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Today's Puzzles / The great November 17 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on November 17, 2017, 04:59:01 PM »
Several crosswords by Alex Eaton-Salners have been published in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times since November 2016. His puzzle today includes ten half-answers which, collectively, go around the edges of the grid:

Like thinkers: MINDS
Bonobo, for one: APE
Scotland's island: BRITAIN
Blue Ridge rang : SMOKIES
Considerable achievement: SUCCESS
Wheeler Peak's national park: BASIN
Dogs in the AKC's Working Group: DANES
Oldest of the Seven Wonders: PYRAMID
"Holy cow!": SCOTT
"Atta girl!": JOB

"Landmark that, in a way, is a border feature of this puzzle and a hint to what's missing from 10 answers" is GREATWALL. GREAT needs to be added to the beginning of each theme answer -- and the theme answers form a wall around the grid. Very clever!

Great Danes originated in Germany, not Denmark. They were originally known as German boarhounds. In 1755, French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, who had seen the dogs in Denmark, referred to the breed as "Le Grand Danois" in his Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière. Partly because of increasing tensions between Germany and Denmark (and other European nations), "Great Dane" soon replaced the name "German boarhound." Leclerc's illustration can be seen at

"Great Smokies" is the common local nickname for the Great Smoky Mountains, the mountain range that straddles the Tennessee-North Carolina. Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most-visited national park in the United States.

"Familia member" is MADRE, which is not used in English. "Paris parting" is ADIEU, which is not used in English. "Together, in Toulon" is UNIE, which is not used in English.

"More diverse" is MOTLIER. "Motley" is an adjective meaning "incongruously varied in appearance or character; disparate." The word comes from the Middle English motlei, which means "variegated" and derives from mot, which means "speck." Shakespeare referred to a "motley fool" in As You Like It and sailing ships are often said to have a "motley crew." But "motlier"? Not only does the word sound awkward, it appears in very few dictionaries.

I am not going to make one of my usual bad puns. I know how my puns tend to "great" on people.

General Discussion / Re: Revealers
« Last post by mmcbs on November 16, 2017, 09:21:39 PM »
The reveal entry should be considered part of the theme. In my opinions, a higher number of theme letters can be good, but not at the expense of quality of the fill. Not everyone will agree. I've often been told that a puzzle had a very nice fill, and that compliment has never been followed by " . . . but there weren't enough theme letters". It's also a matter of the quality of the theme entries - adding an extra themer can be a bad thing if it's not as good as the others. Again, my opinion - not everyone will agree.
General Discussion / Revealers
« Last post by atco418 on November 16, 2017, 05:57:05 PM »
I probably work a little too hard to get as many theme squares into a puzzle as it can handle.  I often have to remind myself that less is more.  But what about the revealer?  If I have a theme with three 10-letter entries and one 10-letter revealer, do I have 40 theme squares?  If not, should I work on extending my themers or tossing in another for good measure, or is 30 enough (which I suppose may depend on the puzzle)?

General Support / Can’t download LA Times puzzle to Crosswords App
« Last post by fluff on November 10, 2017, 08:39:00 AM »
Anyone else having trouble downloading the LA Times puzzle to the StandAlone Crosswords App after the iOS 11 update?
General Discussion / Re: Need advice re: phrase
« Last post by cranberry44 on November 02, 2017, 04:32:49 PM »
I believe you've confirmed what deep down I knew but was trying to ignore. You're right--back to the drawing board. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.
General Discussion / Re: Need advice re: phrase
« Last post by mmcbs on November 02, 2017, 02:37:41 PM »
I don't think ARAB EAST is a "thing" that could be used as a non-theme entry. I'd keep working on that section.
General Discussion / Need advice re: phrase
« Last post by cranberry44 on November 01, 2017, 02:29:55 PM »
I'm almost finished working on a 21 X 21 with 11 pirate theme entries of 8 letters or more each; so what I can do with my other entries is somewhat limited. I have an entry for "ARABEAST"; (meaning "Arab East"). The clue will be "The Masriq, with The" (when I googled "Arab East," "Masriq" was the first term that came up per Wikipedia, and it includes Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria; or those countries east of Egypt). (As opposed to Maghreb, essentially those countries in Northern Africa.) There are also a few book titles with the term "Arab East" in them; but the titles are too academic. Can "Arab East" be considered a phrase and therefore acceptable? Should I, instead, list the countries as the clue? Any suggestions?
Today's Puzzles / The anagrammatical October 29 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on October 29, 2017, 04:21:18 PM »
Bruce Haight's crosswords have been appearing in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times since January 2013. Today's is his third Sunday puzzle and his 30th overall. In May, one of his crosswords contained several anagrams of state names plus an additional letter. Example: "CALIFORNIA + N = Majestic beast" is AFRICANLION. Today Haight revisits the theme with "Urbanagrams." Six answers include the name of a major US city followed by its anagram:

A few bars in the West? SANDIEGOSONGIDEA
Ticketholder's entitlement in the Southwest? SANTAFEFANSEAT
Stage handles in the West? SACRAMENTOACTORNAMES
Complex papers for a pad in the West? LOSANGELESLONGLEASES
Heavyweights in the Midwest? COLUMBUSSUMOCLUB
Do stuff in the Southeast? RALEIGHHAIRGEL

"Do stuff" -- meaning "stuff to put on a hairdo." One of my school teachers hated the use of "stuff" as a synonym for "things" and forbade us from using the word. I agreed with her. I still detest the word and it drives me crazy to hear baseball announcers say a pitcher has "good stuff." But I digress. Let's get back to the puzzle.

"Rubber" is a clever clue for MASSEUR. "Fleshy 'buttons'" is NAVEL. One of the early Dennis The Menace comics showed Dennis staring at his navel and telling his mother, "I know it's a belly button -- but what does it do?" "Hamburger man" is HERR, which is a German word referring to a man. (Hamburg is Germany's second-largest city, after Berlin.) My first thought was KROC. Richard and Maurice McDonald had opened a fast-food restaurant in San Bernardino in 1940. Ray Kroc partnered with them in 1954 and a year later opened the first franchised  McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois. There are now almost 37,000 McDonald's restaurants worldwide.

"Chicago airport code" is ORD. In 1942, an aircraft factory near the farming community of Orchard Place west of Chicago began manufacturing Douglas C-54 military transport planes. A commercial airfield, Orchard Field Airport. It was assigned the three-letter code ORD by the International Air Transport Association. In 1949, the airport was renamed to honor Edward "Butch" O'Hare, a Navy pilot and Medal Of Honor recipient in World War II, but the airport code was never changed. It remains ORD. An explanation of some of the seemingly illogical codes is at

That's all for today. Time for me to take flight.

Book Releases / New book - "Easy(ish) Unplugged Crosswords"
« Last post by mmcbs on October 28, 2017, 06:07:00 PM »
"Easy(ish) Unplugged Crosswords" is a compilation of 150 puzzles, mostly reprinted from the three previous "Unplugged Crosswords" books. Those collections were medium to hard in difficulty, but the puzzles in this new volume have been re-edited to push the difficulty level down a bit, thus the title. Definitely not simplistic or juvenile, there's a lot of good trivia and some challenging vocabulary, but straightforward themes and mostly literal cluing make this a good volume for novice solvers (or anyone who enjoys a romp through a relatively easy puzzle). You'll also see some unconventional grid sizes and themes. It's available at Amazon -
Software / Technical / Re: Is CrossFire still alive?
« Last post by JTGolden on October 27, 2017, 01:40:17 PM »
Ok, I *think* I have installed Java 6 because it says the installation was successful, but then when I try to install Crossfire I am also told it is successful but I can't find it in my Applications or anywhere else on my computer. Anyone else have this issue?
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