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1
Today's Puzzles / The spicy May 28 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on May 28, 2017, 04:47:08 PM »
Pancho Harrison is a musician who spent time in jail for a traffic offense. While there, he started solving solving newspaper crossword puzzles to help pass the time. When he got out, he decided to try to create his own crosswords. His first appeared in March 2009 in the New York Times. His puzzle today is titled "Subtly Seasoned" and includes the names of different spices and seasonings within seven phrases:

Axioms: UNIVERSALTRUTHS
Paid informants: NEWSAGENCIES
Dietitian's recommendations: HEALTHYMEEALS
Brahms and Clara Schumann, by most accounts: PLATONICLOVES
Poem title following "Gin a body meet a body": COMINTHROTHERYE
In danger of being towed: PARKEDILLEGALLY
Hospital emergency units: TRAUMACENTERS

"Healthy meals"? Language purists will say there is no such thing as a "healthy meal." Meals can be healthful but they can not be healthy since meals have no health at all. Unfortunately, "healthy" is now widely used as a synonym for "heaalthful" in the same way that "nauseous" is often used as a synonym for "nauseated." Arggh!

There have been many variations of Comin' Thro' The Rye. The earliest is The Duke of Buccleughs, published in 1690. The most well-known version, and the one quoted in today's crossword, was written in 1782 by Scottish poet Robert Burns. ("Gin" is a Scottish word meaning "if.") The poem is set to the melody of the old Scottish minstrel song Comin' Frae The Town, which is also the tune to which we sing Auld Lang Syne.

Johannes Brahms was 14 years younger than composer/pianist Clara Schumann, who was the wife of composer Robert Schumann. Was Brahms' and Schumann's relationship really platonic? A 2003 article in The Guardian describes the relationship as a "splendid mess":

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/apr/26/classicalmusicandopera.artsfeatures2

"Madre's hermana" is TIA, which is not used in English. "Diciembre follower" is ENERO, which is not used in English. "The same, in Paris" is EGALE, which is not used in English. "It meant nothing to Ravel" is RIEN, which is not used in English. And the crossword includes the much-overused words AIM, ERA, ERE, EEL, EAT, ECRU, OLE, OGRE, SST, STE and the Gillette razor ATRA. We also have RUER ("One who'd like to forget, maybe"). "Ruer," like "agape," "aroar," "asea" and "elhi," is a word I never see anywhere except in crossword puzzles.

Today's discussion concludes with Brahms' Lullaby:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t894eGoymio

And now I feel sleepy. Good night.
2
Software / Technical / Re: Bad Links
« Last post by phil262 on May 24, 2017, 07:37:19 AM »
Try here for 2017 Jonesin' Crosswords:
https://www.fleetingimage.com/wij/xyzzy/17-jz.html

Every Thursday, although they're usually available a day or 2 before that.
3
Today's Puzzles / May 23: The latest large crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on May 23, 2017, 04:41:32 PM »
The term "La-La Land," which dates from 1983 and originally referred to "a fanciful state or dreamworld; the mental state of someone who is not aware of what is really happening," supposedly came from the "la la la" nonsense syllables found in many songs. More recently, the name has come to refer to the lifestyles and attitudes of people living in Hollywood, which is part of L.A. (Los Angeles). Today's crossword by Ed Sessa includes five "La-La" phrases:

*Superboy's girlfriend: LANALANG
*Deep blue gemstone: LAPISLAZULI
*Satisfaction after setbacks: LASTLAUGH
*Cowboy star with a bullwhip: LASHLARUE
*Teaching aid for learning foreign tongues: LANGUAGELAB

"2016 Best Picture (no, wait; it wasn't!) and a fitting place for the answers to starred clues?" is  LALALAND. The clue refers to an embarrassing mistake made in February 2017 by Faye Dunaway at the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony.  Warren Beatty was still holding the card naming La La Land's Emma Stone as winner of the Best Actress award and Dunaway mistakenly assumed the card bore the name of the winner for Best Picture. She announced La La Land as Best Picture and more than two minutes elapsed before the name of the real winner was announced: Moonlight.

Alfred "Lash" LaRue (1917-1996) was a 1940s-50s Western movie actor who used an 18-foot-long bullwhip to subdue the bad guys. LaRue taught Harrison Ford how to use a bullwhip for the Indiana Jones movies. In 1984, NBC late-night host David Letterman showed several clips of Lash LaRue films and then LaRue showed Letterman how to crack a bullwhip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wjEP9IWqwc

The crossword includes the much-overused words SPA, ACRE and OREO but there are no foreign words and no Roman numerals. See? It really is possible to create such a puzzle!

4
Software / Technical / Bad Links
« Last post by billshelley on May 23, 2017, 10:14:20 AM »
Not sure if it's me, but I keep getting an error on the Jonesin link.
The requested URL /Jonesin/jz170523.puz was not found on this server.
Bill
5
Today's Puzzles / Hm, it's the May 21 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on May 21, 2017, 04:34:38 PM »
Why do we say "Holy Moly"? What the heck is "moly" and what is so holy about it? The expression, usually spelled "Holy Moley," dates from around 1890 and is believed to be a variation of "Holy Moses" or possibly "Holy Molly," which is a variation of "Holy Mary," a reference to the mother of Jesus. "Holy Moley" was frequently uttered by Captain America in 1940s comic books. And "Holy Moly" is the title of today's crossword by Agnes Davidson and C.C. Burnikel. Nine familiar phrases are altered by changing an H to an M:

Ace accountant: TAXMAVEN
North Pole yoga need? SANTAMAT
Drama written in code? MORSEPLAY
Check for doneness? FEELTHEMEAT
President's daily delivery: MAILTOTHECHIEF
Burrower servicing borrowers? MONEYBADGER
Cat's tail, maybe? MOUSEDETECTIVE
Iditarod trainee? MUSHPUPPY
Spy with a sweet tooth? DONUTMOLE

Actually, the center portion that is removed from a doughnut is -- duh! -- a doughnut center. It is not a "doughnut hole." A doughnut hole is -- duh! -- a hole in a doughnut. A doughnut is "a small fried cake of sweetened dough, typically in the shape of a ball or ring." The word dates from the late 1700s. The variant spelling of "donut" is a 20th-century Americanism.

The MORSEPLAY answer is a reference to Morse Code, a system of transmitting letters and numbers via an electrical telegraph. It is named for Samuel F.B. Morse, co-inventor of the telegraph, which was first used in 1844. Each letter and number was coded as a unique combination of short and long electrical signals or pulses, popularly known as "dots" and "dashes." Morse's system has since been replaced by the International Morse Code:

https://morsecode.scphillips.com/morse2.html

"Court figure" is SUER. Yes, that can be so -- but I would not want to be referred to as a "suer."

"Secretly kept in the message loop, for short" is BCCED, for "blind carbon copied." Pellegrino Turri, an Italian inventor, created carbon paper in 1801. A sheet of carbon paper could be placed between two sheets of paper and whatever was typed or written on the top sheet of paper would also be transferred onto the bottom sheet. Even though carbon paper has seldom been used since the 1970s, copies of e-mails sent via computer are referred to as CC (carbon copy) or, if the recipients are unable to see each other's names, a BCC (blind carbon copy). The terms persist even though they no longer have any relevance -- similar to how we continue to say we "dial" a phone number when we're actually pressing buttons.

Holy Moley, I've finished the discussion of today's puzzle! Now I think I'll go get a doughnut.
6
Book Releases / Re: New York Times crossword puzzle books
« Last post by ahimsa on May 17, 2017, 09:58:19 AM »
For those who want to support an independent bookstore while shopping online one option is Powell's Books:

http://www.powells.com/SearchResults?kw=any_words:The+New+York+Times+Best+of+the+Week+Series
7
Today's Puzzles / Channeling the May 16 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on May 16, 2017, 08:59:46 PM »
After many years of solving crossword puzzles, Debbie Ellerin in 2014 started trying to create her own, with famed creator Nancy Salomon as her mentor. Ellerin's first published crossword appeared in March 2015 in the New York Times. Her puzzle today includes BACKCHANNEL ("Unofficial means of communication") and each of four answers contains three circled letters which are names of television networks -- backwards:

Umami detectors: TASTEBUDS
San Francisco neighborhood: NOBHILL
Where to pick up 'will call' tickets: BOXOFFICE
Two-time Emmy winner for 30 Rock: ALECBALDWIN

BET, HBO, FOX and ABC -- "back channels." Very clever. The term "back channel" was coined in 1970 by Victor Yngve (1920-2012), a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher and developer of computer programming language.  When one person is speaking to another, he may hear non-verbal sounds from the other person, such as "Mm-hm" or "Hmph!"  Those responses are communicated and understood via a "back channel" without the speaker having to acknowledge them. Yngve's theory doesn't make much sense to me.....but the term no longer has the same meaning. Since the mid-1970s, it has meant "a real-time online conversation using networked computers that takes place alongside live spoken remarks." It also means "a secret, unofficial or informal channel of communication as used in politics or diplomacy." It is that latter sense that is utilized in today's puzzle.

"Umami" is Japanese for  "delicious taste" ( うま味 ) and refers to a brothy or meaty taste. Since 1985, the word has been accepted by the scientific community. It joins the other basic tastes of sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. For a detailed explanation involving "the detection of the carboxylate anion of glutamate in specialized receptor cells," see the Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami

Today's puzzle includes the much-overused words ONO, EDIT and ERIE. It also includes SCENE, clued with "Movie trailer segment." In the 1940s-50s-60s, trailers were previews of upcoming movies and were shown in theaters after the main feature. Many people continue to call them "trailers" even though they no longer trail the movie. They are previews and they are shown before the main feature.

"Ghostly greeting" is BOO. The word dates from the early 1800s and was a derisive sound imitative of the mooing of cows. I have no idea how "moo" became "boo." The word is now "an exclamation said suddenly to surprise someone; an exclamation said to show disapproval or contempt, especially at a performance or athletic contest." In cartoons, movies and comic books, ghosts usually say "Boo!" I wonder if anyone has ever tried to verify that ghosts really do say "Boo." Maybe they don't. Maybe the cartoons, movies and comic books are wrong. After all, Native Americans never said "How" -- their greeting was "Aho" -- but they were often depicted saying "How" in movies and tv shows.

That ends the discussion of today's crossword. I guess you could say I went through the proper channels.
8
General Discussion / Re: LA TIMES
« Last post by phil262 on May 15, 2017, 06:45:31 PM »
Monday is generally a bad day for a lot of things. ;)
9
General Discussion / LA TIMES
« Last post by BALLYHOO on May 15, 2017, 11:06:42 AM »
WHY IS MONDAY GENERALLY A BAD DAY FOR THE LA TIMES :-X :-X :-X :-X
10
Today's Puzzles / My oh my, it's the May 14 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on May 14, 2017, 03:38:25 PM »
Ann Reeves Jarvis, born in 1832, was a West Virginia Sunday School teacher who started "Mother's Day Work Clubs" in several cities to teach mothers how to care for their children and keep them safe and healthy. She was also a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers during the Civil War. After Ann died in 1905, her daughter Anna sought to continue her mother's work by campaigning for the establishment of an annual Mother's Day holiday. By 1911, all US states observed Mother's Day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day as a national holiday to be held on the second Sunday in May.

Anna Jarvis became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. She wanted people to honor their mothers in their own personal way and not by buying "Mother's Day flowers" and "Mother's Day candy" and "Mother's Day cards." I wonder she would have thought about a "Mother's Day crossword puzzle." Bruce Haight's crossword today is titled "For Mom" and the theme answers are M-O-M phrases:

Euterpe: MUSEOFMUSIC
Tycoon, e.g.: MANOFMEANS
Willpower: MINDOVERMATTER
Antacid name since 1872: MILKOFMAGNESIA
Takes action: MAKESONESMOVE
Encounter stiff competition: MEETONESMATCH
Rich, and then some: MADEOFMONEY
Apt time to recognize this puzzle's honoree: MONTHOFMAY

"Familia girl" is NINA, which is wrong. The word is "niña" and it is not used in English. "Venezia casino winner" is SETTE, which means "seven" in Italian and is not used in English. "One digging hard rock" is a cute clue for MINER. 

"____ Biscuit, product debut of 1912" is OREO. How many thousands of times has "Oreo" appeared in a crossword? I lost count many years ago. The Manhattan-based National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) introduced the Oreo cookie in 1912. It was advertised as "Two beautifully embossed chocolate-flavored wafers with a rich cream filling" -- and it was just a clone of the Hydrox cookie introduced by Sunshine Bakeries four years earlier. Nobody is certain what the word "Oreo" means. It may derive from the French word for "gold" or the Greek word for "mountain." It may represent the O shape of the wafers and the cream filling. And it may be completely made up and mean nothing at all. Here is a history of the Oreo:

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2015/01/mysteries-oreo/

Now I'm going to go watch a 1941 movie starring Betty Grable and Don Ameche: Moon Over Miami. Happy Mother's Day!
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