Showing posts with label Michael T. Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael T. Williams. Show all posts

Feb 22, 2009

Sunday February 22, 2009 Michael T. Williams

Theme: Canine Collection

32A: Simpson's pooch: SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER

50A: Disney pooch: OLD YELLER

82A: Comic strip pooch: MARMADUKE

103A: Roy Rogers' pooch: BULLET THE WONDER DOG

7D: Cartoon pooch: DOGGIE DADDY

24D: Silver screen pooch: RIN TIN TIN

69D: Cartoon pooch: AUGIE DOGGIE

71D: Animated pooch: SCOOBY- DOO

Scroll down the first page to read Argyle's post on Barry's special puzzle for us.

Our TMS crossword superstars ASTA and LASSIE are missing.

I had never heard of DOGGIE DADDY or AUGIE DOGGIE or MARMADUKE. But they were quite inferable. The upper right corner where CALX /HRA/GORE-TEX intersect was impossible for me.

I also went through huge trouble filling in CROTON. I wonder why the constructor did not pick up Peggy NOONAN for clue 110A ("Gentleman prefer Blondes" co-star). Is Tommy NOONAN a very famous name? All I could think of is Marilyn Monroe. I like Peggy NOONAN. Bush's former speech writer Michael Gerson also writes very well-reasoned piece, though I often disagree with what they say.

I think "Ancient" needs to be added to the EDOM clue (55A: Dead Sea kingdom). I also disliked the clue for DIA (101A: Dist. across). It should be "Dist. across a circle".


15A: Shamus: TEC. Did not know "Shamus" is a slang for detective.

21A: Old-time actress Menken: ADAH. She was in our puzzle yesterday. Dumas' love interest.

22A: Govt. med. grp.: HRA (Health Reimbursement Accounts). Not a familiar grp. to me. I wanted HMO.

23A: Pat who shot Billy: GARRETT. Unknown figure. A real photo of Billy the Kid with gun is probably very valuable now.

31A: Waterproof fabric: GORE-TEX. I forgot. It appeared in our puzzle before. Used in raincoat I suppose.

28A: Xmas honcho: ST. NICK

35A: Sahl and Drucker: MORTS. MORT Drucker is the MAD cartoonist.

38A: Laura of LPGA: DAVIES. Here is Laura Davies with John Daly. Funny pair. I've seen her several times in person. She never uses tee. She just kicks in the ground with her shoes and forms a little bulge to put her ball on. There is another Laura in LPGA, Laura Diaz. She used to be very good.

44A: Lower layer of Earth's outer crust: SIMA. Silica and Magnesium. I forgot of course.

46A: McKellen and McShane: IANS. Did not know the English actor IAN McShane.

48A: Strasbourg's region: ALSACE. The pink area: ALSACE-Lorraine. I think the food there is very German.

57A: Shinto gateway: TORII. TORII gate. I finally remember this name because of Angels' TORII Hunter (ex-Twin).

60A: Violin-maker Amati: ANDREA. Good to know. AMATI if often clued as "Valuable violin".

68A: __ buena: YERBA. Not a familiar herb to me. Kind of mint.

73A: Comic Crosby: NORM. I wanted BING. Have never heard of NORM Crosby.

77A: Come to pass: OCCUR

96A: Lay it on thick: BEDAUB. Besmear. What a waste of two letter BE.

99A: Danube tributary: ISAR. OK, see here. Click on it, the map will enlarge. The river flows through Munich.

102A: Floral clusters: CYMES. No idea. My goodness, so many names for flower clusters.

107A: Skip like a stone: SKITTER. Did not like the SKI repetition.

112A: Long-haired felines: PERSIANS

114A: Space juice?: TANG

115A: __ de Saint-Exupery: ANTOINE. No idea. He was a French author. His image was on France's 50-franc note before Euro.

117A: Noninvasive med. exams: MRIS

118A: 2501: MMDI

120A: "Born on the Bayou" grp.: CCR (Credence Clearwater Rivival). Here is the song.

125A: J. J. Pershing's troops: AEF (American Expeditionary Force). Was this a gimme to you? I've never heard of General Pershing or his WWI troops.


2D: Reaches base after a bunt: BEATS OUT. Nick Punto needs to learn how to bunt. He is just awful.

3D: O'Higgins of Chile: BERNARDO. Another google. His position sounds like that of our second President John Adams, right?

5D: Alaska city on Baranof Island: SITKA. This has become a gimme. Largest city in the US by area.

11D: Brits. flyboys: RAF (Royal Air Force). Churchill had a famous saying about RAF: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." History has really been made by a few.

13D: Macmillan or Wilson: HAROLD. Both served as Prime Minister of the UK.

14D: Everest guide: SHERPA

15D: Franz Kafka novel: THE TRIAL. Know the book. Have never read it though.

16D: First name in mysteries: ERLE. ERLE Stanley Gardner.

17D: Crumbly metal residue: CALX. Struggled mightily with this weird word. It just looks so wrong, with LX together.

27D: Granary pests: WEEVILS

29D: Indians' third baseman of the 1950's: AL ROSEN. I have this card (reprint). He once said: "The greatest thrill in the world is to end the game with a home run and watch everybody else walk off the field while you're running the bases on air. "

34D: Lincoln's V.P.: HAMLIN. No idea. I thought it's Andrew Johnson. Why did President Lincoln ditch him after the first term then?

51D: Noted drama school: YALE. Easily inferable. Who are the famous YALE drama graduates?

52D: Catcher Howard: ELSTON. First African-American to play for the Yankees.

54D: Brown shade: SIENNA

60D: Agamemnon's father: ATREUS. Had to google again. Agamemnon is the brother-in- law of Helen of Troy. Obviously he played a huge role in the Trojan War. When he returned home, he and his concubine Cassandra were killed by his wife, who was then murdered by their son, who was being pursued by Erinyes (the three Furies) in this picture I linked a few months ago.

63D: Def. mil.grp.: TAC (Tactical Air Command). SAC is Strategic Air Command. Both are unfamiliar abbreviations to me.

76D: Group fund: TONTINE. No idea. What is it?

78D: Two dots over vowels: UMLAUTS. Like the two dots above Häagen-Dazs.

84D: Cardinals: RED BIRDS

86D: Mortarboard tosser: GRAD. These guys.

88D: Daryle of gridiron: LAMONICA. Sigh. Maybe Daryle LAMONICA can send me his autographed card. Then I will remember him. La Monica, what a strange name.

93D: Gandhi's title: MAHATMA. The title was given to him by Tagore.

97D: Last syllable of a word: ULTIMA. The next to last syllable is penultima.

98D: Vaguely outlined: BLEARY

100D: Make over: REVAMP

102D: New York reservoir: CROTON. This word gave me the most trouble. I stared at ?R??ON there forever. Have never heard of the CROTON Reservoir.

104D: Banks of Wrigley: ERNIE. This is his rookie card. He is a HOFer of course. 1954 is also Hank Aaron's rookie season.

108D: Berry and Norton: KENS. Easy guess. KEN Norton is multi-time world champion heavyweight boxer. Ex-Marine. Three KEN Berry's here, I don't know which one the constructor was thinking.


Dec 13, 2008

Saturday December 13, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: None

Total blocks: 31

Total words: 72

This sure looks like a weekday grid, doesn't it? So many blocks and so many words. In case you forgot, the maximum amount of words allowed in a TMS Saturday themeless puzzle is 72.

Not an easy puzzle for me today. I used lots of Wite-Out. Misread a few clues and filled in several answers recklessly. Penned in EPEE instead of RAIL for 20D: Fence piece (thought it was "Fencing piece"). Also wrote down RED instead of ODD for 43A: Roulette bet.

I disliked the clue for TEAPOTS (52A: Tabletop brewers) because TABLEWARE (42A: Dining gear) is an answer in the grid. Seeing the clue for BIG TEN (31A: Conference of Golden Gophers) makes me happy.


1A: Aussie burrows: WOMBATS. He does look like a bear, doesn't he?

15A: Caspian's neighbor: ARAL SEA. See this map. They are not neighbors to me.

16A: Somewhat dilatory: SLOWISH. "Dilatory" is a new word to me. I thought it's related to dilate.

19A: "Dora Maar" painter: PICASSO. His "Dora Maar au Chat" was sold over $95 million at a Sotheby's auction in 2006. Astonishing! Gertrude Stein was very sympathetic to Dora Maar, who cried a lot during her tumultuous relationship with PICASSO.

20A: Disavowed: RECANTED. I misread the clue as "Disowned" initially.

22A: Particle in a meson: QUARK. New word to me.

25A: Oscar role for Ingrid Bergman: ANASTASIA. Not familiar with this movie. All I could think of is ILSA from "Casablanca".

28A: Vivian of "I Love Lucy": VANCE. I googled her name. Here is a nice clip.

30A: Like many elements: NONMETAL. The answer did not come to me immediately. I penned in MAC instead of MAN for the intersecting 21A: Fellow.

33A: Big mil. brass: GENL. The common abbreviation is GEN, right?

34A: "Dracula" writer: STOKER (Bram). Hot ER ending name.

37D: Market protests: BOYCOTTS

41A: Flower sepals: CALYX. The plural form of CALYX is either CALYXES or CALYCES. Good diagram.

44A: Intrinsically: PER SE. And 3D: Intrinsic quality: ESSENCE

45A: Western moniker: TEX (Ritter). He was the singer for "High Noon".

46A: Serpent: OPHIDIAN. Another new word to me.

49A: Webber musical: CATS. The only Webber musical that I know.

51A: Fawning sycophants: TOADIES

55A: Gregory Nava film of 1983: EL NORTE. No idea. Have you seen this movie before?

56A: Air sacs in the lungs: ALVEOLI. Singular form is alveolus. Foreign to me also.

57A: Minium: RED LEAD. Both the clue and the answer are new to me. I only realize right now that the clue is "Minium", not "Minimum".


2D: Pizza herb: OREGANO

3D: Greek cape: MATAPAN. See Cape MATAPAN on the upper middle part? I've never heard of this place. I thought the clue was asking for a Greek garment.

8D: Ad Astra per __ (Kansas motto): ASPERA. No idea. Literally "To the stars with difficulty". I wonder why Minnesota picked up a French "L'étoile du Nord" motto instead of a Latin one.

9D: Mouse sound: CLICK

11D: McGregor of "Moulin Rouge": EWAN. See this photo of him and Nicole Kidman. I gave up "Moulin Rouge" after watching it for a few minutes. Could not understand it.

12D: Far off: DISTANT. Cool is "Far out". Very confusing to me.

14D: Wearing wingtips: SHODDEN. I did not know the meaning of "wingtips".

22D: Doha's land: QATAR. This I know. The Doha forum. Al Jazeera is also headquatered in Doha.

23D: Mil. branch: USAF

26D: Great __ Mountains: SMOKY. I wonder why SMOKEY BEAR is not spelled as SMOKY Bear.

27D: E-mail forerunner: TELEX. Boy, can you imagine life without email now?

29D: Love-lit: AGLOW. Was I the only one who thought the clue is a shortened form of "Love literature"?

31D: Stendhal's last name: BEYLE (Henri-Marie). Got his name from across fills. He wrote "Le Rough et le Noir".

34D: Motorcycle's little brother: SCOOTER. I rather like the coded message "SCOOTER" Libby wrote to Judy Miller : "... Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them..."

35D: Frog of the future: TADPOLE. I had PRINCE in mind.

36D: Veteran: OLD HAND

39D: Bridge supporter: TRESTLE

44D: Pitiful piece of art?: PIETA. Good clue.

49D: Spelunking location: CAVE. I had to look up in the dictionary for "Spelunk". The study of the CAVE is speleogy, and the person who explores the cave is speleogist.


Nov 16, 2008

Sunday November 16, 2008 Michael T. Wiliams

Theme: Watch the Finish

23A: Thrilla in Manila, e.g.: BOXING MATCH

34A: Fielding feat: DIVING CATCH

46A: Extra door security: SAFETY LATCH

67A: Magician's secret: ESCAPE HATCH

81A: Blooming plot: FLOWER PATCH

109A: How the best cakes are made: FROM SCRATCH

114A: Chocolate chip collective: COOKIE BATCH

FLOWER, COOKIE and "How the best cakes are made", so sweet!

The constructor used up every *ATCH phrase for his theme entries. *Watch does not rhyme, and he put it in his theme title. Very clever. It would be perfect if he squeezed in NATCH somewhere.

I think I mentioned this before: When there is an odd number of theme entries, the middle one must be structured in the very heart of the puzzle, and it must have an odd number of letters. See today's ESCAPE HATCH. The symmetry of the grid demands so.

I had a very smooth solving today. Caught the theme very early on and was able to fill in all the finishing letters of the theme answers.

I love the FISH clue (81D: Catch some rays?). I was thinking of BASK since TAN & SUN did not fit. It finally dawned on me that "rays" are fish, not sunshine.


1A: Melonlike tropical fruit: PAPAYA. Yes, PAPAYA does look like melon, the taste is totally different though.

11A: Rhythmic swing: LILT. And YODELS (47D: Alpine songs).

20A: Lomond or Ness, for example: LOCH. I would not have got CCCP (9D: Cyrillic USSR) without LOCH. Somehow I can never remember CCCP. Someone mentioned "Charlie's Cold Chicken Pie" as a mnemonic last time.

21A: Member of a stand: TREE. I don't understand this one, why?

26A: S. American nation: ECUA. Its capital is Quito.

27A: Work-shoe protection: TOECAP. New to me. So TOECAP protects the shoe, not your toe?

30A: Sally Field movie: NORMA RAE. Good to see its full name.

40A: Ophelia's brother: LAERTES. I googled his name. He killed Hamlet with a poisoned blade.

43A: Layer beneath membrane: ECTOPLASM. Opps: ENDOPLASM. New to me.

57A: U.K. ref. set: OED. It has 20 volumes. Amazing. But who reads it?

58A: Dundee of boxing: ANGELO. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says he worked with ALI (112A: The Greatest) for many years. What is "a bucket guy"?

63A: Japanese vegetables: UDOS. Have you had UDOS before? I might have had it in some miso soup before. Could not remember their flavor.

78A: Membrane of grasses: PALEA. Plural is PALEAE. See this diagram. New word to me.

79A: Hale-Bopp or Kohoutek: COMET. I guessed.

90A: Doofus: SCHMO

91A: Deejay's gimmick: AUTOCUE. I don't understand this one. Why does Deejay needs AUTOCUE?

103A: Guide to Valhalla: VALKYRIE. No idea. It's "any of the beautiful maidens attendant upon Odin who bring the souls of slain warriors chosen by Odin or Tyr to Valhalla and there wait upon them". Kind of like Muslim Houri, isn't it?

105A: Travel channel?: LANE

106A: Unaspirated, like B or D: LENIS. This is also a new word to me.

107A: "___ Howser, M. D.": DOOGIE. I googled, then I realized that I had searched for this TV series before.

109A: Indigo dye: ANIL. What exactly is ANIL?

117A: Jewish month: ADAR. I bet this has become a gimme for all the TMS puzzle solvers. It's always ADAR if the clue is "Jewish month" (4 letters).

119A: Dar es__ Tanzania: SALAAM. Ha, I forgot this city again. Searched this name before. Literally, "abode of Peace". The largest city in Tanzania.

123A: Govt. issued securities: T-BILLS


1D: Dangerous insulation mtl.: PCB. I obtained this word from across fills.

2D: Orinoco tributary: ARO. It's clued as "Venezuelan river" last time. If you find a map, please share with us. This Rio Orinoco is the only thing I got.

14D: Riot queller: TEAR GAS

15D: Roman autocrat: CEASAR. He said "Veni, vidi, vici" & "Et tu, Brute?".

18D: Moors: HEATHS

28D: Flintonstones' pet: DINO

44D: :S: in music: PRESA. No idea. I don't understand the clue neither, waiting for Kittyb's explanation.

49D: Aussie rockers: AC/DC. OK, here is their "You Shook Me All Night Long".

52D: Well-plumed bird: EGRET

60D: "__ Cane": MONDO. I saw it before, very strange film.

65D: School for Sartre: ECOLE. "School for Simone" too of course. What a beautiful relationship between Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre! True love does not mean that you have to own each other physically.

68D: Hammerin' Hank: AARON. He has 755 home runs, the true home run king!

80D: Battery brand: EVEREADY. I've never heard of EVEREADY before. It does not exist any more, right?

84D: God of thunder: THOR. He always carries a hammer. Thursday is named after him.

85D: 951: CMLI

88D: Part of NRC: NUCLEAR. NRC is Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

89D: Fictional sleuths: TECS. Our editor likes to clue it as "Gumshoes".

92D: Muse of astrology: URANIA. Here is a picture. She usually holds a globe on her left hand.

93D: Pick-me-ups: TONICS

94D: Denver concoction: OMELET. Denver OMELET, looks delicious!

101D: Handlelike parts: ANSAE. Singular form is ANSA, often clued as "Latin handle".

115D: "__ Pinafore": H.M.S. Not familiar with this comic opera.


Oct 20, 2008

Monday October 20, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: Watered Down

17A: Heading for England: CROSSING THE POND

38A: Get outta here: GO JUMP IN A LAKE

56A: Very small amount: A DROP IN THE OCEAN

Will "Take Me to the RIVER" fit the above theme pattern?

This puzzle is weird. Most of the time the longest theme answer is in the middle. The grammatical structure of the above three entries felt very loose too.

I had to check the dictionary for BONESET (27D: Thoroughwort). I did not understand the meaning of "Thorougwort", thinking it's kind of disease, or something like wart. Had no idea that "wort" is a suffix for "plant".

I also forgot TARPON (31A: Florida fish). I wonder why the clue is "Florida fish"? Can't you find TARPON anywhere else? By the way, congratulations to Night Owl and other Tempa Bay fans. Matt Garza was awesome!


14A: Clarinetist Shaw: ARTIE. It's clued as "Bandleader Shaw" last Saturday. Kittyb linked Benny Goodman and Woody Herman and mentioned that they are all clarinetists and bandleaders.

20A: Plainsong feature: MONOTONE. This reminds me of Ben Stein.

21A: Carried by wind: EOLIAN. Or AEOLIAN. From Aeolus, ruler of wind in Greek mythology. New to me.

25A: North of Paris: NORD. "South of Paris" would be SUD.

37A: Ducks' relatives: LOONS. LOON is Minnesota's state bird.

41A: Rams and bucks: MALES. No alliteration any more? How about "Bucks and Boars"?

47A: "Star Trek" star: SHATNER. Captain Kirk.

54A: Of the kitchen: CULINARY. Funny how I always associate CULINARY with cooking but not kitchen.


1D: U.S. Defense group: SAC (Strategic Air Command). I got it from the across fills.

5D: Fawning subordinate: YES-MAN

7D: Inert gas: ARGON

18D: Isotope of thorium: IONIUM. No idea. Its atomic number is 90, and atomic weight 230. ION is charged article, IUM is a suffix for metallic element.

19D: Ultimate conclusion: END-ALL

22D: Paper folding: ORIGAMI. Amazing ORIGAMI flowers.

23D: Lotion additive: LANOLIN. Also called wool fat. I could only think of ALOE.

26D: Washington city: SPOKANE. Unknown to me also. Wikipedia says 1974 World Fair was held in SPOKANE and Bing Crosby grew up there.

41D: NYC arena: MSG. Are you a NY Rangers fan?

51D: "Rebel Without a Cause" co-star: MINEO (Sal). See the movie trailer.

61D: Writer Hentoff: NAT. I don't think I've read anything he has written.


Oct 17, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: Three Bigs


39A: Three bigs: IDEA BROTHER BEND

63A: Three bigs: WIG PICTURE APPLE



11D: Three bigs: DEAL WHEEL DIPPER

Does Big VALLEY refer to the TV series? I've never heard of it before.

The clue for HUBERT (49D: V.P. Humphrey) should not have been abbreviated. But I am so happy to see his name in the puzzle. He is Minnesota's favorite son. There is a certain enigma about him, so idealistic yet realistic. He was so right when he said "Asia is rich in people, rich in culture and rich in resources. It is also rich in trouble."

Some of you might not like this kind of 3- thing theme concept, but I really like this puzzle. It only has 32 blocks, compared with 38 we get often. Besides, there are 6 run through 15-letter theme answers. That's 81 white squares, 36% of the grid. Most of the time we get somewhere between 45 and 55 I think. I've never counted it before though. There are 50 white squares themed entries in yesterday's quip puzzle.

I wonder if Michael T. Williams thought of the real "Big Three" Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin when he constructed his puzzle.


1A: Watch pockets: FOBS. I was surprised that "watch chain" is not the #1 definition of FOB.

10A: Norse Zeus: ODIN. He only has one eye. The God of Thunder THOR is his oldest son.

15A: "Christ Stopped at ___": EBOLI. It's written by Carlo Levi. I learned the book title from doing Xword. The spelling is so close to ECOLI.

25A: Stu of early TV: ERWIN. Nope, he is a stranger to me. I wonder if ERWIN is variation of IRWIN.

28A: Jodie Foster film: NELL. Have you seen the movie? It does not look interesting to me.

30A: Celtic worshipper: DRUID. No idea. Dictionary says DRUID is rooted in DRU, Celtic for tree (esp oak tree). So DRUIDS worshipped trees then? It's animisim, isn't it?

43A: Napoleon's commander at Waterloo: NEY (Michel). The "Bravest of the Brave". Wikipedia says that NEY is also an "end-blown flute" in the middle east. What is an "end-blown flute"? Is there any flute called "front-blown"?

44A: "It's a Wonderful Life" director: CAPRA (Frank). I also like his "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Too bad, our politicians today promise so much and deliver so little.

45A: Impresario Hurok: SOL. No idea. Very impressive career.

48A: __ out (intimidate): PSYCH. One letter away from PSYCHE, the beautiful girl Cupid (Eros) loves. I just learned this morning that they have a daughter named Voluptas, the goddess of "sensual pleasures. " Wikipedia says "the first known mention of Voluptas was made by the Roman author Lucius Apuleius in his book "The Golden Ass" - the only Latin novel to survivie in its entirety."

58A: Painter Modigliani: AMEDEO. Not familiar with his name. I do remember seeing "Girl in Pigtail" somewhere before.

71A: Before, before: ERST. Or "Formerly, formerly"; "Once, once".


1D: Teen idol of the fifties: FABIAN. I've never heard of FABIAN before. That's an odd looking swimwear. What's that white stuff on his waist?

8D: Lohengrin's love: ELSA. I can never remember this Wagner heroine name. Can anyone give me a brief recap of what the story is about?

10D: Mark of the PGA: O'MEARA. Gimme for me. He is one of Tiger Woods' best buddies. He won both the Masters and British Open in 1998.

26D: Somali supermodel: IMAN. She is married to David Bowie. So close to IMAM in spelling.

31D: Cornell's town: ITHACA. Beautifully done. Barb B should like the background music.

40D: Novelist Koontz: DEAN. Not me?

42D: Scary word?: BOO. Ha ha, this reminds of BOOER (Raspberry blower) we had in early Sept.

59D: 651: DCLI. I actually like some math calculations in the clue.

56D: Poetic meadow: LEA. Ewe would love this clue. I am bored.


Oct 7, 2008

Tuesday October 7, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: Space Music (All Song Titles)

17A: Wernher von Braun?: ROCKET MAN

21A: Cageless canary? FREE BIRD

37A: Pilot's request?: COME FLY WITH ME

56A: Elevens, not ones, in blackjack?: ACES HIGH

61A: British flyer?: AEROPLANE

Wow, Michael T. Williams sure loves space science. Remember his Celestial Cinema (Sciene Fiction Films) puzzle?

I am not familiar with any of above songs. In fact, I was thinking of "HOME SWEET HOME" for 37D, so many similar letters with COME FLY WITH ME.

Several obscure clues/answers for me. Had to google. I did love seeing ETS (43A: UFO pilots) in the grid, so fitting to the theme. And I thought "Cockpit communication device" would be a better clue for RADIO (19A: Brit's wireless) today.

Had to admire the symmetry of TOO (2D: Also) and NOR (64D: And also not). Very well done!

But "Cut sheep" for SHEAR (54D)? I think EWE are wrong.


1A: Alone: STAG. I penned in SOLO first.

5A: Acronym before World Series: NLCS (National League Championship Series). Whom are rooting for this year, Dodgers or Phillies? Very interesting, ORIOLES (42A: Ripken's team) won the World Series in 1966 (against Dodgers), and won it again in 1983 (against Phillies).

9A: African fever: LASSA. I've never heard of this disease. It's first discovered in a town called LASSA in Nigeria. Sade was born in Nigeria.

14A: Unhinged: LOCO. Are they really interchangeable?

30A: Sacred river of India: GANGES. See this map. It flows into the Bay of Bengal.

34A: San ___, CA: ANSELMO. Here is the map. New to me. What is it famous for? What's the origin of its name?

45A: Geisha garb: KIMONO. And NOH (32D: Japanese drama). This masked NOH character doll in KIMONO costs $295. Too much.

48A: Card poets: RHYMERS. Are you OK with this clue?

59A: Letters for 1051: MLI

60A: Strong, cotton thread: LISLE. It's named after the French city Lille (formerly Lisle), where it was first made.

66A: God of Assyria: ASHUR. Also spelled as ASSUR. I wanted ALLAH, thinking "Assyria" a Muslim name. See this map. Assyria is an ancient empire in northern Mesopotamia (Iraq). So confusing: ASHUR was not only one of the capitals of Assyria, but also its highest God. I don't understand this information. Is ASHUR the "Silly Hunter" Nimrod ( Noah's great-grandson) then?

71A: Blow-gun ammo: DART. I did not know what a blow-gun is.


1D: Camera letters: SLR. What a boring clue.

3D: Coll. sports. grp.: ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference)

4D: Mini-racer: GO KART

6D: Hasty retreat: LAM. Somehow "Retreat'' brought SPA to my mind.

7D: Cause friction: CHAFE. I tend to confuse CHAFE with CHAFF.

8D: Composer of "The Nubians of Plutonia": SUN RA. Nope, I've never heard of him. What a cool name he picked for himself. RA is Egyptian God of Sun.

11D: Short section of a track: SIDING. What track?

22D: Pool spin: ENGLISH. Lois can probably provide us with her expert opinion on sidespin, topspin and backspin.

24D: Weakly colored: pref.: LEUC. Or LEUCO, LEUKO. As in "leukemia". Completely unknown to me.

26D: __ Park, NJ: MENLO. EDISON is often clued as "The Wizard of Menlo Park".

29D: Group in "The Godfather": MAFIOSI. The singular form is MAFIOSO. Their code of silence is OMERTA, which is also the title of a Mario Puzo book. I've also read his "The Last Don".

35D: Part of a wd.: SYL (Syllable)

44D: Old pol. unit: SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic)

45D: Furry marsupials: KOALAS. Time to get up! Crossword has arrived.

46D: Carve: INCISE

47D: Brandy's sitcom: MOESHA. I have never heard of MOESHA. Brandy used to date Kobe Bryant, right?

59D: City near Essen: MORS. Also spelled as MOERS. Here is the map. Absolutely no idea. Dictionary says it's "a city of west-central Germany west of Essen. Chartered in 1300, it is a market center. In Ruhr district."


Oct 5, 2008

Sunday October 5, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: Let's Face It

23A: Offer no resistance: TURN THE OTHER CHEEK

34A: All talk and no action: LIP SERVICE


66A: Avoid danger like an ostrich? BURY ONE'S HEAD IN THE SAND

86A: Ideal of perfection: APPLE OF ONE'S EYE

96A: No time for photographs? BAD HAIR DAY

111A: Be way overcharged: PAY THROUGH THE NOSE

I always thought APPLE OF ONE'S EYE means something/somebody one loves and treasures. Besides, IDEAL is the answer for 37A: Perfect example. So I am not fond of 86A clue.

I've never heard of OMER (104A: Hebrew harvest month) before. But it's not really a Hebrew month, isn't it?

I dislike the clue for APRICOT (Peachlike fruit). Nectarine looks like peach, APRICOT? No!

The clue for ADIEU (19A: Farewell, mon amour) made me laugh. If you clue it as "mon amour", why don't you clue RIEN (36D: Nice nothing?) as Edith Piaf's "Non, je ne regrette RIEN"? Or better yet, clue SES (88D: His, in Hyeres) as Pascal's "Le coeur a SES raisons..."? We can launch a whole new discussion about love & reason today.

Great puzzle though, very nice theme concept and great execution. I think I like having 7 theme entries (all Across fills) for a Sunday 21*21. It requires longer theme answers and makes the grid look simpler and prettier. Oh, by the way, nearly all of quip/quote puzzles have their theme answers structured in the across clues.

As usual, I had to google. Some of the names are too obscure to me. But I only used Liquid Paper a few times, so I must be getting better.


16A: Dawber of "Mork and Mindy": PAM. I like her BANGS (60D: Forehead cover).

20A: Dishevel: TOUSLE

22A: Troy, NY sch.: RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). I can never remember this name. Wiki says it's "the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world". Which university is the oldest in the world, Cambridge?

27A: Initials of the "Wizard of Menlo Park": TAE. A stands for ALVA.

29A: Hodges of baseball: GIL. Gimme. He was the manager for the 1969 Miracle METS (63D: Queens Nine).

41A: Ex-quarterback Boomer: ESIASON. No idea. Only knew him as Boomer.

50A: Roman galleys: BIREMES. Another unknown. See this picture. It has two tiers of oars on each side.

51A: Baltimore player: RAVEN. Or the "Nevermore" bird.

53A: Liquid appetizers: APERITIFS. I've never had ouzo, have you?

57A: "Woman Drying Her Feet" painter: DEGAS. OK, here is the painting. He painted so many "After the Bath" scenes.

62A: Larry McMurtry western, "Streets of ___": LAREDO. I forgot. It appeared in our puzzle before.

63A: Grayish violet shades: MAUVE. I like this James Whistler line: "MAUVE is just pink trying to be purple". You'll find Whistler's Mother at Musée d'Orsay also.

65A: Six Day War battleground: SINAI

72A: Production figure: QUOTAS

74A: Guitarist Lofgren: NILS. Vaguely heard of his name. Who is Keith?

75A: Crushes to mush: PULPS. I penned in PUREE first.

76A: Amount of charm: SUAVENESS. If you say so.

79A: French solider of WWI: POILU. New to me. It's a slang for French solider during WWI. Literally, hairy one.

80A: More crude: CRASSER. I wanted COARSER.

106A: Not a people person: ASOCIAL

109A: The Racer's Edge: STP

116A: Cacoon fiber: SILK. This reminds me of a big childhood mulberry tree our neighbor used to have. Silkworms ate mulberry leaves, and I ate mulberries.

117A: "Bewitched" grandmother: ENDORA. I forgot. I am going to eat worm if I forget her name again next time.

122A: Arctic bloom: AVENS. No idea. They seem to have long STEMS (6D: Flower holders).


1D: Type of comb: RAT TAIL. Why is it called RAT TAIL?

2D: Da Silva of soccer: EDUARDO. Nope, I've never heard of his name before. Is he very famous?

11D: Saul's uncle: NER. Got it from across fills.

12D: TV screener?: V- CHIP

13D: Threat ender: OR ELSE

18D: Kitten's loss: MITTENS. Pure guess. Was not familiar with the "Three Little Kittens" nursery rhyme.

24D: Possess like a Scotsman: HAE. Scottish for HAVE.

25D: PC pic: CGI. No idea. Computer Generated Imagery?

30D: Terrible czar?: IVAN

34D: Sayer the singer: LEO. I had no idea that he is the original singer for "When I need you". Beautiful song.

38D: Sexual desire: LIBIDOS. Hmmm, I did not expect such a clue/answer.

40D: Romaine: COS. Originated from Greek COS/KOS Island.

43D: Radon, originally: NITON. Big stumper. I've never heard of it before.

45D: Playboy's founder, fondly: HEF. What a strange life he has lived!

47D: Fountain of coins: TREVI. Have you seen "La Dolce Vita"?

48D: Walter of golf: HAGEN. Gimme for me. He was the first American to win British Open.

53D: Composer Berg: ALBAN. No idea. This is a clip from his opera "Wozzeck". I only understood one word: Marie.

54D: 1945 Nobel Prize winner Wolfang: PAULI. Another unknown.

56D: Point NW of San Francisco: REYES. No idea. See this picture of Point REYES National Seashore. How to pronounce REYES?

67D: Distant beginning? EQUI

68D: Roman dictator (82-79B.C.): SULLA. No idea. Wikipedia says "His character was once described as being half fox and half lion, due to his perceived cunning and bravery." And Machivelli alluded to "this description of SULLA in outlining the most desirable characteristics of a prince."

69D: Jump aboard: HOP UP

75D: Sophie's Carlo: PONTI. Great marriage. PONTI produced "Doctor Zhivago".

77D: Tampa sch.: USF (University of South Florida). I did not know this.

78D: Kyushu volcano: ASO. Only know the Chinese word for ASO mountain (阿蘇山). Wiki says it's "the largest active volcano in Japan." By the way, is A SO the same as AH SO (Charlie Chan)?

79D: Tony or Carlos: PENA. So many great baseball players are from Dominican Republic.

81D: Sleep letter: REM (Rapid Eye Movement)

82D: "Lolita" novelist: NABOKOV. He also created the first Russian crossword.

83D: Worsted cloth: ETAMINE. Not familiar with this fabric. It's stamen in French, see this flower picture.

85D: Asian goat: TAHR. Too ugly for me to remember. It's a kind of Nepolese mountain goat.

87D: Be a buttinsky: PRY. "Buttinsky" is a new slang to me.

93D: Kind of socks: ARGYLE. Great ARGYLE socks.

97D: Iron Mike of the Bears: DITKA. Wikipedia says DITKA and Tom Flores are "the only two people to win Super Bowls as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach." I know neither of them.

100D: Earthy color: OCHRE

101D: Dove and Rudner: RITAS. Have never heard of poet RITA Dove before.

107D: Brewskie: SUDS. "Brewski" is also a new slang for me. I don't drink beer.


Sep 26, 2008

Friday September 26, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: The Long and The Short of It

17A: Three longs: DIVISION FACE BOW

57A: Three longs: SHOT ISLAND RANGE

3D: Three shorts: WAVE COMING STORY

7D: Three shorts: HAND CIRCUIT CAKE

11D: Three shorts: RIB TEMPER CHANGE

I like this theme, not the grid structure. Somehow the middle part felt very cramped and I had difficulty breathing. I turned the puzzle 90 degrees and I still did not like the shape. I did not know why those broken blocks bothered me.

There are quite a few unfamiliar clues & answers for me in this puzzle. And I struggled hard for letter T between the intersection of INIT (55D: 1st letter) and CHETS (66A: Huntley and Atkins"). I think I vaguely heard of CHET Huntley before, but I could not dredge his name out of my brain. Had a big V8 moment with INIT (Initial).

The clue for ATF (8D: Booze, butts, and bullets bureau) should have an abbreviated "bureau "or simply "org."


10A: Linkletter and Carney: ARTS. Pure guess. Not familiar with either of them.

23A: Hush-hush: SECRET. Beautiful red rose, such mysterious folded structure. No wonder rose (anagram of Eros) is the symbol of SECRECY, love, perfection and femininity. Dante's Paradise.

25A: Sweet-talk: COAX

32A: Arabic Mac: IBN. But BIN is more popular, isn't it? Both refer to "Son of". Abu is "father of". Al is "the", as in Al - Qaida. Here is a photo of FDR with IBN Saud, former king of Saudi Arabia.

36A: Guitar ridge: FRET. No idea. I got it from across fills.

40A: Phoenix of Egyptian gods: BENU. Or BENNU. See this picture. I've never heard of it before.

43A: Highland plant: GORSE. Also spelled as furze, furse, whin. An evergreen shrub. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says "Common GORSE flowers most strongly in spring, though it bears some flowers year round, hence the old country phrase: "When GORSE is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion." The flowers have a very distinctive strong coconut scent."

44A: Stops a stealer: TAGS. Very creative baseball TAG. Hmm, this is great, so is this one, this one, this one and this one. I don't under this Colgroup tag, what does it mean? Other baseball references are OTT (22A: Mel of the Giants) and ATL (61D: Braves in box scores).

46A: Like-minded voters: BLOC

69A: Bacon amount: RASHER. Don't laugh at me, but really I have never heard of RASHER. Always thought it's called slice or strip. I've never developed a taste for bacon or hotdog. I do love apple pie.

52A: Place for three men?: TUB. Learned this rhyme from a comment Carol made sometime ago. I like this picture.

63A: Funny Jack of Hollywood: OAKIE

64A: End-of-week cry: TGIF. We seem to get a TGIF every Friday now.


5D: Robberies: HEISTS. Have you seen HEIST?

12D: Boxing letters: TKO

19D: Courteney or Wally: COX. Only know Courteney COX (Monica in "Friends").

24D: Indian cash: RUPEES

29D: Composer Saint - ___: SAENS. He composed "Danse Macabre". DANSE was clued as Saint-Saëns' "___ Macabre" in our puzzle before.

30D: Provide with a trait: ENDUE. New word to me. I was thinking of ENDOW.

33D: Forbidden acts: TABOOS. "... You give me the Sweetest TABOO, that's why I am in love with you...."

34D: Greek letter: DELTA. Xchefwalt probably wants DELTA to be clued as "Flower's end?" I really like this tricky flow-er clue, you know, you can clue NILE "The longest flower in the word?"

36D: Calf-length skirt: MIDI. Do you call this one as MIDI? "Après __ " might be too obvious. "Nice noon?" sounds great, don't you think so?

43D: Egg white: GLAIR. New word to me.

46D: Dracula's conquest: BRIDES

50D: Baylor of basketball: ELGIN. No, not a familar name to me. ELGIN was clued as "City in Scotland or Illinois" in an April puzzle.


Sep 15, 2008

Monday September 15, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: Food Idioms

17A: Raring to go: FULL OF BEANS

26A: Male body part: ADAM'S APPLE

36A: Braggart's cry: EAT YOUR HEART OUT

49A: Face-saving disdain: SOUR GRAPES


I don't like 36A. I know people do eat HEART in some parts of the world, but it just conjures up such an unpleasant picture.

I thought of "hard nut to crack", "cool as cucumber", "bring home the bacon" and "cream of the crop", but none of them fits. Can you think of a 15-letter food idiom?

Too many abbreviations for my taste. SEL (3D: Choice abbr.) could easily be reworded as "French salt" to avoid this annoying "abbr." in the clues. The clue for TORTES (13D: Rich cakes) is very amaterish, as CAKE is part of the answer for 58A. Xchefwalt might not like "Flourless dessert", but it's a perfect clue here.

I think Dennis has warped my thinking. I pictured this sacred Greek stone (Herm) and the "frank and beans" in front when I read 26A: Male body part.


1A: Phylicia or Ahmad: RASHAD. Ha, the Pop Secret commercial couple.

15A: Satellite of Saturn: RHEA. She is also the mother of Hera/Zeus/Hades.

29A: Disney dwarf: SLEEPY. And Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy.

33A: "Straight Is the Gate" writer Gide: ANDRE. I've never heard of this book. (Addendum: The correct book title is "Strait Is the Gate"). But why obsessed with Gide all the time? How about pianoist/conductor ANDRE Previn (Mia Farrow's ex) or this ANDRE?

42A: Govt. security: T BILL (Treasury BILL). I've always liked this misleading clue.

44A: Largest piggy?: BIG TOE. The sophisticated podiatric term is hallux.

48A: Graphic artist M. C. ___: ESCHER. I only know this "Relativity". Not familiar with his other works.

53A: Australian isl: TASM. It's here. Why are this Tasmania Devil's ears red?

64A: Way in, in brief: ENT (Entrance). Hard one! I kept reading the clue as "Way in, in briefs".

66A: Went out: EXITED. Very quick "in" and "out".

67A: His: Fr.: SES. Or her/its.

68A: Daly of "Cagney & Lacey": TYNE. Know her name, not familar with "Cagney & Lacey".

69A: Albert Pinkham and Winona: RYDERS. Know Winona, not Albert Pinkham.


1D: Coast of Morocco: RIF. This has become a gimme to me. Here is map again.

3D: "2001" mainframe: HAL

6D: Pay for: DEFRAY

9D: Bo's number: TEN. No idea. Who is Bo? Why TEN?

10D: Swed. flyers: SAS

30D: Picture taker, briefly: PHOTOG

34D: Org. of Rangers and Ducks: NHL. I would prefer the clue to be "Org. with Penguins and Ducks". It's more fun, would be very misleading for those who do not follow hockey.

37D: Over in Ulm: UBER. Vs. UNTER.

38D: Delicacy: TACT. I was thinking of this delicacy. I vodka and caviar you.

44D: Backs of singles: B SIDES

45D: Cut stinger: IODINE. Are you OK with this clue?

48D: Old Testament book: ESTHER

51D: Calvin or Rodney: PEETE. Know golfer Calvin PEETE, not familiar with Rodney PEETE.

56D: Lolita-ish: SEXY. I've never read "Lolita", have you?

61D: Plunk starter?: KER. Or "Flop starter?". What else?

63D: Goddess of folly: ATE. If not for EAT in theme answer 36A, I would prefer the clue to be a simple "Had a bite", considering so many food choices in today's puzzle.


Sep 1, 2008

Monday September 1, 2008 Michael T. Williams


18A: Elvis's Musical ultimatum: NOW OR NEVER

27A: Frustrated athlete's ultimatum: PLAY ME OR TRADE ME

49A: Seller's ultimatum: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

64A: Hide-and-seek player's ultimatum: READY OR NOT

Shouldn't the clue for 18A be Elvis' instead of Elvis's?

Both "More or less" and "Sooner or later" are antonym phrases too, but I don't think they carry an "OR ELSE" tone. How about "To be or not to be"? Would you consider it a possible ultimatum?

Because of various OR's in the grid, I would prefer LOWE (7D: Rob or Chad) to be clued simply as "Actor Rob", and DALE (41D: Carnegie or Murphy) simply as "Catcher Murphy". No need to provide 2 names for the answer, one is sufficient.

Lots of proper names in this puzzle, most easily obtainable though. I did have trouble in the lower middle corner. I guessed ESTELLAS instead of ESTELLES for 55A: Getty and Winwood, so my 51D became OBARON, which sounded pretty good to me.


5A: Muslim faith: ISLAM. Literally "submission" in Arabic. "Muslim" (one who surrenders) has the same root word 'aslama (to surrender), according to the dictionary.

14A: Vault: LEAP. My first thought was SAFE.

15A: Wynonna's mom: NAOMI. They really look like sisters, don't they? I like Ashley Judd in "Double Jeopardy".

16A: Skater Lipinksi: TARA. Awesome! I like the music she picked.

20A: Marina skyline: MASTS. If MASTS refer to those vertical spars, then what do you call those horizontal poles?

22A: Old World: EUROPEAN. Really? Not EUROPE?

26A: 11: NOV.: I don't like this clue. I would prefer "Election mo."

36A: Poet Teasdale: SARA. I got it from the down clues. What poem is she famous for?

71A: Kyle's friend on "South Park": STAN. "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!"


1D: Bronco's kicker Jason: ELAM. This is what Dennis said last time: "Jason ELAM is tied for the longest field goal (63 yds.), and has Super Bowls and Pro Bowls under his belt. One of the better kickers." But I forgot, would not have got it without the across fills. I seem to only remember things I should not have been taught.

2D: Composer Bartok: BELA. I hope you enjoy this "Sonata for Solo Violin" clip. So good.

3D: Quartet member: BASS. Does this refer to vocal quartet?

927D: Whitneys partner: PRATT. Great logo.

28D: Gospels' source material: LOGIA. Plural of Logion. New to me. Was it a gimme to you?

29D: Wild way to run?: AMUCK. I still think there should be a "var." mark with the clue. What's your opinion?

33D: ___ Gras: MARDI. Let's keep our fingers crossed for Chris, Sandra and all those whose are affected by Gustav.

34D: German artist Max: ERNST. I am so tired of Dadaism. Remember René Magritte (surrealist)'s "This Is Not a Pipe"?

42D: Pipe part: STEM. Or "Flower holder". Do you love red, red rose?

51D: Titania's mate: OBERON. Vaguely remember "A Midsummer Night's Dream" story, but could not remember his name. WP says OBERON is also a "moon of Uranus".

61D: Puccini piece: ARIA. Very fascinating Maria Callas clip. Ari Onassis probably should have married her instead of Jackie. Is anyone here an opera fan?

65D: Last of pay?: OLA. Payola. I just learned earlier that OLA is also Spanish for "wave". How do you say "make waves" in Spanish? And what will be the Spanish title for this songtrack?


Aug 18, 2008

Monday August 18, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: State Fare

1A: Gators state: FLORIDA

27A: Razorbacks state: ARKANSAS

31A: Rainbows state: HAWAII

49A: Jayhawks state: KANSAS

51A: Cornhuskers state: NEBRASKA

73A: Violets state: NEW YORK

11D: Fightin' Blue Hens state: DELAWARE

39D: Wildcats state: KENTUCKY

Are there any common denominator among those 8 states? Am I missing something here?

I did not know that Violets is the name of NYU's sport teams. I also had no idea that the nickname for the University of Hawaii is Rainbows.

Nice puzzle, very smooth. But I was a bit annoyed by the below clues:

64A: End of cash?: IER. Terrible editorial oversight. See CASH (59D: Money). "Back of front?" would be fine.

68D: Back of station?: ARY. Someone really needs to get creative with "ARY". I am so tried of "Back of the station". How about "End of honor/budget"?


11A: "Agnus ___": DEI. Have you read "The Da Vinci Code"? I am very intrigued by this whole Opus DEI mysterious secrecy.

14A: Student's performance: RECITAL

15A: Flax product: LINSEED

17A: Tiered bric-a-brac shelves: ETAGERE. I would prefer the clue to be "Tiered bric-a-brac stand".

18A: Radar of "M*A*S*H": O'REILLY. Have vaguely heard of this nickname "Radar" somewhere before. Did not know his full name is Corporal “Radar” Walter O’REILLY. Interesting name.

22A: Former sports org.: NASL (North American Soccer League). Faintly remember this defunct organization (1968-1984) as I was into Minnesota Kicks collection for a very short period of time. But I would not have obtained this answer without the down clues

34A: Fluffy dessert: MOUSSE. I want a piece of this berry MOUSSE.

36A: Accordionist Floren: MYRON. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says he is best known as the accordionist on "The Lawrence Welk Show". What's the meaning of Tico Tico?

44A: Mr. T's group: A-TEAM

55A: Dyer: TINTER. Is this a made-up word?

58A: Gust of wind: SCUD. I am just so used to the "Gulf War missile" clue.

60A: "___ Restaurant": ALICE'S. I got it from down clues. Wow, this is a song title. I thought it was referring to ALICE Waters' restaurant.

65A: Lizard constellation: LACERTA. Latin for Lizard. New to me also.

67A: Ottoman Turk: OSMANLI. Again, I got it from down clues.


1D: Soft-drink choice: FRESCA

3D: The Cars singer: OCASEK (Ric). "Just What I Needed", for Danielle & Martin.

9D: Cherry brandy: KIRSCH. From German Kirschwasser (Cherry water). Unknown to me also.

10D: Serpent tail?: INE. Lots of ? clues today.

13D: Pastoral poem: IDYL. Idle, Idol, IDYL are all pronounced the same, right?

21D: Shrink time? SESS. I suppose adding an "abbr." in the clue will take way the zest of the "?".

26D: "If I had a ___": HAMMER. I like some of Peter, Paul & Mary's songs.

28D: Shark of golf: NORMAN (Greg). Ha, the Sunday collapse syndrome! Someday I am going to watch the 1996 Masters replay and see how Nick Faldo took away the green jacket from the Shark.

42D: NY gambling parlor: OTB (Off-track betting)

47D: Curcifix letters: INRI

52D: "Sophie's Choice" character: STINGO. Foreign to me. I've never read the book or seen the movie. Dictionary says STINGO is a British slang for "strong ale".

53D: Dancer Ruby: KEELER. I googled her name. I had KEE?ER sitting at this corner for a long time.

61D: Ethan or Joel of movies: COEN. The COEN brothers. I like "Fargo" a lot.

62D: Salinger lass: ESME. ''For ESME With Love and Squalor''. I've never read this short story, have you?

63D: Old World duck: SMEW. I can not see the eyes of that male SMEW. Is he dozing off? Do ducks sleep on the water?