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Today's Puzzles / The cheesy January 15 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on January 15, 2017, 07:20:12 PM »
Ed Sessa lives in Florida and has been a crossword puzzle enthusiast for 40 years. He has been a crossword puzzle creator for the past nine of those years. Today he invites us to "Say Cheese!" The theme answers are puns involving various types of cheese:

Cheese graters? ROQUEFORTFILES
Cheese-growing plot? GARDENOFEDAM
Cheese factory supplies? CHEDDARBOXES
Cheese tray displays? BRIEARRANGEMENTS
Cheesehead's accessory? FETAINONESCAP

"Roquefort Files" is a clever pun, referring to the 1974-80 NBC-TV series The Rockford Files, which starred James Garner as private detective Jim Rockford. But "Brie arrangements" for "pre-arrangements"? Not so clever. Perhaps I feel that way because I consider the word "pre-arrange" to be a redundancy, same as "pre-plan." "Cheddarboxes" for "chatterboxes" is also not overly clever.

Edam is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands and is named after the town of Edam. Tilsit cheese, also known as Tilsiter, is a light yellow semihard cheese originally manufactured in the town of Tilsit in the former German province of East Prussia. The town is now Sovetsk, Russia. Feta is a crumbly cheese made from sheep's milk. The name comes from φέτα, the Greek word for "slice." Muenster is a pale yellow semi-soft cheese made in the United States. It has no relation to the strong-tasting Munster cheese named for the French town of Munster. And I probably do not need to point out that the 1960s tv series The Munsters had nothing to do with cheese.

"Paris pronoun" is VOUS, which is not used in English. "Other, to Quixote" is OTRO, which is not used in English. "Bunch of clowns in a circus stunt, say" is CARLOAD -- and in May of this year, the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus will give its final performances, ending a 146-year run. Over the past few years, the circus has been plagued with declining attendance, rising operating costs, changing public tastes and legal battles with animal-rights organizations.

"Heated dispute" is RHUBARB. Rhubarb is a plant of the dock family with poisonous leaves and edible stalks. The name comes from the Greek Rha, the ancient Scythian name of the Volga River where the plants were grown, and Barbaros, which means "foreign." In 1938, Garry Schumacher, the New York Giants' press agent and a New York Globe sports writer, began using the word "rhubarb" to describe an onfield brawl or scuffle, explaining that a brawl is "an untidy mess, a disheveled tangle of loose ends like the fibers of stewed rhubarb." After Brooklyn Dodgers radio announcer Red Barber being using the term, it gained widespread usage.

As for the crossword puzzle's title, it comes from the command given by photographers just before they take a photograph of someone. Supposedly no one can say "cheese" without smiling. Other words are used in other countries. In Latin America, for instance, photographers instruct their subjects to say "whiskey." Well, okay, whatever works.
Today's Puzzles / The top-notch January 10 crossword
« Last post by Thomps2525 on January 10, 2017, 05:07:42 PM »
As a child, Janice Luttrell developed a love of wordplay and crossword puzzles by watching her father solve the Chicago Tribune Sunday crosswords. Her puzzles have been appearing in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers since April 2016. Sadly, her father didn't live to see her published puzzles -- he died when she was 18. Luttrell's crossword today includes these theme answers:

Toaster snack - POPTART
Pretty darn simple: IDIOTPROOF
Dice roller's exhortation: COMETOPAPA
Actor with near-synonymous first and last names: RIPTORN
Verses by Allen Ginsberg, e.g.: BEATPOETRY

"Cause trouble...and a hint to this puzzle's circled letters: is STIRTHEPOT. Each theme answer includes a different "stirring" of the letters P, O and T. "Stir the pot" means "to cause unrest or dissent; to agitate a situation in order to cause a reaction or trouble." But, as any cook or chef knows, we do not stir the pot. Rather, we stir the contents of the pot. When making a pot of soup, a cook may have to stir it if some of the ingredients have settled to the bottom of the pot. Thus, "stirring the pot" is a metaphor for bringing controversial issues to the surface. i.e., making people aware of negative things which might have been forgotten.

Actor/producer/director/voiceover artist Rip Torn was born Elmore Rual Torn Jr. in 1931 in Texas. Many of the men in his family have been nicknamed Rip. Among his best-known films are King Of Kings, RoboCop 3, Men In Black and The Man Who Fell To Earth. For six years he co-starred on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show.

"Señorita's 'other'" is OTRA, which is not used in English. "Upper, in Ulm" is OBER, which is not used in English. "Evangelist __ Semple McPherson" is AIMEE. Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944) was a Canadian-born preacher and faith-healer who in 1923 founded Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. She preached daily and her beliefs led to a new denomination, with Angelus Temple becoming the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. In 1924, she launched her own radio station, KFSG ("Four Square Gospel"). She also published weekly newsletters and a monthly magazine. In 1926, she disappeared for five weeks. Did she drown? Was she kidnapped? Was she having an affair with one of her engineers? Was it all just a publicity stunt? In 1927, all the criminal charges against her were thrown out due to a lack of evidence. To this day, no one really knows the truth. Here are details of the mystery:

The mysterious disappearance of a celebrity preacher

The church and the denomination are still thriving. The former KFSG is now Spanish adult contemporary KXOL.

The puzzle also includes CHEERIO, clued with "'Toodle-oo!'" And with that, I say goodbye for now.
Today's Puzzles / Re: The January 8 crossword gets a D+
« Last post by Thomps2525 on January 09, 2017, 04:58:00 PM »
Today's Los Angeles Times includes this correction: "The January 8 crossword puzzle was printed with an incorrect grid. A correct version of the puzzle can be found in the January 8 eNewspaper at and online at"

Thanks -- but I discovered the grid was wrong within two seconds of looking at it. Maybe I'll keep the incorrect grid and see if I can fill it in with my own words.
General Discussion / Mentorship
« Last post by bennparker on January 09, 2017, 01:37:03 PM »
Hi All,

I was wondering if anyone could serve as a mentor to me in crossword construction. I'm not entirely a newbie, as Vic's been tremendously helpful in showing me the ropes.

I can be reached at

Today's Puzzles / The January 8 crossword gets a D+
« Last post by Thomps2525 on January 08, 2017, 05:06:11 PM »
Today is January 8. It is much too early for April Fools Day. Therefore I conclude that the Los Angeles Times simply made a mistake. The crossword puzzle grid in today's paper is not the correct one. Perhaps it's the grid that belongs with next Sunday's crossword. Fortunately I can access the puzzle online. Otherwise I would be going nuts trying to figure out how to put today's answers into a 21-by-21 diagramless grid.

The title of today's crossword by Paul Coulter is "Dine Out." That is to be read as "D in, E out." In each theme answer, a D replaces an E.

Infant dressed for rain? BABYBOOTED
Have a good day birding? FINDFEATHEREDFRIENDS
Paragraph in a lemon law? DUDPROCESSCLAUSE
Basis for evaluating an archaeology dig? EARNINGSPERSHARD
Must choose among less volatile investment options? HAVEABONDTOPICK
"When leaving the beach, hose off your feet before putting on your shoes"? SANDADVICE
Warning to Bo Peep that her sheep are really hiding nearby? HERDSLOOKINGATYOUKID

"Birding" is a shortened form of "birdwatching" and is much older than one might think. It dates from 1918. A "bootee" is a soft shoe, especially a knitted one, worn by a baby. The word dates from the 1790s and is an extension of "boot." It is now usually spelled "bootie." The "ee" ending is a pseudo-French equivalent of "-y" or "-ie."

"French king" is ROI, which is not used in English. "South Dakota, to Pierre" is ETAT, which is not used in English. "Jour's opposite" is NUIT, which is not used in English. "As to" is INRE. "In re" is a Latin phrase often used in business correspondence but never in everyday speech.

"Thug's thousands" is GEES. "G" stands for grand and began to be used as a synonym for a thousand dollars ("a grand sum of money") in the early 1900s. The puzzle answer is wrong, though -- the term is "G's" and not "Gees." Crossword creators like to use letters which are unnecessarily "spelled out." Instead of C, D, G, S and V, they give us "Cee," "Dee," "Gee," "Ess" and "Vee." Letters do not need to be spelled out -- each letter is its own spelling. There used to be a candy bar called the $100,000 Bar. Nestlē introduced it in 1966. The name was inspired by the $100,000 grand prize offered on a 1955-57 NBC-TV game show, The Big Surprise. In 1985 the candy was renamed the 100 Grand Bar. Here, for your amazement and amusement, is a 1978 $100,000 Bar commercial featuring Philip McKeon of Alice and Dana Plato of Diff'rent Strokes:

And now I have a craving for chocolate.
General Support / Re: Unreachable archives
« Last post by chuckpuckett on January 06, 2017, 12:18:37 PM »
HURRAY! You're right, all is well.
General Support / Re: Unreachable archives
« Last post by phil262 on January 05, 2017, 12:04:57 PM »
General Support / Re: Unreachable archives
« Last post by Puzzle Lady on January 05, 2017, 11:47:58 AM »
I too am having the same problem.  Who else can we contact?
General Support / Re: Unreachable archives
« Last post by phil262 on January 03, 2017, 08:34:19 AM »
I'm having the same problem. The website seems to have suddenly disappeared without warning or explanation.
General Support / Unreachable archives
« Last post by chuckpuckett on January 02, 2017, 10:12:36 AM »
For 2-3 weeks, the Wall StreetJournal & Jonesin, which I usually obtain from their respective archives, have been unreachable. If I click on the specific puzzle in question, the progress puck starts up, goes about 20% across, then stops. Eventually I get a time out or some such message.

Both are apparently sourced from the same URL (dnsherb something or another). I suspect (obviously) that something has happened in the common archive provider.

Anyone have any info on this, or any idea whether this is temporary or what? I really miss the WSJ puzzle.
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