Showing posts with label Diane C. Baldwin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diane C. Baldwin. Show all posts

Jan 6, 2009

Tuesday January 6, 2009 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: Heating Up

20A: Lives dangerously: SKATES ON THIN ICE

37A: Finds troubles: LANDS IN HOT WATER

48A: Loses one's punch: IS ALL OUT OF STEAM

Too bad RUNS OUT OF STEAM is one letter short. I feel it's a better clue than IS ALL OUT OF STEAM. BLOWING OFF STEAM has the correct number of the letters, but it does not fit the tense pattern.

Nice to see YOGI (11D: Berra of baseball) in the grid. Wish MITT (8D: Potholder alternative) were clued as "Glove for 11D" as a tie-in. YOGI Berra is a great catcher after all. Who is your favorite catcher? I used to like A. J. Pierzynski. Wish I had seen Johnny Bench play.

Easy sailing today. Notice how this puzzle differs from the ones offered by Allan E. Parrish/Barry Silk? No letter Q, X or Z.

Oh, for those who have trouble with Roman numerals, here is a great website for you to cheat. Also, I found this snowball clip JD/Clear Ayes located yesterday to be very funny.


15A: Pueblo dweller: HOPI. Zuni is 4-letter too. Look at these HOPI Kachina dolls, very intriguing. Their bodies are carved out of wood, right?

25A: Makes confused: ADDLES. Reminds me of that long fancy word "Discombobulates".

34A: React to a bad pun: GROAN. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says "Dam!". Does this make you GROAN?

40A: Musical piece: OPUS. Have never seen OPUS clued as "__ Dei" in TMS puzzle.

41A: Demeanor: MIEN. This word always brings to mind the Marlboro Marine. He has such a tough MIEN, yet so fragile in real life.

57A: Asian capital: SEOUL. Literally "capital city" in Korean language. The same as Japanese city Kyoto. Beijing literally means "North capital" in Chinese. Nanjing (Nanking in Cantonese) is "South capital". Xi'An means "West peace".

60A: Marine ray: MANTA. I can never remember this fish. What is so special about it?

64A: March middle: IDES. The 15th of March, May, July, or October. And 13th of the other months.


13D: Withered: SERE. And WET (43A: Moisten).

25D: Luminous: AGLOW. Does anyone like J-Lo's GLOW?

26D: Cover loosely: DRAPE. Beautiful, isn't it?

35D: Purl's counterpart: KNIT. I thought PURL is a kind of knitting. Why "counterpart"?

36D: Glass panel: PANE. Horrible clue.

45D: Whiskey bottle sizes: FIFTHS. No idea. Why FIFTH instead of fifth or sixth?

46D: Mozart's "The Magic __": FLUTE. Here is "The Magic Flute" overture.

54D: New Old World money: EURO. I misread money as "monkey". Thought of TITI, which is actually "New World monkey".

55D: Kind of sax: ALTO. This clue made me laugh. But seriously, I have great difficulty pronouncing "sax" and "sex" distinctly. I need a patient person to sit in front of me and teach me how to say "bad", "bed" and "bide".


Dec 31, 2008

Wednesday December 31, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: On the Road To Success

20A: Proceeded slowly: TOOK BABY STEPS

37A: Didn't hesitate: JUMPED RIGHT IN

52A: Accomplished easily: SAILED THROUGH

I am not sure I got the theme right. Those answers are three different manners to achieve one's goal, right?

This is probably the easiest Wednesday puzzle we've had in December. Simple clues, simple answer. "Nice life?" for VIE is a breath of fresh air. Nice has quite a few interesting museums: Musée Chagall, Musée Matisse, etc. I would like to visit there someday.

I really miss baseball, so I might have clued ESS (27D: Slalom trail) as "Season opener?". Lots of other ways to play with ESS, you know, "Slow start?", "Strong start?". Might be too risky to have "Sex start?" though.


9A: Patriot Allen: ETHAN. Or one of the Coen brothers. I could not grok "Fargo" when I first saw it in 2001. Very strange Minnesota dialect. Yah, you betcha!

15A: Jason's vessel: ARGO. Out of those Argonauts, Atlanta is the only girl, right?

19A: Like sailor's stories: SALTY. Do you know why SALTY dog is named so? What does "dog" refer to?

25A: Presidential nickname: IKE. I thought of ABE first.

33A: Binary digits: ONES. Zeros and ONES.

57A: Yoga position: LOTUS. My grandma used to make pickled LOTUS root for us during Chinese Spring Festival.

60A: Guernsey or Anglesey: ISLE. I've never heard of those two ISLES. Here is the map for Guerney. Wikipesia says "Guernsey is not part of the UK but rather a separate possession of the Crown, comparable to the ISLE of Man". What does "the Crown" refer to then? ISLE of Angelsey is in the northwest coast of Wales. I suppose "Sey" is a corrupted form of "sea"?


2D: City in a Shakespeare title: VERONA. "The Two Gentlemen of VERONA". Also the setting for "Romeo and Juliet".

3D: Tour guide: ESCORT. "Tour guide"? Really?

4D: Military hat: SHAKO. Without the across fills, I would not have got this plumed hat.

11D: Finland destination: HELSINKI. Is Finnish language very different from from Swedish?

32D: Broadcast again: RERAN

45D: Practiced conservation: REUSED. I think weekday puzzle should limit its prefix to two.

46D: Sought indirectly: ANGLED

47D: Old anesthetics: ETHERS. See, I understand this "Old", meaning "former" or "bygone". Some of the "Old" city clues drive me nuts.

51D: Ta-da!: VOILA. Done! See you tomorrow!


Dec 24, 2008

Wednesday December 24, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: Play It Safe

20A: Way to lessen risk: HEDGE ONE'S BETS

41A: Ponder pros and cons: WEIGH THE OPTIONS

58A: Put out feelers, maybe: TEST THE WATERS

Did I catch the right theme? I seem to have trouble coming up with an apt title lately. Maybe too much pomegranate green tea?

I don't think the clue for HEDGE ONE'S BETS is accurate. The clue is asking for a noun phrase, while the answer turns out to be a verb phrase.

I had quite a few false starts this morning. Some of the clues are a bit unexpected. I like how NOSE (64A: Poke (around) intersects YENTA (55D: Meddlesome woman). It reminded me of the matchmaker YENTE in "Fiddler on the Roof".


9A: Felt, for one: CLOTH. Nice clue. "Linen, for one" would probably be too easy.

15A: Ex-QB Aikman: TROY. The guy on the right is Joe Buck, who has a rather distinctive voice.

15A: Scales sign: LIBRA. Interesting traits, Dennis.

19A: Love, French style: AMOUR. Ha, I wrote down AIMER carelessly, thinking "Love" is a verb.

23A: Words to live by: CREDO. ''I believe'' in Latin. "All Things Considered" (NPR) has a "This I Believe" statement segment every Monday.

37A: Spiny tree: ACACIA. Why is it called "Spiny tree"? Wikipedia says some of the most valuable ukuleles and acoustic guitars are made of ACACIA koa wood, like this one used by Taylor Swift. These flowers are so pretty.

44A: Decide with authority: DECREE. I am more familiar with the noun DECREE.

68A: German pistol: LUGER. New name to me. She is a LUGER too.

71A: Fencing equipment: EPEES. Better clue than "Fencing swords", which straightforwardly demands a plural answer. "Fencing gear" is a tricky clue too.

72A: Stat equivalent: ASAP. Probably a gimme for those doctors. But I was thinking of the sports figure "Stat", you know, ERA, RBI, etc.


3D: Bona fide: AUTHENTIC. I was only familiar with "in good faith" definition of "Bona fide".

4D: Mighty mount: STEED

9D: Paragon: CLASS ACT

21D: Sleepy's pal: DOC. Some of the rejected Seven Dwarfs names sound pretty good. I like Gloomy, Cranky and Silly.

22D: One on the run: ESCAPEE. I wonder why it's not ESCAPER. Oh, no, I don't like this alternate ending for ''The Shawshank Redemption'.

23D: Invade one's space: CROWD. I am not fond this clue.

29D: Revive a lost lesson: RETEACH. I wrote down RELEARN first.

38D: Matrimony prelude: COURTSHIP. Do you like short & intense COURTSHIP or long, gradual buildup one?

40D: Narnia's lion hero: ASLAN. Turkish/Persian word for "lion". I can never remember the name. Liam Neeson voices ASLAN in "The Chronicales of Narnia".

42D: Expectant beneficiaries: HERITORS. I was thinking of HEIR TO BE. At least, 4 letters fit perfectly.

53D: Missouri feeder: OSAGE. Also a type of orange.

59D: Old you: THEE. I was thinking of THOU. Still can't believe that I've never heard of THOU as a slang for "10 C-notes". Where have I been?

60D: Difficulties: WOES. I associate WOES with miseries rather than "Difficulties".

67D: Landscaping shrub: YEW. Now, which part of this YEW is poisonous?


Dec 17, 2008

Wednesday December 17, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: Choice Words

20A: Poker player's alternative: GET IN OR GET OUT

39A: Negotiator's option: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

53A: A call for action: FISH OR CUT BAIT

This constructor seems to favor three theme answers, with the middle one running through the grid.

Lots of vowels in this puzzle. And quite a few 5-letter words with 3 vowels alone. Felt like I just had a few OREO cookies for breakfast. I think I need more than that to sustain me through the morning.

The clue for ODDS (54D: Track stats) needs to be changed into "Track figures", as "stats" suggests an abbreviation. I would prefer a "Track fence" clue for RAIL (55D: Balustrade), since ODDS parallels RAIL in the grid.


1A: Plunk down: PLOP. I dislike the letter duplications. "Set down heavily" is fine. Or simply clue PLOP as a noun, like "Stone dropping into water sound", or something like that.

9A: Power for Fulton: STEAM

14A: Tibetan monk: LAMA. Literally "superior one" in Tibetan language. Wikipedia has a different definition, claiming it's similar to Sankrit "Guru", meaning "teacher".

19A: Bow lubricant: ROSIN. Baseball pitchers also use ROSIN for better grip, when their hands are wet or cold.

30A: Removal from office: OUSTING. I did not expect an *ING ending noun.

35A: Render harmless: UNARM. Same clue applies to DISARM I suppose.

38A: Debate side: ANTI. And ANTE (8D: Feed the kitty). They are of different root, so it's acceptable to place the two words in one grid.

44A: Captain Nemo's creator: VERNE (Jules). "Father of Science Fiction". Interesting, Wikipedia says Verne is "the second most translated author of all time, only behind Agatha Christie". I wonder where Shakepeare is placed.

46A: Snappy comeback: RIPOSTE. It's the same as repartee, isn't it?

49A: Yule quaff: EGGNOG. Very seasonable answer. Seasoned too of course, with nutmeg.

67A: Abrasive cloth: EMERY. This lower left corner is very boring, with NICER crossing RARER.

69A: Wild plum: SLOE. "Wild plum"? New to me. I thought SLOE only looks like a plum. I am more used to the "Blackthorn" clue.

69A: Big jerk: YANK. "Big jerk"? Is this about Yankees' Steinbrenner?


4D: Place for a barbecue: PATIO. Another 3-vowel word.

5D: Number puzzle: SUDOKU. Numbers give me headache.

7D: Percussion instrument: GONG. I wonder if our editor is aware of GONG Li, who has been the most influential Chinese actress in the past two decades.

10D: Rainbow in the water: TROUT

11D: New Yorkers, for instance: EASTERNERS

12D: Rope-a-dope poet: ALI. I was not aware of the origin.

21D: Model Campbell: NAOMI. Hebrew for “pleasant”, not a word to describe NAOMI Campbell though. NAOMI Watts, yes.

25D: Eyeball membrane: RETINA

26D: Treated with malice: SPITED

28D: Digital alternative: ANALOG

29D: Machine gun assault, perhaps: RAKING FIRE. The answer revealed itself after I filled in the across fills. Have never heard of this term before.

36D: Gen. Powell's status: RET. I wonder if Gen. Powell knows that RET is "Soak flax" in our Xword world. His wife is an avid crossword solver.

38D: Hail to Caesar: AVE. Probably not many St. for Caesar to cross during his life time.

40D: Dark meat serving: THIGH. Can you imagine what Dennis would say if the clue were "Breast alternative"?

52D: Dark, heavy wood: EBONY. I just saw "The Piano" last night. Are black piano keys still made of EBONY?

60D: Bard's before: ERE


Apr 8, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: Common Phrases for "WORN OUT"

20A: In need of a boost: RUNNING ON EMPTY

39A: Energy depleted: ALL OUT OF STEAM

60A: Exhausted: ON ONE'S LAST LEGS

I enjoyed your comments on yesterday's ICED/ICE tea, very entertaining. Keep 'em coming!

It's a "S" Fest today. Total 23, that's about 12% of the total fill. These rampant ESSE, ESSEN, MESS, ASSES made me cringe! Did you groan at all?

I had a double-bogey round of golf today, mainly due to the heavy-rough right corner. First of all, I had no idea where the fairway was. I did not know that "bark'' can be a boat/SHIP. And WISTERIA was not an easy word to be squeezed out of my brain, neither was ARMYWORM. I felt so stupid falling into the ISMS bunker again. What a waste of my years studying Marxism, Leninism and Mao Ze-Dong Thought.

So I cheated, I went to the dictionary for the definition of "bark", kicked my ball out of the rough a la Mulligan President Clinton, hacked it close to the green and somehow chipped it in. All the other holes were fairly easy, no dogleg, no severe slope, no unfair pin position. All in all, a fun round!

The grid structure of the first several rows and the middle part is so similar to Ms. Baldwin's last offering. She might be using a crossword software for the construction I think. Are any of you guys foodies? Do the crossings of ASPIC, TOAST & OGEES look pleasing to your eyes?

Grid: Total letters filled: 189. Total blank squares: 36 (identical to yesterday's).

Front Nine:

10A: Swing to and fro: SWAY

15A: Half-pints: RUNTS. I got it from down clues. I had no idea that "Half-pints" is a slang for a short person. Besides "shrimp", what other words have the similar meaning?

19A: Doctrines: ISMS

24A: Word with Whiz: GEE. Good, no more "Turns right" (GEES), singular for a change. This should make one solver happy. Want to know who he/she is? Go to the Comments section of the March 27 puzzle, and see who opined at 7:39am.

25A: Generic stuff: DNA. Never know when to put DNA and when to put RNA.

26A: Flock member: EWE

30A: Pi follower: RHO. Very easy to infer, even if you are not sure of the exact order of the Greek alphabet.

32A: Atomic number 5: BORON. No idea. I suck at this atomic matter.

34A: Took the cake: WON. I ATE first.

36A: Frequently, to a bard: OFT

38A: Encircle: GIRD. Variant spelling is GIRT.

43A: Utter joy: GLEE. I always associate utter joy with "BLISS". To me, "GLEE" has a "GLOAT" connotation.

45A: "Annabel Lee" poet: POE. I tried too hard to outsmart the editor. I penned in EAP recklessly.

46A: Small salamanders: NEWTS

50A: Meat stock jelly: ASPIC

65A: Poultry housing: COOPS. Good clue. "Housing" refers to houses collectively, in case you wonder why "S" is there.

68A: Be entertaining: AMUSE

69A: Soybean paste: MISO. Hmm, it's clued as "Sushi bar soup" last time. Someone misread the clue as "Sushi bar soap" (you know who you are). And this soap does exist, look at here.

Back Nine:

1D: Hooded vipers: COBRAS. Never knew that "Hood" a special term for snake's neck skin. Interesting. Snakes do not have sternum.

2D: Exceedingly sudden: ABRUPT

3D: Primitive shelter: LEAN TO. Weren't you here yesterday?

4D: Loretta of country music: LYNN. Surprise me with something else! Jaime __ Spears!

5D: Stretch one's neck: CRANE. I try to picture how COBRAS can "stretch their ribs outwards which expands the hood."

6D: Kind of strike: HUNGER. Solution: Force-feed!

8D: Stalemate: STANDOFF

9D: City on the Ruhr: ESSEN

10D: Ark or bark: SHIP

11D: Showy ornamental vine: WISTERIA. It's "any climbing shrub belonging to the genus Wisteria, of the legume family, having showy, pendent clusters of blue-violet, white, purple, or rose flowers." Look at this picture, isn't it lovely?

12D: Destructive moth larva: ARMYWORM. Ick.

22D: Queen of fairies: MAB. "Queen Mab". It's also the name of Marianne's horse in "Sense and Sensibility."

29D: Little screecher: OWLET

31D: Hogwash: HOOEY

33D: Curvy moldings: OGEES. It's a "molding having the profile of an S-shaped curve". Now this is very fascinating: "In fluid mechanics, the term ogee is used for an aerodynamic curve due to the "oh, gee!" effect of physically navigating such a curve. For example, a wing may be shaped as an ogee curve, particularly on supersonic aircraft such as the Condord. Also, the downstream face of a dam spillway is usually formed in an ogee curve to minimize erosion."

35D: Crackpot: NUT

39D: Tavern: ALE HOUSE. I put TEA HOUSE first.

40D: Indecency: LEWDNESS

41D: Humdrum: TIRESOME. I put BORESOME first.

42D: Drinker's salute: TOAST

43D: Economic stat.: GNP (Gross Nation Product). I am just so intrigued by Bhutan's GNH (Gross National Happiness) measurement. It's such an innovative way to ascertain the quality of our life, albeit not as scientific as GNP.

49D: Slip away: ELAPSE. Don't like the double "P" appearance here.

51D: Lyrical: POETIC. Have yet to hear from Bob Dylan himself on the Pulitzer!

52D: Consume: INGEST. Antonym: EGEST

53D: Universe: COSMOS. The plural for COSMOS could be COSMOS or COSMOSES.

56D: Coffeehouse order: DECAF

58D: Nincompoops: ASSES. Could not find the origin of this "Nincompoops" anywhere.

61D: Fodder for the smelter: ORES. I never knew that "Fodder"s plural form is still "Fodder". Good to learn. This is my favorite clue of today's puzzle. I like the "er" rhyme.

62D: Churlish individual: LOUT. I put BOOR first.

63D: Succotash morsel: LIMA. Disagree. It's LIMA BEAN. Cooked with kernels of corns.

64D: Sleep state: R. E. M. (Rapid Eye Movement". It's was clued as "Man on the Moon" group on March 18.

Please let Philip J. Anderson return tomorrow!


Apr 1, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: Common Phrases Meaning "GRASP"

20A: Understand: SEE THE LIGHT

38A: Comprehend: GET THE MESSAGE

55A: Catch on: TAKE THE HINT

I did not detect any April's Fools' hoax in this puzzle, did you?

This grid reminded me of John Underwood's March 25 SLIP puzzle (last Tuesday's). Lots of three letter words, though theme was not as lively. I don't think I like the way those two 4-blank squares are stacked & cornered together in the middle of the grid. It just does not fit my eyes.

I did not finish the puzzle today mainly due to my English vocabulary deficiency. I did not know the meaning of "Metronome" and "Solfeggio", and I've never heard of the movie "Free Willy", so I went through hell trying to fill in the DEER part of the puzzle.

I do like the CLAW clue, and I love how it intersects CLASP. It evokes such a vivid image! I am a bit irked by 43A: Oral delivery: SPEECH. This "Oral" is as unpleasant as yesterday's CODE. If ORAL appears as the answer to 6D: Voiced, this "Oral delivery" clue should really be promptly discarded. Hello Williams, can you hear me now?

Grid structure: Total words counts: 78. Total blank square: 36 (maximum is 43).

1A: Grizzly weapon: CLAW. Do you know that grizzly bears eat plant also?

5A: Fall flat: BOMB

9A: Alluring trait: CHARM. Just do not clue ALLUREMENT as "Charming trait" next time. It will drive someone nuts!

14A: Old Italian bread? LIRA. Money. This bread clue is getting staler now. Bake something new for us.

15A: "Stride la vampa.": e. g.: ARIA

19A: Can't do without: NEEDS. I gather you can also clue NEED to be "Can't do without", right?

29A: Spook, maybe: SPY. Never knew that spook is a slang for espionage.

34A: Ho Chi Minh City, formerly: SAIGON. "Good morning, Vietnam"! We have a fellow TMS crossword solver there.

44A: Electron tube parts: ANODES

47A: "Free Willy" star: ORCA. Unknown to me, but it's a good change from the "Killer whale" clue.

51A: Old-fashioned messages: TELEXES

53A: One of Florida's Keys: LARGO

59A: Tubby plus: OBESE

64A: Cut and paste: EDIT. Shouldn't it be clued as "Cut and paste, e. g."?

66A: Gondola alternative: T-BAR. I was thinking of the Italian boat. Did not know anything about the Gondola lift.

68A: Tete topper: BERET. The unbearable ennui! Surprise me with something new next time!

Down entries:

1D: Jewelry fasteners: CLASPS

2D: Get into position: LINE UP

3D: Red cell carrier: ARTERY

4D: Cool one's heels: WAITS

5D: In the altogether: BARE. Hmm, I've never heard of this expression before. I thought it meant SANE. American idioms are killing me!

9D: Negative beginning: CONTRA. I like this clue. Contra- is a prefix here.

10D: Cry's partner: HUE. Cry and Hue.

21D: Courage to continue: HEART. Not fond of this clue at all. I don't know. I guess I was expecting something more audacious & intrepid. The HEART here sounds so Coward Lion-ly.

25D: Singer Shore or Washington: DINAH. One name is enough!

26D: Hyped up: AGOG

33D: Metronome's reminder: TEMPO

35D: Chopin piano piece: ÉTUDE

41D: Solfeggio: SCALE

48D: Rein in: BRIDLE. Yep, this is not a time for "unbridled enthusiasm" & "irrational exuberance".

49D: Catch fire: IGNITE

58D: Rhino's weapon: HORN

59D: Poetic peeper: ORB. Nice change from yesterday's "Eye, poetically" clue.

60D: Quilting klatch: BEE. This is the first time I meet Klatch.


Mar 24, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: Location Phrases

21A: Special clique: INNER CIRCLE

47A: Strained boundaries, maybe: OUTER LIMITS


30D: Sleeper car option: LOWER BERTH

Very symmetrical theme entries. Nice & easy! I polished it off in probably 20 minutes, cheated only once for TORS.

Grid Analysis:

Size: 15*15

Total Word counts: 78. This has reached the maximum word counts for a Monday to Friday themed puzzle. For your information, the maximum word counts is 72 for themeless Saturday puzzle, 142 for Sunday's themed (and titled) 21*21 puzzle.

Total black squares: 36

Across clues:

1A: Faithful: TRUE. Faithful? How about "Unfaithful"? I love this Diana Lane/Richard Gere movie. The Ai Du (Ali Farka music) is featured in the bathtub scene, very exotic and erotic.

10A: Whiskey spritz: SODA

15A: Wide-eyed: NAIVE. I put AGAPE first.

16A: Zenith: APEX. I put ACME first.

18A: Gun-toting: ARMED

19A: Slammer unit: CELL

26A: Theatre angel: BACKER. Why British spelling? No need here!

28A: Short-changed: SWINDLED

42A: Regarded highly: ESTEEMED

46A: Chocolate substitute: CAROB. Have never had this before. I hate all kinds of ersatz food substitutes.

55A: Political coalition: BLOC. One thing I would advocate is to change CIA's Assassination Manuel. Just gun down the halfwit Ahmadinejad, his hard-line conservative bloc will be automatically dismembered. Easy crumble! No need for another war.

56A: Archie Bunker's wife: EDITH

58A: Part of RPI: INST (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

62A: Iditarod rides: SLEDS. Its terminus is NOME.

Down entries:

5D: More ridiculous: INANER

7D: Soil sweetener: LIME. No idea. Only Miracle Growth for our garden.

9D: Mao's bailiwick: RED CHINA

10D: Sanctified: SACRED

12D: Small valley: DELL

21D: Dangerous time for Caesar: IDES. IDES of March. In Roman calendar, ides can also be the 15th of May, July or October.

28D: Sturdy: SOLID. I put STOUT first.

29D: Bit of weakling: WUSS

37D: Assortment offering: SAMPLERS

41D: High rocky hills: TORS. Did not know this word.

44D: Sympathetic sorrow: PATHOS. Here is the definition: PATHOS is a quality that evokes sympathy, sorrow. Interesting, here is another word: BATHOS. It's defined as "A false or overdone pathos that is absurd in its effect." Can anyone give me an example?

46D: Referenced: CITED. Don't foist upon me any words that cannot be referenced in my dictionary, no more ATIP please!


Mar 14, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: To Get What You Want

20A: Use one's influence: Pull Some Strings

37A: Ask nicely: Say Pretty Please

48A: Influence under the table: Grease a Few Palms

I screwed up the upper left corner again. Purely self-inflicted wounds. I mis-read Humdinger as Harbinger, so I was adamant about my OMEN fill. The fact that I could not dislodge ORAL from my dense brain this morning for _Roberts U only exasperated me further. I remember the improper use of fund scandal by Richard Roberts last year, but I just could not summon up his father's/his university's name.

I filled in "pretty" for the theme entry 37A very early on, and I had "some" already penned in for 20A, so naturally I wanted it to be "handsome", briefly flirting with the idea that the theme might be handsome -pretty-ravishing or something like that.

After a great "O" (I counted 11 O) feast, I managed to piece everything together in 30 minutes (including google). And it looked like a good puzzle, esp the crossing of 47A: FLU and 47D: FEVER. I start to appreciate this kind of effort the constructor puts in.

Across entries:

1A: Viscous clump: GLOB. Not a good image to evoke the first thing in the morning.

3A: Evil spell: CURSE

14A: Ambiance: AURA. I still insist that, oratory skill aside, Obama has the RFK (not JFK) aura. Have to disagree with Ted Sorensen.

16A: In seventh heaven: ON AIR

17A: Take-out side order: SLAW. 4-letter word, what else could it be?

18A: Indonesian island: BALI. Or Java sometimes.

19A: Fetch: BRING

24A: Jazz piece: RAG. Have no knowledge of jazz, don't know what exactly is a rag.

25A: River swirls: EDDIES. Could never fill in this word without thinking of Eddie Guardado.

29A: Gay Nineties and the like: ERAS.

31A: Jiffy: SEC. Could not recall if JIFF as a brand was ever clued in a TMS puzzle.

34A: Bakery come-on: AROMA. I can smell it.

35A: Course culmination: EXAM. Not fond of this clue.

36A: Paparazzi prey: STAR. Depending on what the meaning of "IS" is. OK, isn't Meryl Streep a bigger star than fame-craved Lindsey Lohan? Paparazzi never preys on her (Streep).

42A: Gutter side: EAVES. I was thinking of bowling.

43A: Novelist Deighton: LEN

44A: Work the soil: TILL. Interesting information: "Till" is also a popular song recorded by quite a few artist. Unknown to me. By the way, "Till" can also mean "unstratified, unsorted, glacial drift of clay, sand, boulders and gravel".

45A: Bear witness: ATTEST. Oh, "Kristen". I still could not understand how Eliot Spitzer tossed away his career just like that.

47A: Respiratory malady: FLU. I tend to associate "flu" with fever, headache, can not think of any respiratory involvement. "Asthma" is a big respiratory problem.

57A: English aristocrats: LORDS

58A: Classic Chevy model: NOVA. Got it from down clue. Unknown to me. Not a car fan.

59A: Fossil fuel: COAL

60A: Au revoir!: ADIEU. I hear "à bientôt" or "salut" more often. But I never lived in Paris before. Could not tell for sure.

61A: Low card: TREY. Learned from doing crossword. Never play any card game.

63A: Slow-witted: DENSE. Slower than that, it will be imbecilic.

64A: Otologist's focus: EAR. I like the clue, first time I saw "Otologist", tired of of Ear-related OTO though.

Down entries:

2D: Humdinger: LULU. Doozy.

6D: Crockett's last stand: ALAMO (Davy). Where have you been, crockett1947?

7D: Man or Dogs: ISLE. Never heard of Isle of Dogs. But I like the clue.

8D: Clark's gal: LOIS. Superman girl.

9D: Hooded vipers: COBRAS. Anyone read Michael Gordon's Cobra II? By the way, COPRA is coconut meat, dried.

10D: Take down the sails: UNRIG. I wanted DE RIG.

12D: Tell at: SING. Never knew that "Sing" can mean "to rat".

13D: Work units: ERGS. Here is the definition I lifted from the dictionary: "The unit of energy or work in the centimeter-gram-second system, equal to the force of one dyne over a distance of one centimeter. This unit has been mostly replaced by the joule."

21D: Promise solemnly: SWEAR

22D: Vagabond: TRAMP. Hobo. Could not see any beauty in those hobo bags.

25D: Art supporter: EASEL. I was on the wrong track, thinking of those Broadway backer angels and Art Gallery patrons.

26D: Mallard mister: DRAKE. Mallard is wild duck. Drake is a male duck. What is a female duck then, a hen?

27D: Group's senior member: DOYEN. Unknown to me. Got it from across clues. "T
he senior member, as in age, rank, or experience, of a group, class, profession, etc." French origin.

30D: Mantas: RAYS. The fish. No idea. In fact, I mis-read it as "Mantra", so I was chanting in my head.

31D: Barrel piece: STAVE

33D: Wave top: CREST

35D: List end, sometimes: ET AL. Abbreviation of 'et alii' (masculine plural) or 'et aliae' (feminine plural) or 'et alia' (neuter plural).

36D: Pants part: SEAT. I put SEAM first. Did not know Seat-of-the-Pants slang until this morning.

38D: Cream of the crop: ELITE. I toyed with A LIST for a brief second, then quickly dismissed it after filling in LIT for 46A: Brightened up.

39D: Abate: LET UP

44D: Paper hankie: TISSUE. Bounty, only Bounty.

45D: Without fail: ALWAYS

46D: Fills the hold: LADES

47D: Temperature: FEVER. Don't like this clue either.

50D: Celtic land: ERIN. Ireland. What distinguishes Erin from Eire? So confusing for me.

52D: Open discussions: FORA. Never knew that the plural for Forum is Fora.

53D: One litmus test conclusion: ACID

54D: Word with star or ranger: LONE. Lone Star yes, but isn't it "the Lone Ranger"?

55D: Either one of a pair: MATE

56D: Swine's supper: SLOP. This puzzle starts with GLOB, ends with SLOP. Perfect!

C. C.

Jan 29, 2008

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: The Clintons' Tactics to Get Elected?

39D: Hillary Clinton _ Rodham: NEE
20A: Do the Utmost: Move Mountains
37A: Flaunt the Boundaries: Push the Envelope
57A: Find a Scapegoat: Shift the Blame

Ted Kennedy said so yesterday when he endorsed Obama.

I am LOATH (63A: Reluctant) to say I cheated again. I was ensnared on the upper middle corner, I wanted so much for a "the" inside 17A to balance with 37A and 57A.

I don't know what to put for 6D Latch (onto, GLOM). I thought of HASP first, then promptly dismissed the idea after I inked in LOGO (7D: Brand symbol). I was picturing in my mind how a shepherd is trying to get his goat (22D: TEASE). And I could not figure out what to put for 8D Rambunctious: (UNRULY) since I had DYE instead of LYE for 25A: Potash. A huge mess.

I want to put into use the new words I've learned from doing the Star Tribune crossword puzzle. Please correct me if you spot a mistake. I am really willing to learn. I also want to thank those who kindly responded to me via Comments and emails regarding my questions in this blog. It means a lot to me. I hope with your help I can finish one puzzle sans Dictionary/Google/Boomer soon.

OK, here is my Apercu:

6A: Stuff to the gills: GLUT. I thoughts GLUT was a noun.

23A: Prickly-topped plant: TEASEL. Tea, Teas, Tease, Teasel. Have to remember this word for Scrabble.

33A: Marshal Dillon: MATT. Fictional character, from Gunsmoke.

49A: Massive Amounts: SLEWS. I only know "a slew of".

62A: Your Majesty: SIRE. I put in SIRS first, as I thought 60D European Capital was OSLO, but corrected myself after I got the BLAME from 57A.

70A: Nerve fiber: AXON. New to me. RETE is a network of nerve fibers.

Down Clues:

3D: Schooner features: TOP MASTS. The dictionary says "schooner" is a sailing vessels with two or more masts, rigged fore and aft. I might fill in with TWO MASTS if I did not have the across clues. I have never been in a sailing vessel before.

6D: Latch (onto): GLOM. New word for me.

12D: Foreigner in Latin America: GRINGO. Last week Lou Dobbs called Bush, Pelosi & Reid as "Three Amigos" when the three reached an agreement on the $150 Billion Stimulus Package.

22D: Try to get one's goat: TEASE. Does "Tease" has a meaning of "Annoy" in a non-facetious way? Mrs. Robinson teased Dustin Hoffman, but he was not annoyed, was he? Here is one of the explanations of the origins of "To Get One's Goat". I think I like this one "Various places suggest this is because in old times a person's goat would be their only source of milk, so they'd be understandably miffed if someone took it!"

23D: Interim worker: TEMP. Lewinsky, Monica Lewinsky!

36D: Profession: AVOWAL. Try AVOCATION next time.

50D: Tack on snow: SLALOM. Should be a gimme.

That's all.

C. C.