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General Discussion / Re: Crossword Compiler 6 or lower?
« Last post by fggoldston on April 21, 2016, 01:46:03 PM »
Thanks!  :) I got an e-mail telling me that the specifications are a little out-dated on this site right now for some of the publishers.  I sent them a puzzle though a long time ago and have heard nada...  I thought maybe it might have to do with the format I used.  But now I am thinking that it might simply be that they didn't want it and it is easier to ignore the puzzle then to respond with a rejection.  But that would be rude, unless of course the idiot who sent you the puzzle didn't follow your specifications that you went to so much trouble to post!  In which case, I can just see the receiver getting the e-mail, trying to open the attachment and thinking, "Argh! Another one who can't follow easy instructions!  I will file this in the 'Constructors who don't follow my instructions' folder."  I mean I sent it early January...  I will follow your instructions but can you tell me, will this nullify the newer version of the CC I have or can I have both sitting on my desktop?
Thanks again for the response.
General Discussion / Re: Crossword Compiler 6 or lower?
« Last post by stickler on April 19, 2016, 06:17:54 PM »

When you go to Save As, the current CC format is the default shown by "save as type" under the filename entry line. Other types are available by clicking on the dropdown arrow, including XML and the one you want CC 4-5.1.

You can also save (export) in Across Lite format in CC by using the File->Export function.

David Stickley for free international cryptic crosswords
General Discussion / Crossword Compiler 6 or lower?
« Last post by fggoldston on April 15, 2016, 08:12:13 PM »
I notice that Crosswords Club requests that we submit in Crossword Compiler 6 or LOWER.  I just bought Crossword Compiler and am not sure how to lower the settings or what it is that makes 6 and lower so special.  Can anyone help me out with this?  They also say that they accept Across Lite text, but I have a feeling this is not the Across Lite that I have sitting on my computer either.
Today's Puzzles / The April 14 crossword: X marks the spot
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 14, 2016, 03:50:59 PM »
Before becoming a crossword puzzle creator in 2007, Mike Peluso taught French, German, Spanish and Latin and spent ten years as vice principal of a high school in Kent, Washington. His crosswords have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Games magazine. His crossword for today includes this clue: "When translated into English, beer brand that hints at the common feature of the five other longest puzzle answers." The answer is DOSEQUIS, which is Spanish for "two X's."

Nachos, e.g.: TEXMEXDISH
Stipulation on le menu: PRIXFIXE
Start of an old news announcement: EXTRAEXTRA
Where gas and lodging may be found: NEXTEXIT
Historic Chicago-to-Santa Monica route: SIXTYSIX

Prix fixe is French for "fixed price" and refers to a meal offered by a restaurant at a set price. Table d'hote, literally "table of the host," means the same thing. Are there any restaurants which do not have a fixed price for their menu items? I've never yet seen a menu that says "Make us an offer."

The Chicago-to-Santa Monica highway was designated U.S. Route 66 in 1926. It was also known as the Will Rogers Memorial Highway. After many realignments and construction of new interstate highways, the original Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System in 1985 but portions of the original road still exist and many are marked by signs saying "Historic Route 66." When you watch Pasadena's annual Tournament of Roses Parade on television, you're seeing Colorado Boulevard, a section of the original Route 66.

As for Dos Equis, the lager was first brewed in 1897 by Wilhelm Hasse, a German immigrant who in 1884 had established a brewery in Veracruz, Mexico. Hasse named the lager Siglo XX ("20th Century") and it became popularly known as Dos Equis ("Two X's"). The popular name soon became the official name. The lager is now produced by Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, a subsidiary of Heineken International.

"Virginie, par example" is ETAT, which is not used in English. "CVI halved" is LIII -- and Roman numerals do not seem to be used anywhere in the 21st century except in the titles of movie sequels.....and crossword puzzles.
Today's Puzzles / April 10: The SSSSunday crosswords
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 10, 2016, 03:57:18 PM »
"Squad" is the title of today's Los Angeles Times crossword by Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel. "Twisty turns" is ESSES, which is also the "quad" in the eight longest answers, each of which contains four S's. In other words, an "S quad." Among the answers are FIRSTCLASSSTAMP, CASEDISMISSED, JUSTASISUSPECTED, CHRISTMASSEASON and CUSTERSLASTSTAND.

Many crosswords contain three-letter spellings of letters of the alphabet. CEE, DEE and ESS are the most common. CEE, DEE and ESS are also unnecessary -- there is no reason to add extra letters to C, D or S. In crosswords, "Average report card grade" is CEE, but has any student ever received a CEE on a test? Nope, the teacher uses the letter C. And a winding curve is an S curve, never an "Ess curve." The English language has 26 letters and each letter is its own spelling. There is no need to add two additional letters to any letter. Nobody ever does that -- with the exception of crossword creators.

"Puerto Rico, por ejemplo" is ISLA, which is not used in English. "Feliz año nuevo time" is ENERO, which is not used in English. "Pain usually pluralized" is THROE. A throe is a severe pang or spasm of pain, such as occurs during childbirth. As a plural, throes refers to a condition of extreme difficulty or trouble, such as a nation being in the throes of economic collapse. The word comes from the Middle English throwe, which was originally thrawe and derived from thrāwu, meaning "affliction," and thōwian, meaning "pain."

By the way, the cost of the aforementioned FIRSTCLASSSTAMP is two cents cheaper today. A temporary price hike was enacted in January 2014 and was set to expire after it generated $4.6 billion for the Postal Service. As of today, the cost of mailing a first-class letter is 47¢, down from 49¢. Each additional ounce is 21¢, down from 23¢. The rates for postcards and international mail have also dropped. However, the Postal Service is now facing a potential loss of $2 billion annually and is seeking to reinstate the price hike.

"Something In The Water" is the title of today's New York Times crossword by Randolph Ross. Among the answers are five types of vessels immediately above bodies of water: RAFT is on COLORADORIVER, FERRY is on NEWYORKHARBOR, OILTANKER is on  ARABIANSEA, GONDOLA is on GRANDCANAL and TRAWLER is on CHESAPEAKEBAY. A sixth vessel, UBOAT, is also in the grid -- beneath ATLANTICOCEAN. A cute and clever theme.

"Head of the army" is LATRINE. Will Stockdale (No Time For Sergeants) would have liked that one. "Sant' Gria brand" is YAGO. In accordance with a 2014 European Union ruling, Spain and Portugal are the only countries which can use the word "sangria" for their red-wine-and-chopped-fruit beverages. The word means "bleeding" and refers to the deep red color of the beverage. Yago is based in St. Louis and therefore can not use the name "sangria." They instead use the similar -- but odd -- name "sant' gria."
Today's Puzzles / Th' April 3rd crosswords
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 03, 2016, 07:14:57 PM »
Yes, th' April 3rd crosswords. As I began filling in the grid of today's Los Angeles Times crossword by Gail Grabowski, it took me a while to figure out the theme. The puzzle's title, "This Is In," doesn't make any sense. The theme answers are familiar phrases which are missing a "th":

Bud who's been fired? CANNEDBRO (canned broth)
Search online about auditory issues? GOOGLEEAR (Google Earth)
GEICO gecko's financial counterpart? CREDITCARDEFT (credit card theft)
Editor's marks in the margin? LATERALINKING (lateral thinking)
Streams stocked with elongated fish? GARBROOKS (Garth Brooks)
Part of a project to recycle golf accessories? TEEGRINDING (teeth grinding)
One fastidious about table manners? EATERCRITIC (theater critic)
Consequence of a heist injury? ROBBINGPAIN (throbbing pain)
Displeased reaction to election turnout? VOTINGBOO (voting booth)

"This Is In"? Sorry, I still don't understand the title. "Th Is Out" would have been a dumb title but at least it would have been logical.

"Twistable snack" is OREO. That word seems to appear in almost every Sunday crossword. I'm sure Nabisco appreciates all the free advertising.

"___ polloi" is HOI. "Hoi polloi" comes from the Greek οἱ πολλοί, which means "the many" or "the majority." In English, the term has taken on a negative connotation and is usually used as a derogatory reference to the working class or the so-called "common people." Since "hoi polloi" means "the many," the phrase "the hoi polloi" is redundant. Yes, just like "ATM machine" and "PIN number".....or "free gift."

Today's New York Times crossword is by Natan Last, who interned under Times puzzle editor Will Shortz while attending Brown University. Titled "Jumping To Conclusions," this crossword was very challenging.....and very confusing. "Heard but disregarded" is the two-part answer INONEEARAND/OUTTHEOTHER. The completed grid includes EAR in each of six spaces containing a circle. EAR is part of six vertical words such as FEARED and CLEARING. The six theme answers are horizontal. Among them are WHEREAREMYKEYS ("Common query from one about to leave the house") and IHAVEARIGHTTOKNOW ("Indignant reply when someone withholds information").   

Now, you may think this crossword doesn't sound all that challenging. But wait -- there's more! Each theme answer occupies portions of two lines. For example, the two abovementioned phrases appear in the grid as:


I used slashes to designate the single squares containing EAR. So the phrase WHEREAREMYKEYS literally goes in one "ear" and out the other, as does the phrase IHAVEARIGHTTOKNOW. Each phrase, as the puzzle's title suggests, jumps to its conclusion. Whew! This puzzle was much too confusing for my taste. Perhaps it can be appreciated only by members of Mensa International.

"___ rima, meter of Dante's Divine Comedy" is TERZA. Terza rima ("third rhyme") is a stanza form created by 13th-century poet Dante Alighieri. Each stanza of a terza rima poem contains three lines of 11 syllables each. In the first stanza, the first and third lines rhyme. The first and third lines of the second stanza rhyme with the middle line of the first stanza, and so on, so the rhyme scheme is ABA, BCB, CDC, DED, et cetera.

The terza rima stanza form is much more easy to understand than today's confusing "in one ear and out the other" puzzle answers. I wonder if Dante ever created any crossword puzzles. :)
General Discussion / Re: Simultaneous Submissions
« Last post by stephenbishop on April 02, 2016, 12:36:34 AM »
I think it would be a good way to get banned from a paper/site as if two or more entities accepted your puzzle, then you would have to back out of all but one as they require copyright.

A crossword puzzle is a manuscript, you wouldn't submit a novel to multiple publishers either. Its simply not done.

But I do understand the desire... parallel versus serial search space plumbing. Would be great if we could spam the world with a puzzle submission and the first entity to accept would lock in a deal and cancel all others. Ethereum could totally do that. Oh the future of blockchain-type contracts.

Today's Puzzles / The April 1 crosswords, no foolin'
« Last post by Thomps2525 on April 01, 2016, 09:35:57 PM »
If Jeffrey Wechsler wanted to advertise his April 1 Los Angeles Times crossword, he could say "Bonus -- 7% larger!" The grid is 15x16 instead of the usual 15x15. There are three 16-letter answers. Each of the four theme answers includes a string of six circled letters. Another answer is clued as "Sir Edward Elgar composition whose title has never been solved -- and a hint to this puzzle's circles." Since I have no way to put circles around letters here, I have denoted the puzzle's circled letters by using boldface:

Rail transport landmark: STEAMENGINE
Reprimand to one not picking up: YOUREMAKINGAMESS
"How surprising!": IMAGINETHAT

The Elgar composition is ENIGMAVARIATIONS. The circled letters are variations of the letters found in "enigma." Elgar composed Variations, opus 36 in 1898-99. Popularly known as The Enigma Variations, the orchestral work features several musical themes. Two of the themes represent Elgar and his wife Alice. Each of the others represents one of Elgar's close friends. Elgar explained -- although without really explaining anything -- that the work has a principal theme.....but the principal theme is neither played nor heard. Perhaps the work includes a hidden melody or hidden counterpoint. Perhaps a portion of a symphony by Bach or Beethoven is hidden in the work. Musicologists have yet to figure out the "enigma."

"Columnist Barrett" is RONA. Born Rona Burstein in 1936, Rona Barrett began a syndicated newspaper gossip column in 1957 and began appearing on television in 1966. She now runs the non-profit Rona Barrett Foundation, which is based in Santa Ynez, California, and helps senior citizens to find affordable housing and supportive services:

"Pâtisserie cake" is GATEAU. In France and Belgium, a pâtisserie is a bakery specializing in pastries and sweets. By law, a bakery in either of those countries can not call itself a pâtisserie unless it has a licensed maître pâtissier (master pastry chef) who has served an apprenticeship and passed a written test. A gâteau is a light cake with a rich icing or filling -- and the word is not used in English.

Peter Gordon's April 1 New York Times crossword includes four 15-letter phrases and this clue: "17-across, with 34-, 40- and 60-across, a somber message for our loyal fans":


I did say today is April 1st, didn't I? :)
Today's Puzzles / Vowels and P's: The March 20 crosswords
« Last post by Thomps2525 on March 20, 2016, 06:19:17 PM »
I am always amazed that crossword creators continue to come up with clever themes. However, I was not amazed by Rebecca Durant's puzzle in today's Los Angeles Times. It has a theme but it is one of the weakest themes I have every seen. Titled "Border Pairs," the puzzle includes phrases which begin and end with two vowels, including AEGEANSEA, OATMEALCOOKIE, OOLONGTEA and EUCALYPTUSTREE. Another answer, VOWELLANGUAGE, hints at the puzzle's theme. "Vowel language"? Yuk!

The grid also includes ALTE, AOUT (French for "August"), DEI, ESSE and ISLA, none of which are used in English, and our old familiar friends Mel OTT and UMA Thurman. "Moonlight Sonata directive" is PPP. In written music, a P is what is known as a "dynamic indicator," a symbol that tells the musician how softly the passage should be played. P stands for piano, which means "soft." PP, pianissimo, means "very soft" and PPP, pianississimo, means "very very soft." There are a few classical works in which certain passages are marked with as many as six P's, such as the bassoon solo in Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony. Musical notation can also include an F for forte ("loud") or FF for fortissimo ("very loud").

Joel Fagliardo's New York Times crossword is titled "Double Crossed" and has a theme that is clever as well as cerebral. Each of the ten theme answers contains several pairs of letters and another letter which appears only once. Here are some examples: HIPPOCRATICOATH has seven pairs of letters but only one R. GOESUNDERGROUND has seven pairs of letters but only one S. PRETTYPENNY has five pairs of letters but only one R. When the puzzle is completed, the solver can form a word from the unmatched letters in those phrases. From top to bottom, they spell REMAINDERS. Whew!

"Fairly recent" is NEWISH -- a very awkward word. "Out of favor" is INBAD -- a very awkward phrase.  "Small-capped mushrooms" is ENOKIS. I had never seen that word before. And "Feliz ___ Nuevo" is ANO, which is misspelled -- it should be AÑO -- and is not used in English.

"____ Hawkins dance" is SADIE. Al Capp drew the Li'l Abner comic strip from 1934 until 1977 when declining health forced him to retire. He would die of emphysema two years later. In 1937, a series of strips featured a homely unmarried 35-year-old named Sadie Hawkins, whose father came up with the idea of a "Sadie Hawkins Day" featuring a foot race. All the eligible bachelors in the town of Dogpatch took off running and if Sadie could catch one of them, he'd have to marry her. Sadie Hawkins Day became an annual tradition in Li'l Abner, with all the unmarried women chasing after the unmarried men. Sadie Hawkins Day was the inspiration for the Sadie Hawkins Dance, any school dance in which the girls invite the boys, instead of the other way around. For more about Sadie Hawkins Dances, go to
I've asked around and no one has been able to give me a clear answer on this.   Can someone here help?  Thanks!
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