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Jan 17, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020, David Van Houten

Title: A tribute to our own Melissa B. As we hold our noses and hear the sound change.

This is the LAT debut for Mr. Van Houten, who did have a puzzle published in the David Steinberg's Universal crossword October of last year. Here is the LINK to the FIEND write-up. Oddly we have had a spate of "B" puzzles but this one is not intended as a letter substitution but as a sounds-sort of-like puzzle. The rest is not a typical Friday with many 3/4 letter words. and not a great deal of new fill. But it was fun. We do have some longish fill BECAUSE,  LOOSENS,  HEAD COLD,  RAT'S NEST, and TROTTING and some

17A. What dogs do to set a tempo?: BARK TIME (8). I like this visual, with a Boston Terrier leading the band.

24A. Bartender's lager-serving skill?: BUD SLINGING (11). Mudslinging was an old fashioned political strategy.

40A. Convenience for a fish traveling around the city?: BASS TRANSIT PASS (15). Mass transit...

52A. Annoyed answer to "How's your jobless roommate working out?"?: BUMS THE WORD (11). "Mum's the word" means to keep silent or quiet. Mum is a Middle English word meaning 'silent' and may be derived from the mummer who acts without speaking.

And the reveal:

65A. Malady that accounts for four Across puzzle answers: HEAD COLD.

That was the beginning, then came...

Across:

1. "__ Is Betta Than Evvah!": 1976 R&B album: ETTA.
5. "Disgusting!": UGH.

8. "The Real Housewives" series airer: BRAVO. Do you WATCH?

13. Sprat's choice: LEAN. Jack was an early Keto supporter.

14. Slice of pizza?: ZEE. Did you fall for this?

15. Consuming: EATING. True but not my first thought.

19. One making amends: ATONER. Another literally correct fill, but even during Yom Kippur I would not use this word.

20. __ dog: ALPHA. A 2007 movie

21. Uproars: DINS.

23. Miler Sebastian: COE. Sebastian Newbold Coe, Baron Coe, is a British politician and former track and field athlete. As a middle-distance runner, Coe won four Olympic medals, including the 1500 meters gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984. Take that Frank Shorter.

28. "Just __": BECAUSE. Did the quotation marks help you solve?  DO you prefer ELVIS; DIDO; or, JANE's ADDICTION?

32. Creepy glance: LEER.

33. Word said with a sigh: ALAS.

34. School subj.: SCIence.

36. Self-service bar offering: SALAD. That is a cop-out

44. Join: ENTER.

45. Excavation: DIG. My oldest has been on 4 so far, three in Italy and one in Greece.

46. Green subj.: ECOLogy.

47. Barflies: SOTS.

50. Works free: LOOSENS.

56. Beer choice: IPA. India Pale Ale.

57. Prefix with byte: TERA.

58. Name on Re-Nutriv cosmetics: ESTEE. Lauder.

63. Sport played on a variety of surfaces: TENNIS.

68. V-8, for example: ENGINE. Not a canned juice.

69. 1979 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee: ORR.

70. Brest bestie: AMIE. A mixed-language alliteration. Brest is a port city in the Finistère département in Brittany.

71. Mild oaths: DANGS. Perhaps from 1781 (in Sophia Lee's comedy "A Chapter of Accidents," which was acted first in 1780), a minced euphemism for damn.

72. Feed bit: OAT.

73. Coffee __: BEAN.

Down:

1. Italy's Isola d'__: ELBA. On April 11, 1814,  Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France and one of the greatest military leaders in history, abdicates the throne, and, in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, is banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba.

2. Blue-green shade: TEAL. Teal is a blue-green color. Its name comes from that of a bird—the common teal —which presents a similarly colored stripe on its head.

3. Cover during a delay: TARP. Baseball.

4. Pharaoh's symbol: ANKH.

5. Gun designer __ Gal: UZI. The Israeli machine gun designer.

6. Beloved person: GEM. A stretch, but the perps were fine.

7. Follows: HEEDS.

8. Babies leader?: BEANIE. Beanie Babies are a line of stuffed toys created by American businessman H. Ty Warner, who founded Ty Inc. in 1986. Notably, the toys are stuffed with plastic pellets rather than conventional soft stuffing, giving Beanie Babies a flexible feel.

9. Total mess: RAT'S NEST. A place of great clutter or disorder. Also, our techies can explain the meaning of this for computer wiring etc.

10. Words on the first of a set, perhaps: A TO-.

11. Leonardo's birthplace: VINCI. That is where the Da Vinci comes from.

12. Situation after a leadoff double: ONE ON. Baseball.

16. One of the Bradys: GREG. Barry William Blekhorn

18. House of Dana fragrance: TABU. It has an interesting history. The first fragrance of the house was Tabu, created by Jean Carles 1932. ... Before creating Tabu, he was instructed to make a fragrance for a whore (‘un parfum de puta’).

22. Down (with): ILL.

25. Old map abbr.: USSR.

26. Octa- plus two: DECA. Silly.

27. Sour __: GRAPES.

28. 1995 Oscar-nominated animatronics film: BABE. I really loved this film. WATCH.

29. Pizazz: ELAN.

30. Credits heading: CAST.

31. Rate: ASSESS.

35. Like Brahms' Symphony No. 2: IN D. Sorry, maybe JzB will explain.

37. Tie (up): LACE. Your shoes, not your significant other.

38. "... __ is given": Isaiah: SON. We Corner bloggers do not comment on religious issues, but for those who want a different perspective, I will provide this LINK.

39. PC connections: DSLSDigital Subscriber Lines are a family of technologies that are used to transmit digital data over telephone lines.

41. Palomino pace: TROTTING. I like the alliteration.

42. Missile site: SILO.

43. Hunchbacked assistant: IGOR.

48. Dissertations: THESES. It seems fitting next to...

49. Preacher's msg.: SERmon.

51. Binged (on): ODED.

52. Quick meal: BITE.

53. Capsize: UPEND. Tricky.

54. Japanese comics: MANGA. We have seen this often recently. My favorite.

55. Large mackerel: WAHOO. If I were Boomer, I would say it reminds me of WAHOO MCDANIEL but is just a FISH.

59. Union member's nemesis: SCAB. I thought it was an acronym, but it is from Middle English (as a noun): from Old Norse skabb ; related to dialect shab (compare with shabby). The sense ‘contemptible person’ (dating from the late 16th century) was probably influenced by Middle Dutch schabbe ‘slut’.

60. Great work: TOME.

61. Academy award-winning director Kazan: ELIA. An impressive but controversial DIRECTOR.

62. Fall site: EDEN. The fall of man with snakes and not apples.

64. Diarist Anaïs: NIN.

66. History book chapter: ERA.

67. Fine print, say: ART. A little humor to finish the grid.

I hope you had a fine solve and some hope for the future with MLK day Monday. Welcome DVH and be well all. lemonade out/




41 comments:

OwenKL said...

Our theme today, a B. M. movement
On constipation is an improvement,
But a HEAD COLD
To enfold?
That, I think's, a poor denouement.

Egyptian death cults may seen dank
But life they worshiped with the ANKH.
Their tombs they'd plan
With great ELAN,
For afterlife their gods they'd thank!

{B+, A-.}

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Needed Wite-Out up top and down bottom, but at least my middle is clean. UGH went in and came back out. And went back in. Five-letter TV channel? Gotta be A-AND-E, right? Wrong. OPUS/TOME, ANIME/MANGA, other stumbles. Why lead-off double? Seems overly specific; single or triple would work as well. But, d-o got 'er done and even figured out the theme before the reveal, so life is good. Thanx, David and Lemonade. (I take it your son digs Italy more than Greece.)

RATS NEST: Apt description for d-o's desk.

Anonymous said...

I realized the "B for M" part relatively quickly and it took 11:06 to finish, but I still don't understand what "head cold" has to do with it. Would someone please explain the theme/reveal?

Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIW, losing my P&P and filling aLBA x aTTA. Never thought of ETTA James, one of my favorites, especially the smokin' torch song Somebody to Love. (Sorry for the lyrics link; I have to stay off YouTube until I get unlimited internet.)

I had a bite at the salsa bar before settling for salad, traded in my ale for IPA (at least I didn't drink the PBR), and fixed ELIe when I started using my BEAN.

I'm leg-weary today after attending the Tampa RV Supershow yesterday. I found it reassuring that a couple of million dollars can still but you a really fine 500 square foot home on wheels. I spent most of my time in the miscellaneous vendors' displays with stuff that even I can afford.

Thanks to DVH for the fun puzzle, and to Lemony for another entertaining tour.

desper-otto said...

Anon@7:20, the idea is that when you have a head cold and your sinuses are stuffed up, all of your Ms sound like Bs. Yeah, it's a stretch.

jfromvt said...

Fun puzzle, and it was obvious early that B replaces M for some play on words. Despite desper-otto’s explanation, the reveal still doesn’t make any sense to me.

Yellowrocks said...

FIR, I immediately saw the M to B shift. I, too, think the head cold reveal was a stretch. Even with a cold we do not call Mom, Bob.
Mudslinging is more alive and well today than ever. It is a many times a day occurrence in politics. Do any of you still hear the term?
Now, ALAS, does seem to be old fashioned. I find it only in print.
What do LEERing men hope to accomplish? All the girls and women I know are turned off by it. UGH!
Mom called a total mess a mare's nest, instead of a rat's nest. The dictionary gives two meanings for mare's nest.
1. something imagined to be an extraordinary discovery but proving to be a delusion or a hoax:
The announced cure for the disease was merely another mare's-nest.
2. an extremely confused, entangled, or disordered place, situation, etc.:
We just moved in, and the place is a mare's-nest.
The Phrase Finder says only #1 is "proper," however #2 is more popular. Getting on my hobby horse, I say what is "proper" is changing.
Of course Handel is his oratorio, "The Messiah," has a very different take on what "A son is given," refers to.

Yellowrocks said...

OOPS, Handel IN his oratorio.

Sherry said...

Thanks for explanation. I did not get it nor like it.

TTP said...

Good morning.

Welcome, David Van Houten.

BASS TRANSIT PASS cracked me up.

Some words with mb endings are difficult to pronounce with the congestion of a head code (er,um, cold). Sound out dumb, as if you have a cold. I currently have one, so it's not hard for me.

Not that these were mb words changing to b words, but it's the closest rationalization I could come up with.

Thanks, Lemonade !

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

No wite-out needed today but I did get 3 letters wrong. mASS, and PAil. Sigh. I really liked the puzzle for a Friday, and I thought some of the cluing was exquisite; "fine print" and "works free" par ejemplo. Thanks David for a fine submission. BZ.
IN D - - Brahm's Symphony #2 was keyed in D Major.
WAHOO - First I thought it was a CSO to Misty. USS WAHOO (SS-238) was a WWII submarine. It sank a lot of enemy shipping but was, unfortunately, sunk in La Pérouse Strait off Hokkaido in Oct. 1943. Many subs were named after fishes.

1º F. here this morning.

Husker Gary said...

Musings
-Lemon’s summative paragraph works for me
-Warren/Sanders’ MUDSLINGING – Did not, did so, did not…
-I was a SCI instr.
-DIGS were a big part of Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park
-LOOSENS crossing LACES – something we all do
-The school secretary (administrative assistant, please) where I taught for 36 years was a real GEM
-My sisters garage is full of non-appreciating BEANIE BABIES
-Hesitance to kill twenty million people gave rise to drama in the SILO! (:19)
-The bypass around WAHOO, NE allows us to get to grandkids in Lincoln in much more quickly
-Me too on BM, Owen!

Anonymous said...

Nice Friday puzzle.FIR. Glad to see there wasn't the usual 15+ proper names to suss. The theme and some of the clues were a bit of a stretch and I didn't know what 10 down and 67 down meant. All in all a good Friday puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, D-O for the explanation, but I'll admit I read the subsequent comments hoping someone would add something else that was missing. Calling it a stretch is an understatement. Decent puzzle otherwise.

I think "mudslinging," sadly, has become synonymous with "politics."

Tinbeni said...

Lemon: Wonderful, informative write-up. Good job!

Fave today, of course, was the answer at 24-a, BUB SLINGING (though I would order a "Craft Beer" at my Pub).

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Cheers!

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

A nicely finished Friday...piZZa...had me scratching my head followed by a forehead slap.

I only knew ETTA because it rhymes. Wanted to put pit instead of DIG but Brahms never composed in the key of P...was looking for a canine breed for ALPHA dog.

DIN just extremely loud noise? Not necessarily an uproar. (No need to scurry off to google, I'm probably wrong)

THESES the plural of these?... Had to defend my theses (tesi) at University in Italian. One of the greatest life challenges. "In bocc' al lupo" (Into the mouth of the wolf) colleagues augur as you enter the hall.

Should have parsed BEANIE immediately. Scores of them invaded our home during the "Great Beanie Baby Plague of 1990" and lurk in a closet refusing to leave.

The long 40a answer felt like I was solving the puzzle on the "Wheel of Fortune." Our lake is overrun by BASS illegally introduced. Eat all their cousins. The Adirondack Park Agency issued a "catch and DON'T release policy." So we bring our catch to a fun bass-fry party on the beach each summer. Great eatin'

A piscine observation...

If a mackerel is holy a WAHOO must be beatified!

Speaking of Leonardo recommend to any historical fiction buffs like myself the TV series "Da Vinci's Demons" partly fictionalized but fascinating.

Have a fish fry Friday.

NaomiZ said...

Please explain how ZEE is a slice of pizza! Simply that it is one letter of the word? Odd clue, but I was able to complete everything and enjoyed the puzzle. Many thanks to our constructor, editors, and commentators.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

It's a "slice" out of the middle of the word I guess....Had me baffled too.

SwampCat said...

I liked this puzzle. Yeah, some of the clues were a stretch but it all worked out so no harm no foul. Thanks David for the entertainment.

Lemon, always a pleasure . Thanks.

Owen, what can I say? Hehehehe

Spitzboov I’m sure you are aware during WWII, when Navajo code talkers we’re confounding the Japanese with the unbreakable code of their native language, there were certain military words that had no corresponding words in Navajo. So they put together native words as close as possible. Submarine therefore became Iron Fish.

Since subs were often named for fish, that seems appropriate and has always pleased me.

AnonymousPVX said...


It seems folks like themes until they don’t.

A bit of a problem in the NW but no issues otherwise. “HEAD COLD” as the theme reveal was ok, I got the message.

Write-overs all in the NW...MEAT/LEAN, ESTE/ELBA, ATEN/ANKH.

My sons...in their 30’s now....call Pizza “Za”....because 2 syllables are one too many, I suppose. “Let’s order Za for dinner. What should we get on it? How about Ba ?”

See you tomorrow.

Misty said...

This was a fun Friday puzzle, even though I didn't get all of it--but many thanks, and welcome, David. Anon, thanks for asking about the HEAD COLD, which I also had trouble understanding as the theme, and thanks for explaining, Desper-otto. And Spitz-boov, thank you for remembering my WAHOO, even though I couldn't honestly produce one today, since this was still a bit of a toughie for me. But I had a good start with LEAN and TEAL, and had fun with ERA, ORR, and OAT at the bottom (the tiny corners worked best for me). Also enjoyed filling in DIG, SILO, and, of course, IGOR. So, thanks again for the fun, David, and for the write-up, Lemonade.

Enjoyed your poems, Owen.

Have a good end of the week, everybody.

Yellowrocks said...

I call the din in the lunchroom an uproar, one aspect of teaching I certainly do not miss.

CrossEyedDave said...

Well, normally, I would report an FIW...
You see, 47A, Barflies, I started writing Gad (as in Gadfly),
but it did not fit. & after much perpage/rewrites fixed it all but
forgot to change the "G" (Assegs/Got???) & never saw it til now..

But in the spirit of the puzzle,
I will just blame the pronunciation on a Head Cold...

Spoiler Alert:
This puzzle reminded me of the Awesome (for its time)
1963 movie, First Men in the Moon!

I can't show you the specific clips due to copyrights,
but this movie started with a head cold,
and ended with a head cold...

You see, it starts with the 1968 moon landing finding a british
flag on the Moon, with a note, and then reporters visiting a now
90 year old (thought to be crackpot) with a very bad head cold.
And ends with the fact that all alien life on the Moon was killed
off by (possibly, the very same) Head cold!

Hungry Mother said...

Nice puzzle with a fun them. When I think of WAHOO, I think of this. I'm the dude on the right on a 2001 charter in Key Largo.

Ol' Man Keith said...

A delightfully clued pzl from Mr. Van Houten!

Ta~ DA! ~ But with one exception. I went with BASS TRANSIT PANS at 40A instead of PASS. I see that either would work, as fish can certainly travel in "PANS."
The only potential flaw in my logic is that I have not checked all of Isaiah (38D) to see where "'ANON' is given [unto us]" may be located.
~ OMK
____________
DR:
A single diag, NW to SE.
12 of the diagonal's 15 letters can be utilized to spell out that little mite of money that all good mothers warn their daughters to keep on hand, to be used only in an emergency.
We may call it the...
"DIRENESS COIN"!
A different arrangement of the available letters explains where this cash may be spent--if our heroine should find herself stranded after curfew in Newport Beach or Santa Monica.
We might well find her at a...
"SHORESIDE INN"!

John E said...

Thanks for helping me understand "head cold." Although it didn't make ANY sense, I thought it might be cold, not warm, as in "wrong, but you're getting warmer."

Roy said...

Lemonade explained the sound substitution in his first line. CED made it even clearer with his cartoon link.

Jayce said...

This puzzle seemed a bit easier than what I expected for a Friday, but it was fun to solve anyway. I agree that the clues "fine print" and "works free" were exquisite. Lots of mozzarella in this puzzle, too.

Big Easy said...

The M to B change was apparent after the BUD was poured. The biggest trouble I had was he same as Jinx; 1A & 1D, solved by an E as a guess. The rest was a speed run. Isola de ELBA where where Napoleon was ISOLAted, supposedly; got out fairly quickly.

ESTEE, BRAVO- logical guesses but unknown.
TENNIS- grass, clay, concrete, & hard court surfaced with different types of veneer.

DSL s- ATT changed mine last week from DSL to fiber optic cable; cheaper and 12 times faster.

BRAVO- it's in my 'package' but the great thing about UVerse is that you can hide channels and with garbage like the 'Real Housewives' shows BRAVO is not desired; it's hidden on the TV that I watch (not the other three that DW uses). I also removed every single shopping channel. I'll never buy anything off of QVC and I don't want to even see it by accident.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Congrats David on your LAT debut! Fun puzzle; cute theme.

Thanks for the expo and kicking-off the after-part Lem. I will be skipping ALPHA Dog.

WO: ELoN
ESPs: COE, A SON, ELIA, WAHOO (Hi Misty!)
Fav: Fine print == ART was cute.
I also like "A TO" like you'd see on an encyclopedia with the addition of ALPHA & ZEE.

I liked the theme. When I finished, I though aloud "what does head-cold have to do with BARKT..." and the V8 hit.

{B+, A}
Fun twofer OMK.

CED - The premise of the cold killing advanced life form reminded me of a short-story by Asimov's.
IIRC: I guy with a terminal disease gets cryogenically frozen to be thawed when they have found a cure.
He wakes in the future and sneezes.
They kill him because they had spent years eradicating the common cold.

I wish I could recall the name of that story.

HG - War Games is one of my favorite movies (and the impetus for hacking).

Cheers, -T

Jayce said...

Big Easy, I’m glad you got fiber. I wish AT$T would bring fiber to our neighborhood. They already have it on the next street over, less than half a mile away. I read, however, that they have no plans to put in any more fiber anywhere.

Wilbur Charles said...

Boy did I make a mess of this one. I've got ---VO and I end up with TEEVO. And… DHL??. I had SON changed it to "A TON is given". Ok, you know those modern translations. And, TRANSIT PATH seemed ok since the NY-NJ "Transit" is called the PATH*. Big fat FIW!!!

I'm guessing before reading comments that folk found this medium Friday tough*

Owen, #1 is one of your best ever. A++,A today

I'll erase this if it's a dupe but ELBA is part of the Napoleonic palindrome (Able was I ere I saw ELBA). Then again for want of a nail… **

Re. A TO "Z". I named one of my dice baseball players "Ency Hesp" after an encylopedia Volume. He was a good steady ballplayer but not with much power, unlike "Kokomo Joe".

-T and CED, also the theme of "War of the Worlds". The Martians die from human bacteria or viruses.

WC
* And to think I'd just listened to Charlie on the MTA

** I'm doing Shortz' NYT yearly XW book. I started at "Medium" and did the right hand pages since I'm a lefty*. Then I decided to try a left page. If the right are "Medium" then the left are Medium too tough for Wilbur???

Allegedly the messenger sent to fetch Ney lost a shoe on his horse. Here's the poetic version
the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.
Benjamin Franklin

** To no one's great surprise. I did get a nice letter from Norm Nathan for my Lefty Sprockett pastiche. Takes one to know one.

Lemonade714 said...

WC- you raise an interesting question. How many of us are sinister, gauche and otherwise societal pariahs? I am and damn proud of it.
Speaking of gauche- how about a computer puzzle theme

TERMINAL DISEASE

Wilbur Charles said...

Lemonade, we who employ le main gauche tend to think differently than our right handed contemporaries. Oh, the third grade with Sister Kevin and the ink splotches on the paper(1953).

Then we had art. My piece de resistance was a horse with a completely square, blackened head . At that point "sinister" would have been a kindly epithet.

WC

Wilbur Charles said...

PS. She gleefully showed the class the vile work of art. I vowed and kept that vow that I'd never draw anything again.

WC

JD said...

Hi all, Thank you so much for your sweet birthday wishes on Tuesday. I have not forgotten all of you, but seem to be busy with grandsons and am having a ball helping over at their school. Joined a few reading groups and card groups, as well as keeping up the gardening and walking. I don’t get to the CW until late and of course, by the time I write, you are all asleep or have read everything. I have to admit that I really can’t do Friday or Saturday puzzles any more. You have some VERY smartcruciverbalists now. Of course, CC is the best!
Since I upgraded my iPad and my phone I have not been able to write to you, but I asked for help...HELP!!...and my sweet husband has enabled me to say hi once more.

A special thanks to Lucina who sent me a note. I still travel with Dick and his wife....oh my, we have been to so many lovely places. Also Carol and I are still in contact. We play Words With Friends, my little vice right now.

Bon nuit

Lemonade714 said...

How great to hear from you JD. Do you use your crossword book of new words to improve your Words With Friends skills? Dick and carol, more of our lost posters. Always welcome.

Lemonade714 said...

Before I forget - HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETTY, and many more!!!


98-YEAR-OLD BETTY

CanadianEh! said...

Frantic Friday. Thanks for the fun, David and Lemonade.
Too busy to do this CW until this afternoon, and then out for supper and a hockey game. (No, ORR was not there)
WEES by now.

Many inkblots, but I saw the B to M theme but not really the HEAD COLD. Oh well.

I moved from Ados to DINS. Hand up for Anime before MANGA, and thinking of juice before ENGINE.
"Join" made me think of Unite before ENTER.
Can we get IPA at a "self-service bar"? SALAD was a bit of a letdown.

AnonT- good observation about A TO with ALPHA and ZEE. Can we add IN D?
JD- good to hear from you.
Good evening all.

JD said...

Lemonade, LOL! I still have that notebook full of new words I learned doing the crossword, and yes, I every so often look up those Hebrew months and music vocabulary that I can never remember. Remember those inane stories I wrote using all the new A words...then the B story and so on? What was I thinking?! Nice of you to remember.

Anonymous T said...

C, Eh! - at first passing of your IN D comment, I was reading/thinking you wanted a D for ZEd in the Pizza clue. Oh, yeah, that key was there too. Nice catch.
That said: Trust me, this being a Friday Puz, I had ZE- waiting nearly-Godot(ish) on the perp [gave up on UGg (final G never inked! :-)) and found my H]

JD - It's so nice to see you post again. Reading of your 'notebooks' a while back, I think I commented on how Grams & Gramp's kept their crossword dictionary filled with new words they uncovered. See, <long story follows >
My paternal grandparents had no better than an 8th Grade education but they loved playing puzzles. Oh, and how they'd argue about a clue/answer before penciling one in. They kept multiple crossword books as reference (and never considered it a 'cheat' to look something up).
They were a hoot to a 12yro.
They are why, one late night not being able to sleep, having finished reading the paper, I (at 34yrs) started solving a grid.
And as I noodled a clue, I thought of them sniping each other: 'it won't be that you old man'; 'what do you know woman?'
The next morning's paper would tell them what was right.
And they'd pencil another word in their dictionary.
Those memories, as I inked my first go hooked me.
//I initially kept a notebook; then I didn't :-)

CYBER-saga: We found it! (google NOT ROBIN [no space] if you're curious) and thwarted the attacks. Fortunately, only one of 8 systems world-wide were affected [knock on wood].
//Initiate downtime routine.

Cheers, -T