pretty much gave up when it was time to get Pop from IAH...

JW - I got your theme but the fill was brutal. DNF. Steve, we know how it's pronounced :-)

PVX - you are a very welcome member of the 'clique'. You best me in just about every puzzle (No WOs?!? - I couldn't get KARLOFF's name right 3x! [really, no V?]) and I enjoy your take. Tell us a little about your day and we may FIFE-back atchya more oft.

Pop and Eldest are on a walkabout so... Nap time!

Cheers, -T

Jayce said...

I loved this puzzle. For some reason I put MITRAL in immediately. I wanted ICELAND but MITRAL wouldn't allow it, and it took me too long to think of FINLAND. Once I sorted those out and solved DON HO (a gimmee) and INSET, FRANKENSTEIN emerged and the rest fell into place. I did a double take at SPITTAKE and laughed with glee at Spitzboov's idea of it sounding like an East Asian mushroom.

Didn't know the term SEED HEADS but I've sure blown a lot of them.

Good one, Gunderson! Al and Gertrude indeed.

"Eats shoots and leaves", eh, CanadianEh!

Hey Lemonade, I gotta say this: if someone gets riled about something (and don't we all?) please don't turn it into a personal attack by adding the totally unnecessary "unless you really hated your schooling." Thank you.

AnonymousPVX, well said.

We had a bog downpour here, too. Soggy woggy outside today.

Good wishes to you all.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Curious timing.
Yesterday's Jumble had a MARY SHELLEY/FRANKENSTEIN theme, and now Mr. Wechsler's Xwd follows suit.
The first edition of the book was published 201 years ago, on January 1, 1818, so it's not as if there's an exact anniversary to be celebrated.
Guess it's just sheer coincidence.

My first impulse was to try to cram in a later novel, Les Misérables, but that proved a niggle too far.

SPIT TAKE was fun. It's a part of every comic actor's repertoire, one that seems to be enjoying a lot of attention these days.
I think of it as a "double take" with benefits.
For my money, the hardest to pull off is the infamous "triple take." Groucho could do it. He could do just about any number of "takes."

Bill G said...

Did any of you do CC's NYT puzzle yesterday? If so, could you explain the theme to me? I missed it completely.

Branch Timberlake said...


Yes, that sounds perfectly reasonable. It's a deal. Seriously.

But I must say that there definitely is more than one resident troll. For one, I have never and will never refer to YR as that other moniker. If I am troll number one then he/she is troll number two. They have an issue with YR that I do not share. Also, there is a troll that tries to play the "relevant name game" but cant hold a candle to my superior cryptic reference skills. Lol. So that is troll number 3. Also there is possible troll 4 who likes to chime in early, usually on a Saturday, complaining about obscure clues and "too difficult for them" puzzles. We could dub him troll baby. My point is that though you have deftly pegged me and my style, please dont lump me together with those inferior beings.

I always thought you could ID me with knowledge of my IP address but apparently that is not the case or you would know that there is more than one troll.

desper-otto said...

Bill G, think salads.

Michael said...

Branch Timberlakle @ 3:56 --

Thank you for the clarification on the 'troll road' we have to drive on, sometimes, on the Corner. I can see both sides, but on occasion some clues (""shaggy Finnish rugs" for $200, Alex") get a bit twee, which may trigger a spot of Crossword Clue Grump.

Branch said...

You know you've made it as a troll when other trolls pretend to be you and try to bask in your troll-ness. But when they sully your name with ill behavior, the troll is on the other foot.

Imitation is the sincerest form of blandishment. Or bandishment, whatever the case may be.

Anonymous said...


I'm an aspiring crossword constructor who has recently discovered and enjoyed this blog. I'm curious what y'all think gives a crossword fill some "sparkle." I know that the "crosswordese" words (OLEO, ERA, and the like) lack sparkle, but is there more to sparkle than just uniqueness? For instance, "GASHEAT" was looked at very favorably yesterday, I believe. What was it about that answer that gave it its sparkle?

(To be clear: I'm not criticizing any commenters. I'm genuinely just curious because I want my own crosswords to have some sparkle as well.)

Bill G said...

D-O, thanks. It seems so obvious after your hint.

Bid Easy said...

Why are people getting so uptight over the troll team? I've learned to ignore ignorant people who have nothing to say, if they don't put a name. I'm not about to start criticizing anybody for what they write (this is not a creative writing class) and everybody is entitled to their own opinions, good or bad.

But they don't need to be ugly. So my word for the 'anonymous' ones out there:

"Turn out the lights, the party's over" and just GO AWAY.

Branch T. said...

*Or banishment.

Damn, I hate it when a typo ruins a pun/clever joke.

Wilbur Charles said...

I never noticed the Jeff Wesch moniker. I'd have thought it was harder.
OMK, Sandy and Misty I'm sure quickly recognized the theme.

I was trying to think of an Arctic country beginning with the G in GALES.

I've learned not to sip coffee and read jinx and CED else EEW.

Thanks for the nifty write-up Steve.


CrossEyedDave said...


I was going to post,
and admonish the (possibly well known) anon(s),,,

but decided to wait & let clearer minds prevail.

Since (most everyone) has chimed in,
I thought it would be of help to point out
what happens when a Blog goes to the Dogs... (12 minutes...)

B.T. said...

Last post of the day. Number 5

Just to let CED and others know. Although i may occasionally put a toe or possibly one foot over the line, I dont have evilness in my nature.

Also, I didnt intend to hijack the late posts today. Btw,shout out to Mr Nicklaus of this first day of the PGA at Bethpage. Get it? Hijack.

I just enjoy being anonymous and try to differentiate myself from other anon's without joining in the blue reindeer games.

Spitzboov said...


Steve said...

@Anon 4:52

My sparkle factor comes from new, unusual fill. Crossword Info will give you a "freshness factor" percentile rating, and also show you how many times a particular word has been used. Obviously, there are staples you can never get away from.

Also, the editor has a say in when relatively new words (selfie) are "in the language" enough to qualify, so there's a balancing act there.

Sandyanon said...

The Louvre pyramid is one of the most creative structures I have seen.

SwampCat said...

Oh my! I finally get my iPhone to work... temporarily... and I run into this troll fest. Bad timing.

JW, thanks, my friend, for the challenging fun.

My only advice is Chill out! We’ll all survive!

Irish Miss said...

CED @5:19 ~ Your link made me laugh so hard my stomach hurts! I had never seen that skit before and found it hilarious. Thank you.

Anonymous T said...

Pop's asleep and I finally (with copious "I remember Steve said.." cheats) finished the puzzle. Nice tribute - esp. the nod to Mel Brooks' version - puzzle JW.

@4:52anon / fellow aspiring constructor. What makes GAS HEAT sparkle, at least to me, was the clue. House-warming makes one think a bottle of wine or a crystal vase [I never understood that one] and then, to be so literal with the answer - that's a left turn at Albuquerque* in the brain/BEAN that makes it fun.

CED - The clip w/ Tim got LOL/absurdist when he 'bit' Carol.

A Toast to all our Crossword Friends at The Corner (even some of the Anons [yes, we know your IP ;-)]).

Cheers, -T
*See: Bugs Bunny. Note the IN SET

D4E4H said...

32 D -- Kosovo neighbor: Abbr.: ALB. Albania, on the Balkan Peninsula.

I knew this because we have a young woman working here who is from Kosovo, who speaks Albanian, and is slowly learning English.

My last letter was the "T" at the Natick of 37 A, the infamous SPIT TAKE and 26 D YURT. I did not know YURT.


Lucina said...

Did anyone else notice that one of tonight's contestants on Wheel of Fortune was from NATICK, Mass.? Pat even said crossword puzzle solvers would recognize it.

I also laughed until I ached at that sketch. I may have seen it before as I tried to watch The Carol Burnett Show every week.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steve and Anonymous T, for your feedback!

DBN said...

Big mistake in this puzzle. In the 1974 movie, Young Frankenstein, the monster was played by Peter Boyle, not Gene Wilder.

TTP said...

True, the monster was played by Peter Boyle. But no mistake.

THE MONSTER was the answer to 20A "Unnamed character in 17A". The answer to 17A was FRANKENSTEIN. Frankenstein is the name of the book and the scientist, not the name of the monster. The monster had no name.

47A. 1974 portrayer of 17-Across: GENE WILDER, is correct.