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Today's Puzzles / Working the September 4 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on September 04, 2016, 03:07:38 PM »
Mark McClain, 70, lives in Salem, Virginia, and has always enjoyed solving crossword puzzles. In 2013, a few years after he retired as a corporate manager for Zales Jewelers, he decided to try creating his own. Since October 2014, more than 40 of his crosswords have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Newsday and other publications. Today's puzzle is titled "Fitting Jobs" -- and it is not one of McClain's more clever ones but I suppose it's appropriate for Labor Day weekend. A very old joke asks, "What do you call a girl who is in a hamburger bun?" The answer is "Patty." There are many similar jokes involving people's names. Those jokes, reversed, are today's theme. Here are a few of the entries:

Fitting job for Art? MUSEUMGUIDE
Fitting job for Will? PROBATEJUDGE
Fitting job for Stu? TRIALATTORNEY
Fitting job for Roger? RADIOOPERATOR
Fitting job for Stu? HASHHOUSECOOK

"Stinging remarks" is OWS, which is awkward. "Ow" is an exclamation, not really a noun which can be pluralized. "Atlanta-to-Miami dir." is SSE, an answer which appears in far too many crosswords. "Swiss landscape feature" is ALP. As I have pointed out, I never see or hear of a singular "Alp" anywhere except in crossword puzzles. "Scruffy couple" is EFS, another execrable use of spelled-out letters. "F" is spelled "F," not "EF." That is why the word is "scruffy" and not "scruefefy." Three French words appear today. "Été month" is AOUT (August), which is not used in English. "Parlez-___ français?" is VOUS, which is not used in English.  "French vineyards" is CRUS. Cru literally means "growth"  and refers to "a vineyard or group of vineyards, especially one of recognized quality." An explanation of the word and its usage as a wine classification is at

"Sesame Street network" is PBS. Yes, but in August 2015 the financially beleaguered Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization which produces the program, entered into a five-year partnership with HBO. Thirty-five new episodes of Sesame Street will be produced each year and will premiere on HBO. Each new episode will be available for viewing on PBS after it has run exclusively on HBO for nine months. The deal is unpopular with parents and educators, however. Sesame Workshop benefits from HBO's funding but children whose parents aren't paying $180 a year for HBO will have to wait nine months for each new episode. And how many of those parents would want to pay for a network showing hundreds of "sex-and-violence" films just so their kids can see Bert and Ernie and Big Bird?

Today's crossword discussion was brought to you by the letter P (for "Puzzle") and the number 4 (for today's date).
Today's Puzzles / Mixing it up with the September 2 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on September 02, 2016, 03:25:50 PM »
Today's crossword by Fark Meldman -- excuse me, I mean Mark Feldman -- includes these phrases:

Clever insect? CUNNINGROACH
Politically active fowl? TRUMPDUCK
Embarrassed avian? BLUSHINGCROW
Street-wise amphibian? ROUGHTOAD

You say those answers are nonsensical? How about RUNNINGCOACH, DUMPTRUCK, CRUSHINGBLOW and TOUGHROAD? "Oxford don associated with" those four crossword answers is SPOONER. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) was a British clergyman and educator who often had to speak in public. Being nervous when speaking, he often mixed up the beginning sounds of some of his words. Longtime New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra was famous for making bizarre statements which came to be known as "Yogi-isms." Many statements were erroneously attributed to Yogi simply because they sounded like something he would say. Similarly, Spooner never uttered all the the "Spoonerisms" which are attributed to him, but they sound like something he would have said. The word "Spoonerism" came into common usage circa 1900. Some examples: "Tons of soil" for "sons of toil," "crooks and nannies" for "nooks and crannies" and "a well-boiled icicle" for "a well-oiled bicycle."

Comedian and Hee Haw co-star Archie Campbell used dozens of Spoonerisms in his re-telling of two fairy tales. His versions of Rindercella and Beeping Sleauty were a staple of his nightclub act and his television appearances and also appeared on comedy albums.One of the most famous Spoonerisms came from radio/tv announcer Harry Von Zell, who once referred to President Herbert Hoover as "Hoobert Heever." The Telegraph has a list of some of Spooner's most infamous misspoken phrases:

"Half a tuba sound" is PAH, as in "Oom-pah" -- awkward. "Raring to go" is ITCHY. Really? The expression is "itching to go." "In a supple manner" is LITHELY. Yes, it's a word but not a very common one. "Swinging about" is SLUING, which is really not a very common word. "Slue" -- also spelled "slew" -- dates from around 1760 and means "to turn or swing around, as a mast on its own axis." Its origin is unknown. "Mayo is in it" is ANO. That word appears in a lot of crosswords. It is not used in English and it is misspelled. In this clue, "Mayo" is the Spanish word for the month of May. However, the Spanish word for "year" is AÑO, not ANO. In Spanish, N and Ñ are different letters.

"The kiwi is the smallest one" is RATITE. The Encyclopædia Brittanica defines "ratite" -- the word comes from the Latin ratis, which means "raft" -- as "any bird whose sternum (breastbone) is smooth, or raftlike, because it lacks a keel to which flight muscles could be anchored." Such birds have small or rudimentary wings and cannot fly. The largest ratite is the African ostrich. Other ratites are the rhea, the emu and the cassowary.

And that ends today's discussion. Have a dice nay!
General Support / la times
« Last post by BALLYHOO on August 29, 2016, 11:00:34 AM »
????????????????????????????? ::)
Today's Puzzles / August 28: The welcome mat is still out
« Last post by Thomps2525 on August 28, 2016, 04:46:57 PM »
Last Sunday's crossword was titled "Company's Coming." The welcome mat remains out for today's crossword, "Warm Reception," by Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel. It includes these eight phrases:

Astrological sector: ZODIACSIGN
Bathroom safety feature: SHOWERMAT
Gardener's purchase: SEEDPACKET
Town gathering place: COMMUNITYCENTER
Source of many breaking stories: YAHOONEWS
Purpose of some government credit: TAXRELIEF
Fixture on many a cattle drive: CHUCKWAGON

"Breath of fresh air -- or, literally, what the last word of the eight long answers can be" is WELCOMEADDITION.

A "welcome packet" is a small package containing various combinations of welcome letters, contracts, pamphlets, newsletters, activities calendars and other information. Welcome packets are often given to new employees or to new residents of a gated community or nursing home. A further explanation is at

"Alberta resort town" is BANFF. The city was named in 1884 by Canadian Pacific Railway President George Stephens after his birthplace in Banff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The origin of the name is uncertain. It might come from the Scottish Gaelic buinne, which means "a stream" or it might come from Bean Naomh, which means "Holy woman." The Virgin Mary is depicted on the Scottish town's coat of arms.

"Titicaca, por ejemplo" is LAGO, which is not used in English. "Amer. currency" is USD, which stands for "United States dollar," but that is an awkward answer. "This is disgusting" is BLEH, which is an awkward answer. Based on the many times Charlie Brown uttered that word in the Peanuts comic strips, I believe it is spelled "Bleah." "Visiting the Getty Mus., say" is INLA, an awkward clue and an awkward answer. "Manhattan or Queens, briefly" is BORO. Do New Yorkers really abbreviate "borough" that way? I have no idea but BORO is a very awkward answer.

"Maker of Candy Buttons" is NECCO. Necco is the New England Confectionery Company in Revere, Massachusetts. I remember buying those candy buttons when I was a child -- and at least a third of them would have little shreds of paper still attached after I peeled them off the long paper strip. I also remember Fizzies, Walnettos, Pixy Stix, Lik-M-Aid, root beer barrels, candy cigarettes, candy necklaces, cinnamon toothpicks and those tiny liquid-filled wax bottles. All those things helped keep dentists in business!
General Discussion / Re: USA Today editorship
« Last post by juanacross on August 28, 2016, 02:45:42 PM »
i recognize every constructor in the FP series and none of the TP names... hmm...
General Discussion / Re: Generating NYT Format?
« Last post by Don McBrien on August 24, 2016, 01:54:59 PM »
Go to File (if it's not "File," it's one of the buttons next to file), then hover over "print."  Don't click it, just hover over it. "Print NYT submission" should be one of the options that comes up.  Click that and you're on your way.
General Discussion / Re: Generating NYT Format?
« Last post by mmcbs on August 24, 2016, 06:48:53 AM »
I don't have Crossfire, but a friend who does told me there is a function to generate the NYT format automatically. If you can't find it, I would suggest you contact the vendor. Another option is to post it to the CRUCIVERB-L mail list - a lot more people will see it there.
General Discussion / Generating NYT Format?
« Last post by flicka2 on August 23, 2016, 05:44:43 PM »
Hi! Does anyone know of an easy way of generating docs in the format the NYT requires for submission? I have CrossFire if there's some functionality there that I'm missing. Currently I just manually retype everything, which just feels very inefficient!

Today's Puzzles / Welcome to the August 21 crossword!
« Last post by Thomps2525 on August 21, 2016, 04:59:42 PM »
"Company's Coming." That's the title of today's crossword by Gail Grabowski. (It's also the title of a 1955 country song by Porter Wagoner.) "Company" and "companion" both derive from the Middle English cumpaing, which is related to the Dutch kampanje, which refers to the poop deck of a ship. Yes, "poop deck" is not a very attractive name but it comes from poupe, the French word for "stern," i.e., the rear of a ship.

Each theme answer is a phrase altered by the addition of CO, the abbreviation for "company":

Ideal takeover? DREAMCOUP
Abs trainers? TUMMYCOACHES
Eco-friendly lighthouse? GREENBEACON
Nickel that's worth big bucks? MAJORCOIN
Parka with different sleeve lengths? COATISSUE
Burlesque stand-up act? COMEDIANSTRIP
Rearrangement of suitcase contents? SECONDPACKING
Sign of breakfast burning? SMOKINGBACON
Where fowl spies meet? COVERTCOOPS

"Jersey greeting" is a clever clue for MOO. "Flower child?" is a clever clue for SEED. "Welcome center" is CEE, another example of a spelled-out letter. Such spellings are unnecessary because each letter of the alphabet is its own spelling. The center of "welcome" is C, not CEE -- unless you spell the word "welceeome." "Metal precioso" is ORO, which is not used in English. "Affluent, in Andalusia" is RICO, which is not used in English. "Pic Sans Nom, par exemple" is ALPE. As I've said, I never see ALP (referring to a single peak in the 750-mile-long Alps mountain range) used anywhere except in crossword puzzles -- and today we have the French word for ALP. Ugh!

"Cold War prez" is IKE. The Cold War was a state of military and political tension between the East and the West, particularly the USSR and the United States. It lasted from the end of World War II until 1991, when the Soviet Union was officially dissolved. The History Channel website has several essays and videos of the Cold War's events and world leaders:

Dwight David Eisenhower, President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, descended from the Eisenhauer family which came to the United States from Germany in 1741. The name is German for "iron miner." Dwight had six brothers. When they were children, they each were called "Ike" by their mother. "Ike" was supposedly the German abbreviation of "Eisenhower." Dwight was the only one who kept the nickname throughout his life. did "Bill" become a nickname for "William," "Ted" become a nickname for "Edward," "Jack" become a nickname for "John" and "Peggy" become a nickname for "Margaret"? I have some research to do! Thank you for keeping me company today.
Software / Technical / Crossfire is Updated
« Last post by cheapcookies on August 17, 2016, 03:28:35 PM »
I'm sure I'm not the only Crossfire user that knows Crossfire has been updated to 1.3 and then to 1.3.1 (from 1.1).

Any comments?

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