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Today's Puzzles / Th' April 3rd crosswords
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 03, 2016, 07:14:57 PM »
Yes, th' April 3rd crosswords. As I began filling in the grid of today's Los Angeles Times crossword by Gail Grabowski, it took me a while to figure out the theme. The puzzle's title, "This Is In," doesn't make any sense. The theme answers are familiar phrases which are missing a "th":

Bud who's been fired? CANNEDBRO (canned broth)
Search online about auditory issues? GOOGLEEAR (Google Earth)
GEICO gecko's financial counterpart? CREDITCARDEFT (credit card theft)
Editor's marks in the margin? LATERALINKING (lateral thinking)
Streams stocked with elongated fish? GARBROOKS (Garth Brooks)
Part of a project to recycle golf accessories? TEEGRINDING (teeth grinding)
One fastidious about table manners? EATERCRITIC (theater critic)
Consequence of a heist injury? ROBBINGPAIN (throbbing pain)
Displeased reaction to election turnout? VOTINGBOO (voting booth)

"This Is In"? Sorry, I still don't understand the title. "Th Is Out" would have been a dumb title but at least it would have been logical.

"Twistable snack" is OREO. That word seems to appear in almost every Sunday crossword. I'm sure Nabisco appreciates all the free advertising.

"___ polloi" is HOI. "Hoi polloi" comes from the Greek οἱ πολλοί, which means "the many" or "the majority." In English, the term has taken on a negative connotation and is usually used as a derogatory reference to the working class or the so-called "common people." Since "hoi polloi" means "the many," the phrase "the hoi polloi" is redundant. Yes, just like "ATM machine" and "PIN number".....or "free gift."

Today's New York Times crossword is by Natan Last, who interned under Times puzzle editor Will Shortz while attending Brown University. Titled "Jumping To Conclusions," this crossword was very challenging.....and very confusing. "Heard but disregarded" is the two-part answer INONEEARAND/OUTTHEOTHER. The completed grid includes EAR in each of six spaces containing a circle. EAR is part of six vertical words such as FEARED and CLEARING. The six theme answers are horizontal. Among them are WHEREAREMYKEYS ("Common query from one about to leave the house") and IHAVEARIGHTTOKNOW ("Indignant reply when someone withholds information").   

Now, you may think this crossword doesn't sound all that challenging. But wait -- there's more! Each theme answer occupies portions of two lines. For example, the two abovementioned phrases appear in the grid as:


I used slashes to designate the single squares containing EAR. So the phrase WHEREAREMYKEYS literally goes in one "ear" and out the other, as does the phrase IHAVEARIGHTTOKNOW. Each phrase, as the puzzle's title suggests, jumps to its conclusion. Whew! This puzzle was much too confusing for my taste. Perhaps it can be appreciated only by members of Mensa International.

"___ rima, meter of Dante's Divine Comedy" is TERZA. Terza rima ("third rhyme") is a stanza form created by 13th-century poet Dante Alighieri. Each stanza of a terza rima poem contains three lines of 11 syllables each. In the first stanza, the first and third lines rhyme. The first and third lines of the second stanza rhyme with the middle line of the first stanza, and so on, so the rhyme scheme is ABA, BCB, CDC, DED, et cetera.

The terza rima stanza form is much more easy to understand than today's confusing "in one ear and out the other" puzzle answers. I wonder if Dante ever created any crossword puzzles. :)
General Discussion / Re: Simultaneous Submissions
« Last post by stephenbishop on April 02, 2016, 12:36:34 AM »
I think it would be a good way to get banned from a paper/site as if two or more entities accepted your puzzle, then you would have to back out of all but one as they require copyright.

A crossword puzzle is a manuscript, you wouldn't submit a novel to multiple publishers either. Its simply not done.

But I do understand the desire... parallel versus serial search space plumbing. Would be great if we could spam the world with a puzzle submission and the first entity to accept would lock in a deal and cancel all others. Ethereum could totally do that. Oh the future of blockchain-type contracts.

Today's Puzzles / The April 1 crosswords, no foolin'
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 01, 2016, 09:35:57 PM »
If Jeffrey Wechsler wanted to advertise his April 1 Los Angeles Times crossword, he could say "Bonus -- 7% larger!" The grid is 15x16 instead of the usual 15x15. There are three 16-letter answers. Each of the four theme answers includes a string of six circled letters. Another answer is clued as "Sir Edward Elgar composition whose title has never been solved -- and a hint to this puzzle's circles." Since I have no way to put circles around letters here, I have denoted the puzzle's circled letters by using boldface:

Rail transport landmark: STEAMENGINE
Reprimand to one not picking up: YOUREMAKINGAMESS
"How surprising!": IMAGINETHAT

The Elgar composition is ENIGMAVARIATIONS. The circled letters are variations of the letters found in "enigma." Elgar composed Variations, opus 36 in 1898-99. Popularly known as The Enigma Variations, the orchestral work features several musical themes. Two of the themes represent Elgar and his wife Alice. Each of the others represents one of Elgar's close friends. Elgar explained -- although without really explaining anything -- that the work has a principal theme.....but the principal theme is neither played nor heard. Perhaps the work includes a hidden melody or hidden counterpoint. Perhaps a portion of a symphony by Bach or Beethoven is hidden in the work. Musicologists have yet to figure out the "enigma."

"Columnist Barrett" is RONA. Born Rona Burstein in 1936, Rona Barrett began a syndicated newspaper gossip column in 1957 and began appearing on television in 1966. She now runs the non-profit Rona Barrett Foundation, which is based in Santa Ynez, California, and helps senior citizens to find affordable housing and supportive services:

"Pâtisserie cake" is GATEAU. In France and Belgium, a pâtisserie is a bakery specializing in pastries and sweets. By law, a bakery in either of those countries can not call itself a pâtisserie unless it has a licensed maître pâtissier (master pastry chef) who has served an apprenticeship and passed a written test. A gâteau is a light cake with a rich icing or filling -- and the word is not used in English.

Peter Gordon's April 1 New York Times crossword includes four 15-letter phrases and this clue: "17-across, with 34-, 40- and 60-across, a somber message for our loyal fans":


I did say today is April 1st, didn't I? :)
Today's Puzzles / Vowels and P's: The March 20 crosswords
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 20, 2016, 06:19:17 PM »
I am always amazed that crossword creators continue to come up with clever themes. However, I was not amazed by Rebecca Durant's puzzle in today's Los Angeles Times. It has a theme but it is one of the weakest themes I have every seen. Titled "Border Pairs," the puzzle includes phrases which begin and end with two vowels, including AEGEANSEA, OATMEALCOOKIE, OOLONGTEA and EUCALYPTUSTREE. Another answer, VOWELLANGUAGE, hints at the puzzle's theme. "Vowel language"? Yuk!

The grid also includes ALTE, AOUT (French for "August"), DEI, ESSE and ISLA, none of which are used in English, and our old familiar friends Mel OTT and UMA Thurman. "Moonlight Sonata directive" is PPP. In written music, a P is what is known as a "dynamic indicator," a symbol that tells the musician how softly the passage should be played. P stands for piano, which means "soft." PP, pianissimo, means "very soft" and PPP, pianississimo, means "very very soft." There are a few classical works in which certain passages are marked with as many as six P's, such as the bassoon solo in Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony. Musical notation can also include an F for forte ("loud") or FF for fortissimo ("very loud").

Joel Fagliardo's New York Times crossword is titled "Double Crossed" and has a theme that is clever as well as cerebral. Each of the ten theme answers contains several pairs of letters and another letter which appears only once. Here are some examples: HIPPOCRATICOATH has seven pairs of letters but only one R. GOESUNDERGROUND has seven pairs of letters but only one S. PRETTYPENNY has five pairs of letters but only one R. When the puzzle is completed, the solver can form a word from the unmatched letters in those phrases. From top to bottom, they spell REMAINDERS. Whew!

"Fairly recent" is NEWISH -- a very awkward word. "Out of favor" is INBAD -- a very awkward phrase.  "Small-capped mushrooms" is ENOKIS. I had never seen that word before. And "Feliz ___ Nuevo" is ANO, which is misspelled -- it should be AÑO -- and is not used in English.

"____ Hawkins dance" is SADIE. Al Capp drew the Li'l Abner comic strip from 1934 until 1977 when declining health forced him to retire. He would die of emphysema two years later. In 1937, a series of strips featured a homely unmarried 35-year-old named Sadie Hawkins, whose father came up with the idea of a "Sadie Hawkins Day" featuring a foot race. All the eligible bachelors in the town of Dogpatch took off running and if Sadie could catch one of them, he'd have to marry her. Sadie Hawkins Day became an annual tradition in Li'l Abner, with all the unmarried women chasing after the unmarried men. Sadie Hawkins Day was the inspiration for the Sadie Hawkins Dance, any school dance in which the girls invite the boys, instead of the other way around. For more about Sadie Hawkins Dances, go to
I've asked around and no one has been able to give me a clear answer on this.   Can someone here help?  Thanks!
General Discussion / Re: Seeking causal mentor
« Last post by VB on March 19, 2016, 07:11:08 AM »
Marty -

I'm by no means the best potential mentor around - I get busy on occasion with my day job, and I have no illusions of being a great constructor - but I'm happy to provide any help that I can if you'd like.  E-mail me at if you want to discuss it further.

- VB
General Support / Re: Problem with most pages on
« Last post by robgonsalves on March 13, 2016, 10:39:10 PM »
Thanks, much better!  :)
Today's Puzzles / The March 13 crossword plug-in
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 13, 2016, 06:10:11 PM »
"Plugged Nickel" is the title of today's crossword by Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel. In the United States, the five-cent coin we call a nickel was originally pure silver. Nickel coins minted since 1946 have contained 75% copper and 25% nickel. The expression "Not worth a plugged nickel" means "worthless" or "valueless."  Back in the days when the nickel coin was pure silver, con men would drill a fairly large hole through the center of a nickel and then fill the hole with an inferior metal. Thus, they could spend the "plugged nickel" and retain the silver from the center. After they accumulated enough of those centers, they could sell the silver for extra cash.

And today's crossword has absolutely nothing to do with any of that.

Nickel is a silver-white metal. The word comes from the German Kupfernickel, which literally means "copper goblin" and refers to a mineral called niccolite. The mineral contains nickel arsenide but has the color of copper. I'm not sure how the deceptive color is similar to a goblin, so please don't ask. The symbol for nickel is "Ni" and each theme answer in today's puzzle is a common term with the letters NI inserted -- or, you could say, "plugged."

Sweet tooth? SUGARCANINE
Signal that nails are dry? MANIBELL
Rejection of a parcel? PACKAGEDENIAL
Flier with a magical rod? DIVININGBIRD
Ace garage door mechanic? GENIEWHIZ
Part of the ad that sells the product? FINISHINGHOOK
Superhero who doesn't do well in a crisis? PANICMAN
Carrier pigeon's daily delivery? NEWSCANISTER
Nocturnal critter enjoying a meal? DININGBAT
Ralph Lauren's Celebrate Radio clothing line? MARCONIPOLO

That last one is a reference to Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), an Italian inventor and electrical engineer whose pioneering work in wireless telegraphy and long-distance radio communication earned him the unofficial title "The father of radio." Marco Polo (1254-1324) was an Italian merchant who traveled extensively in Asia. The polo shirt was introduced in 1972 by fashion designer Ralph Lauren. It was a knit shirt with a collar and a placket with two or three buttons and it resembled the shirts that had traditionally been worn by polo players. has a simplified story of Marconi's life and his invention of radio:
General Support / Re: Problem with most pages on
« Last post by admin on March 13, 2016, 01:45:34 PM »
Fixed. Sorry about that.
General Discussion / Seeking causal mentor
« Last post by PuzzlePunisher on March 12, 2016, 10:31:57 PM »
Greetings all,

I'm new to construction and seeking a mentor. By mentor, I mean someone to causally bounce ideas off. Im a full time accountant. That being said, I do aspire to create puzzles that are of a quality high enough to be published.

After reading the sage advice column, I decided it would be wise to introduce myself. My name is Marty, I'm 32, and I am an amateur crossword crusher. I also hope that constructing puzzles will improve my ability to solve.

If you have experience with construction and don't mind showing me the ropes, please feel free to contact me.

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