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Today's Puzzles / The freewheeling November 20 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on November 20, 2016, 03:47:42 PM »
The title of today's crossword by C.C. Burnikel is "Melee," which is properly spelled "Mêlée." It's a 17th-century French word which comes from the Old French meslee ("mixture"). The verb mesler ("to mix") is also the source of the words "medley" and "meddle." Here are the theme answers:

Retail enticement: TRIALOFFER
Reporter's credential: PRESSPASS
Airport employee: TICKETAGENT
Western nickname: SILVERSTATE (Nevada)
Mall rarity at Christmas: PARKINGSPACE
Like much farm decor: COUNTRYSTYLE
Many sandwiches are made for it: LUNCHTIME

"Fracas, and a hint to both words" of those answers is FREEFORALL. "Fracas" comes from the Italian fracassare ("to shatter") and is synonymous with "melee." Each word of the seven theme answers can be preceded by "Free," e.g., free trial, free country, free agent, free parking. The concept of "free lunch" dates from the 1850s. Saloon owners would offer patrons a free lunch with the purchase of a drink, with the expectation that the patrons would become regular customers. Here is an 1875 New York Times article about the "free lunches" offered in New Orleans:

"Part of A.A. Milne" is INIT, which is an awkward abbreviation of "initial." The full name of the British poet/author who created Winnie-The-Pooh is Alan Alexander Milne. "Brown in the kitchen" is ALTON. Alton Brown, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, hosted  the Food Network's Good Eats program from 1999 to 2012 and appears regularly on Food Network Star, Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen. He has also written several cookbooks. Thanksgiving Day is only four days away -- here is Brown's recipe for roast turkey:

Anyone who wants to cook a turkey will have to buy one at the market. What -- were you expecting a free lunch?
Today's Puzzles / The November 15 crossword comes tumbling in
« Last post by Thomps2525 on November 15, 2016, 04:47:43 PM »
Alex Eaton-Salners earned a JD degree at UC Berkeley and spent eight years as an associate with the Fish & Richardson law firm. (The firm was founded in 1878 and one of their first clients was Thomas Edison.) Eaton-Salners now serves as a director at Western Digital Corporation, a computer data storage company and hard disk drive manufacturer. Somehow he finds time to create crossword puzzles. Each theme answer in his puzzle today includes four circled letters (denoted by boldface below):

Surfer's destination: WORLDWIDEWEB
Source of post-toilet training anxiety: BEDWETTING
Youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II: PRINCEEDWAR
Great Depression recovery program: NEWDEAL

"Desert plant suggested by the circled letters" is TUMBLEWEED. Eleven different plant families produce tumbleweeds. Simply put, a tumbleweed is a plant's above-ground portion which matures, dries out and then detaches from the stem or root, often "tumbling away" in the wind.

In 1931, yodeler Bob Nolan joined the Rocky Mountaineers, a Western singing group led by Leonard Slye. Three years later, Nolan and Slye formed a new group with Tim Spencer, the Pioneer Trio, which eventually became a quartet known as the Sons Of The Pioneers (and Leonard Slye became Western movie/tv star Roy Rogers). One of their earliest hits was Tumbling Tumbleweeds, written by Bob Nolan:
Today's Puzzles / In a jam with the November 13 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on November 13, 2016, 02:52:16 PM »
In 2013, Alan Arbesfeld created a puzzle titled "Crunch Time" which contained three-letter abbreviations for the days of the week, each abbreviation crammed into a single square. For example, STEWEDPRUNES crossed BOWEDOUT, with WED in a single square. In 2014, he created a puzzle that included words spelled backwards, e.g., PMUHWHALE represented "humpback whale" and YGGIPRIDE represented "piggyback ride." In 2015, his "Twist Ending" crossword included phrases in which the last two letters were reversed, e.g., AQUARTERTOTOW ("Cheap roadside assistance?"). Arbesfeld's crossword today is not nearly as clever. However, the title and six clues are clever. Titled "Jam Session," the grid includes six rows of words jammed together:


Pearl Jam is a Seattle rock band whose hits include Daughter, Jeremy, Better Man, Last Kiss and I Got Id. Space Jam is a 1996 Warner Bros. film which combined live action with animation and featured basketball legend Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang. Raspberry jam is made from -- obviously -- raspberries. But "a sound of contempt made by protruding the tongue between the lips and expelling air forcibly to produce a vibration" is also called a raspberry. Merriam-Webster says the latter usage of the word derives from "raspberry tart" as a rhyming slang for "fart." The derisive spluttering sound is also known as a Bronx cheer.

"'50s-'60s country singer McDonald" is SKEETS. The Arkansas-born Enos "Skeets" McDonald had a number-one country hit in December 1952 with Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes. In early 1953, Perry Como's version of the song went to number one on the pop chart.

"Braves. but not Indians, briefly" is NLERS. I have never seen or heard "NL'er" (National Leaguer) or AL'er (American Leaguer) anywhere except crossword puzzles. "Get off" is DETRAIN. I seldom hear anyone use the word "deplane" and I have never heard anyone use the word "detrain." When people get off a bus, do they say they "debussed"? Yeah, see how silly that sounds?

"Scissors need" is PAIR. Does that word imply that each half is a "scissor"? Technically, yes. "Scissor" comes from the Latin cisorium ("cutting instrument"), which derives from caedere ("to cut"). Some people call the cutting implement a scissors while others say a pair of scissors. The word "pair" is used because the implement is made of two similar halves. That is the same reason we refer to a "pair" of pants, a "pair" of pliers or a "pair" of binoculars. The Stack Exchange website has a discussion regarding "scissors" vs. "pair of scissors":

I'm done. Time for me to cut out.
General Discussion / Re: With "the"
« Last post by Glenn9999 on November 10, 2016, 12:42:32 PM »
Can a puzzle have a number of answers with "the" or should/can it have a lot of clues that have the qualifier "with the" ?

Speaking as (primarily) a solver, uniformity and clarity is always good.  The problem you're going to have (imagining this grid) is whether the inclusion of "the" in either way is both interesting and logically necessary.  Of course, repetition of such a word would definitely dictate theme.  So I would say to be careful.
General Discussion / Re: With "the"
« Last post by mmcbs on November 10, 2016, 05:58:46 AM »
In my opinion, having THE as part of the answers is preferable to "With 'The'" in the clues. If all of your themers start with THE, it may work, though some might not like all the repeated words. However, if some start with THE and others don't, it might start to look unbalanced. If you would like to share this and get some more detailed comments, feel free to message me.
General Discussion / With "the"
« Last post by jrob on November 09, 2016, 11:31:55 PM »
I have a possible theme with several answers that begin with "the". Can a puzzle have a number of answers with "the" or should/can it have a lot of clues that have the qualifier "with the" ?
General Discussion / NYT Sunday
« Last post by jrob on November 07, 2016, 09:48:09 PM »
I sometimes get the impression that the quality of the Sunday NYT varies a bit from week to week. As a frequently rejected daily constructor I wonder if chances would be better submitting Sunday puzzle.
Any advice on trying a jump to Sunday?
Etc. / Re: Play the first Crossword created
« Last post by fggoldston on November 06, 2016, 03:15:44 PM »
What a wacky puzzle.  Thank you (and thanks Arthur Wynne!).
Today's Puzzles / The upbeat November 6 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on November 06, 2016, 02:16:23 PM »
Kevin Donovan lives in Calgary, Alberta, and has been constructing crosswords since 2003. His puzzles appear in Newsday, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other publications. In today's crossword, "Following Up," Donovan changes the meaning of seven familiar phrases by having them follow "Up."

Dr. Seuss, e.g.? UPBEATPOET
Profession for the principled? UPRIGHTFIELD
Periods of distress? UPSETTIMES
Promising market indicators? UPTURNSIGNALS
Toy trains for tycoons? UPSCALEMODELRAILROADS
What pillows may do, in a kids’ room? UPHOLDTHEFORT
Outperform crew members in the ship play? UPSTAGEHANDS

The so-called "Beat Poets" were part of the Beat Movement (also called the Beat Generation), a 1950s social and literary movement centered in the bohemian artist communities of Greenwich Village, San Francisco’s North Beach and Los Angeles's Venice West. Members of the Beat Generation, derisively called "beatniks," separated themselves from conventional (or "square") society by being nonconformist, wearing shabby clothes, using "hip" language, taking drugs, listening to jazz and being indifferent to political issues and social problems. Many of the Beats practiced Buddhism and other eastern religions. Among the Beat Poets were Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snider, Philip Whalen, Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima and Neal Cassady. Jack Kerouac, author of On The Road, is credited with coining the term "The Beat Generation."

"Sask. neighbor" (Saskatchewan) is ALTA (Alberta). Yes, Donovan managed to include his home province in today's crossword. "Knowledgeable, in Nantes" is AUFAIT. "Au fait" is French for "to the fact." Loosely, it means "acquainted with the facts." "Only NATO member with no standing Army" is ICELAND. I never knew that. Actually I never even thought about it. "Suddenly caught on" is TWIGGED. "Twig" is a verb meaning "to suddenly comprehend or understand" and is a regional colloquialism. The word dates from 1764 and comes from the Irish and Scottish Gaelic tuig, which means "understand."

"ORD posting" is ETA. ORD is the International Air Transport Association code for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the fourth busiest airport in the world. O'Hare opened in 1943 and was originally known as Orchard Place Airport, after the nearby community. The Douglas Aircraft Company built C-54 military cargo planes there during World War II. The ORD code comes from "ORchard" and "Douglas." The IATA code remains ORD, even though the airport was renamed in 1949 to honor World War II Navy pilot Edward O'Hare. More than 47,000 airport codes can be found at

Okay, I have now written down everything I had to say about the "Following Up" puzzle. See you next time.
General Support / AMY RINALDO
« Last post by BALLYHOO on November 05, 2016, 08:24:39 AM »
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