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Today's Puzzles / Ahoy, it's the December 15 crossword!
« Last post by Thomps2525 on December 15, 2016, 05:29:22 PM »
The theme of today's crossword by Bruce Haight is "Oh Captain! My Captain!"

D-Day code name: OMAHABEACH
Cleaner with a blade: SQUEEGEEMOP
1957 #1 song title that appears in the line after "I'm in love": ALLSHOOKUP

"Indication of cooperation with ones hidden in this puzzle's four other longest answers" is AYEAYECAPTAIN. Each theme answer includes the name of a famous fictional captain: Nemo -- the name is Latin for "Nobody" -- from Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Ahab from Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, Queeg from Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny, and Hook from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, Each of those books has been adapted into movies. But one of the clues is inaccurate: In the Elvis Presley hit, after the words "I'm in love," he sings "I'm all shook up." Grammarians are quick to point out that ever since that song hit the charts and spent nine consecutive weeks at number one, almost everyone uses the expression "All shook up" instead of the grammatically correct "All shaken up." The correct phrase doesn't even sound right anymore.

"Citrus greenhouse" is ORANGERY. From the 17th to the 19th centuries, many mansions in Europe and Great Britain included an orangery, a greenhouse-type enclosure which protected orange trees and other fruit trees from cold winter weather. One of the most famous orangeries, in Kensington, is now home to an elegant café:

The puzzle's title comes from O Captain! My Captain!, a poem written in 1865 by Walt Whitman as an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln, who had been shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth during the performance of a play at Ford's Theater in Washington DC on April 14, 1865. Lincoln died nine hours later:

That concludes today's discussion. Time for me to shape up and ship out.
General Discussion / Re: Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by 4wd on December 15, 2016, 12:24:58 PM »
nice, just take it a step at a time, I've been focusing more on designing grids that are visually
appealing with a clean fill, clues aren't my strong point so gotta work on improving my clue writing
General Discussion / Re: Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by Glenn9999 on December 15, 2016, 10:31:29 AM »
you should try some shorter themed entries, they're easier to work with, try sticking to some of the recommendations in terms of line placement it'll make things easier when designing the grid.

I think that original theme will make a great rebus puzzle I can attempt later (part of the theme actually is suited to it).  Meanwhile, I'll have to come up with something that's more Monday/Tuesday based as the rest of my ideas at the moment are all category-type trivia which probably would end up in late-week land.  I guess at this point I'm just looking to figure out how to walk (proverbially) before I try writing harder clues or doing harder layouts.
General Discussion / Re: Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by 4wd on December 14, 2016, 03:42:21 PM »
you should try some shorter themed entries, they're easier to work with, try sticking to some of the recommendations in terms of line placement it'll make things easier when designing the grid.

those 13s / inconvenient lengths can be a pain, just keep at it and you'll make great progress plus the book will give ya a couple "ah ha" moments
General Discussion / Re: Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by Glenn9999 on December 14, 2016, 03:03:57 PM »
no worries, glad you got a copy it'll demystify things 8)

Not quite at the moment.  Think I ended up with a bad theme to start with in terms of layout (lot of 13-15 letter items), so I've had trouble.  Hopefully I can find something I like that will also be easy to work with and get the rest.  I'm basically shooting for a Monday-type grid, so hopefully it'll be easy to figure out the rest. 

Regardless, Berry's reference will be useful, though how useful will remain to be seen.
General Discussion / Re: Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by 4wd on December 14, 2016, 01:37:47 PM »
no worries, glad you got a copy it'll demystify things 8)
General Discussion / Re: Learning How To Construct Grids
« Last post by Glenn9999 on December 13, 2016, 10:44:44 AM »
sorry for the late reply been a little busy, you can get a copy from his website costs less to get it from there, was previously named Crossword Puzzle Challenges For Dummies and its available on amazon though it's a lot more expensive if you purchase it from there. here's a link

Sorry for the late reply in return.  I was able to locate this work and have since been able to work at figuring out grid construction, amid all the other distractions.  I hope to have something that can be solvable very soon of decent enough quality that I could consider doing something with it.
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!
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