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Today's Puzzles / Seeing red: The October 24 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on October 24, 2017, 04:42:01 PM »
C.C. Burnikel came up with a very clever idea for today's crossword. "Showing embarrassment" is  TURNINGRED and three phrases include circled letters which are shades of red -- but turned:

Big commotion: HURLYBURLY (RUBY)
It has only two possible answers: YESORNOQUESTION (ROSE)
Start of a teaching moment from grandpa: WHENIWASYOURAGE (WINE)

A hurly-burly is "noisy disorder and confusion; commotion; uproar; tumult." The word dates from around 1520 and is an alteration of "hurling and burling." "Hurling" is a now- obsolete word referring to tumult or uproar. It comes from the Middle English hurlen, the root of the word "hurry." "Burling" likely comes from the Scottish birl, which means "a twist or turn."

"Imitated" is APED. Each week, several crosswords include APE, APED, APER or APING. I can't recall ever seeing or hearing the verb "ape" anywhere except in crossword puzzles. "Fury" is IRE and "Mine extraction" is ORE, two words which also appear in several crosswords each week. "Magazine unit: Abbr." is ISS, which is awkward.

"Ear cleaners" is QTIPS. Every package of Q-Tips says, "Warning: Do not insert swab into the ear canal" but "inserting into the ear canal" is the main reason people buy Q-Tips! The purpose of the warning is to provide legal protection against anyone who sticks the swab so far into his ear that he injures his eardrum and then decides to file a lawsuit.

In 1923, according to legend, Polish immigrant Leo Gerstenzang created the cotton swab after seeing how his wife applied cotton wads to the tips of toothpicks so she could clean tiny hard-to-reach areas in their home in New York City. Gerstenzang formed the Infant Novelty Company to market the swabs. He originally called them Baby Gays but in 1926 changed the name to Q-Tips Baby Gays. The "Q" stood for "quality." Eventually the "Baby Gays" part of the name was dropped. Unilever has a page showing all the many uses of Q-Tips:

I wonder if this exchange ever took place on a school playground: "What do you want me to do with this Q-Tip you gave me?" "Aw, stick it in your ear!"

General Discussion / Re: Hyphenated vs Two-word phrases
« Last post by mmcbs on October 22, 2017, 03:20:33 PM »
No hard and fast rules there, but in my opinion compound words (BALLPARK, KEYBOARD, REDHEAD), hyphenated words (DAUGHTER-IN-LAW, EIGHT-HOUR) and familiar phrases (POST OFFICE, DARK MATTER, SWIMMING SUIT) are all generally considered preferable to single long words. Of the few themeless puzzles I've had accepted for publication I'd say about 3/4 of the long entries fall into one of those three categories. The more the better.
General Discussion / Hyphenated vs Two-word phrases
« Last post by brasarehot on October 22, 2017, 10:12:51 AM »
So I was told once that my themeless puzzle had too many single-word long answers.

Are hyphenated expressions considered single words?
Do two-word answers trump hyphenated answers?

Thanks alot!
This doesn't work. Any other ideas? Just spent 40 bucks on the gold membership at cruciverb for nothing if it doesn't. I got it specifically for the word lists. They should tell you its only windows compatible
Software / Technical / JPZ "format" tag?
« Last post by notyou on October 12, 2017, 02:46:26 AM »
Hi... I wanted to keep my 13-yo from stealing the Sports section from our paper every morning just so he can do the crossword during class. I figured out how to grab the JPZ file I need, but when I try to use Alex's script, it's getting thrown off by clues like this:

Code: [Select]
<clue word="3" number="8" format="4">Some clue

Throughout this puzzle I see formats 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10, but it doesn't seem like any of these clues should be bold, italic or any other type of character formatting.

Easy enough fix (I think) to just ignore it, but was curious if anybody knows what the format tag is supposed to do. Not much documentation of the JPZ format. I guess because it's proprietary?
Today's Puzzles / The alarming October 9 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on October 09, 2017, 05:17:23 PM »
Every Sunday for many years, Janice Luttrell enjoyed watching her father solve the Chicago Tribune crossword puzzle. He died when she was 18 but she never lost her love for crosswords. She eventually began creating her own puzzles. In Luttrell's crossword today, "Hot chili designation" is FOURALARM.

There is a common misconception that a "four-alarm fire" is a fire to which four fire trucks or four fire stations have responded. Actually, fires are designated "one-alarm" through "five-alarm" depending on their size and intensity. The fire alarm call box was invented in 1852. The bright red call boxes soon appeared on thousands of street corners and used a telegraph system for communication among local fire departments during a fire. Two rings meant "send another water truck." Four rings meant "send more fire trucks and firefighters." A history of the call box is at

"Four-alarm chili," then, is simply chili which is very hot. And ALARM can be added to the first word of each of four answers to form a new phrase:

Pre-talkies movie: SILENTFILM
Time-out for a cigarette: SMOKEBREAK
Unwise act that could be dangerous: FALSEMOVE
Dashboard music provider: CARSTEREO

"Abysmal grades" is EFS. No, an abysmal grade is an F. No teacher or professor has ever graded an essay with "ef." Each letter of the English alphabet serves as its own spelling: "A" is spelled A, "B" is spelled B, et cetera. Crossword creators like to add extra letters in order to fill a grid. That is why we see, for example, "D" spelled as "dee," "V" spelled as "vee," M" spelled as "em".....and "F" spelled as "ef."

"Turkish travel shelters" are IMARETS. The word dates from the early 17th century and comes from the Arabic imārah, which means "building" and stems from amara ("He built").

"Southpaws" is LEFTIES. "Southpaw" dates from 1850 and originally referred to a left-handed baseball pitcher. Most batters then were right-handed and baseball diamonds were arranged so batters in afternoon games would face the east and not be looking into the afternoon sun. A left-handed pitcher facing west would have his pitching arm toward the south side of the diamond. Yes, ballplayers have hands, not paws, but "southpaw" became the term. It now applies to any left-handed person.

That's all for today. If anyone asks about me, just say that I've LEFT.

Software / Technical / Re: Advice on numbering unnumbered squares?
« Last post by mmcbs on October 07, 2017, 01:47:29 PM »
In Crossword Compiler, you can insert a number into any square. It appears you need to do that for all succeeding numbers as inserting a number doesn't change later ones. Then you'll need to adjust the number in the Edit Clue dialog box to get it to match what you've put in the square. I've never done this, but it looks like it would work.
Software / Technical / Advice on numbering unnumbered squares?
« Last post by JonathanMKaye on October 07, 2017, 12:37:46 PM »
I'm constructing a somewhat tricky (think Thursday NYT) puzzle that requires a few white squares to be numbered even though no answers begin in those squares.  Is there a way to do this in either Crossword Compiler or CrossFire? 

Any advice would be appreciated!

- Jonathan Kaye
Today's Puzzles / The October 3 crossword: Big deal!
« Last post by Thomps2525 on October 03, 2017, 04:12:55 PM »
Roland Huget is a retired nuclear engineer living in Kitchener, Ontario. He started creating crossword puzzles in 2012. His first published puzzle appeared in 2015 in the New York Times. Huget's crossword today includes the clue "Agreed!" The answer is ITSADEAL and "deal" can be added to the first word of each of these answers:

Defensible alibi: GOODEXCUSE
Grand scheme of things: BIGPICTURE
Boot camp newbie: RAWRECRUIT
It may be rational, in math: REALNUMBER

Almost any number you can think of is a "real number." A real number can be a whole number such as 1, 2, 3 or 10; a rational number such as ½, ¾ or 0.5; or an irrational number such as n, x or √2. A real number can be positive or negative. Zero is also a real number. What is not a real number is "infinity" or any imaginary number which can not exist, such as √−1 (the square root of minus 1).

"Not fer" is AGIN, which is awkward. "Pre-college, briefly" is ELHI, a word which seldom appears anywhere except in crossword puzzles. It's in the same category as ALER, NLER, ASEA and AROAR. "Those, in Mexico" is ESOS, which is not used in English. "Parlez-___ français" is VOUS, which is not used in English.

The clues and grid include several product names, names which used to be taboo in puzzles: VISA ("MasterCard rival"), AVIA ("Sports shoe brand") AVEO ("Fuel-efficient Chevy"), CARTIRE ("Michelin product"), MERC ("Defunct Ford division, for short") and  STAX ("Lay's chips-in-a-can brand").

"Vanishing ski lift" is TBAR. The first T-Bar ski lift was installed in 1940 at the Pico Mountain ski resort in Vermont. I am unaware that T-bars are "vanishing." Perhaps they are. I'm not a skier. Here is information about the various types of ski lifts:

"Overly long and generally unproductive activity" is TIMESINK. In multi-player online role-playing games, a time sink is a feature which requires players to spend an inordinately lengthy amount of time to complete a task. Many online games require the payment of a fee. For the game companies, time sinks = profits. The term has come to mean any activity which is considered to be a waste of time.

Before anyone asks, reading the above was definitely not a waste of time. At least I hope nobody thinks it was.
General Discussion / Question about the Database
« Last post by idanb85 on October 03, 2017, 03:39:48 PM »
Is there any way i can check all the clue\answers for specific publisher by date? ( daily )

Thx 4 the answer!
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