Showing posts with label Kelly Clark. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kelly Clark. Show all posts

Nov 29, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Kelly Clark

Theme: Fun for the Whole Family - A few words and phrases that start with a bowling term and the unusual placement of the unifier at 1-Across

1A . Postseason gridiron game, and a hint to the puzzle theme found in starred answers : BOWL

17A. *Sign of a typing mistake : STRIKEOVER

25A. *Indigent's request : "SPARE CHANGE?"

38A. *Wizard's game in the rock opera "Tommy" : PINBALL. Both parts of this entry would work.

53A. *Street urchin : GUTTERSNIPE

62A. *Chain for plus-size women's fashion : LANE BRYANT

Argyle here but it should be Boomer; it's right up his alley. Also, an unusual grid with triple eights and sixes down the sides. I didn't find a few entries until my write-up but still it was harder then Monday's puzzle, IMO.


5. Baseball card brand : TOPPS

10. Young men : LADS

14. Tiny battery : AAAA
15. Well-honed : SHARP

16. Vicinity : AREA

19. Dogpatch possessive : HIS'N

20. Country singer Gibbs : TERRI. Somebody's Knocking".(2:42)

21. Ostrich cousins : EMUs

23. Quick swim : DIP. but 31A. Not a good area for nonswimmers : DEEP END

24. Before, before : ERE

29. Nine-digit ID : SSN

30. Ready : SET

32. Rehab woes, briefly : DTs

34. Also-ran : LOSER

35. Little demon : IMP

41. B'way sellout sign : SRO

42. Shearer of "The Red Shoes" : MOIRA. The Red Shoes (1948) is a British feature film about a ballet dancer. Image.

44. ID checker's concern : AGE

45. An original Mouseketeer : ANNETTE

48. Séance sound : RAP

50. Make a choice : OPT

55. "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper __ : LEE

56. AOL chats : IMs. Instant Messaging (IM).

57. California wine valley : NAPA

58. Church chorus : AMENS

60. Playwright Simon : NEIL. Barefoot in the Park (1963), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983), The Goodbye Girl (1993).

65. Automaker Ferrari : ENZO
66. "What's in __?": Juliet : A NAME

67. Orchard grower : TREE

68. Fret : STEW

69. Pert : SASSY

70. Murderous Stevenson character : HYDE. Psst, it's really Dr. Jekyll.


1. Moistens in the pan : BASTES

2. Many John Wayne movies : OATERS. Westerns.

3. President Harding : WARREN. Here's your shout out, Warren.

4. Lion's den : LAIR

5. Taoist Lao-__ : TSE

6. "Well, lookee here!" : "O HO!"

7. Road repair worker : PAVER

8. Future doc's undergrad concentration : PREMED

9. Smarten (up) : SPRUCE

10. "Well, __-di-dah!" : LAH

11. Desert feature : ARIDNESS

12. Fashion world VIP : DESIGNER

13. Los Angeles bay named for an apostle : SAN PEDRO

18. Smooch : KISS

22. Turtle's protection : SHELL

26. Salon service often paired with a mani : PEDI. Cure for bad nails.

27. Memo-routing abbr. : ATTN.

28. GI's address : APO. Army Post Office or Air Force Post Office, while Navy and Marine Corps use FPO (Fleet Post Office).

33. Entrepreneur-aiding org. : SBA. Small Business Administration.

35. Makes believe : IMAGINEs

36. Memorial structure : MONUMENT

37. Peewee : PINT-SIZE

38. Eucharistic plate : PATEN. Usually of gold or silver, it is used to hold the host during the celebration of the Eucharist. I haven't seen it in a puzzle lately but has been common in the past.

39. Farming prefix : AGRI

40. "Look before you __" : LEAP

43. On a pension: Abbr. : RET.

46. Sung syllables : TRA LAs

47. Francia neighbor : ESPANA

49. Bartlett or Bosc : PEAR

50. Chicago Fire Mrs. : O'LEARY. Her cow is alleged to have started the fire but I think it was a scapegoat

51. In a sty, say : PENNED

52. Exam taker : TESTEE. Go ahead; take a shot.

54. Family matriarchs : NANAs. Just ask grandma if you don't believe it.

59. Fable : MYTH

61. Sad : LOW

63. 911 response initials : EMS. Emergency Medical Services.

64. Ottoman governor : BEY. The last of the Thursday words on Tuesday.


Oct 17, 2011

Interview with Kelly Clark

Argyle said he "was struck by the imagery and the lack of abbreviations and yet still a doable Monday" for Kelly Clark's "Ouch" puzzle in June. We both adored Kelly's "Birds Do It" grid so much that we continued our discussions of her effort after the blog post was published.

Besides constructing for the LA Times, Kelly has also made puzzles for the NY Times (13 published) and the Wall Street Journal. Kelly constructed puzzle #1 for the 2011 ACPT (American Crossword Puzzle Tournament).

Both of your LAT puzzles we had this year have five theme entries: three Acrosses (one in central row) & two Downs, and a bonus 1-Across entry. Is that your preferred puzzle style? Is 1-Across an afterthought in the filling process or pre-arranged at the beginning of the gridding?

In the first one, it was an afterthought, to be honest. I'd finished the fill and realized it might be fun to have a sort of "intro" at 1 Across. Since 1 Across was a four letter word, it was pretty easy to work OUCH into it and refill the corner. In the August 22 puzzle, the 1 Across CHIRP was deliberate. In fact, I'd originally had TWEET as the final Across answer, but had to let it go after making the changes Rich asked for. Between you and me -- everybody shut your eyes for this part ;-) -- Rich was the soul of patience with me during the August 22 puzzle construction. According to my records, it took four versions to get it right. Okay, everybody can open their eyes now. ;-) Seriously, Rich is a fantastic editor. He's also a fantastic constructor.

To answer the other part of your question, though, yes...I like to incorporate a central theme entry whenever possible.

What's your background? How did you get into crossword construction?

My husband and I own a small advertising/design studio. He's the designer, I'm the copywriter. I got into crossword construction primarily to entertain my fellow parishioners in our weekly bulletin. This was back in the late 1990s. 'Course I soon realized I didn't know what I was doing, and fortunately stumbled upon Kevin McCann's incredible forum. I was mentored by the whole group...primarily, the great Manny Nosowsky. My first puzzle -- which took me *months* to construct -- ran in the New York Times in 1997.

What kind of themes and fill fascinate you and what kind do you try to avoid?

Until recently, I'd been fascinated with "trick" themes...generally Wednesday/Thursday level types. And puns...I love puns!

But about a year ago I realized I'd never even attempted a Monday-level puzzle and really wanted to make one. That's when I realized how difficult it is to construct an easy puzzle. Will bought my first Monday puzzle, but then ended up using it as the opener for the ACPT last spring. Rich bought and published my very first Monday puzzle last was like a dream
come true!

Which part do you normally spend the most time in the construction process: theme brainstorming, gridding or cluing? Which part do you enjoy the most?

Oh, theme brainstorming, no question. That's the most time-consuming -- and for me, the most enjoyable -- part of the game. It's very stimulating. Filling the puzzle, on the other hand, is fun in a different kind of way...oddly enough, it's very relaxing for me.

What's the most proud puzzle you've made and why?

That's a toughie! I'd have to say I'm proudest of the June 20 LA Times puzzle, since it was my first Monday puzzle. Tied with that, though, is my debut New York Times puzzle of Wednesday, October 29, 1997.

What puzzles do you solve every day? And whose byline do you most look forward to?

The New York Times and the LA Times, daily. I love Merl Reagle's Sunday puzzles, along with those of Henry Hook and Cox & Rathvon -- they run in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine. My favorite constructors are Manny Nosowsky, Rich Norris (these two guys haven't been seen for awhile and I miss them!), Harvey Estes, Nancy Salomon, Paula Gamache -- gosh, there's too many to list!

Besides crossword, what else do you do for fun?

I love to walk. I live in Boston and it's a walking town. My idea of a good time is tromping mindlessly along the streets. I like to speed walk, too. I love working with my husband -- advertising is fun! And I read a lot. But my great joy is working as a volunteer chaplain at Mass General Hospital a few afternoons a week.

Monday, October 17, 2011 Kelly Clark

Theme: What's in a nit? - That which we call a nit by any other name might be described by the last word of our four themed entries.

20A. "The sky is falling!" critter : CHICKEN LITTLE

33A. Seven-time winner of the Daytona 500 : RICHARD PETTY

41A. Like Chopin's "Funeral March," keywise : IN B FLAT MINOR

57A. New Orleans daily, with "The" : TIMES-PICAYUNE

Fat-fingered Argyle here. I don't see any imagery in the grid as I did with the first two puzzles I parsed by Ms. Clark, which some of you will be glad to know. Just a straightforward Monday to start the week.


1. Prepare, as apples for pie : PARE

5. Dirt bike relatives, briefly : ATVs

9. Dressed like a judge : ROBED

14. "Jeopardy!" first name : ALEX

15. Actress Perlman : RHEA

16. Get the lead out? : ERASE

17. Bossa __ : NOVA

18. Blurted out : SAID

19. Full of attitude : SASSY

23. Get the lead out : HASTEN

24. Visits, as a doctor : SEEs

25. Cock and drake : HEs. I'd like to know who started this plural HE business.

28. Suffix with dextr- : OSE

29. Snapshot, for short : PIC

31. One who doesn't have much laundry to do? : NUDIST

36. Modest skirt length : MIDI. Add a thigh high slit and it isn't modest anymore! Image.

39. Have a life : ARE

40. Tennis great Arthur : ASHE

46. Enjoyed the rink : SKATED

47. Letters before xis : NUs. More of the Greek letters thingie.

48. Neg.'s opposite : POS.

51. Air France flier until 2003 : SST

52. Election Day: Abbr. : TUES

55. Stymie, as plans : THWART

60. Kitchen strainer : SIEVE

62. "Love Songs" poet Teasdale : SARA. Clear Ayes?

63. Alda or Arkin : ALAN

64. Like flawed mdse. : IRREG.

65. Slices of history : ERAs

66. Jackson 5 brother : TITO

67. Boss's privilege : SAY SO

68. Hawaii's state bird : NENE. "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."

69. Most affordable golf purchases : TEEs. A lot of golf clubs won't allow tee shirts; you must have a collared shirt.


1. Mexican Villa : PANCHO. Mucho bad hombre. Pancho and Lefty.(4:45)

2. Hawaiian hello and goodbye : ALOHAs

3. Edit : REVISE

4. Not off by even a hair : EXACT

5. "__ and Old Lace" : ARSENIC

6. Comparative word : THAN

7. Bridal coverings : VEILS

8. __ Hawkins Day : SADIE

9. Gathers strength for a big day : RESTS UP

10. Taken with a spoon : ORAL

11. Singles, on a diamond : BASE HITS

12. Tricky road bend : ESS

13. Susan of "L.A. Law" : DEY

21. Foreign Legion cap : KEPI

22. Be inclined (to) : TEND

26. O.T. book named for a woman : ESTH. ESTHer.

27. Eyelid problem : STYE

30. Casual talk : CHAT

32. Sugarpie : DEAR

33. Break in friendship : RIFT

34. Business end of a slot machine : ARM

35. Bridle strap : REIN

36. Be nostalgic for : MISS

37. Tattooist's supplies : INKS

38. Common flashlight power source : D BATTERY

42. "Hands off!" : "LET ME GO!"

43. For two voices together, in scores : A DUE

44. One with a screw loose : NUT CASE

45. Fed. workplace monitor : OSHA

48. Talking parrot voiced by Jay Mohr : PAULIE. Trailer.(1:06)

49. Showily decorated : ORNATE

50. Shorthand pros : STENOs

53. Krupp Works city : ESSEN. Not related to Krups Coffee Makers and Espresso Machines, Krupp Works made an assortment of naval guns and field artillery pieces for Germany in WW II. In 1999, the Krupp Group merged with its largest competitor, Thyssen AG; the combined company—ThyssenKrupp AG, became Germany's fifth-largest firm and one of the largest steel producers in the world. (Wikipedia)

54. Flat replacement : SPARE

56. Lawman Earp : WYATT

58. Folk singer Burl : IVES. Burl had his own nit here. A Little Bitty Tear.(2:04)

59. Persian Gulf nation : IRAN

60. Bro's sib : SIS

61. Tax shelter initials : IRA


Aug 22, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011 Kelly Clark

Theme: Look! Up in the sky... - it' a bird. And bird related things start our theme entries.

1A. Sound from a tree : CHIRP. It's short and there is no symmetrical entry so we'll consider this a bonus.

20A. *Resolve once and for all : LAY TO REST

38A. *Savings for later in life : NEST EGG. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

56A. Lyric in a Porter song that ends "Let's fall in love," and a hint to the starts of the starred answers (and 1-Across) : BIRDS DO IT. "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love" is a popular song(3:01) written in 1928 by Cole Porter. It was introduced in Porter's first Broadway success, the musical "Paris" (1928).

11D. *Like unreliable short-term businesses : FLY BY NIGHT. Don't put any of these eggs in yor basket.

27D. *Do some scheming : HATCH A PLOT

Argyle here. I hope you had your stars but they weren't really necessary. The unifier was pretty clear. It is similar to Kelly's puzzle , back in June. The grid even resembles a nest, especially if you highlight the theme entries. I picture CHIRP as the mama bird sitting on the edge of the nest.


6. Range between soprano and tenor : ALTO

10. Cpls.' underlings : PFCs

14. Flamboyant evangelist __ Semple McPherson : AIMEE. Clip(1:23) from an upcoming show at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.

15. Boston Bruins or Chicago Bears, e.g. : TEAM

16. Inter __: among others : ALIA

17. Baseball's Nolan and actress Meg : RYANs

18. Bath towel word : HERS

19. Natasha's no : "NYET!"

22. Many an October baby, astrologically : LIBRA

23. A __ alfa : AS IN. Phonetic alphabet spelling of Alpha.

24. Nairobi native : KENYAN. Map.

25. Satirical Mort : SAHL

28. Arrive after a tough trip : MAKE IT IN. Thru Kenya?

31. Schoolroom group : CLASS

33. Travelers' lodgings : INNS

34. Hypotheticals : IFS. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

37. PC key : ALT

41. Miracle-__: garden brand : GRO

42. B'way setting : NYC

43. Slender woodwind : OBOE

44. Reacted to fireworks : OOHED

46. The Beatles' George : HARRISON

50. Salt Lake City college team, aptly : UTES

51. "Happy I can oblige" : GLAD TO

53. Cop's route : BEAT

55. Lassos : ROPES

61. "__ well that ends ..." : ALL'S. Shakespearean play.

62. Rani's garment : SARI

63. Cease-fire : TRUCE

64. Coagulate, as blood : CLOT

65. Treater's words : "ON ME"

66. Levels, as a building : RAZES

67. Italian noble family : ESTE

68. Fava or lima : BEAN

69. Illegally off-base GIs : AWOLs


1. Poet Sandburg : CARL

2. Breezy greeting : "HI YA"

3. "__ be wrong, but ..." : I MAY

4. Avis offerings : RENTALS

5. Cuban cash : PESOs

6. Zeus' daughter : ATHENA

7. Popular jeans : LEEs

8. Small fruit pie : TART

9. Mantric syllables : OMs. Ommm... Ommmm...

10. Italian sandwich : PANINI

12. Olds Cutlass model : CIERA

13. The devil : SATAN

21. Canyon edge : RIM

22. "Come on, we're late" : "LET'S GO"

24. Goal in checkers : KING

25. Read, as a bar code : SCAN

26. Treaty partner : ALLY

29. Flying toys : KITES

30. U-turn from WSW : ENE

32. Stable sounds : SNORTS. Pigs, horses...Farmer John up in the haymow.

35. Available for a date : FREE

36. Puts in a lawn the fast way : SODS

39. River of Spain : EBRO. OMG, it's a gimmee for me now. Map.

40. "... or __ thought" : SO I

45. Beat in a Western showdown : OUTDRAW

47. "__ Fideles": carol : ADESTE

48. Conan of "Conan" : O'BRIEN

49. Simpsons neighbor Flanders : NED

51. Pre-meal blessing : GRACE

52. Lounges around : LOLLS

54. Stars, in Latin : ASTRA. ASTRO is the common prefix.

56. Undoing : BANE

57. Cookbook writer Rombauer : IRMA. Her book.

58. Greek liqueur : OUZO. Better know what you're doing if you drink this stuff.

59. Its cap. is Reykjavik : ICEL.and

60. Tracy's Trueheart : TESS. Comic's Dick Tracy.

62. Cry out loud : SOB


Jun 20, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011 Kelly Clark

Theme: Blunt-force Trauma - (Non Sequitur comic) I counted four synonyms surrounding a fifth in the middle of the squared ring. The unifier is standing alone in the NW corner and an extra standing in the SW corner.

1A. "Yipe!" (or an apt title for this puzzle?) : "OUCH!". The unifier.

The protagonists:

17A. It's roughly between a batter's chest and knees : STRIKE ZONE

39A. Maynard G. Krebs of old TV, notably : BEATNIK

64A. Begin traveling : HIT THE ROAD

11D. Whence fruity drinks are ladled : PUNCH BOWL

34D. Pie-throwing comedy : SLAP STICK


58D. Animal hide : PELT. The extra.

Argyle here. Somewhat unusual Monday. Our first puzzle from Kelly but by no means her first puzzle. Read here. She constructed one ACPT tournament puzzle this year.  I was struck by the imagery and the lack of abbreviations and yet still a doable Monday.


5. San Antonio shrine : ALAMO

10. "__, sesame!" : OPEN

14. Skin cream ingredient : ALOE

15. Popular plastic wrap : SARAN

16. Without a stitch on : NUDE

19. Terminates : ENDS

20. Ryan who played Granny on "The Beverly Hillbillies" : IRENE. Image.

21. Cornerstone abbr. : ESTD. Established.

22. "Shoo!" : "SCAT!"

23. Polynesian wrap : SARONG. Tutorial.

25. Quarter half : EIGHTH

27. Puts to work : USES

29. Within view : SEEABLE

32. Put in the "circular file" : TOSS

35. Recent: Pref. : NEO

37. Sing soothingly : CROON

38. Actor Holbrook : HAL. Image.

42. "Ease on Down the Road" musical, with "The" : WIZ. Clip(2:39).

43. Self-mover's rental : U-HAUL

45. 2,000 pounds : TON

46. __-ran: loser : ALSO

47. Visible means of __ : SUPPORT

50. Pesky little biter : GNAT

52. Mad magazine specialty : SATIRE

54. Play in the pool : SPLASH

58. Brad of "Ocean's Thirteen" : PITT. Image.

60. Attorney's matter : CASE

62. Expensive fur : SABLE

63. Arab ruler : EMIR

66. Doily material : LACE

67. Like neon and xenon : INERT

68. Crisscross pattern : GRID

69. Toddler : TYKE

70. Slalom curves : ESSES

71. Europe's highest active volcano : ETNA. Image.


1. Desert refuge : OASIS

2. Extreme : ULTRA

3. Gadget to remove apple centers : CORER

4. Abominable, as a crime : HEINOUS

5. Enzyme suffix : ASE

6. Stretch out in the recliner, say : LAZE. "Ahhh!"

7. Stood up : AROSE

8. "Praying" insect : MANTIS. No image.

9. Tense : ON EDGE

10. Poor movie rating : ONE STAR

12. Old Norse poetry collection : EDDA

13. Bird's home : NEST

18. Barbie counterparts : KENS

24. Kelly of song and dance : GENE. Does our constructor like to get her name into the puzzle? I wonder.

26. "What the __!" : HECK

28. Dead __ Scrolls : SEA. A collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 at Khirbet Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea from which it derives its name.

30. Superman's Lane : LOIS

31. Automaker Ferrari : ENZO. Fast lane.

32. Therefore : THUS

33. Pearl Harbor's island : OAHU

36. Giant Mel of Cooperstown : OTT

39. Sponge up : BLOT

40. Yuletide cupful : NOG

41. Travelers' havens : INNS

44. Like a cornered cat : UP A TREE

46. Not yet captured : AT LARGE

48. "Hello" singer Lionel : RICHIE. Clip(4:04).

49. Lionels under the tree : TRAINS. Cute connection.

51. Church recess : APSE

53. __ Park, Colorado : ESTES

55. Scrub the launch : ABORT

56. Done in, as a dragon : SLAIN

57. Hopper of old gossip columns : HEDDA. Trivia: She had one child, actor William Hopper, best known for playing Paul Drake in the Perry Mason series.

59. "If __ make a suggestion ..." : I MAY

61. To be, in Bordeaux : ÊTRE. French.

65. Elevs. : HTS. Elevations/Heights.