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Today's Puzzles / Getting to the heart of the February 14 Crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on February 14, 2016, 02:29:24 PM »
Valentine’s Day originated as a day of feasting to honor two early Christian martyrs in Italy, Saint Valentinus of Rome and Saint Valentinus of Interamna (modern-day Terni). How does overeating honor anyone? Anyway, it was not until the mid-1300s when the day began to be associated with love and romance. And then in 1910 Joyce Hall founded Hallmark Cards in Kansas City and the martyred saints were immediately forgotten. :)

"Cherish the Thought" is the title of today's crossword by Rich Norris and Joyce Michaels Lewis. Thirty-one black squares form the outline of a heart and within it are the phrases ILUVU and BEMYVALENTINE. Nicknames for one's "valentine" are found at the starts of the theme answers:

Ingenue's benefactor: SUGARDADDY
Venezuelan wonder: ANGELFALLS
Weasel relative: HONEYBADGER
Offer that can't be refused: SWEETHEARTDEAL
120-year-old candy: TOOTSIEROLL

"Get up" is WAKEN. I disagree. A person can waken and remain in bed. I imagine many people do that, especially when a Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday.

"Craving" is YENNING. Yes, "yen" can be used as a verb. The word dates from 1906 and comes from the Chinese yáhn, which means "a craving." A decade letter, "yen" began to also be used as a verb meaning "to have an intense craving."

"Dutch astronomer who lent his name to a cloud" is OORT. That is also a word used by the Swedish Chef, one of the Muppets, but I digress. Jan Hendrick Oort (1900-92) discovered that the Milky Way rotates and he confirmed and developed the theory of galactic rotation. He was the first astronomer to postulate the existence of an enormous sphere of comets surrounding the solar system. This sphere is known as the Oort Cloud. A picture and brief description can be seen at
General Discussion / looking for setters
« Last post by edsm on February 13, 2016, 03:35:25 PM »
Hi everyone!

I hope I've found the right place to post this...

For a new, bi-monthly magazine aimed at a specific public, I'm looking for setters..

Who would be interested in helping us in the making of the puzzles?

As the magazine is mainly aimed at a USA public there will be about  2 regular USA style crosswords  (one could be a clues-in squares one) and one cryptic puzzle in each issue
I'm also looking for one UK style crossword and then for some more smaller style puzzles (honeycomb, sudokus, binairy, wordsearch, codeword, clues in squares, rebus,...more details will be explained in a later stage )
The puzzles are aimed at a wide public so the majority shouldn't be too hard but one or two can be on a higher level

If you think you could be one of the right people to help please let us know with what you could help us and on what terms.

Thanks a lot and looking forward hearing from you!
Today's Puzzles / Yo, it's the February 12 crossword!
« Last post by Thomps2525 on February 12, 2016, 05:06:20 PM »
ROCKYBALBOA is the "Fighter whose stock greeting affects" the four long answers in today's crossword by Jeffrey Wechsler. The character of Robert "Rocky" Balboa was created by Sylvester Stallone, who portrayed Rocky in seven movies. His most recent portrayal, as the trainer and mentor of boxer Donnie Creed in the 2015 movie Creed, earned him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor.

Balboa's "stock greeting" of "Yo!" is added to each of four familiar phrases:

Eschew medical attention? STAYOFFDOCTORS

Staff doctors work at a hospital or medical center and are also known as attending physicians. They also charge way too much. I know from experience that they can lean into the doorway and ask "How are you doing?" and then charge a fee for a "consultation." Grrr!

Generic City Hall dog? MAYORSROVER

NASA has sent seven Mars Rover robotic exploration vehicles to Mars but only four of them have been successful. To learn more, visit

Essay on medication? YOGITRACT

"GI tract" is the gastrointestinal tract, also known as the alimentary canal. which.....well, I think we all know what it does. I don't need to explain it.

Why some seek a certain cactus? FORPEYOTESSAKE

Peyote (lophophora williamsii) is a cactus which yields the psychotropic alkaloid  mescaline. But who is "Pete" in the expression "For Pete's sake"? In the 1800s, a popular expression was "For the love of God." Many people thought it was blasphemous. In the 1880s, the expression "For the love of Mike" began to be used. Three decades later, "For the love of Pete" was common and was possibly a reference to Saint Peter. "Pete" then replaced "God" in the expression "For God's sake."

"Make effervescent" is AERATE. Until I consulted the American Heritage Dictionary, I thought the clue was wrong. I still do. Air is not carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide is not air. However, dictionaries record all common usages of a word, even if some of those usages are technically wrong. Thus, we have a third definition of "aerate." 

1. To supply with air or expose to the circulation of air.
2. To expose to oxygen, as in the oxygenation of the blood by respiration.
3. To supply or charge (liquid) with a gas, especially to charge with carbon dioxide.

Air and oxygen are not the same, so I could make a strong case for saying that the second definition of "aerate" is also wrong. I won't dwell on it though -- I don't want anyone here accusing me of blowing a lot of hot air. :)

Etc. / Jonesin' (technical?) puzzle link - seems not working
« Last post by dorothyking63 on February 09, 2016, 12:40:00 AM »
Is Jonesin' broken?,
or is the Cruciverb-to-Jonesin' link out of whack?, 
or.... gulp.... is it just my own laptop on the fritz?
anyone else having issues trying to snag the Jonesin' puzzles?

here's the error message I get:  HTTP 404 Not found

The webpage cannot be found  HTTP 404
Most likely causes:
•There might be a typing error in the address.
•If you clicked on a link, it may be out of date.
What you can try
  Retype the address. 
  Go back to the previous page.
  Go to  and look for the information you want. 
More information  More information 
General Discussion / Re: filling a tough corner
« Last post by 4wd on February 08, 2016, 07:04:04 PM »
Oh, thought I'd get a decent word list as they've got lots of additional stuff. Thanks for offering, have emailed you the grid :)
General Discussion / Re: filling a tough corner
« Last post by mmcbs on February 08, 2016, 01:42:47 PM »
You have partially answered your own question, as the default word list in Compiler is not very robust. If you would be willing to share the grid with me, I'd be glad to take a look at it to see if I can help. email me directly at (and also if you are targeting the puzzle for a particular spot, tell me that, too).
General Discussion / filling a tough corner
« Last post by 4wd on February 08, 2016, 08:20:29 AM »
Quite new to crossword construction and currently filling my first themed puzzle, my theme entries are quite catchy, though I'm having problems filling a corner, seems there aren't a lot of available fills and it's driving me nuts, been at it a couple days now.

how do you guys/gals tackle a tough corner ??

I've tried abbreviations, brand names, lowering the grid fingers etc. trying to stay away from obscure entries. 

Haven't got gold membership as yet so I'm working with Crossword Compiler's built in word lists.
Thanks in advance  :)
Today's Puzzles / The February 7 crossword: Easy as ABC
« Last post by Thomps2525 on February 07, 2016, 03:41:37 PM »
Today's Los Angeles Times crossword is by Alan Olschwang, a retired attorney who has been creating puzzles since 1994, and includes seven three-word phrases, each of which has initials matching the initials of a United States President. The puzzle is clever.....and so is the title, "Presidential Firsts."

On a lark (#35): JUSTFORKICKS
Austria's Railjet, for one (#33): HIGHSPEEDTRAIN
Changes the play at the line of scrimmage (#21): CALLSANAUDIBLE
Words from a returning traveler (#43): GUESSWHOSBACK
Drinking song popularized by the Glenn Miller Orchestra (#36): LITTLEBROWNJUG
D.C. trip highlight (#27): WHITEHOUSETOUR
Could be more productive (#34): DONTDOENOUGH

The Presidents, respectively, are John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Harry S Truman, Chester Alan Arthur, George Walker Bush, Lyndon Baines Johnson, William Howard Taft and Dwight David Eisenhower. Harry Truman served as a Senator from Missouri, 1935-45, then spent three months as Vice-President before succeeding to the Presidency upon the death of Franklin Roosevelt and remaining in office until January 1953. Truman's middle name was simply the letter S. His parents gave him that middle name to honor his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.

Lyndon Johnson is one of only four men who served as a Representative, Senator, Vice-President and President. The others are John Tyler, Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon.

"Snickered" is TEHEED. That is very awkward. "Papal garment" is ORALE. The word comes from the Latin word for "mouth." I have no idea what the connection is. An orale, more commonly known as a fanon (from the old Germanic word for "cloth") is a round cape worn by the Pope when he is presiding over a Mass. "Half a patio pair" is TONG. But can half of a pair of tongs really be called a "tong"? I don't think so. And if the pin fell out of a pair of scissors, would each half be called a "scissor"? Or is one half of a pair of pants called a "pant"? Is half of a pair of shorts a "short"? Is half of a pair of glasses a "glass"? And why is each of these objects referred to as a "pair" anyway? We can debate these issues in our next linguistics class. I will have you all pair up with one another. :)
Today's Puzzles / Be on the lookout for the February 2 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on February 02, 2016, 04:06:32 PM »
C.C. Burnikel came up with a cute idea for today's Los Angeles Times crossword. Circled letters at the beginning and end of each theme answer spell COP:

Conceal, as misdeeds: COVERUP
Place to buy a Nikon: CAMERASHOP
Obeyed the corner traffic sign: CAMETOAFULLSTOP
For Better Or For Worse, e.g.: COMICSTRIP

"Warning about sealed-off escape routes from the police, four of whom are aptly positioned in this puzzle's circles" is YOURESURROUNDED. The puzzle would have been better if the COPs appeared at the corners of the grid and the word CROOK or THIEF or ROBBER appeared in the center.  Burnikel may have even thought of such an idea and then rejected it as being too difficult to work out. If I ever see her, I will ask.

And why do we have the expression "full stop"? If a stop is not full, then it isn't a stop; it's a slowing. At theme parks, many attractions warn riders to "remain seated until the vehicle comes to a full and complete stop." If "full stop" is a redundancy, then "full and complete stop" is really a redundancy.

There are many three- and four-letter words which appear quite frequently in crosswords. Among them are ALE, ASEA, ERA, ERE, IRA, IRE, LEI, ODE, ORE, SPA and UKE. There are also a few words which have two different spellings, allowing crossword creators more options for "fill words." Today's puzzle includes AEON ("Very long time"). I have never seen that spelling anywhere except in crosswords, so I was surprised to turn to the Merriam-Webster dictionary and discover that "aeon" is the preferred spelling. By whom?, I wonder. "Eon" is considered to be a variant spelling. The word comes from the Greek aiōn, which means "age."

Among the other words with two spellings, either of which can be---and is---used in crosswords are AERIE/AERY, AMEBA/AMOEBA, CENTER/CENTRE, ERN/ERNE, JAIL/GAOL, REATA/RIATA, SMOKY/SMOKEY, STORY/STOREY (referring to a level of a building), THEATER/THEATRE, UEY/UIE (a U-turn) and WOOLY/WOOLLY.

Today's Puzzles / I offer you the January 31 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on January 31, 2016, 03:53:04 PM »
Mark Bickham's crossword in today's Los Angeles Times is titled "Misaligned." My one-word review of today's puzzle---and its title---is "weak." The title is also the clue to one of the answers, OFFCENTER. Seven other answers include the consecutive letters O-F-F: THEOFFICE, SHOWOFFORCE, SHIPOFFOOLS, PEACEOFFERING, REPEATOFFENDER, SMIRNOFFVODKA and CIRCLEOFFRIENDS. All the OFFs are either to the right or the left of the vertical center line of the puzzle but that hardly makes them "misaligned."

Complaint department:

"Sics on" - LETSAT (Awkward)
"Bit of a chuckle" -  HEE (Awkward)
"Sweater sizes: Abbr." -  LGES (Awkward)
"Occasionally" -  EVERANDANON (Archaic)
"Granada gold" -  ORO (Not used in English)
"Wee" - SMA (Not used in English)
"Napoleon's légion" - ARMEE (Not used in English)
"MLX ÷ X: CVI" -  (Roman numerals? In the 21st century?)
"Shipping overnight, perhaps" -FEDEXING (Federal Express is popularly known as FedEx, but how did FedEx become a verb? Although, if Google can become a verb.....)

"Dogpatch conditional" is IFN. Dogpatch was the impoverished mountain community that was the home of the Yokum hillbilly family in Al Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip, which ran from 1943 to 1977. The titular character was hardly "li'l" but that's a topic for another time. Capp was quite skillful at creating "hillbilly talk." The Yokums always said "if'n" for "if." In the very first Li'l Abner strip, Li'l Abner declared, "Accordin' to the sun, it hain't supper time -- but the way mah stummick feel, it must be." You can see that first strip (and all the thousands of others) at

"Our Gang assent" is OTAY. Our Gang was a series of 200 comedy shorts produced by Hal Roach from 1922 to 1944. They were groundbreaking because they depicted black children and white children together as equals. In 1955, 80 of the films were syndicated to television and the "gang" was renamed The Little Rascals. The exclamation "Otay" originated with Eugene Gordon Lee, who played Porky (1935-39) and had a speech impediment which made it difficult for him to pronounce the letter K. The character of Buckwheat, played by Billy Thomas from 1934 to 1944, also began saying "Otay" and the word is now usually -- and erroneously -- credited to him. Thomas died of a heart attack in 1980. His son co-authored a biography, Otay! The Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas Story.
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