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Today's Puzzles / The August 18 crosswords: The Doctor is in
« Last post by Thomps2525 on August 18, 2015, 05:01:53 PM »
Today's Daily News crossword by Kevin Christian and Brad Wilber includes the name SEUSS and the titles of five Dr. Seuss books: HOPONPOP, THELORAX, GREENEGGSANDHAM, HORTONHEARSAWHO and IFIRANTHECIRCUS. It was awfully nice of Dr. Seuss (born Theodor Seuss Giesel) to write three books with fifteen-letter titles which would conveniently fit in a crossword puzzle.

C.C. Burnikel's Los Angeles Times crossword includes POLARBEAR, AGARAGAR, HEARHEAR, SOLARYEAR, PEARNECTAR and SUGARSUGAR. "Unpaid debts...or, read differently, what both parts of those phrases have" is ARREARS. Get it? The "rear" of each word ends with AR. By the way, Sugar Sugar was written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim and was a number-one hit for the fictional band The Archies in 1969. The vocals were done by Andy Kim, Ron Dante and Toni Wine. The song was first offered to the Monkees but they were trying to get away from their "bubblegum" image and turned it down. Dummies!

"Postal motto word" was NOR. As a longtime employee of the United States Postal Service, I have to disagree. Carved in granite above the entrance to the James Farley Post Office building in New York City are these words: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Most people assume that is our motto. It is not. We do not have an official motto.

The 13x13 NEA crossword, as usual, contains several overused three- and four-letter words: ABC, ABLE, AID, CON, ENE, ESA, ICE, IRA, IRK, OAK, SAW and STAR.

The Universal crossword includes the names of four famous people: LADYGODIVA, PAULREVERE, GENERALCUSTER and THELONERANGER. The Lone Ranger, of course, is fictional.....and Lady Godiva would likely be unknown today if it were not for the erroneous story that she rode naked through the streets of Coventry in order to get her husband to cut taxes. Such an incident never happened, nor was there a "Peeping Tom" who disobeyed an order to not look at her. The story was created two centuries after her death and now the story itself will never die.
Today's Puzzles / Re: Sun., 8/16 Clive Probert
« Last post by Thomps2525 on August 17, 2015, 04:27:42 PM »
The first "Dinah" I thought of was Dinah Washington and the first "Patti" I thought of was Patti LaBelle. In context, "Shore" and "Page" are obviously the names Reagle had in mind.

Here is another way to tell if you're old: When you hear the song title Stairway To Heaven, do you immediately think of Neil Sedaka.....or Led Zeppelin? :)
Today's Puzzles / Re: Sun., 8/16 Clive Probert
« Last post by magus on August 17, 2015, 08:44:48 AM »
Dinah Shore
Patti Page
Doris Day

They're singers of the same time and ilk having come from big bands. LaBelle and Washington may best be described as "soul" or "R&B" singers with a decidedly Negro sound.
Today's Puzzles / Re: Sun., 8/16 Clive Probert
« Last post by Thomps2525 on August 16, 2015, 02:49:19 PM »
I, too, do not like the phrase "back in the day." The Cambridge Dictionary says it is "used for talking about a time in the past, usually when you are remembering nice things about that time: Back in the day, we had an apartment with a swimming pool." But really now---"back in the day"? Singular? Exactly which day are we talking about?

Merl Reagle's crossword in today's Los Angeles Times is titled "Homophone Hijinks." (Is there such a thing as lojinks, I wonder?) It is obvious that "homophone hijinks" is just a synonym for "bad puns." Some of the puns are really bad.....and really old, too:

Corn price: BUCKANEAR
Things to see in a certain romantic city: PARISSIGHTS

But there are also a few puns which are not old. They are bad.....but they are not old:

Go by a burning building" PASSAFIRE
Support a candidate from outer space? BACKANALIEN
Broadway musical about a WWII battle? OHVERDUN
Nelson as a stand-up? COMICOZZIE
A distinct possibility if Doris and Patti won't sing? DINAHMIGHT
(The references are to singers Day, LaBelle and Washington)
Today's Puzzles / Sun., 8/16 Clive Probert
« Last post by magus on August 16, 2015, 10:09:00 AM »
THEME:   intrusive D (before an R) changes phrases
Saloon with a no-quipping policy?  ANTI-DROLL BAR ["anti-roll bar": the absurdity of a bar forbidding humor makes me laugh, yet we have no smoking bars, so why not bars prohibiting un-PC quips]   
Refreshment after winter recreation?   SKATING DRINK ["skating rink": I can see some enterprising marketer selling a "special" drink for hockey players]   
Way out?   PAROLE [I thought outre, and come to think of it, PAROLE itself seems odd given a judge passed sentence for a specific time (frame)]   
Jam cacophony   HORNS [as in a traffic jam, not a jazz jam (which bothers me even more)]   
Changing places   CABANAS   
Sport with pins  WRESTLING [took a long while to get bowling out of my mind before I could consider anything else]   
Like some facts and stuff   HARD [as in both "hard facts" and "hard stuff"]   
Total   RUIN [same as with WRESTLING, I was thinking "addition"]   
One in a ball game?   SEER [she uses a crystal ball --- and it is a con(fidence) game]   
Art class focused on river rapids?   WHITEWATER DRAFTING [I'd clue it "Hillary's defense"]   
Portrait of Donald's life?   A DRAKE'S PROGRESS [both the duck and the new pol would work]   
Juvenile response   I AM SO [if this is juvenile, any insistence is]   
Light bite   NOSH [still only used by those exposed to Yiddish; there was a franchise in Brooklyn 55 years ago called Bagel Nosh, but [whispered] "they're not  good."   
Start of the Common Era   ONE AD [instead of the AD ("year of the lord") we now have CE, obviating the need to refer to the loathsome deity --- even though calendars are based on the lying sham far below, say, today's vaunted Bill Clinton]   
OLD SCHOOL bothers me as much as "Back in the day" probably because I'm old school, and back in the day these expressions did not exist.   
Go like mad   DASH [a tad overstated for my liking; any quick movement or running could be defined so --- "mad dash" would be more like it]   
Steamed veggies, say   SIDE [irritating:  it should be "side order" or "on the side" lest with our eggs we order a "side of bacon" ]   
RATING:    ;D ;D
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
Today's Puzzles / Sat., 8/15 Michael Wisenberg
« Last post by magus on August 15, 2015, 10:36:09 AM »
THEME:   none, but eight 10-letter entries, including two that run the gamut!
Word for a loser?   LITE [dieters are losers, in a way --- and winners]   
Indictment feature?   SILENT C   
One of an orange trio   TENNESSEE AVENUE [in Monopoly --- of course I thought fruit]   
Gore and more   ALS [as in the ex-veep who may be foolish and egotistical enough to run again --- which may be gory]   
Turner in cooking   SPIT [I thought some chef on one of the metastizising (or "rising" if you're a fan) cooking shows]   
Their nos. may appear on shields   RTES [a sign in the shape of a shield is not a shield, it's a sign]   
Relish   LUST [relish = enjoy; lust = crave --- needs a tin ear to sense they are the same or even close]   
Blend   FIT IN [one of my favorite movie lines is Mona Lisa Vito's insulting Cousin Vinnie: "Oh, you blend"; which summarizes the plot in that Vinnie did anything but fit into the deep South, despite his metal-tipped cowboy boots.]   
It occurred to me that the most famous Carmen aria is much like "La Dona Mobile," just as famous and just as cynical.   
RATING:    ;D ;D ;D
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
Today's Puzzles / Fri., 8/14 Jeffrey Wechsler
« Last post by magus on August 14, 2015, 09:06:28 AM »
THEME:   names of lizards written in an arc as if they were leaping
Classic comics catchphrase {& theme}   LEAPIN' LIZARDS   
Common sense   SMELL   
Nice word   MOT [I know, but we use bon mot in English]   
Geisha's band  OBI [the images I get of a geisha band (glam rock?) make me laugh --- the definition of incongruity]   
Pace maker?   FOOT [isn't it the leg --- "a duel at 30 paces"]   
That, in Madrid   ESO [but not in London --- go with "Eso Beso"]

This odd grid supports a clever theme.  (typical grid can fold into exact quadrants; this one can only be folded in half, left to right, to match)   
RATING: ;D ;D ;D   
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
Today's Puzzles / Re: Thu., 8/13 Mark Brickham
« Last post by Thomps2525 on August 13, 2015, 04:11:31 PM »
Today's Universal crossword made me think of Rex Allen Jr.'s No No No and Ringo Starr's The No-No Song. The theme answers are NOCAUSEFORALARM, NOCONCERNOFMINE and NOSTONEUNTURNED.

Today's NEA crossword set a new low: Thirty-eight black squares in a 13x13 grid and only two seven-letter words; all the rest were six letters or fewer. There were Roman numerals (XVI) and an above-average number of overused three-letter words: ACE, ADD, AFT, ALE, AMP, ASP, ERS, GEE, GEM, INN, LAP, MAC, OWE, SEA, SIR, SIT and TEA.
Today's Puzzles / Re: Wed., 8/12. Burnikel & Schlapfer
« Last post by Thomps2525 on August 13, 2015, 03:58:51 PM »
I hate to disillusion you---and you all know I'm not the disillusioner I used to be---but lately there have been quite a few asymmetrical crossword puzzles and I did indeed notice the "face" in the grid. However, you have me beat when it comes to women being unable to resist your charms. I have to admit that I have no charms.
Today's Puzzles / Re: Wed., 8/12. Burnikel & Schlapfer
« Last post by magus on August 13, 2015, 09:59:05 AM »
1. Come on, T-Man, you didn't notice the attempt at a face in the grid; you found it on a site that gets the answers from the Times.  As I did not notice the eyes and mouth, I tend to think no one else did either.  You know my ego is such that I refuse to allow that others can ever outsmart me.  It's the same with women: I'm always amazed how many of them were and continue to be capable of resisting my charms.

2. Crosswords are better today than when I made them, and some of the old "rules" were as silly as the editors who dreamed them up.  (I was lucky to be edited by Will Weng who actually fixed my work rather than returning it.)  Does it really matter if six famous brands are used if the puzzle is well-made otherwise?
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