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11
Today's Puzzles / Re: Thu., 10/23 Gareth Bain
« Last post by LARadioRewind on October 23, 2014, 05:36:56 PM »
In the game of Scrabble, each of the common letters A, E, I, O, R, S and T is worth only one point. The rarer letters J and Q are each worth ten points. The daily crossword puzzle always includes several of each of those seven common letters. Puzzles seldom contain words with a J, Q or X. Scrabble players have a good incentive to form words with high-value letters---namely, they want to win the game. Crossword makers have no such incentive---they're just trying to fill a grid with legitimate words. Thus, I was impressed with today's puzzle because it included every letter of the alphabet except V. I wonder if Gareth Bain realized he used 25 letters. Probably not, or he would certainly have come up with a word that included a V so all 26 letters of the alphabet appeared.

For the second time in a week, the puzzle has 42 black squares. Thirty-two used to be standard, then 36. Forty-two is too many---the grids are starting to look like checkerboards!
12
Today's Puzzles / Re: Wed., 10/22 Jerome Gunderson
« Last post by magus on October 23, 2014, 08:56:58 AM »
I cannot sing to save my soul, but I can hear the difference between the sound from Tommy Dorsey's trumpet and anyone else's.  Same for Stachmo's trumpet.  If I note is a hair off, it registers.  So for me and people like me, it's tin voice, not tin ear.
13
Today's Puzzles / Thu., 10/23 Gareth Bain
« Last post by magus on October 23, 2014, 08:48:45 AM »
THEME:   last word of a phrase can precede MOBILE
   
GOOD ONES:    
Vehicular attachment {& theme}   MOBILE   
Storage unit?   SQUARE FOOT [today I think of computer memory before physical storage]   
Nice lady friend   AMIE   
   
BTW:   
Theorize   POSIT [okay, but to theorize is to make a more complete postulation whereas to posit connotes a less formal statement]    
   
   
RATING:    ;D ;D
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
14
Today's Puzzles / Re: Wed., 10/22 Jerome Gunderson
« Last post by LARadioRewind on October 22, 2014, 05:01:32 PM »
The answer to "Musical ineptitiude" is TINEAR. I can understand gold in the teeth and silver in the hair but I didn't know the origin of "tin ear." This is from the Everything2 website:

"The exact origin of the idiom is debatable. Merriam Webster gives 1935 as the date of first citation without giving a source. AWordADay simply stated that it was 'from the idea of metal being incapable of sensation,' but several readers wrote in to offer further ideas. One said that the use of tin particularly had a connotation of low value (as in tin-pot, tin-pot dictator, tin pan alley, tin god, or Tin Lizzie) compared to other metals---it's certainly less complimentary than heart of gold or silver tongue--- and said that the phrase had the additional meanings of 'slang for a disfigured ear, an eavesdropper, and a slow telegrapher.'  Another reader offered the idea that ear trumpets for the hard of hearing had once been made of steel plated with tin to prevent rusting."

More information is at http://everything2.com/title/tin+ear
15
General Discussion / Quick feedback on a theme?
« Last post by acpracht on October 22, 2014, 10:12:20 AM »
Hi, all,
I'm trying a slightly less crazy/ambitious theme, just to try to get one of my puzzles published and start getting my name out there.

I'm trying out this one, which is a simple "SS" addition to common terms/phrases to create a new, jokey answer. The theme answers would be:

aluminum foSSil (14)
frolick gaSSily (14)
ice floSSes (10)
treSSed cat (10)

With the current grid design, there will be several other 10-square slots that are not themed, but there are no non-theme answers longer than 10. My understanding is most publishers find this acceptable, correct?

Thanks, everyone, for your help with guiding the newbie.

-Adam
16
Today's Puzzles / Wed., 10/22 Jerome Gunderson
« Last post by magus on October 22, 2014, 08:47:09 AM »
THEME:   last word of one phrase is WAR, the other PEACE
   
GOOD ONES:    
Epic novel {& theme}   WAR AND PEACE [and LEO TOLSTOY]   
Pique condition?   SNIT   
What's always in poetry?   EER   
Knight crew?   PIPS   
Camel's undoing   STRAW [it broke its back]   
Cigar butt?   ETTE   
   
BTW:   
Ones who no longer have class?   ALUMS [we don't think of someone with class as having lost it, so the clue might better be "Ones without class?"]   
   
   
RATING:    ;D ;D
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
17
Today's Puzzles / Tue., 10/21 Burnikel & Marron
« Last post by magus on October 21, 2014, 08:49:59 AM »
THEME:   BE, EL, and TE begin three phrases, respectively
   
GOOD ONES:     
Holders of the sandwich {& theme}   TOOTHPICKS [they hold a BLT]   
Turn red, maybe   DYE   
   
BTW:   
"Phooey!"   DARN [raise your hand if you think they are even close to the same meaning]   
   
   
   
RATING: ;D   
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
18
Today's Puzzles / Re: Mon., 10/20 David W. Cromer
« Last post by LARadioRewind on October 20, 2014, 03:54:10 PM »
"Willllburrrrr? Could you have Carol get me some more carrots?" It was a cute idea to include the names of three horses from tv westerns along with the opening of the Mister Ed theme song, but I agree with Mister magus: the theme answers imply that the horses are speaking. Even Mister Ed didn't really speak. I'm sorry if that comes as a shock to anyone...but it's true. Ed's voice was provided by 1930s-40s-50s western actor Allan "Rocky" Lane. His own horse, if anyone is wondering, was named Black Jack. And, by an amazing coincidence, one of the clues in today's puzzle is "Blackjack half." The answer is ACE...but an ace is not half of the score of 21. An ace can be counted as 1 or 11. Face cards count as 10, and of course a 10 is a 10. An ace and a 10---or an ace and a face card---equals 21. The ace can be considered to be half of the number of cards involved but the ace is certainly not half of 21. The clue indicates that the ace is half of 21. It isn't. I'd be willing to bet on it.

Today's puzzle has set a new record with 42 black squares. 
19
Today's Puzzles / Mon., 10/20 David W. Cromer
« Last post by magus on October 20, 2014, 09:23:18 AM »
THEME:   last word of a phrase can be the name of a cowboy's horse
   
BTW:   
Problem with theme clues is that the horse is speaking, which is fine if this were Mr. Ed.  I'd arrange the clues to have the cowboy address the horse:    
Roy Rogers to his buddy: "Your best asset is your ____."[HAIR, TRIGGER]
   
Preeminent   NOTED [not synonymous: preeminent is outstanding; noted is merely known]   
   
   
RATING:    :'(
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
20
Today's Puzzles / Re: Sun., 10/19 Frank Virzi
« Last post by LARadioRewind on October 19, 2014, 03:24:10 PM »
Merl Reagle's puzzle in today's Los Angeles Times includes six answers that are portions of a phrase: ABELL, ABUS, ITUP, ONAHOT, ONRED, and UNS (the last part of the dialectic word "young'uns"). Editors used to reject puzzles with such fragments. Today's theme was "Cliché couples, revisited." It is a sequel to a puzzle that Reagle did two years ago and contains two-word phrases that we always use without really knowing why, such as BROADDAYLIGHT, CRASHINGBORE, FLIMSYEXCUSE, IDLERUMORS, PERFECTSTRANGER and UNMITIGATEDGALL. He makes a good point. Why is gall always described as unmitigated? Why is an excuse always described as flimsy? What makes daylight broad? Are there any kinds of bores besides crashing bores?

Reagle used two words that I was unfamiliar with. ULALUME was an 1847 poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The title is believed to refer to his wife Virginia, who had died in January of that year. ANTA was the answer to "Architectural pier." The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ANTA as "a pier produced by thickening a wall at its termination." "Pier" is another name for "pillar." So I've learned a new word...but I doubt I'll ever be able to use it in a conversation.
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