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Today's Puzzles / Hear, hear -- It's the December 11 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on December 11, 2016, 06:31:50 PM »
"Lend me your ears." "I can't -- I'm still using them." But "Lend Me Your Ears" is the title of today's crossword by Jeffrey Wechsler. Each theme answer is a familiar phrase with an EAR added:

Rather uninspired cocktail? DREARYMARTINI
Pair of lustrous Kleenex? TWOPEARLYTISSUES
How sundaes are often served? BEARINGCHERRIES
Often censored musical groups? SWEARINGBANDS
Candy served on a corporate blimp? GOODYEARGUMDROPS
First asp most likely to bite when the group is disturbed? NEARESTOFVIPERS
What happens at the southern terminus of Interstate 65? MOBILEAPPEARS

Kleenex tissue was first marketed in 1924. The patent application described the product as "absorbent pads or sheets for removing cold cream." The Kimberly-Clark Corporation owns the Kleenex trademark -- and they are none too happy that millions of people refer to almost any tissue as a "Kleenex." The word has become genericized, in the same way that "Coke" is often used as a synonym for "cola" and "Xerox" is often used as a synonym for "photcopy."

A despicable person is often called a "snake." In the 16th century, it became common to call a despicable person a "viper." Vipers, unlike most snakes, are poisonous. The term "nest of vipers" goes back to at least 1526, when William Tyndale's translation of the Bible included this wording of Matthew 3:7: "He said unto them: O generation of vipers, who hath taught you to flee from the vengeance to come?"

"Goody gumdrops," an expression which is often used sarcastically, dates from the early 1900s. It combines the 18th-century exclamation "Goody goody" with the name of a pectin-based candy introduced in the 1850s. But why? -- likely because of the alliteration. "Goody ice cream" or "Goody peach cobbler" just doesn't sound right.

"French 101 infinitive" is ETRE, which is not used in English. "Familia member" is MADRE, which is not used in English. "Italian man" is UOMO, which is not used in English. "Oahu outsider" is HAOLE, which is not used in English. (In the Hawai'ian language, the name of the island is O'ahu and the name of the state is Hawai'i. Each vowel in Hawaii'an pronounced separately, e.g., "Hä-wä-ē-ē.") "Bite-size veggies" is CRUDITES. "Crudité" is the French word for "crudity" or "crudeness" but it is also used to mean "rawness," referring to raw vegetables. Crudités are appetizers often served with a dipping sauce. They include celery sticks, carrot sticks, broccoli, cauliflower and other sliced vegetables. "Veggie" is one of many shortened word forms which should be banned from the English language, along with "pres" and "celeb" and "fridge" and "confab" and.......

"Quotable late athlete" is BERRA. Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra played 18 seasons with the New York Yankees and appeared in 18 All-Star Games and 14 World Series. USA TODAY compiled a list of 50 of the most memorable "Yogi-isms." One of my favorites: "You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you're going, because you might not get there."
Today's Puzzles / MOving ON with the December 8 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on December 08, 2016, 05:06:02 PM »
Jerry Edelstein loves to create crosswords with clever wordplay. One puzzle titled "Square roots" included several examples where a square of four spaces contained the letters R, O, O and T. A puzzle titled "Water, water everywhere" included several two-word phrases in which each word could be preceded by WATER, such as PIPELINE and POWERPLANT. The theme of today's crossword is "Half moon." Either end of the three theme answers is a half-moon, i.e., MO or ON:

Historic Potomac estate: MOUNTVERNON
Life of Brian comedy group: MONTYPYTHON
NPR broadcast since 1979: MORNINGEDITION

In astronomy, a "half moon" refers to the moon when only half of its illuminated surface is visible from the earth; the first or last quarter. An explanation of the nine phases of the moon is on the EarthSky website:

Mount Vernon is the name given to the plantation house owned by George and Martha Washington in the latter half of the 18th century. The region was origially known by the Native American name Epsewasson, then became Little Hunting Creek Plantation after the nearby river. When Washington's half-brother Lawrence inherited the property, he renamed it Mount Vernon after Vice Admiral Edward Vernon. Construction on the house began in 1758.

Today's crossword  includes the way-too-overused words ADE, ARIA, AROMA, ELIE (Wiesel), OMEN, (Yoko) ONO and ORE. "Uno plus due" is TRE, which is not used in English. "Menu possessive linked to the Qing dynasty" is TSOS. Peng Chang-Kuei, the Taiwanese chef who created General Tso's chicken in 1955, died November 30, 2016, at age 98. The dish is made by taking lightly battered pieces of dark meat and frying them in a spicy sweet-and-sour sauce. Peng named the dish after 19th-century Chinese military leader Zuo Zontang, whose name is often anglicized as Tso Tsung-t'ang. General Tso's chicken is a common menu item at Chinese resturants in the United States but very few restaurants in China serve the dish -- the Chinese people consider it to be too sweet and spicy.

So General Tso's chicken is not Chinese -- and neither are the fortune cookies which are so popular in American Chinese restaurants. Fortune cookies originated in Japan.

再见 -- 祝你过一个好天!

General Discussion / Re: NYT Sunday
« Last post by mmcbs on December 07, 2016, 09:24:44 AM »
The real question in deciding what size puzzle to attempt is whether you have enough good theme material to get to a Sunday-size puzzle. If you have a theme that you think is good enough for NYT Sunday, by all means go for it. There are a number of constructors who made their NYT debut on Sunday. I agree with you that there is a lot of variability in the NYT Sunday, both in difficulty and overall quality (whatever that is), but the one thing all NYT Sunday puzzles have in common is a theme that you can almost never say "I've seen this one before". Will is always looking for new twists, new ideas . . . you get the picture. Good luck!
General Discussion / Re: NYT Sunday
« Last post by Pangram~Man on December 06, 2016, 12:24:38 PM »
Try to study and get to know Will's dry sense of humor. Catering to William's throne might set you back in time & in mind.
Today's Puzzles / The December 4 crossword is a BLast
« Last post by Thomps2525 on December 04, 2016, 05:06:12 PM »
A bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich is usually referred to as a BLT. Actually, it should be a TBLT because it also has two pieces of toast. Anyway, today's crossword by Garry Morse is titled "Hold the Tomato" and includes seven theme answers in which a T is replaced by a BL:

Feline snitch? BLABBYCAT
Junkyard guards? BLIGHTSECURITY
Forgetting how to stay up? FLOTATIONBLANK
Passionate maintenance of one's Cuisinart? BLENDERLOVINGCARE
Haul in à la the Big Bad Wolf, as a wrecked vehicle? BLOWBACKTOTHESHOP
Where a chant of 'Well done, blokes!' might start? ENGLISHBLEACHERS
Warning technologically unavailable in Titanic times? BLIPOFTHEICEBERG

That last answer, coincidentally, includes the name of a type of lettuce. Iceberg, also known as crisphead, is the most popular lettuce in the United States. It was developed for growth in the colder climate of the northern part of the country. Because of its high water content, iceberg has less flavor and less nutritional value than other types of lettuce.

"This, in Toledo" is ESTO, which is not used in English. "Warm Argentina month" is ENERO, which is not used in English. "En __: in the lead, in French" is TETE, which is not used in English. "Yokohama yes" is HAI, which is not used in English -- unless you count Hai Karate, a cheap brand of aftershave introduced in 1967. "Informal pricing words" is APOP, a term I have never seen or heard anywhere except in crossword puzzles. "Kitchen whistler" is TEAKETTLE -- but why is it called that? A tea kettle is "a metal container with a cover, handle and spout, used for boiling water." The word "kettle" dates from the 9th century and comes from the Middle English ketel, which came from the Old Norse ketill, a variant of the Latin catillus ("small pot"). We boil water in a tea kettle and use the hot water to make a cup of tea or a cup of coffee but the kettle itself contains only water. Shouldn't it be called a water kettle? Or, better yet, just a kettle?

Today's helpful hint: Keep a tea-stained tablecloth on hand in case any British friends come by for a visit. As we all know, the British always enjoy having a spot of tea.

(Yes, I know that was bad.)
General Discussion / Re: Submissions
« Last post by RichP on December 03, 2016, 11:09:53 PM »
Some editors will request (and review) just the seeds for a certain puzzles, like a 21 x 21, but Will does not do this. He only reviews completed puzzles. What each editor requests is in the publisher chart. (Although I recently followed the seed-review protocol for Chronicle of Higher Ed. and, even after following up after a few weeks, I never heard back. So maybe I know less than I think I do!)
General Discussion / Submissions
« Last post by atco418 on December 03, 2016, 08:16:32 PM »
Hi everyone! I'm relatively new to puzzle construction, and to this site, and I'm hoping someone might have answers to a few of my questions.  I've been a solver for years, and a few months ago I began attempts at writing a few.  At this point, I have a pair of grids that I plan to send to Mr. Shortz -one is a daily, one is a Sunday - and after printing the completed manuscripts I learned from the resources section of this site that Sundays may require multiple stages of approval.  It is finished, and I guess I could just send it, but I'd rather not breach protocol.  It's still a bit fuzzy for me just how casual or coordinated I need to be with my submissions.
Software / Technical / Crossword Maker for Mac
« Last post by Leonard on December 02, 2016, 08:47:49 PM »
Several sites want submissions with Across Lite. How do I transfer a crossword from Crossword Maker (Cruciverb (for Mac) to Across Lite?
Today's Puzzles / Over here, it's the December 2 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on December 02, 2016, 04:18:07 PM »
Four horizontal answers in today's crossword by Peter Koetters are not numbered. The reason is because each forms a phrase with the answer above:

Art critic's phrase, literally:

Changes one ways, literally:

Tumbles out of control, literally:

Theme park near Dallas, literally:

Style over substance, turns over a new leaf, falls head over heels and Six Flags Over Texas. Very clever. But why do we say "head over heels"? Unless we're doing a handstand or are suspended upside down, our head is always over our heels. Actually, the original phrase was "heels over head," dating from the 14th century and referring to a cartwheel or somersault. The first known use of "head over heels" appears in Herbert Lawrence's 1771 novel The Contemplative Man: "He gave him such a violent involuntary kick in the Face as drove him Head over Heels." The phrase became common in reference to falling down, and it was not until the late 1800s that the phrase began to be used in reference to falling in love. In that sense, "head over heels" is not literal -- but neither are hundreds of other common expressions.

"Bench warmers" is a clever clue for JURISTS. "Crushes an altar ego" is a clever clue for JILTS. "Half of MCDX" is DCCV. Roman numerals in the 21st century? Yes, but pretty much only in crossword puzzles and motion picture coipyright dates.

"Like non-oyster months, traditionally" is RLESS. An old adage claims that we shouldn't eat oysters in months which do not have an R. At one time, that was good advice. During summer months,  large blooms of algae grow along the coasts. The masses of algae are known as "red tides." They can spread toxins which can be absorbed by shellfish, including oysters. However, commercially harvested seafood, which makes up a majority of the seafood sold in restaurants and supermarkets, is strictly regulated by U.S. laws so it's safe to eat in any month, even a month with no R.

Frank Crumit was an Ohio-born pop singer who appeared in Broadway musicals and had 31 hit records in the 1920s. In 1930, he wrote and recorded a novelty song, What Kind Of A Noise Annoys An Oyster. Enjoy!
Today's Puzzles / Deconstructing the November 22 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on November 22, 2016, 04:16:02 PM »
The fun of solving today's crossword by Janice Luttrell might be enhanced by having Bobby Darin's If I Were A Carpenter playing in the background. Each theme answer begins with the name of a tool:

Ten-spot: SAWBUCK
Utmost effort: LEVELBEST
Military marching unit: DRILLTEAM
Reality show hosted by rapper M.C.: HAMMERTIME
One of a daily three at the table: SQUAREMEAL

Ten-dollar bills began to be called "sawbucks" around 1850 because X, the Roman numeral for 10, resembles the legs of a sawbuck, a rack used for holding wood for sawing. It consists of a long flat platform supported by a pair of crossed wooden legs. The $20 bill used to be known as a "double sawbuck." The hundred-dollar bill used to be called a C-note. Again, the reference is to a Roman numeral. Roman numerals appeared on some of the earliest United States currency.

M.C. Hammer was born Stanley Burrell in Oakland, California. The biggest of his many rap hits was U Can't Touch This (1990), in which he shouted "Hammer time!" In 2009, Burrell and his family began starring in  Hammertime, a reality series on the A&E Network.

"NFL team that moved from St. Louis in 2016" is LARAMS. To be precise, it was not the Los Angeles Rams who moved from St. Louis -- it was the St. Louis Rams. "Oddball" is KOOK. The word dates from the mid-1950s and is a shortened form of "cuckoo." An eccentric person is often described as "kooky." On the 1958-64 ABC-TV detective series 77 Sunset Strip, Edd Byrnes played a young greasy-haired hipster named Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III. Byrnes became a teen idol and was the inspiration of Henry Winkler's "Fonzie" character on Happy Days. In 1959, Kookie's jive talk and slang expressions were turned into a hit record. Here are Edd Byrnes and Connie Stevens with Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb:

Later, Daddio!
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