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Today's Puzzles / Something fishy: The June 12 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on June 12, 2016, 04:37:37 PM »
It's June. Most schools are closing for the summer. You might wonder why Ron Toth and C.C. Burnikel chose "Going To School" as the theme of today's crossword. Well, actually, the title refers, I'll let Merriam-Webster explain it:

"You may not think of your education as relaxation, but, believe it or not, the word 'school' can be traced back to a Greek word meaning 'rest; leisure.' The Ancient Greek scholē came to be applied to the philosophical discussions in which the best of Greek society spent their free time. The meaning of scholē was extended to the groups who listened to a particular philosopher, and later to the set of beliefs held by such a group. When the Latin schola was borrowed from Greek, the emphasis fell more on the place where a philosopher spoke, and it is the sense 'place of instruction' that was ultimately passed to English. A group of fish is called a 'school' not because they resemble students in a classroom. The word 'school' in this sense is borrowed from a Dutch word that means 'crowd' or 'throng.'"

Nine clues are names of fish -- but not really:


The word "shark" derives from the German schorke, which meant "rogue" or "rascal." (The English word "shirk" also came from schorke.) "Shark" originally referred not to the fish but to someone who preys upon others, e.g., a "loan shark." Beginning in the 17th century, a swindler or cheat was called a "sharp." The term "card shark" eventually began to be used as a synonym of "card sharp" -- even in today's crossword. But it's wrong.

"Book with a year on its cover" is ALMANAC. The earliest known appearance of the word is in an opus written in 1267 by Roger Bacon, an English philosopher and Franciscan friar. The word referred to an astrological calendar. Many sources say "almanac" derived from al-manākh, an Arabic word meaning " the climate." Other sources say al-manākh does not appear in any Arabic texts and suggest that the word is a Spanish variant of Arabic. "Almanac" may also derive from the Ancient Greek almenichiaká, which means "calendar." The exact origin of the word is uncertain. An almanac gives deatils about weather, tide tables, world history, sports, politics, music, population data, weights and measures, and hundreds of other subjects -- almost everything except the origin of the word "almanac."

"Against a thing, legally" is INREM. The Latin phrase in rem means "in the thing itself" and refers to a lawsuit involving property as opposed to a lawsuit against a person. For a detailed explanation -- but not necessarily an easy-to-understand explanation -- check the Farlex Legal Dictionary at
Today's Puzzles / Re: Frankly, it's the June 8 crosswords
« Last post by Thomps2525 on June 11, 2016, 02:40:10 PM »
Thank you for the "thank-you" -- but I never left. I don't comment on each day's puzzles, only the puzzles which have an unusually clever theme and/or include uncommon words and phrases. I started reading at age four and I used to read the dictionary at night. I not only learned thousands of big impressicve-sounding words, I learned all the Greek and Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes so when I saw an unfamiliar word in a book or newspaper, I could usually figure out what it meant without having to look it up in the dictionary. Ever since, I have been a philologist -- someone who studies languages and their histories. "Philology" comes from the Latin philologia, from Greek philologos, from philia ("love") + logos ("word, speech"). can we get more crossword enthusiasts to participate here?
Today's Puzzles / Re: Frankly, it's the June 8 crosswords
« Last post by fggoldston on June 11, 2016, 10:36:38 AM »
I'm glad you're back.  I enjoy reading your critiques and getting the extra information about the entries and clues.  I was worried that maybe you had given up :)  and started to feel guilty since it doesn't seem anyone ever thanks you for posting these.  So thank you and welcome back!
Today's Puzzles / Frankly, it's the June 8 crosswords
« Last post by Thomps2525 on June 08, 2016, 04:44:32 PM »
David J. Kahn's crossword in today's Wall Street Journal includes FRANK and SINATRA -- the two words intersect in the middle -- and contains titles of six Sinatra songs:

Unconditionally: ALLTHEWAY
It's spellbinding: WITCHCRAFT
Clairol brand since 1965: NICENEASY
Rationalizer's comment: THATSLIFE
What an idealistic person has: HIGHHOPES
Seasonal weather phenomenon: SUMMERWIND

Francis Albert Sinatra was born December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey. He died of a heart attack May 14, 1998. Why, you might ask, would a Sinatra-themed puzzle appear on June 8? Well, Frank's daughter Nancy was born June 8, 1940. She had several big hits in the 1960s, including Sugar Town, These Boots Are Made For Walkin' and a duet with her father, Somethin' Stupid, which spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in April-May 1967.

Some clever clues today: "Take sides" for EAT, "Join the service, perhaps" for PRAY, "They're raised in schools" for HANDS, and "It may get you to look down" for ASTERISK

The theme of today's Los Angeles Times crossword by C.C. Burnikel is PTAMEETING ("After-school event"). Three horizontal answers and three vertical answers include the letters PTA. The answers intersect at the letter T --- "PTA meeting," get it?


ADOPTAROAD was clued with "Highway beautification program." The national program is known as "Adopt A Highway" but many small communities, which have no highways, have an "Adopt A Road" program. Individuals, businesses and organizations can pay for litter removal along a section of a freeway or highway and, in exchange, a sign is erected which shows the name of the person or business. Yes, the sign can be regarded as a small-scale advertisement but the sign is much nicer to look at than all the roadside litter. For information about the program, go to

"Triumphant shouts" is TADAS. "Ta-da!" first appeared in print in 1913. The Oxford English Dictionary says the exclamation is "imitative of the sound of the musical flourish or fanfare (composed of one short note followed by one long note) which often accompanies an entrance, trick, etc., in various kinds of performance."

And that ends this commentary on today's crosswords. Ta-da!
General Support / Ray's Links is Now 404 - File Not Found
« Last post by cbrockman on June 08, 2016, 01:27:17 PM »
The link in Ray's Links in the right column of the home page under Other Sites > Resources is returning a 404 - File Not Found error.
Today's Puzzles / Diving in to the May 29 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on May 29, 2016, 05:57:23 PM »
Singer/songwriter Pancho Harrison spent 35 years performing in the Denver area. In 2001, he released a CD, Teaching My Imagination:

While briefly incarcerated for a traffic offense, Harrison began solving newspaper crossword puzzles as a way to pass the time. Later, after seeing the 2006 movie Wordplay, which documented the 2005 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut, and featured Will Shortz, Merl Reagle and other crossword creators, Harrison decided to try making his own puzzles. He succeeded. His crosswords have been appearing in the New York Sun, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal since 2009. Today's is titled "Pool Party" and includes phrases with a last word which can precede POOL:

Track runner? TROLLEYCAR
Pickup spot: BOXOFFICE
Removable engine: OUTBOARDMOTOR
Undeveloped ability: RAWTALENT
Pond prohibition: NOSWIMMING
Unscrupulously competitive: DOWNANDDIRTY
Certain trait carrier: RECESSIVEGENE

"Keystone officer" is KOP, although the incompetent police force which appeared in many silent comedies from 1912 through the 1920s was actually called the Keystone Cops. The name is often misspelled by people who prefer alliteration. The team was created by producer Mack Sennett, who owned Keystone Studios in Los Angeles and was known as "The King of Comedy" for his innovations in slapstick films, including the first "pie in the face." There were usually seven or eight Cops at a time and the members varied, depending on which actors were available for filming. Among the many who portrayed Cops at various times were James Finlayson, Charlie Chaplin (once), Chester Conklin and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. The Cops' films always included a frantic chase, filmed at a slow speed so it would look more manic when shown at normal speed.

"On the fritz" is KAPUT. "Kaput" derives from an 1890s German word. It comes from the French capot, which derived from the Latin capio ("to seize"). In the card game piquet, a capot is a winning of all the tricks and is worth 40 points. The word can also be used as a verb. When one player capots, all the other players end up with a score of zero. A capot meant winning.....but when the Germans changed the spelling to "kaputt," they inexplicably gave it an opposite meaning: "destroyed or no longer working." In English, the word is spelled "kaput." In France, capot" also means "cape" and originally referred to a long hooded cloak or coat worn by French sailors. "On the fritz" dates from 1903 and is likely derived from the 1880s slang word for a German soldier. "Fritz" is the familiar form of "Friedrich."

"K through 12" is ELHI, a word which I have never seen or heard anywhere except in crossword puzzles. "Room next to la cocina, maybe" is SALA. The words mean "kitchen" and "living room," respectively, but are not used in English. "'60s singer Sands" is EVIE, who never had a top-40 pop hit but reached #30 on the adult contemporary chart with a 1970 remake of Kenny Rogers' But You Know I Love You.

"Conductor Klemperer" is OTTO. The German-born conductor (1885-1973) held positions at several opera houses, including the Cologne Opera House, the German Opera House in Prague and the Kroll Opera House in Berlin. He also conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl in 1939. His son, Werner Klemperer, co-starred as Colonel Wilhelm Klink on the 1965-71 tv series Hogan's Heroes. When asked to comment about the Colonel, Sergeant Schultz's only reply was "I know noth-ing!" :)
General Discussion / Re: USA Today editorship
« Last post by Glenn9999 on May 25, 2016, 01:41:47 AM »
Good thought.  I can't say I've done grids from there as of late, but my hope is that whoever ends up as editor there doesn't depart from the niche that Universal/USA Today has gained in the market (harder than "easy" grids, yet a good place for people who would get slammed and discouraged by the average Mon LAT or NYT grid - not to mention a good place for late week grids when stuff is out there that would *really* slam a newbie).  I used to recommend that as a good source for newbie types until the scandal, and really haven't found a good alternative...
General Discussion / Re: USA Today editorship
« Last post by fggoldston on May 23, 2016, 05:58:18 PM »
I love Fred Piscop's puzzles and I'd love to help.  But how do "we" get him this editorship?
General Support / Re: Can't Open Puzzle from LAT Calendar
« Last post by JLU on May 21, 2016, 08:25:25 AM »

General Support / java font size
« Last post by marty howard on May 20, 2016, 05:57:06 PM »
this is a question specifically about the Newsday puzzle. I have tried the "contact Stan" several times and have never gotten a response.
Does anyone know how to enlarge the font/grid?
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