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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").
General Discussion / Are these two answers too similar?
« Last post by Stummies on October 18, 2016, 06:26:41 PM »
Hi everyone - working on a puzzle that at the moment contains the answers FARROCKAWAY and POURAWAY. Are these too similar to include together because of the repeated AWAY? One is across and the other down if that makes a difference.

Also, does POURAWAY work for you guys in general as a phrase? Clued as "Enthusiastic reply to 'want a drink?'" or something similar?

Thanks for the help!
General Support / LA TIMES
« Last post by BALLYHOO on October 17, 2016, 03:52:38 PM »
Today's Puzzles / The lightweight October 14 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on October 14, 2016, 03:30:49 PM »
Today's crossword by Jeffrey Wechsler includes this clue: "How perfume is sold." The answer is BYTHEOUNCE -- and have you ever figured out what any particular brand of perfume would cost if it was sold by the pound? Yikes! Or printer ink? Yikes! But I digress. The puzzle's theme answers are familiar phrases altered by the addition of OZ:

Musicians given to tippling? BOOZYBAND
Doughnut order from a king? LIONSDOZEN
Occupants of a well-insulated nest? COZYYOUNG
Set of data within an atmospheric analysis? TABLEFOROZONE

Denton True "Cy" Young pitched for five major league baseball teams, 1890-1911, and set several records which still stand, including the record for most wins, 511. In 1889, Young tried out for the Nadjys, a minor-league team in Canton, Ohio. He called himself Dent but when the other players saw how he could throw fastballs toward the ballpark's wooden fences with enough force that they'd shatter the wood, they gave him a new nickname: Cyclone. It eventually was shortened to Cy. A year after Young died in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created to honor each year's best pitcher in the major leagues. Since 1967, there have been two annual Cy Young Awards, one for the best National League pitcher and one for the best American league pitcher.

Now.....why is "ounce" abbreviated "oz"? That's a good question -- I'm glad I asked it. The ancient Latin word was onza. In modern Latin -- if, indeed, there is such a thing as "modern Latin" -- the word is uncia. Our abbreviation for pound, "lb.," comes from the Latin libra. The symbol for the British unit of money known as the pound -- £ -- is essentially an L with a crossline and also comes from the Latin libra.

"Pisa possessive" is MIO, which is not used in English. "MDX ÷ X" is CLI. This is 2016. It is not the first century and we are not in Rome. "Pet that needs a sitter?" is LAPCAT. Cute. "Amtrak option" is ACELA. Acelas are express trains which operate during morning and afternoon rush hours and serve New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC and other nearby cities. In 2021, Amtrak will replace the existing trains with 28 new "next-generation high-speed" trains.

That's all for today. I resisted the urge to call Jeffrey Wechsler the Wizard of OZ. That would have been too easy and too obvious. :)
Today's Puzzles / The October 10 crossword is right on the money
« Last post by Thomps2525 on October 10, 2016, 03:47:36 PM »
Joel Mackerry's first crossword appeared in February 2015. Today's puzzle is only his fourth to be published. Here are the theme answers:

Pizza topping veggie: GREENPEPPER
Baked-in-their-shells seafood dish: CLAMSCASINO
Tradition filled fare of Europe and West Asia: CABBAGEROLL

I detest the use of the word "veggie" as a shortened form of "vegetable." I also detest other shortened words such as "fridge" for "refrigerator." But I digress. "Down payment, and what the long answers have in common (besides being food)" is CASHUPFRONT. Green, lettuce and cabbage are slang terms for paper money for one obvious reason: the color. But why do we call a dollar bill a "clam"? "Clam" is short for "clamshell" -- yes, another one of those shortened words -- and strings of clamshells were used as currency by native Americans, mostly in the region which corresponds to modern-day California. A. L. Kroeber's 1919 Handbook Of Indians In California explains the value of the clamshells in the Miwok culture:

"Clamshell disk currency was less precious than in the north, though that may have been one of the directions from which it reached the Miwok. Its value in American terms is said to have averaged $5 a yard, only a fraction of the figure at which the southern Maidu rated it. Whole strung olivella shells went at $1 a yard among both groups. The cylinders made from magnesite by the southeastern Pomo reached the hill Miwok but were scarce and valuable. Possibly clamshell money traveled to them from the Chumash via the Yokuts, as well as from the Pomo; whence its abundance and comparative depreciation."

"French state" is ETAT, which is not used in English. "Blue, in Baja" is AZUL, which is not used in English. "Siena sweetheart" is CARA, which is not used in English. "Spanish groceries" is BODEGAS, which is not used in English. "Pirates' cry" is YAR. In pirate movies, yes -- but has any real pirate ever said "Yar"? I doubt it.

"Sara of baking" is LEE. There really was a Sara Lee -- she was the daughter of Charles Lubin, who, from 1935 to 1956, co-owned Kitchens Of Sara Lee, a chain of seven bakeries in the Chicago area. Consolidated Foods Corporation bought the bakeries in 1956. The company changed its name to Sara Lee Corporation in 1985. In 2012, the corporation was split into two companies. The North American company is Hillshire Brands, which continues to make bakery propducts under the Sara Lee name. International beverage and bakery operations are handled by Netherlands-based Douwe Egberts Master Blenders. Sara Lee's famous slogan is "Everybody doesn't like something but nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." Ummm.......yeah, that makes sense. I think.
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