Showing posts with label Harvey Estes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harvey Estes. Show all posts

Feb 24, 2011

Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 Harvey Estes

Theme: Good 'ole homonyms. The first word of all the punnily(?) clued answers substitutes a word with changed spelling. Good theme strength, the first words all end with OLE, and are all pronounced the same way as the words they replace.

17A. Money for the Warsaw government?: POLE TAXES. Warsaw, Poland. A poll tax was used in the south to try to circumvent the 14th amendment and prevent civil rights.  It took the 24th amendment to make it illegal.

25A. Foot-tapping songs?: SOLE MUSIC. Soul music is sort of Gospel blended with rhythm & blues.

35A. Songwriting, to Porter?: COLE FIELD. Coal fields. Night and Day, Cole Porter's field of expertise.

49A. Actor's messages from an agent?: ROLE CALLS. I'll bet Dennis still remembers roll call.

58A. Grain for bagels?: HOLE WHEAT. I only eat the holes in bagels and donuts.

Hi all, Al again. Working with a dodgy loaner PC. Mine is in for repairs and the space bar isn't working very well on this one. Ah, well, enough excuses. Onward to the rest.  A bit of nostalgia in several music references today, I thought. The tough part was narrowing down all the choices there are for each song to be able to choose only one and not get distracted by all the other music links.


1. Lee followers: REBS. The South shall rise again.

5. Works in the Uffizi Gallery: ARTE. Italian art : Florence, Italy museum location.

9. Gets ready: PREPS.

14. "__ Rhythm": I GOT. Lena Horne doing a Gershwin classic.

15. Role for Carrie: LEIA. Carrie Fischer, Star Wars.

16. Singer Gorme: EYDIE. As Long as he needs me. A torch song from "Oliver!".

19. Letter alternative: LEGAL. Paper sizes.

20. They may be precious: STONES. They might also be a double-entendre. (and still be precious)

21. Divulge: TELL. Divulge, to make common property. Related to "vulgar", common, ordinary.

23. Hydrocarbon suffix: ENE. As usual, need perps for generic chemical ending clues. Could have been made into something helpful by adding "double-bond" in front of hydrocarbon.

24. Fluorescent bulb filler: ARGON. Also contains excited mercury vapor, dispose of these carefully.

27. "1984" protagonist __ Smith: WINSTON. A double-plus good novel by George Orwell.

29. Cut it out: DESIST. Latin sistere, to come to a stand. Related to assist, to stand by.

30. Place to be pampered: SPA.

31. French mystic Simone: WEIL. Unknown to me.

34. Maundy Thursday period: LENT. Holy Thursday, commemorates the Last Supper.

38. G-note: THOU. Grand, thousand.

40. Increase in intensity, with "up": RAMP.

41. Previously: AGO.

44. Weather map features: FRONTS. Where air masses of different density meet.

46. Ardor: PASSION. Latin ardorem: to burn. Passion originally meant suffering (the passion of the Christ), then evolved to strong emotions and desire.

52. __ asada (Mexican meat dish): CARNE. Roasted meat, barbecue.

53. TV's Alf and others: ETS. Alf was a puppet extra-terrestrial that liked to eat cats.

54. Skin-soothing stuff: ALOE.

55. Bouquets: POSIES. "line of verse engraved on the inner surface of a ring," from poesy, recorded in this sense from early 15th century. The meaning "flower, bouquet" first recorded 1570s, from notion of the language of flowers.

56. Rob of "90210": ESTES. Nope, still don't know who he is.

60. Sport with clay pigeons: SKEET. A name chosen as "a very old form of our present word 'shoot.' " Perhaps Old Norse skotja "to shoot" was intended.

61. Auth. of many quotes?: ANON. Can you spell anonymous without looking it up? I have early access to  internet file servers and FTP to thank for that skill.

62. Old Boston Bruin nickname: ESPO. Phil Esposito, hockey.

63. Newbies: TYROS. Latin tiro, young soldier, recruit.

64. Following: NEXT.

65. Remarriage prefix: STEP. Step-brother, sister, son, daughter, etc.


1. With-the-grain cutters: RIPSAWS.

2. Vacation for the vain?: EGO TRIP. Punny.

3. Smoked deli meat: BOLOGNA. I would think it would be hard to light and harder to keep it going.  You'd need a big ashtray, too.

4. Dictators' aides: STENOS. Greek stenos "narrow", graphy "writing": shorthand.

5. Wistful word: ALAS. Originally a word of weariness, related: lassitude.

6. "Wonder Dog" of comics: REX. Selected as a test subject for a super-soldier serum. After receiving an injection of the serum, Rex found himself endowed with great strength, speed, stamina, and intelligence. Dr. Anabolus was killed by a Nazi spy soon after, and as Anabolus left no records, this led to Rex being the only dog of his kind. Hmmm, I think they may have"borrowed" this story line from Captain America...

7. Relate with: TIE TO.

8. Drawing support: EASEL. Just a noun for a picture holder, not "attracting a crowd of protesters", as seems to be all over in the news lately.. And 39D. It can facilitate drawing: HOLSTER.Drawing a weapon, not a picture.

9. Willy-nilly: PELL-MELL. They seem unrelated when you investigate their origins. Contraction of "will I, nill I", with or without the will of the person concerned. And "confusedly" from Old French pesle mesle, apparently a rhyme on the second word, which is from the stem of the verb mesler "to mix, mingle."

10. 3-Down might be on it: RYE. Deli bread.

11. Enters carefully: EDGES IN.

12. Rachmaninoff, e.g.: PIANIST. Sort of like calling Woody Allen an actor.

13. Prime: SELECT. Choice. I think we had a meaty discussion about these words before.

18. Certain caterpillar's creation: TENT. Not a pleasant sight. Can do a lot of damage to a tree.

22. Was in front: LED.

25. Look from Snidely Whiplash: SNEER. Dudley Do-Right (cartoon) villain, always kidnapping Nell.

26. Broken in: USED.

28. Rice University mascot: OWL.

32. "__ picture paints ...": song lyric: IF A. Bread, soft rock from the 70's. The song "IF" was covered by such diverse artists as Petula Clark, Cleo Laine, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, Shirley Bassey, and ... Telly Savalas (yes, Kojak) who took it to the top of the UK singles chart for two weeks in 1975, the shortest song title to ever do so.

33. Walks with a cane, perhaps: LIMPS.

35. Road marker: CONE.

36. Shunned ones: OUTCASTS.

37. Clean air org.: EPA. Environmental Protection Agency

38. October Revolution leader: TROTSKY. This was a bunch of Bolsheviks.

41. With the most open windows: AIRIEST.

42. Flipped: GONE APE. This will be me if this*%$& spacebar doesn't start working correctly pretty soon.

43. Convenient, shoppingwise: ONE STOP. Plus a fitness workout to boot, from all the walking around in some of these "big box" retailers.

44. Least constrained: FREEST.

45. Erie Canal mule: SAL. Susanne Vega cover.

47. Flat-bottomed boat: SCOW. From Du. schouw "a ferry boat, punt," related to Old English. scaldan, "to push (a boat) from shore."

48. Ornamental bands: SASHES. No OBI clue?

50. Lindsay of "Labor Pains": LOHAN. The latest self-destructing Disney dropout. Lilo. More to follow by the look of it.

51. Sierra __: LEONE. Today's geography lesson.

55. Cooped (up): PENT. Variant of "penned" up.

57. Fair-hiring abbr.: EEO. Equal Employment Opportunity.  Also seen as EOE.

59. Bagel topping: LOX. Smoked salmon.

Answer Grid.


Jan 8, 2011

Saturday January 8, 2011 Harvey Estes

((Note to late visitors: Due to computer error, we lost both the write-up and comments. This version is a recovered one. )

Theme: None

Total words: 68

Total blocks: 33

Only four 3-letter answers in this grid: ERR/PEP/TSE/UTE. Amazing.

Harvey placed triple stacks of 10s in each quadrant of the grid, the layout is quite similar to his last Saturday. Notice his answer for 17A? Ha ha, RADIAL TIRE!

Here are the 10s:

14A. Motel convenience : ICE MACHINE

17A. Quicker picker-uppers? : STIMULANTS

19A. Pigeon : EASY TARGET. So is EASY MARK.

48A. Mixed condiment : GARLIC SALT. Mostly salt.

55A. Cause of senselessness : ANESTHESIA

57A. "Don't waste your time" : IT'S USELESS

10D. Churches with carillons don't need one : BELL RINGER. Wow, really? How do they ring the bells then?

11D. Being supportive : AT YOUR SIDE. Oh, being supportive of me.

12D. Opalescent gems : MOONSTONES

24D. Extreme : INORDINATE

25D. Automotive innovation that improved fuel economy : RADIAL TIRE. We also have 36A. It purrs when it's cared for : ENGINE. And 60A. Trip interruptions : FLATS. Flat tires. Needed Dennis' help.

26D. Front borders : ENEMY LINES. Nailed it.

I had an easier time. The lack of obscure names certainly helped.


1. Worker with many keys : VALET. Was picturing a hotel maid.

6. Fleece : CLIP. Didn't know clip can mean "swindle".

10. Nick Saban's team, familiarly : 'BAMA. Nick Saban & Bear Bryant are all I know about the Crimson Tide.

16. Thames landmark : ETON

18. City on the Rhône : LYON

20. Actress Anderson : LONI. The "WKRP in Cincinnati" girl.

21. Guilty and more : PLEAS

22. Dodge : RUSE

23. Juice carriers : WIRES. Current "juice". I wanted FRUIT.

28. Go astray : ERR

29. Fountain contemporary : HIRT (Al). Pete Fountain.

30. Foolishness : INANITY

32. Spot remover, at times : SPONSOR. Does "spot" here refer to ads? I don't get the clue.

35. Surfing equipment : MODEMS. Internet surfing.

37. Got ready for a big date : PRIMPED

39. Stepped on it, with "up" : SPEEDED. Spell check wants SPED.

40. Boxes of calendars? : DAYS. Clever clue.

41. Mountain West Conference athlete : UTE

43. Code subject : DRESS. Dress code.

44. Builder's truckload : FILL. Or all the non-theme answers in any crossword.

45. High school math calculations : AREAS

47. One fighting something : ANTI

54. Early exile : CAIN. Into the land of Nod.

56. French 101 verb : ETRE. "To be".

58. Driving aids : TEES. Golf.

59. Biweekly tide : NEAP


1. Workbench item : VISE

2. Court records : ACTA. Learned from doing Xword.

3. Floral gifts : LEIS

4. Peabody relative : EMMY. Peabody Award.

5. Having no play : TAUT. Is "play" the same as "slack"?

6. Pride of country music : CHARLEY. What's his most famous song?

7. Extend one's stay : LINGER

8. Visibly moved : IN TEARS

9. Raid targets : PESTS

13. Warbucks's charge : ANNIE. Daddy Warbucks.

15. What fans do : CLAP

23. Unlikely hero : WIMP

27. Ninnies : SIMPS

29. Perfected : HONED

31. Japanese financial market inits. : TSE (Tokyo Stock Exchange). Had to post-google.

33. Dash : PEP

34. Film for which Warren Beatty won a Best Director Oscar : REDS

38. Mrs. Calabash's creator : DURANTE (Jimmy). Mrs. Calabash is his wife.

39. Shrink-wraps, e.g. : SEALS UP

42. Mother in Calcutta : TERESA. Mother Teresa.

44. Aspect : FACET

45. Over : AGAIN

46. Is in session : SITS. Congress session?

49. Frequent taster : CHEF. So is COOK.

50. Push, in a way : SELL

51. Cruising : ASEA

52. Where guests may be ticked off? : LIST. Nice clue.

53. Sputnik coverer : TASS. Media cover. I wanted CCCP, which covers Sputnik too.

Answer grid.

Today we celebrate the birthday of JimmyB (most right), a very passionate LA Times crossword solver who has been keeping track of the exact time each puzzle takes him to complete since our switch in 2009. Sheng Ri Kuai Le, Jim!


Oct 2, 2010

Saturday October 2, 2010 Harvey Estes

Theme: None

Total words: 72. Total blocks: 32

Avg Word Len: 5.36. Missing: J Q X Z

This puzzle is anchored by triple stacks of 10s in each quadrant of the grid. All multi-words:

1A. Parts counterparts : LABOR COSTS. Car repairs.

15A. Lemon source : USED CAR LOT. Was thinking of the fruit.

17A. One lacking bias : RADIAL TIRE. Of course political "bias" came to mind. Not tire. I like how the 3 car references piled on top of one another. We also have FIN (22A. Old El Dorado feature). Would be a perfect puzzle for car nuts Argyle to blog.

58A. Holiday bloom : EASTER LILY. Nice full answer.

61A. Minor considerations? : LITTLE ONES. Great clue.

63A. Poky activity happens at it : SNAIL'S PACE. Tricky "it".

12D. Conscience : MORAL SENSE. Dennis has some, mostly just MOREL sense.

13D. Ann Landers or Abigail Van Buren : TWIN SISTER

14D. Legendary swimmer : SEA SERPENT. Mythical.

25D. Show compassion : HAVE A HEART

26D. Challenging area at Augusta National, as it's facetiously called : AMEN CORNER. Nailed it. Refers to holes No. 11, 12 & 13. We also have PARS (33D. Links numbers). Augusta National is par 72.

27D. In direct confrontation : NOSE TO NOSE

Multi-words are sure zippier than single long words. Not necessarily easier to ferret out though. Misleading clues abound today. Harvey's wit and humor are in full play.

FYI, Nancy Salomon told me a few weeks ago that it is Harvey who originated the phrase Utah Formation, referring those 5 black square clusters in the grid edges. Don "Hard G" Gagliardo calls the shape Idaho Potato. So evocative.


11. Vital team members : EMTS. Vital organs. The clue needs an abbr. hint.

16. Actor who turned down the role of Dr. Shepherd on "Grey's Anatomy" : LOWE. Rob Lowe I gather.

18. Spotlit opera event : ARIA

19. Joint with a cap : KNEE. Saw this clue before. Still like it.

20. Stumper's concern : VOTER. Was thinking of "puzzle" stumper, not one who makes stump speech.

21. Summer goals for some : TANS

23. Unspoken part of the Godfather's "offers"? : OR ELSE. Couldn't keep "make him an offer he can't refuse" out of my mind.

25. "One sec ..." : HANG ON

29. Neil Young song about Kent State : OHIO

31. Mister : SIR

32. Le Pew's pursuit : AMOUR

33. High fashion label : PRADA. Loved "The Devil Wears Prada".

34. Super vision? : ESP. Nice clue.

35. Endows, as with power : VESTS

36. Kleptomaniac film monkey : ABU. No idea. The monkey in Disney's "Aladdin". Kleptomaniac is one who is addicted to stealing.

37. 14th-century Florentine exile : DANTE. Oh, I thought he lived in a much earlier period.

39. Hydrocarbon ending : ENE

40. Fourth in a series : APRIL. No problem!

42. "Hedda Gabler" playwright : IBSEN (Henrik)

43. Undertaking : ACT

44. Closing : LAST

45. Common chuckwalla habitat : DESERT. Looks ugly.

46. They may be shod : HOOVES. Good clue.

48. The boss usually doesn't want to hear them : NOS. Do you say "No" to your boss?

49. Bald eagle cousin : ERNE

50. Curly hair, say : TRAIT. Mine is straight.

53. Quarter of a yard : SPAN. Was calculating in paper and got 9 inches.

57. Quotation abbr. : ANON

60. Kick back : REST

62. Extremely, in Amiens : TRES. Don't know where Amiens is. Somewhere in France I suppose.


1. Lie low : LURK

2. Simile center : AS AN. Wise as an owl.

3. Only native Englishman ever named Doctor of the Church by a pope : BEDE. Stumped. Wikipedia says he's often referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede.

4. Comic strip dog : ODIE. Also CALVIN (6. Comics character who said "Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help"). From "Calvin and Hobbes". Got me.

5. 1986 GE takeover : RCA. New trivia to me.

7. "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" dramatist : ORTON (Joe). Not familiar with the drama or the author.

8. Fine cut : SLIT. Was picturing meat. Lovely clue.

9. Zipped : TORE

10. Olympics no-no : STEROID

11. Send : ELATE. "Darling, you send me..."

22. On the block : FOR SALE

24. Rock crew : ROADIES. Rock band.

28. __ feeling : GUT

29. Shuttle path : ORBIT. Hey, Husker Gary!

30. Arrest, with "in" : HAUL

38. Tchr.'s notation : ABS. Absent, right? I've never attended school here. Don't know the notation abbrs. Rich prepared us for Tchr = Teacher earlier.

41. Some Cassatt works : PASTELS. Sweet fill for Clear Ayes.

45. "No kidding!" : DO TELL

47. Lets off steam : VENTS

48. Capone associate : NITTI (Frank). Uh uh, don't recall his name. "The Untouchables" is quite good.

51. Shower : RAIN."Showers, e.g." would be a better clue. Yes?

52. Hollywood canine : ASTA

53. Pen repast : SLOP. Oink, oink, soupy & tasty!

54. Cóctel fruit : PINA. Cóctel is Spanish for "cocktail".

55. Novelist Waugh : ALEC

56. Place to find IBM : NYSE. My favorite clue today. IBM the company, not the product.

59. Scale tones : RES

Answer grid.


Jul 27, 2010

Interview with Harvey Estes

Many of us were awed by Harvey Estes' May 30 "Divided Countries" puzzle, in which eight country names are divided and span across mostly two word phrases, and each country is individually placed in the grid as well.

Harvey is one of the top constructors in the country. He has had 116 puzzles published by NY Times alone, making him the 8th most prolific NYT constructor of all times.

Additionally, Harvey's work has also appeared in CroSynergy, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NY Sun, Games Magazine, etc. He's also one of the contributors to The Crosswords Club, edited by Rich Norris.

Hope you enjoy this insightful, informative and fun-filled interview.

I liked that the unifier OUTER CLOTHES is positioned at the very heart of the grid crossing each other & the pinwheel layout of the other four theme answers. Is this the grid you had in mind immediately after you had the theme set ready or did you also try several other grid alternatives and then picked the best?

Actually, placing OUTER CLOTHES at the center was Rich's idea. I had titled the puzzle "Outer Garments" (just to give it a name when we discussed it) and I had S(COWL) at the center of the grid. Rich's approach was better, so we went with it.

What kind of troubles did you go through to finesse the grid?

The main problem was finding theme entries that would fit symmetrically into the grid. Once that was settled the grid wasn't so hard. The theme is always the hardest thing. Once I get that nailed down, I can usually hammer out a fill for it. A 15x15 grid is a small place. I tell all the interesting words and phrases, "You can run, but you can't hide" ... okay, that's just constructor bravado, but it's a fun thing to say whether it's true or not.

Who introduced crosswords to you and how did you get into crossword construction?

My dad always worked crosswords when I was a kid, so I grew up around them. Later on I got interested in cryptic crosswords via Games magazine and the first puzzles I constructed were cryptics. They're still my favorite, but the market is so small I don't get to do them much. In the early '90s Stanley Newman offered a correspondence course in crossword construction, so I took it and that led to my first puzzle being published with Newsday. That got me started in crosswords as a hobby, but over the years it has gradually become a full-time job.

You have lots of puzzles published by NY Times, LA Times, NY Sun, etc. How do you describe your style? What kind of themes/fill appeal to you? And what are the kind that you try to avoid?

I like pun themes the best, but they're hard to do, and sometimes it's tricky to sell an editor on a theme. What works and what doesn't is pretty subjective. You hate to see hours and hours of work go down the drain because of disagreements about consistency with an idea that's deliberately nonsense in the first place. So I do more straightforward themes than I used to. In my fills I like to work in phrases as much as possible, because I think they're usually more interesting. I also like to think I get pretty clean fills but I guess most constructors think that about their own work. Each individual has a different opinion about which less desirable words can be tolerated and which can't, so that's another call that's very subjective. I can't think of a theme type that I try to avoid. I'll try anything once, cruciverbally. A while back I saw an article in which an editor said he really hated a particular theme because he had seen it so many times and hoped never to see it again. So I immediately got to work on a puzzle that used the theme but, hopefully, put a twist on it to make it more interesting. I sent it to a different editor, though.

Where do you normally find your construction muse? What books/magazines/website do you read for theme inspirations?

I used to go to Barnes & Noble a lot; sitting and reading and listening to the soft music would often get me going. Then they changed the music from instrumental to mostly vocal and now it's like reading with an annoying person trying to talk to you. I should sue them. But mostly the muse lives wherever people use language. Watching TV, reading the paper, making small talk, you never know when a phrase will stick in the mind and start tugging at you, whispering, "There's a theme here, there's a theme here ..." I guess the trick is to find the places and situations that help your mind to become receptive to new ideas.

What kind of references tools do you use for crossword construction and clue accuracy check?

I dunno, I guess all the usual suspects. I hate to admit it, but if I'm worried about accuracy, I often just retreat to a safer clue. Life is too short to spend hours researching one clue out of 144.

What is the highlight of your construction career and what is the puzzle you are most proud of?

These days I don't think there are any highlights; I just enjoy the day-to-day life of making puzzles. A crossword well-done is its own reward. I used to think, if I could just get a puzzle in this venue or that, then I will have arrived. But every venue has some good puzzles, some not so good. Who knows, maybe an editor used one of my puzzles and thought it was so-so, but, what the heck, the deadline was bearing down. Years ago when she was working with Dell, Nancy Schuster said to me, "You know, I don't love every single puzzle that I publish." Remembering that puts things in perspective for me. I'm just making crosswords, not working on a cure for cancer. So that makes my favorite puzzle the one I'm working on now. Unless it really sucks. In which I case, I just use it to vacuum the carpet. But if I had to pick favorite puzzles, I have two candidates. Both were turned down by almost every editor a knew. Finally CROSSW RD magazine printed the one with the jokes about cannibals and a health magazine printed the one with the bran muffin joke. Both magazines later went out of business, so I guess that makes me the Terminator.

What puzzles do you solve every day and who are you favorite constructors?

I don't solve much. Constructing puzzles takes a lot of time, and more importantly, it's a lot more fun (not to mention that it pays the bills). I construct full-time, so solving can seem like working on my day off. Anyway, I'm too critical. I look at someone else's puzzle and think, "Well, I wouldn't have done it that way ..." and then I remind myself that the constructor could just as easily say the same thing about one of my puzzles. Everybody has his or her own style. So I don't really have a favorite constructor. If I'm solving a puzzle and I like it, then that constructor is my favorite for the moment. I guess that makes me a Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young solver: love the one you're with.

Besides crosswords, what else do you do for fun?

I like working with music. I play guitar and bass and sing a little for the contemporary service at church, along with doing music with children, at a nursing home, parties, and for whoever else has less demanding standards and questionable taste.

Tuesday July 27, 2010 Harvey Estes

Theme: OUTER CLOTHES - Circled squares at the end of each theme entry contain the name of a type of outer garment. (Note: LA Times website does not support circled squares, click here to see where the circles are.)

17A. Emergency exit with a ladder : FIRE ESCAPE. Cape. The most iconic is probably Superman's. But here, Santa, meet your match.

60A. Robotic solar system explorer : SPACE PROBE. Robe. For boxers/judges. One for the ladies.

10D. Pioneer's wagon : CONESTOGA. Toga, forum garb. The only one word theme entry. Tell me this wasn't your first image.

32D. Gibbon : LESSER APE. Serape. Mexican wrap, as shown on this festive guy. The only theme entry where the clothing spans two words.

The unifier is placed in the very middle of the grid as two cross-referencing perps:

38A. With 24-Down, category of garments fittingly found in the circled letters : OUTER

24D. See 38-Across : CLOTHES

And a bonus entry at the bottom of the grid:

66A. Put on fancy attire, with "up" : DRESS. Like this. Quite smart looking.

Hey, it's Dennis; my turn in the barrel. Had one stumble in solving this one, which was putting 'Glenda' for 2D.

Just a couple observations about today's offering: this puzzle has only 34 blocks, low for a Tuesday, resulting in an impressive Dan Naddor Index (non-theme entries with 6 or more letters) that C.C. used to highlight in Dan's puzzles: 20.

The key themed words are consistently placed too. In this type of circle gimmick, those circled words are not always consecutively placed and can appear anywhere in the theme entries; the beginning, middle or end. A well-done Tuesday puzzle.


1. "A Death in the Family" author James : AGEE.

5. Name on a fridge : AMANA. I swear, if you only did crosswords, you'd think there was only one brand of Appliances (Amana) and one brand of TVs (RCA).

10. Quote as a reference : CITE.

14. What flags do in the wind : FLAP.

15. Beeper : PAGER. Remember these? Seem so archaic now. The first ones basically just transmitted phone numbers, and you'd put '911' at the end if it was really important. Oh, and we quickly figured out how to send obscene words using just numbers.

16. Jazzy Anita : ODAY. She changed her name from Colton to O'Day, pig latin for 'dough', as in money.

19. Luggage tag datum : NAME.

20. Building additions : ANNEXES.

21. Steamed up : ANGERED.

23. Caesar's "that is" : ID EST.

24. Contract provision : CLAUSE. Not him.

25. "Way cool!" : RAD.

26. Train track : RAIL. Alliteration.

29. Woodland deities : SATYRS. The Nymph pursuers. Wow, so realistic!

32. Atoll enclosure : LAGOON.

34. Demi of "G.I. Jane" : MOORE. Say what you might about her, but she got herself in incredible shape for the movie. Definition like this does not come easily.

35. Frosty's smoke : PIPE . Friend of mine did one of these with a fake blunt instead of a pipe. Neighbors with kids weren't thrilled.

40. Wind blast : GUST. This is what a serious crosswind landing looks like when the wind is gusting perpendicular to the flight path.

41. Up to one's ears (in) : AWASH

43. Aussie lassie : SHEILA . Very topical, given Kazie's recent outstanding slide show.

45. Take a bad turn : WORSEN

47. Razor's cutter : EDGE

48. Homer, to Bart : DAD

51. "Angels & __": Dan Brown best-seller : DEMONS. It precedes The Da Vinci Code and explores the Illuminati. A great read, one that resulted in a few bleary-eyed mornings for me.

53. "Don't even go __!" : THERE

55. Arachnoid zodiac sign : SCORPIO

57. Spiny lizards : IGUANAS. Kinda stately looking, huh?

59. Wrist-to-elbow bone : ULNA. Here. Have we had 'humerus' in a crossword before? Seems like a good crossword word.

62. Kid's summer haven : CAMP.

63. Chart holder : EASEL.

64. Mix with a spoon : STIR.

65. Many a proposal is made on one : KNEE. My first thought was 'bet'.

67. Cops, slangily : HEAT.


1. Festive gathering : AFFAIR. I'm not sure how 'festive' he's feeling.

2. Witch who helped Dorothy get home : GLINDA. Here.

3. Merited : EARNED.

4. Fencing blades : EPEES.

5. Recess at St. Peter's : APSE. As shown here.

6. PC alternatives : MACS.

7. Turkish title : AGA.

8. Tibet neighbor : NEPAL. Has anyone from our group been there?

9. Sports venues : ARENAS.

11. Challenging words : I DARE YOU. Those words have gotten me in trouble more than a few times. In his interview, Harvey said for non-theme fills, he likes to "work in phrases as much as possible, because I think they're usually more interesting."

12. Not exactly exciting : TAME .

13. Gawked at : EYED .

18. Crowd scene actor : EXTRA. X is the only scrabbly letter in this puzzle.

22. U.S. Pacific territory : GUAM

27. Back in time : AGO

28. Debtor's letters : IOUS

30. B&O and Reading : RRS

31. Filming site : SET

33. Financial aid criterion : NEED

35. Fido's foot : PAW

36. "Letters from __ Jima": 2006 film : IWO. One of the greatest battles in Marine Corps history. They were fighting an enemy that wasn't so much on Iwo Jima, as in it. Cost over 6800 Marine and Army lives to take it, but by securing the island, American bombers were able to use the island as a strategic emergency landing area, coming back from strikes on the Japanese mainland. Saved many pilots and crews.

37. "Sorry about that" : PARDON ME. You betcha.

39. Fix, as a fight : RIG.

42D. Rope fiber source : HEMP.

44. Ease off : LETUP.

46. Spread publicly, with "about" : NOISED. Yeah, it's legit; has anyone ever heard it used?

48. Indicate : DENOTE.

49. Oil-rich peninsula : ARABIA.

50. Most of 49-Down : DESERT. Nice link w/above.

52. Like stock without face value : NO PAR. Story of my golf game.

54. Tough to take : HARSH.

55. Use a straw : SUCK.; not gonna.

56. Scot's family : CLAN. Check out these Scottish clan crests.

57. Tops, as a cupcake : ICES. Hey, if you're gonna indulge, indulge!

58. Salon applications : GELS. You too can look like this.

61. Wall St. group : ASE (American Stock Exchange).

May 30, 2010

Sunday May 30, 2010 Harvey Estes

Theme: Divided Countries - Country names (8) are divided and span across mostly two words in each familiar phrase.

27A. Weather unit: DEGREE CELSIUS. The divided country is GREECE (100A. Country divided in 27-Across).

45A. "I'm outa here": TIME TO GO HOME. Embedded is TOGO (22A. Country divided in 45-Across).

58A. Like always: AS PER USUAL. Contains PERU (79D. Country divided in 58-Across).

77A. Makes a special effort TAKES PAINS. Included is SPAIN (68D. Country divided in 77-Across).

89A. FleetCenter predecessor BOSTON GARDEN. Holds TONGA (3D. Country divided in 89-Across).

111A.Without breaking the rules FAIR AND SQUARE. Enclosed is IRAN (122A.Country divided in 111-Across).

16D. Donne words before "entire of itself": NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. Harbors OMAN (48D. Country divided in 16-Down).

44D. Words sung before placing hand to hip: I'M A LITTLE TEAPOT. The split country is MALI (56A. Country divided in 44-Down). The only theme entry broken into three words. My favorite.

Normally the country names are simply circled in this type of theme scheme. I like how the constructor goes one step further, challenges himself construction-wise, and places each country name in the grid. This puzzle also has 146 entries, two more than our LAT Sunday limit 144.

Our first Havey Estes puzzle since the switch. He has constructed quite a few LAT in the past. His penchant for cross-references today reminds me a bit of John Lampkin's style, though John's Sunday is often a pangram. This one does not have letters J & X.

As the norm with our Sunday puzzle, plenty of entertaining clues. My favorite is ACNE (118A. Bad marks in high school?).


1. __-mouth: MOTOR. A person who talks excessively. New expression to me.

6. Bethlehem visitors: MAGI

10. Ennui: BLAHS. Tried BLASE first.

15. Piece of cake: SNAP. I liked last time's "IT'S A SNAP" better.

19. Superior to: ABOVE. And OVER (4D. Superior to).

20. Like a dust bowl: ARID. Why isn't "dust bowl" capitalized? We also have GOBI (91D. Asian expanse). Gobi Desert.

21. Bug: EAT AT

23. Established districts: ZONED

24. Shade of blue: NILE. Like the color of this car.

25. On the move: ASTIR

26. Ed who played Mingo on "Daniel Boone": AMES. Recognized his mug when I googled.

30. Like a good knight: GALLANT. Nice play on "good night".

32. Flat-pancake filler: AS A

33. Silents star Jannings: EMIL. The first-ever Best Actor Oscar winner.

34. Power source: ATOM

36. Puts in a bad light: TAINTS

37. Deposed '70s despot: AMIN (Idi)

38. Request to Fido: BEG. And ALPO (115A. Rover's bowlful).

40. Fund-raising targets: ALUMNI

42. Punxsutawney prophet: PHIL. The groundhog.

49. Sunblock letters: SPF. Gorgeous summer day here in Minnesota.

52. Word with strip or relief: COMIC. This clue made me laugh.

54. "Is it soup __?" : YET

55. Tyler Perry's "Diary of __ Black Woman": A MAD. Not familiar with the movie.

57. Cruising locale: SEA

62. "Star Wars Episode II" attack force: CLONES. Obtained the answer via crosses.

64. More 47-Down: LANKER. And GAUNT (47D. Very thin).

66. Rural room renter: INN. Triple alliteration.

68. Bashes: SHINDIGS. Not your everyday crossword fill.

70. Colony resident: ANT

71. Strikes, e.g.: PROTESTS. I always think of baseball when "strikes" are called for in crossword.

73. General nicknamed "Old Blood and Guts": PATTON. Cold guy.

74. Start of a simple game TIC. Tic-tac-toe.

75. Poet Amy: LOWELL. Clear Ayes posted her poems on the blog before.

76. Lets out, say: ALTERS. Nailed it.

80. Fearful reverence: AWE

83. Troubles: ILLS

84. Went lickety-split: TORE. SPED, anyone?

85. Canadian prov. whose capital is Charlottetown: P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island). Got me.

86. Cartridge contents: TONER. Alliteration.

88. Wedding notice word: NEE

94. Says further: ADDS

95. "Growing Pains" star Alan: THICKE. Have never heard of the guy nor the sitcom.

97. Sch. with a Lima campus: OSU (Ohio State University). Lima, Ohio.

98. Three-piece suit piece: VEST

102.Swedish import: SAAB

105.West Wing adjunct: AIDE. Was picturing an added building rather than person.

106.One not acting well: HAM

109.Cracks up over: ROARS AT

116.Polite turndown: NO SIR

119.Racing family name UNSER. And STP (117D."The racer's edge"). I think EddyB is in Indy 500 today.

120.Dark purple fruit: SLOE

121.Emcee's task: INTRO

123.Lapel attachment: ID TAG

124.Strokes: PETS

125.Colorado ski mecca: ASPEN

126.Bit of progress, figuratively: DENT. Make a dent.

127.11-Down feature NOOSE. And LASSO (11D. Will Rogers prop). We also have LARIAT (67A. Cattle drive need).


1. Publisher of Zoom-Zoom magazine: MAZDA. No idea.

2. English horn relatives: OBOES

5. Turn in for money: REDEEM

6. "The Pink Panther Theme" composer: MANCINI (Henry). Not on my radar. Wikipedia says he also composed "Moon River".

7. Disney mermaid: ARIEL

8. Breathing organ: GILL. Oh, for fish.

9. Caesar's big date: IDES. Of March. And ET TU (39D. Brute's rebuke?).

10. Humdinger: BEAUT

12. Communications co.: AT&T

13. Nixon chief of staff: HAIG (Alexander). "I'm in control here".

14. Bedrock, e.g.: STRATUM

15. Big Red: STALIN. Kept thinking Pete Rose of the Big Red Machine.

17. Bond, for one: AGENT. James Bond.

18. Newsgroup messages: POSTS

28. Send out: EMIT

29. He did a Moor good, then harm: IAGO. The bad guy in "Othello".

31. Rich fabric: LAMÉ. Does "Rich" mean "deep-colored" here? Looks silky.

35. Taj __ : MAHAL

37. Ring icon: ALI

38. Cold draft: BEER: Great clue.

41. City served by Ben-Gurion airport: LOD. Always have trouble with this city.

42. IBM products: PCS

43. Tilling tool: HOE

46. Mike of "54": MYERS. Easy guess. Have never seen "54".

50. Fabric fold: PLEAT. We also have PLAID (71D. Flannel shirt pattern). I tend to confuse these two words.

51. Weapons of the unarmed: FISTS. Loved the clue.

53. Straight shooting, so to speak: CANDOR

56. Gourmet mushroom: MOREL. Delicious!

59. Hides: SKINS. Noun. Tricky!

60. Hanging convenience: PEG

61. "__ you asked ...": SINCE

62. Circus employee: CLOWN

63. Hot gossip, with "the": LATEST

65. Forks over, with "up": ANTES

69. Berry of "Monster's Ball": HALLE. I like her in short hair. You?

70. Pulitzer-winning poet Conrad __: AIKEN. Foreign name to me. Why "__" after Conrad in the clue?

72. Lyon king: ROI. Good pun on the "Lion King".

74. Island starch source: TARO

77. Shopping aids: TOTES

78. Bathroom luxuries: SPAS

81. United: WED

82. "Grey's Anatomy" settings, briefly: ERS

84. "For shame!"" TSK

87. Granola bar bit: OAT

89. Ecolutions pens: BICS. What does Ecolutions stand for? Eco-solution?

90. "1984" setting: OCEANIA. South Seas region.

92. Easy to get: EVIDENT

93. Rorem and Beatty: NEDS. Is Ned Rorem very famous?

96. Sci-fi series about people with special powers: HEROES. Have never seen this series.

99. Costume sparkler: SEQUIN

100.Understanding: GRASP

101.Actress Esther: ROLLE. Another stranger to me.

103.Flaming: AFIRE

104.Composer Copland: AARON. Alliteration.

105.Former UN leader Kofi: ANNAN. I have his autograph.

106.Can't help but: HAS TO

107.Fields of study: AREAS

108.On-ramp sign: MERGE

110.A whole lot: TONS. And ACRE (113.Lot, maybe). Lot echo.

112.Fridge foray: RAID. Alliteration.

114.Nullify: UNDO

Answer grid.

Happy LXXIst Birthday to EddyB!