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Today's Puzzles / Ooh, it's the July 27 crossword!
« Last post by Thomps2525 on July 27, 2016, 03:50:54 PM »
On television, "Ooh! Ooh!" was frequently exclaimed by Officer Gunther Toody on Car 54 Where Are You and Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back Kotter. In today's crossword by Jeff Wechsler, the exclamation -- or at least half of it -- begins six phrases:

Wonka worker: OOMPALOOMPA
Plays it like Cary Grant: OOZESCHARM
Expressions of delight: OOHSANDAAHS
Butterfingers' comment: OOPSYDAISY
Comet-filled region of space: OORTCLOUD
Chinese beverage, literally 'black dragon': OOLONGTEA

But does anyone who accidentally drops something ever say "Oopsy-daisy"? I highly doubt it. He would probably just say "Oops" -- or, depending on what he dropped, maybe utter a few cursewords. "Oopsy-daisy" is commonly uttered by an adult as he picks up a child, especially a child who has just fallen. The word is a variant of "upsy-daisy," which is a variant of "ups-a-daisy," which is a variant of the 18th-century expression "up-a-daisy," which is related to "lackadaisacal," which means "lacking enthusiasm or determination" and is an extension of "lackaday," which is a variant of an old expression of regret, "alack the day." "Alack" is a combined form of "ah, lack."

According to the Universe Today website, the Oort Cloud, which is named for astronomer Jan Oort, is "a theoretical spherical cloud of predominantly icy planetesimals that is believed to surround the sun at a distance of up to two light years." It is theorized -- but has not been proved -- that this giant cloud is where comets originate:

In Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, a 1964 novel by Welsh author Roald Dahl, the Oompa-Loompas were black pygmies from Loompaland who work in the chocolate factory. In response to excessive criticism over stereotyping, Dahl put out a new edition of the book in which the Oompa-Loompas were white-skinned and golden-haired. The look of the Oompa-Loompas changed again in movie adaptations released in 1971 (starring Gene Wilder and Peter Ostrum) and 2005 (starring Johnny Depp and Freddie Highmore).

"Juillet's season" is ETE, which is not used in English. "Stuttgart cubes" is EIS, which is not used in English. "Mimic" is APER, a word I have never seen anywhere outside of crossword puzzles. That concludes today's discussion. For our entertainment, let's all sing the songs from the 1964 Charlie & The Chocolate Factory movie. The lyrics are on the Roald Dahl Fans website:

We'll start with this one. The lyrics seem tailor-made for "Oompa loompa doompety doo, I’ve got a perfect puzzle for you......."
General Discussion / Re: ELTHAM
« Last post by mmcbs on July 24, 2016, 03:39:02 PM »
Generally, no, I wouldn't expect it to be OK, except in some the edgier puzzles that often use words that most of us don't know.
Today's Puzzles / USB! USB! The July 24 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on July 24, 2016, 02:53:26 PM »
During the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, we can chant "USA! USA!" Today only, we can chant "USB! USB!"-- although it is certainly not mandatory. The USB, Universal Serial Bus, is the industry standard for connections between peripherals (such as mice, keyboards and printers) and computers. A "bus" is a communications system which transfers data via cable, optical fiber or software. Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel teamed up to develop the USB in 1994-95. A detailed history of the USB is at

And yes, in computer terminology, "mice" is the preferred plural of "mouse," although most dictionaries say "mouses" is also acceptable. Perhaps -- but it just doesn't sound right:

Today's crossword by C.C. Burnikel is titled "Making Connections." Answer 120-down is USB, clued with "PC connection found in this puzzle's eight longest answers":

Sacred conviction: RELIGIOUSBELIEF
Gillette razor for women: VENUSBREEZE
2009 recession response: STIMULUSBILL
Not something to kid about : SERIOUS BUSINESS
Department of Commerce division : CENSUSBUREAU
Apple Store support station: GENIUSBAR
Omaha Steaks Private Reserve product: ANGUSBEEF
Eponymous explorer of the Aleutians: VITUSBERING

Vitus Bering was a Danish-born cartographer and navigator who led two exploratory expeditions to the northern Pacific region in the 1700s:

"Day after dimanche" is LUNDI, which is not used in English. "Madre's hermanos" is TIOS, which is not used in English. "These, to Luis" is ESTOS, which is not used in English. "'Fat chance, Friedrich!'" is NEIN, which is not used in English. "Protest topics: Abbr." is RTS. Yeah, I suppose -- but in the context of civil rights, "rights" is never abbreviated. "Morning hours" is AMS. That is another awkward abbreviation. Who ever makes a plural out of "a.m."? "Brightest star in Cygnus" is DENEB. Um, okay. "'I'm an idiot!'" is DOH, an exclamation which is popularly attributed to animated character Homer Simpson but originated with James Finlayson, a squint-eyed actor who appeared in 33 Laurel & Hardy comedies. Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, did indeed adapt Homer's "Doh!" from James Finlayson.
General Discussion / ELTHAM
« Last post by pleaselose on July 22, 2016, 10:22:32 PM »
Do you think a publisher might accept the use of ELTHAM if clued in a way to help the solver?

For example: "London suburb found in HAMLET"

The crossing fill is all fairly straightforward, the answer is "gettable" largely from the clue alone (I can certainly see a solver jumping to ???HAM at the very least), and because the answer is anagrammed in the clue, you also get closer to it as you solve.

I was originally going to dismiss ELTHAM out of hand, except that it fits so cleanly.  I still plan on ripping it out and looking for alternate fill, but hey, if a handy clue can push it through, I might try.
Today's Puzzles / Re: Newsday Sunday "Spelling B"
« Last post by Thomps2525 on July 19, 2016, 03:37:30 PM »
"Technically correct." Indeed. The website, which uses the Random House Dictionary, lists "bathyscaph" and "bathyscape" as variations of "bathyscaphe." Now I know the spelling in the puzzle is not a mistak. ;)
Today's Puzzles / Re: Newsday Sunday "Spelling B"
« Last post by mmcbs on July 19, 2016, 03:18:27 PM »
That's pretty awesome! BATHYSCAPH is the spelling as in the puzzle, and it is a variant spelling per RHUD, so iffy, but technically correct.
Today's Puzzles / Re: Newsday Sunday "Spelling B"
« Last post by Thomps2525 on July 19, 2016, 03:10:49 PM »
Mark, I knew the spellings of all but one of those "B" words. I thought the valkyrie's name was spelled with only one N, not two. Thanks to good ol' Wikipedia, I discovered that the original name of Brünnhilde in Norse mythology is Brynhildr -- which looks more like a line on an eye chart:

Now -- is "bathyscaph" a misspelling? The deep-sea submersible vehicle known as a bathyscaphe was invented by Auguste Piccard. The first one was constructed in 1946-48. The name comes from the Greek bathys ("deep") and skaphos ("vessel; ship"). I consulted several dictionaries and websites and can find no source which gives the spelling as "bathyscaph." On the Oxford English Dictionary site, I got this message:

"No exact match found for 'bathyscaph' in US English.
Did you mean 'bathyscaphe'?"

Today's Puzzles / Newsday Sunday "Spelling B"
« Last post by mmcbs on July 18, 2016, 05:05:28 PM »
Stan Newman dazzles us with this magnificent puzzle based on the simple theme of 10 long words that start with B (betcha don't know how to spell very many, if any of them).

BRZEZINSKI - Carter's National Security Advisor

BRUNNHILDE - Wagner opera Valkyrie

BOURGEOISIE - Middle class

BRAGGADOCIO - Empty boasting

BOYSENBERRY - It might get into a jam

BOUTONNIERE - Lapel adornment

BATHYSCAPH - Deep-sea submersible

BETELGEUSE - Star in Orion

BARYSHNIKOV - Former American Ballet Theatre head

BROBDIGNAG - Swift's land of giants

The remainder is the usual crosswordese-free patter with notable entries such as PODCASTS, SUN DEVIL, SIZEABLE, and EYE CANDY. Could have done without ERECTORS, but what the hey?

Fun ride. How many could you spell without the perps?
Today's Puzzles / Playing around with the July 17 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on July 17, 2016, 03:54:47 PM »
Matt McKinley likes to create crosswords in which the theme answers have one or two letters added, one or two letters transposed, or one or two letters changed. His crossword today is titled "Crescendo." A crescendo is a gradual increase in the loudness of a piece of music. The word comes from the Italian crescere, "to grow." In each theme answer, a P sound is changed to an F sound. In music, P (Italian piano) means "soft" and F (Italian forte) means "loud." Solvers without a knowledge of musical terms probably will not be able to understand how the title of today's puzzle relates to the theme answers:

Taciturn circus entertainers? QUIETFLEAS
Brilliant bit of deception? LUMINOUSFEINT
Gradually doze during a long meeting? FADEBYTHEHOUR
Charlie's Angels actress on her sloop? FARRAHSAILING
Award ceremony side dish? NOBELFRIES
Panel judging phobic reactions? JURYOFONESFEARS
Charge in an Everglades water taxi? ALLIGATORFARE

"Alligator fare" is changed from "alligator pear," which is actually an avocado. It is called "alligator pear" because of its shape.

In the 1929 Marx Brothers movie The Cocoanuts, Groucho's character is trying to convince Mrs. Potter (Margaret Dumont) to buy land in Florida: "Take its fruit. Take the alligator pear. Take all the alligator pears and keep 'em -- see if I care. Do you know how alligator pears are made?" "I haven't the slightest idea." "There you are. That's because you've never been an alligator, and don't let it happen again. Do you know that it sometimes requires years to bring the pear and the alligator together? They don't like each other. Do you know how many alligator pears are sent out of this state every year and told not to come back?"

Today's crossword taught me the Chinese word BEI.  The clue was: "In Chinese, the 'north' part of China's 'northern capital.'"  Beijing literally means "north capital." In Chinese, it is written 北京. The northern Chinese city grew from a 10th century BC  settlement known as Jicheng. The name Beijing was established in 1958, although many non-Chinese still use the former name Peking.

"Like a brioche" is EGGY, which is indeed a word -- but not a good word. "Toledo title" is SRA, "Brest 'but'" is MAIS, and "Roberto's residence" is CASA, none of which are used in English. "Supergirl's symbol" is ESS. No it isn't -- her symbol is an S. I detest the use of "spelled-out letters" in crosswords. Each letter of the alphabet is already spelled out -- with a single letter. Many crosswords use CEE or DEE as, respectively, "average grade on a test" and "below-average grade on a test." Teachers will grade a test with a big red C or D, never "Cee" or "Dee." Never. And Supergirl and Superman wear a red-and-yellow emblem with an S, not an "Ess." Here is an illustrated history of the emblem:

Okay, that's it for me. Up, up and awaaaayyyyy.....

Today's Puzzles / Teeing off with the July 15 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on July 15, 2016, 04:11:11 PM »
The theme of today's crossword by Samuel A. Donaldson -- who is not to be confused with former ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson -- is TEAFORTWO ("No No Nanette song"). In each of four familiar phrases, a "tee" sound is substituted for a "too" sound:

Model high schoolers? FINETEENS
Ornamental ducks? GARDENTEALS
What Fey does in a mushy moment? TINAMELTS
Park statue that might have the real things perched on it? STEELPIGEON

Tea For Two, written by Irving Caesar and Vincent Youmans, was sung as a duet by the characters Tom and Nanette in the musical comedy No No Nanette, which played in Chicago for one year before opening on Broadway in 1925. It's one of those familiar "boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl" stories. Tom wants to marry Nanette but their relationship ends when she runs off to have fun in Atlantic City. Eventually they reunite and break into song as they fantasize about their future together. No No Nanette was made into a movie in 1930 and again in 1940 and a Broadway revival opened in 1971.

In February 1925, Tea For Two became a number-one hit for Marion Harris, an Indiana-born singer who also appeared in several stage musicals. There have also been hit recordings of the song by Ben Bernie, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Tommy Dorsey, the Ipana Troubadors, the Benson Orchestra of Chicago, and April Stevens & Nino Tempo

Samuel A. Donaldson earned law degrees at Oregon State, University of Arizona and University of Florida. For 13 years, he taught law at University of Washington and since 2012 has taught at Georgia State. His specialties are tax law, commercial law, property rights and estate planning. Somehow he still finds time to create crosswords. His puzzles have been appearing in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal since 2008.

"Forward" is UNSHY, "Second chances" is REDOS and "Orator's prowess: Abbr." is RHET -- three awkward answers. "Provençal possessive" is SES, "Der Spiegel article" is EINE, "Der Spiegel rejection is NEIN, "Where el sol rises" is ESTE and "What Spanish Olympians go for" is ORO,  none of which is used in English. "Two-iron, before golf club numbering" is CLEEK. The word is Scottish and originally referred to a large hook used to hold food, pots or clothing. It comes from the Middle English cleken ("to grasp").  The About Sports website has a  detailed description of the golf clubs known as "cleeks":

That takes care of the cleek. Now what the heck is a mashie, a niblick and a jigger?
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