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General Discussion / Re: Seeking causal mentor
« Last post by VB on March 19, 2016, 07:11:08 AM »
Marty -

I'm by no means the best potential mentor around - I get busy on occasion with my day job, and I have no illusions of being a great constructor - but I'm happy to provide any help that I can if you'd like.  E-mail me at if you want to discuss it further.

- VB
General Support / Re: Problem with most pages on
« Last post by robgonsalves on March 13, 2016, 10:39:10 PM »
Thanks, much better!  :)
Today's Puzzles / The March 13 crossword plug-in
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 13, 2016, 06:10:11 PM »
"Plugged Nickel" is the title of today's crossword by Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel. In the United States, the five-cent coin we call a nickel was originally pure silver. Nickel coins minted since 1946 have contained 75% copper and 25% nickel. The expression "Not worth a plugged nickel" means "worthless" or "valueless."  Back in the days when the nickel coin was pure silver, con men would drill a fairly large hole through the center of a nickel and then fill the hole with an inferior metal. Thus, they could spend the "plugged nickel" and retain the silver from the center. After they accumulated enough of those centers, they could sell the silver for extra cash.

And today's crossword has absolutely nothing to do with any of that.

Nickel is a silver-white metal. The word comes from the German Kupfernickel, which literally means "copper goblin" and refers to a mineral called niccolite. The mineral contains nickel arsenide but has the color of copper. I'm not sure how the deceptive color is similar to a goblin, so please don't ask. The symbol for nickel is "Ni" and each theme answer in today's puzzle is a common term with the letters NI inserted -- or, you could say, "plugged."

Sweet tooth? SUGARCANINE
Signal that nails are dry? MANIBELL
Rejection of a parcel? PACKAGEDENIAL
Flier with a magical rod? DIVININGBIRD
Ace garage door mechanic? GENIEWHIZ
Part of the ad that sells the product? FINISHINGHOOK
Superhero who doesn't do well in a crisis? PANICMAN
Carrier pigeon's daily delivery? NEWSCANISTER
Nocturnal critter enjoying a meal? DININGBAT
Ralph Lauren's Celebrate Radio clothing line? MARCONIPOLO

That last one is a reference to Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), an Italian inventor and electrical engineer whose pioneering work in wireless telegraphy and long-distance radio communication earned him the unofficial title "The father of radio." Marco Polo (1254-1324) was an Italian merchant who traveled extensively in Asia. The polo shirt was introduced in 1972 by fashion designer Ralph Lauren. It was a knit shirt with a collar and a placket with two or three buttons and it resembled the shirts that had traditionally been worn by polo players. has a simplified story of Marconi's life and his invention of radio:
General Support / Re: Problem with most pages on
« Last post by admin on March 13, 2016, 01:45:34 PM »
Fixed. Sorry about that.
General Discussion / Seeking causal mentor
« Last post by PuzzlePunisher on March 12, 2016, 10:31:57 PM »
Greetings all,

I'm new to construction and seeking a mentor. By mentor, I mean someone to causally bounce ideas off. Im a full time accountant. That being said, I do aspire to create puzzles that are of a quality high enough to be published.

After reading the sage advice column, I decided it would be wise to introduce myself. My name is Marty, I'm 32, and I am an amateur crossword crusher. I also hope that constructing puzzles will improve my ability to solve.

If you have experience with construction and don't mind showing me the ropes, please feel free to contact me.

Today's Puzzles / The March 6 crossword hits the bull's-eye
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 06, 2016, 04:20:39 PM »
"Bull Session." No, that is not a reference to any of this year's Republican Presidential debates, although I suppose it could be. Actually, that's the title of today's crossword by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis. Familiar phrases are changed by the addition of BLE, loosely pronounced "bull":
Mogul mishap? SKIBUMBLE
Lowly glowworm? HUMBLEBUG
Turkey's affectionate peck? GOBBLESMACK
Lens cover for a low earth orbiter? HUBBLECAP
Slip while washing dishes? SPONGEBOBBLE
"Those are stone fragments, all right"? AYTHERESTHERUBBLE
Henry VI's "O God, forgive my sins and pardon thee"? NOBLEEXIT
Warning about an escaped horse? STABLEALERT

"Gobsmacked" is a British slang word which dates from the 1980s and means  "astounded; astonished; extremely surprised." "Gob" is British slang for "mouth." The second part of "gobsmacked" refers to the gesture of someone who is suddenly surprised clapping a hand over his mouth.

"Ay, there's the rub" is a line from Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, written circa 1600. It is part of the soliloquy which begins "To be or not to be." Hamlet is contemplating death and suicide and says, To die, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there's the rub." "Aye" is also spelled "Ay" or "I" in various early printings of the play.

The "O God, forgive my sins" line comes from another Shakespeare play, King Henry VI, written in 1591. Those are the last words spoken by Henry VI before he dies after being stabbed by his uncle, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, Lord Protector of England.

Also in today's puzzle:

The overused words IRE, OBOE and OREO.

AMOI, AVION, ETRE, MERES, NUOVA, RIAS and SEI, none of which are used in English.

INKWELL ("Where there's a quill?"). Does anybody in the 21st century still use quill pens and inkwells? I highly doubt it.

Well, that sums up today's "Bull Session" crossword. Is it time for the next Republican Presidential debate? :)
General Discussion / Article
« Last post by Gayle Dean on March 05, 2016, 01:26:19 PM »
Has everyone seen this??  I'm flabbergasted.  Follow the link provided in the article and many of you will see your own puzzles there that have been duplicated exactly and republished under false names.

A Plagiarism Scandal Is Unfolding In The Crossword World

A group of eagle-eyed puzzlers, using digital tools, has uncovered a pattern of copying in the professional crossword-puzzle world that has led to accusations of plagiarism and false identity. Sinc…
Today's Puzzles / Hanging out with the March 4 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 04, 2016, 05:12:39 PM »
It is purely a coincidence that a crossword filled with animal-related puns appears on the same day that Disney's Zootopia is released to theaters. Tom Pepper and Marcia Brott came up with these:

Hangout for Garfield? KITTYCORNER
Hangout for Tchaikovsky's Odile? SWANDIVE
Hangout for Hyacinth in Fantasia? HIPPOCAMPUS
Hangout for Heckle and Jeckle? CROWBAR
Hangout for Mickey and Minnie? MOUSEPAD

"Crowbar" is a cute pun.....but Heckle and Jeckle are not crows. They are magpies. The mischievous characters were created by animator/producer Paul Terry in 1945. Heckle always spoke with a Brooklyn accent while Jeckle sounded like a refined British gentleman. Heckle and Jeckle appeared in 52 cartoons. Terry's studio, Terrytoons, also created Mighty Mouse, Dinky Duck and Deputy Dawg.

Odile is the black swan in the ballet Swan Lake. "Kittycorner" is an alteration of "catercornered," which meant "four-cornered." Merriam-Webster defines the word as "In a diagonal or oblique position: The house stands kittycorner across the square."  The hippocampus is the portion of the brain which forms, stores and processes memory. The word comes from the Greek word for "seahorse." The curved ridge of the hippocampus supposedly resembles a seahorse. I wouldn't know -- I've never seen a hippocampus. I'm not sure I even want to.

A compilation of Heckle and Jeckle cartoons can be seen on good ol' YouTube:
General Support / Re: Strange site display
« Last post by 4wd on February 29, 2016, 07:13:19 AM »
I'm having the same issue as well, makes reading threads a pain :'(
General Discussion / Simultaneous Submissions
« Last post by Raymond Hansen on February 28, 2016, 07:17:50 PM »
Hello all,

Does anyone know how publishers feel about simultaneous submissions (when one submits a single puzzle to more than one publisher)?  In other publications (say, literary journals) it usually states on their submission page whether this is a no-no or not, but I don't see anything on the spec sheets posted here.

Thanks for any feedback!

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