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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 »
Etc. / Play the first Crossword created
« Last post by JohnD on November 01, 2016, 09:41:11 AM »
Hi, don't know if this is the right forum to post it but just wanted to share with you guys this link where you can play the first crossword ever created (as it appeared in 1913)

I've had a lot of fun programming it and used the original drawing/handwriting for the boxes so I hope you like it :)
Today's Puzzles / Scaring up the October 30 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on October 30, 2016, 02:35:46 PM »
Today's crossword by Joe Schewe is titled "Eekology 101" and includes these Hallowe'en-themed puns:

Dracula's favorite fruit? NECKTARINE
Dracula's least favorite lunch? STAKESANDWICH
Ghosts' car safety devices? SHEETBELTS
Monster's favorite cereal? SCREAMOFWHEAT
Monster's daily newspaper reading? HORRORSCOPE
Monsters' cookie selling group? GHOULSCOUTS
Where werewolves seek stardom? HOWLLYWOOD
Witches living together? BROOMMATES

You might wonder why ghosts wear sheets. Actuallly, authors and playwrights often depicted ghosts as wearing suits of armor or outdated clothing. The ghost of Hamlet's father wore armor. The ghost of Jacob Marley in Dickens' A Christmas Carol wore the clothes he was wearing when he died -- plus several long chains. In the 19th century, writers began depicting ghosts in sheets, a reference to the linen sheets which were used to wrap the bodies of people prior to burial when the families of the deceased were poor and could not afford a coffin. For more details, check out Owen Davies' 2009 book The Haunted: A Social History Of Ghosts:

"More sick" is ILLER. Yes, it's a real word -- but I have never seen or heard it used by anyone. "Spanish ayes" -- a pun on Al Martino's 1965 hit song Spanish Eyes -- is a clever clue for SISI.....although "Sí, sí" is not used in English. "Group of whales" is GAM. A group of family-related whales is a pod. A group of whales who are not related is a gam. Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick mentions a gam. The word was originally a nautical term referring to a social meeting of whaling boat captains and crew members. "Gam" came from the 18th-century word gammon (origin unknown), which meant "to cheat; deceive." 

"Spanish appetizers" is TAPAS. Tapas are snacks or appetizers typically served with wine or beer. The Spanish word "tapa" means "cover" or " lid" and stems from the Old Norse tappa. Nobody is certain how the word came to refer to food. The most popular theory is that, in medieval times, plates of food were set on top drinks to keep dirt and flies out of the drinks.

Happy Hallowe'en, everybody! We caution our children to not talk to strangers and then once a year we send them out to knock on strangers' doors and ask for candy. Go figure!
Today's Puzzles / The October 26 crossword: My two cents' worth
« Last post by Thomps2525 on October 26, 2016, 04:52:38 PM »
Patti Varol began solving crossword puzzles as a child. When she was in her 20s, she worked as an editor for Penny Press, which publishes dozens of different puzzle magazines. She then discovered how much fun it is to create crossword puzzles. Her crosswords appear regularly in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and other newspapers. Her puzzle today includes CHICKENFEED, CHUMPCHANGE and SMALLPOTATOES. Each phrase has the same clue: "Peanuts."

The use of "chicken feed" as a synonym for a small or insignificant amount of money dates from around 1930. "Chump change" dates from the mid-1960s. Potatoes have always been the main food source in Ireland. A severe famine from 1845 to 1852 wiped out most of the potato crops. All that was left were -- yes -- small potatoes. Oddly, the "small potatoes" expression dates from around 1825, 20 years prior. It originally referred to an insignificant or unimportant person and now also means a trifling amount of money. The use of "peanuts" as a synonym for a small amount of money, e.g., "They've got me working for peanuts," dates from 1934.

(On a slightly related note, Charles Schulz drew a comic strip called Li'l Folks. In 1950, when the strip went into syndication, United Feature Syndicate renamed it Peanuts to avoid confusion with two other strips, Li'l Abner and Little Folks. The name was inspired by the so-called "peanut gallery" of children in attendance during telecasts of The Howdy Doody Show. Schulz, who died in 2000, drew the strip every day for nearly 50 years. He never used assistants. The number of  Peanuts strips he drew: 17,897.)

"Date night destination" is CINEMA. In most English-speaking countries other than the United States, a cinema is a venue which shows movies and a theatre is a venue offering live performances. "Cinema" comes from the Greek κινῆμα (kinema), which means "motion."

"Gaudy trinket" is GEWGAW. The word dates from 1529 and means "a showy trifle; bauble; trinket; a small thing that has little value." It comes from the Middle English gugaw, which derived from giefu (also geofu or geafu), the Old English word for "gift." Among the synonyms for gewgaw are bagatelle, bibelot and gimcrack -- fun words to use to impress your friends. :)
General Discussion / Re: Are these two answers too similar?
« Last post by mmcbs on October 19, 2016, 04:54:19 PM »
The words are not dupes because Rockaway is an anglicization of a native American word, so should be no problem there. POUR AWAY is probably OK, though some editors would want clue it in a different sense ("leave in droves").
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