11.30.10 — From OPTS to TOPS…

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Puzzle by Kristian House, edited by Will Shortz

The July 23, 2007 Times crossword by Randall J. Hartman featured an interrelated group running from POST through TOPS, including POTS, SPOT and STOP contained within LOBSTER POTS, NEW YORK POST, SUN SPOT, BACKSTOP and TANK TOPS. I mused at that time how many times I’ve sat at a STOP sign and contemplated its' anagrams! With that crossword, it was hoped that perhaps in a future puzzle we’d also get OPTS, as many drivers read STOP signs as optional!

Wish fulfilled!, we’ve OPTS today!

  • TOPS THE LIST (20A. Is ranked #1)
  • POST NO BILLS (30A. Sign on a construction site fence)
  • STOP OFF (39A. Brief visit along the way)
  • OPTS OUT (42A. Declines to participate)
  • SPOT REMOVER (48A. Dry cleaner’s fluid)
  • POTS OF MONEY (59A. Megabucks)

Other — ANY HOO (5D. “Moving on then …“), ENFOLD, OCELOTS (7D. Forest felines), RAPPER (49D. Ice-T or Ice Cube), RIVETS, ROSSINI (46D. “William Tell” composer), VIOLIN (50D. Isaac Stern’s instrument) and a few topers — BAR TAB (9D. Toper’s expense), DIPSO (25D. Toper, slangily), FLASK (4D. Toper’s back-pocket item) and a bonus JAG (56A. Drinking binge), but nary a SOUSE or SOT.

Five-letter — AMAZE, BEGIN, CUOMO, DISKS, EQUIP, FREDO (40D. Corleone who broke Michael‘s heart), HONDA, IN USE, KYOTO, LAUDE, Sierra LEONE, ON TAP, ROTOR, SINUS, SOCAL, SPATS, S-STAR (34D. Astronomical red giant), STOMP, SUAVE, TAMER, THRUM, TYPE O.

Short stuff — ALMA mater, ANIL, AQUA, AROD and ARLO, AVOW, CALF, COAT, CORE, DESI, DOC, EER, EMO (10D. Weezer’s music genre), EROS, “Fee fi fo FUM”, GATO (11D. Cat in una casa), GUAM,I’VE Got a Secret”, IZOD, “Surely you JEST”, KAMA Sutra, LAMP, LASS, NEO, NERD, NICE, NOVA (61D. Suddenly bright star), ODD, ORAL, PEAS, RIND, RUR, SAD, SEM, SILO, TAD, TSAR, YEWS and YVES.

I hooked up my accelerator pedal in my car to my brake lights. I hit the gas, people behind me stop, and I'm gone. ~ Steven Wright


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Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 1. Farm newborn; 5. Yankees’ $275 million man,” informally; 9. Test proctor’s command; 14. Like dental surgery; 15. “Good one!”; 16. Blow the socks off; 18. The “Y” in Y.S.L.; 23. Bizarre; 24. Climate-change protocol city; 25. Wee bit; 27. Disney dwarf with glasses; 35. Lavatory door sign; 37. Part of a school year: Abbr.; 38. Carrots’ plate-mates; 45. Play from which the word “robot” comes; 47. Civic maker; 52. Suffix with slogan; 53. Bummed out; 54. Congested area, sometimes; 64. Rig out; 66. Fodder holder; 67. Part of an apple or the earth; 68. Socially polished; 69. Source of indigo dye; 70. Solemnly swear; 71. Whip-cracker; 72. Outside of a watermelon; 73. Glasgow gal. DOWN: 1. Ulster, for one; 2. Folkie who sang of Alice; 3. Magic item of folklore; 6. Construction fasteners; 8. Arnaz or “I Love Lucy”; 12. Shirt brand; 13. Dweeby sort; 21. Like a universal donor’s blood; 22. Tread heavily; 27. PC storage units; 28. Coming up; 29. Andrew of New York politics; 31. Prefix with con or classical; 33. Honor, on a diploma; 36. Tiffs; 43. Rhythmic humming sound; 51. Wrap around; 55. L.A.’s area, for short; 57. Light blue; 58. Island “where America’s day begins”; 60. Pre-1917 autocrat; 62. Amor’s Greek counterpart; 63. Trees yielding archery bow wood.

11.29.10 — Melodious Monday

Monday, November 29, 2010

Puzzle by Elizabeth A. Long, edited by Will Shortz

HEAD / BAND (35A. With 37-Across, hair accessory … or a literal hint to 19-, 27-, 47- and 56-Across), along with the first word of QUEEN ANNE’S LACE (19A. Wildflower from which the cultivated carrot originated), KISS OF DEATH (27A. Something that is ultimately ruinous), TRAFFIC CONE (47A. Orange item set out by a highway crew) and CREAM OF THE CROP (56A. Very best) are the interrelated group of this melodious Monday crossword.

Other — ARRESTS, CALORIE, CARRERA (41D. Classic Porsche model), CHARGER, COOPER, DELUISE, HOPE SO, IRAQ WAR (1D. It started in 2003 with the bombing of Baghdad), LABELED, NEW AGENDA (9D. Incoming administration’s to-do list), ONE COAT, ORACLES (40D. Magic 8 Balls, e.g.), SCUFFLE, SHAFTED BY (32D. Handed a raw deal from), SPANISH, TIMPANI (46D. Kettledrums).

Five-letter — ANTSY, ECARD, EDSEL, EWERS, FOCAL, GENRE, HERBS, REALM, SLEDS, 22A. “When WILL I See You Again” (1974 #2 hit).

Short stuff — ACCT, AGRA, ALBS, ASE and ASS, AYN, BELA, BOO, BOSH, DAN, DART, DOH, DREI, ELBE, ELF, ERE, EXPO, FTD, GEL, Former C.I.A. chief Porter GOSS, “Bali HAI” (“South Pacific” song), HIED, HES, IDA, “IDLE hands are the devil’s tools”, ISM and ISP, LEAP, NIK, NOAH, “O SAY can you see …?”, OXEN, PFUI (61A. “Drat!“), READ and REED, REDS, REIN, SHO and SHY, SOD and SOU and SOY, SPF, TUBE.

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ~ Victor Hugo


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Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 5. “Nonsense!”; 9. Webster of Webster’s dictionary; 13. Do library study; 14. Convention center event for short; 15. Romance or sci-fi; 16. Priestly robes; 17. ___ year (period of 366 days); 18. Pitchers; 26. Enzyme suffix; 31. Cincinnati baseball team; 33. Homer Simpson exclamation; 34. Nervous; 39. ___ point (very center); 42. Kind of sauce; 43. Bank no.; 52. It may hit a bull’s-eye; 53. Nearly worthless amount; 54. Region; 60. Toboggans; 62. Taj Mahal city; 63. 11 ___ and spices (KFC secret ingredients); 64. German river where American and Soviet forces met in 1945; 65 Bridle strap; 67. Marsh plant; 68. German three. DOWN: 2. Comic actor Dom; 3. Tagged for identification; 4. 1950s Ford flop; 5. Lugosi of horror films; 6. Plow team; 7. “Cómo está usted?” language; 8. [Keeping fingers crossed]; 10. Minimal paint job; 11. Nabs; 15. Hair goop; 20. Suffix with refuse; 21. Letters on a Coppertone bottle; 25. “Once bitten, twice ___”; 28. Boise’s home: Abbr.; 29. Lawn base; 30. Aykroyd of the Blues Brothers; 36. Santa helper; 37. Hiss accompanier; 38. Literary Rand; 39. Bouquets-to-order co.; 42. Fight that’s less than a brawl; 44. San Diego footballer; 45. Some diet drinks have one; 48. Doctrine; 49. Author James Fenimore; 50. Before, poetically; 55. Modern greeting form; 57. Long-eared equine; 58. Toothpaste holder; 59. Hurried; 60. “___’ nuff”.

11.28.10 — A Piece of Meat — the Diagramless

Steak from Beef by John Torode


Sunday, November 28, 2010

DIAGRAMLESS, Puzzle by Fred Piscop, edited by Will Shortz

MEAT (73A. Chops, e.g. … or a hint to the starts of 16-, 26-, 42-, 59- and 71-Across)RAW, RARE, MEDIUM, WELL or BURNT — the main topic of this sizzling Sunday diagramless crossword presents choices contained within RAW RECRUIT (16A. Boot camp newcomer), RARE EARTH (26A. Scandium or yttrium), MEDIUM BUILD (42A. Crime witness’s description o an average person), WELL BEING (59A. Health) and BURNT UMBER (71A. Shade of brown). Mine? Well, thanks!

Other across — 1A. Working diligently, AT IT, starts at square seven, skip a space and enter your BIO (5A. Text accompanying an author’s photo, often), drop down a line and continue — 8. Many a golf tourney, PRO AM; 13. One of 20 in a classic duel, PACE; 14. Treaty topic, ARMS; 18. English captain Francis DRAKE; 20. More smooth-tongued, OILIER; 21. Come to TERMS; 23. Boo accompanier, HISS; 25. Familiar with, USED TO; 28. Crime solver: Abbr., DET; 29. Tanny lotion letters, SPF; 31. Down-for-the-count count, TEN; 32. AHA moment; 33. Inflates falsely, PADS; 36. Twisted, e.g., DANCED; 38. Established by edict, DECREED; 41. Drunken, BEERY; 44. Commercial time, BREAK; 47. Abu Dhabi, e.g., EMIRATE; 48. Washington airport, REAGAN; 50. Scale notes, SOLS; 51. Sheet music abbr., ARR; 52. “LES Miz”; 54. Pitcher SAL Maglie of the 1950s Giants; 56. Numbers cruncher, for short, CPA; 63. Result of a frame-up, perhaps, BUM RAP; 65. Zippo, NADA; 66. Go limp, DROOP; 68. “Seinfeld” role, ELAINE; 69. Catches some Z’s, DOZES; 74. Falco of “The Sopranos”, EDIE; 75. Smart-mouthed, SASSY; 76. B.O. sign, SRO; 77. Teacher of the dharma, LAMA.

Down — 1. Month after Mar., APR; 2. Lacking slack, TAUT; 3. Not so congenial, ICIER; 4. Four: Prefix, TETRA; 5. Malevolent child, BAD SEED; 6. Bargain bin abbr., IRR; 7. Cornhusker city, OMAHA; 8. Like a person getting a promotion, usually, PROUD; 9. What a promotion usually results in, RAISE; 10. Barn baby, OWLET; 11. Like Death Valley, ARID; 12. Track contests, MEETS; 15. Super G, e.g., SKI RACE; 17. Adjusted in Photoshop, say, CROPPED; 19. Book read during Purim, ESTHER; 22. Mohawk-sporting actor, MR T; 24. Of ill repute, SHADY; 27. Pave the way for, ENABLE; 30. Prima FACIE; 34. Beat it, DRUM; 35. Penultimate round, SEMIS; 37. Neighbor of Homer, NED; 38. City of northern Illinois, DEKALB; 39. River of Aragon, EBRO; 40. Two-team track or wrestling, DUALS; 42. Rack item, for short, MAG; 43. “You’re on!”, IT’S A BET; 44. Brains’ complement, BRAWN; 45. Check over, REREAD; 46. Nobleman’s realm, EARLDOM; 49. Can’t help but, NEEDS TO; 53. Title for 18-Across, SIR; 55. Real jim-dandies, LULUS; 56. Uses a cheat sheet, CRIBS; 57. French door features, PANES; 58. Impressionist’s work, APERY; 60. Rests in a hammock, say, LAZES; 61. Award for Obama, NOBEL; 62. Party platter cheese, GOUDA; 64. Elvis’s word after “Well, that’s all right”, MAMA; 67. Overly proper, PRIM; 70. Mr. Potato Head piece, EAR; 72. Museum-funding org., NEA.

"Then there is the beefsteak. They have it in Europe, but they don't know how to cook it. Neither will they cut it right. It comes on the table in a small, round, pewter platter. It lies in the centre of this platter, in a bordering bed of grease-soaked potatoes; it is the size, shape, and thickness of a man's hand with the thumb and fingers cut off. It is a little overdone, is rather dry, it tastes pretty insipidly, it rouses no enthusiasm. Imagine a poor exile contemplating that inert thing," he sniffed scornfully; "and imagine an angel suddenly sweeping down out of a better land and setting before him a mighty porter-house steak an inch and a half thick, hot and sputtering from the griddle; dusted with fragrant pepper; enriched with little melting bits of butter of the most unimpeachable freshness and genuineness; the precious juices of the meat trickling out and joining the gravy, archipelagoed with mushrooms; a township or two of tender, yellowish fat gracing an outlying district of this ample county of beefsteak; the long white bone which divides the sirloin from the tenderloin still in its place; and imagine that the angel also adds a great cup of American home-made coffee, with the cream a-froth on top, some real butter, firm and yellow and fresh, some smoking hot biscuits, a plate of hot buckwheat cakes, with transparent syrup, could words describe the gratitude of this exile?" ~ Mark Twain (1835-1910) expressing his disdain for European notions about preparing and serving a piece of meat. 'A Tramp Abroad'


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Puzzle available on the internet at

11.28.10 — A Shining Moment

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting, 2008, photo by Bryan Bedder Getty Images NA


Sunday, November 28, 2010

A SHINING MOMENT, Puzzle by Jeremy Newton, edited by Will Shortz

THE TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY (148A. “Annual Manhattan event [represented symbolically in this puzzle]), along with nineteen squares containing the word “ON”, THE WEDNESDAY AFTER THANKSGIVING (3D. With 5-Down, when 148-Across traditionally takes place), ROCKEFELLER CENTER (15D. Where 148-Across takes place), NORWAY SPRUCE (17D. Traditional centerpiece of 148-Across) and ON SWITCH (120D. Start for 148-Across?) constitutes the interrelated group of this challenging but cheerful Sunday crossword.


Is bigger better? I don’t know… Today’s crossword is 23x23 (21x21 is the usual) and sports approximately 60 more clues than the regular Sunday puzzle for many small words and abbreviations in a very fragmented grid — even coloring in the “ON” squares in red, does not take one’s eye away from the multitude of black squares fragmenting the grid. Not a complaint, just an… observation!  O.K. then, hit the ON SWITCH!

“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
Thy candles shine out brightly!”
 ~ English version of last verse of “O Tannenbaum”


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Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 1. Passes with flying colors; 8. Home of Hells Gate State Park; 13. A lot of an orchestra; 20. Really, really want; 21. Break off; 22. “Are we not joking about that yet?”; 23. Sounded sheepish?; 24. Roulette bet; 26. How pets may fly; 27. Came to realize; 28. Avant-garde composer Brian; 29. Quick flight; 30. Something groundbreaking?; 31. N.B.A.’er Smits, a k a the Dunkin’ Dutchman; 32. Amaze; 33. Shed thing; 36. Source of some rings; 38. Felt in the gut; 41. Richard Gere title role of 2000; 42. Peach, e.g.; 45. Onetime “S.N.L.” regular Tina; 46. Snack food with a Harvest Cheddar flavor; 50. “Butter knife” of golf; 51. Deem; 56. Austin-to-Waco dir.; 57. Frozen, perhaps; 59. Escapee from a witch in a Grimm tale; 61 Swingers grp.; 62. It may be put down on a roll; 64. Up for bidding; 68. Strong aversion, colloquially; 70. Kind of moment; 71. 10 Downing St. figures; 73. R.V. refuge org.; 74. Efflux; 76. Places for needles; 77. Go by; 79. Exactly right; 82. Mythological triad; 83. Porker’s place; 84. Creatures known to lick their own eyeballs; 88. Itty-bitty; 88. “Como es __?” (Spanish “Why?”); 89. Nuts about; 90. It guards the heart; 94. Kind of romance between actors; 98. One of the Gandhis; 99. ___ Grand; 101. Vegas opening?; 102. ___ Na Na; 104. What might go for a dip?; 108. Worked up; 110. Big name in late-night; 112. “Don’t try any more tricks!”; 114. Brooks or Blanc; 115. When repeated, an old sitcom farewell; 116. Cry of self-pride; 117. Beginning; 118. Preceders of xis; 119. Stretched figures; 121. R&B funk trio with the 1990 bit “Feels Good”; 124. One using twisted humor; 126. Is worth doing; 127. Trattoria topper; 128. Letter-shaped support; 131. Provides service that can’t be beat?; 132. Stave (off); 134. Part of a sunbow; 136. Shih __ (dog); 137. Blue stuff; 139. Bitter quarrels; 142. Input; 144. Beatles’ last studio album; 151. Transmission repair franchise; 152. Footnote abbr.; 153. Zero; 154. Christmas ___; 155. Leader of the Silver Bullet Band; 156. Lillian of silents; 157. Seek damages; 158. Org. that infiltrated Nazi Germany; 159. Rx amount: Abbr.; 160. In thing. — DOWN: 1. Doesn’t shut up; 2. Razzle-dazzle; 4. Pirate’s realm; 6. Ceaselessly; 7. Intense heat; 8. La Palma, e.g.; 9. Canned foods giant; 10. Cosmetics giant; 11. Title for Judge Judy; 12. Cookie with crème; 13. Wakens; 14. Picker-upper; 16. “Yes, Virginia there ___ Santa Claus”; 18. “Diary of a Madman” author; 19. December fall; 24. Dinner in a can; 25. “Whip It” band; 34. Discus path; 35. Mount in myth; 37. Here, in Dijon; 39. “Deus ___” (1976 sci-fi novel); 46. Low- ___; 43. Hardly a plain Jane; 44. Capital of Iceland?; 46. Winds; 47. Detach, in a way; 48. Movie co. behind “Wordplay and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”; 49. Ready; 52. Blind guess; 53. French seasoning; 54. Texas A&M athlete; 55. Asserts something; 58. Magnetic disruption in space; 60. 1960s girl group, with “the”; 63. Literary inits.; 65. It’s picked in Maui; 66. Park of an ear; 67. Torque’s symbol; 69. Gate projection, for short; 72. Man in the hood?; 75. One-named rock star; 78. Stream of consciousness, for short?; 80. Chu ___ (legendary Confucian sage); 91. What it must do; 92. PX patrons; 85. Fraudster; 87. Frenchman’s term of address; 89. Shtick; 91. Swell; 92. Echo producer; 93. “Right there with you”; 95. Chinese “way”; 96. Clean again, as a floor; 97. Tiny creature; 98. Like St. Nick; 100. Overfills; 103. Firm newbie; 105. Sarcastic sort; 106. Take in, as guests; 107. Sends packing; 109. Bingeing; 110. Award named for a Hall-of-Fame pitcher; 111. Blogger, e.g.; 113. Just below the boiling point; 122. Not benched, as in hockey; 123. Not overspending; 125. Set to go off, say; 128. Flops in lots; 130. Out; 133. Extra-large top?; 135. Start for -centric; 136. Essays; 138. Western tribe; 139. Kind of party; 140. Cuisine with pad see ew noodles; 141. Signs of dreaming; 143. Wide-lapel jackets; 145. It was wrapped around the Forum; 146. Rare blood type, for short; 147. Jane at Thornfield; 149. Funny Costello; 150. Wallgreen rival.

11.27.10 — Steel Jaws

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Puzzle by Xan Vongsathorn, edited by Will Shortz

FIRST ONE TO BLINK (7D. Defeated contestant in a face-off) and THE BIGGEST LOSER (32A. Show in which many pots disappear?) are the featured entries of this vicious Saturday crossword, along with such fare as STEEL JAWS (31D. Features of some bear traps), FAST DRAW (7A. Duel action), BRAVE and FREE RANGE (47D. Unlike chickens; 6D. Like some chickens) and all other manner of WELTER 15A. Confusion).

Other — ARF ARF reappears from last week, then clued as "dog‘s bark," this time "Reaction from one who has a bone to pick," BAIL and JAIL dovetail (33D. Cost to get out of 46-Across), BOBBLEHEAD (47A. Bouncer in a sports stadium?), CALAMARI (52A. Mediterranean appetizer), FLAT NOTE (3D. Harmony spoiler), IDLE RICH (16A. Working class’s antithesis), SALE ITEM (35D. Something intended to move fast), SENIORITIS (22A. High-class affliction?), SODA JERK (59A. Float maker), THE RAVEN (57A. It uses 20 different end rhymes for “ore”).


Short stuff — ADOS, AMAJ, ARA and ARAL, ALE and ARE and ATE and AWE (1D. Something to be struck with), BENZ (25A. Patent-Motorwagen inventor), BOZO, DRE, EENIE, ELIA, END IT, ETCH, ETON, EVA, GELD, GO SEE (28A. “Check it out!”), I DIG (24D. “Gotcha“), JERI, PCT, PITT, PNIN (30A. Nabokov novel), REC, RETD, RETRO, SEPT, SERB, SEZ, SLIT, SLUES, SNEE (20A. Old dirk), SORE, SYD, TARE, TEED, TELE, ZOE.

"Only this, and nothing more."
~ Poe, The Raven

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Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 17. Game with tricks; 18. Literally, “small wheel”; 19. Word on a scale; 21. Tony winner Caldwell; 26. Historic institution near Slough; 27. Buzzes; 29. Poll fig.; 30. Nabokov novel; 3. Casual remarks?; 38. Took back, as words; 39. Ticked; 40. Moose Drool or Trout Slayer; 41. Send a Dear John letter; 44. Like some eyes; 45. Turtle’s eye, often; 49. Bond girl player Green; 50. Distrit in southern Kazakhstan; 51. Ryan of “Star Trek: Voyager”; 54. Novelist Diamant and others; 58. Aging establishment; 60. Felt. —  DOWN: 2. Ping-Pong or dancing, for short; 5. Back in; 8. Male doll; 9. Turns sharply; 10. TV segment; 11. N.F.L. cornerback ___ Bly; 12. Alternatives to Triscuits; 13. Show opener; 14. Allergy symptom; 22. Deux into quatorze; 23. Do some impressive work?; 25. Chowderhead; 28. Deprive of vitality; 30. British leader in the Seven Years’ War; 34. Dinar earner; 36. “Old China” essayist; 37. Like many offs.; 41. Red-cards, say; 42. Adjective-less language; 43. Got on the horn; 44. Kite, often; 45. Iconic building?; 48. Kids’ rhyme starter; 50. Setting of Mozart’s only clarinet concerto: Abbr.; 53. Neighbor of Scorpius; 55. Is for you?; 56. Folk rock singer Straw.

11.26.10 — Zebra, Zenda and Zorro...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Puzzle by Gary Steinmehl, edited by Will Shortz

Three film titles, ICE STATION ZEBRA (16A. 1968 Rock Hudson action film), MARK OF ZORRO (30A. 1940 Tyrone Power adventure film, with “The”) and PRISONER OF ZENDA (46A. 1937 Ronald Colman adventure film, with “The”) are the interrelated group of this fine Friday crossword.

Other — COASTER (51A. Thing under a tumbler), EVASION, GRIPPER, HARVARD (14A. Lamont Library locale), INDEX FINGER (17D. Telephone dialer?) running right up the center of the crossword like a statement of sorts!, LIBRETTO (11D. Book), MILITIAS (30D. Revolutionary War groups), PER DIEM, RESERVE (33D. What things may be held in), Atom SMASHER, TERNATE (12D. Like a clover leaf), TERSELY (53A. Without any gas?), WRITHED (1A. Showed great discomfort).

Six-letter — BOATER, DREARY and GRITTY (39D. Gray; 32A. Strongly realistic), HANDEL (38D. “Ezio” composer), IRENIC, POINTE, POULTS (8A. Turkey tots?), RACINE, RESETS, WHISKS (1D. Egg beaters).

Five — AIKEN, ANNEX, BATES, BETTE, BLESS, BORAX and BOSOX (27D. Ingredient in artificial gems; 28A. Green Monster‘s squad), BOWER, CLINE (45D. “She‘s Got You“ singer, 1962), IOWAN, LEARN (24D. Wise up), MADLY (22A. One way to be in love), MUSKY, NIGER, NINOS, PENNY (8D. Wise leader?), POOLS (15D. Crawl spaces?), RELEE, SINES, TORTE, TUBES, TVSET (4D. Show case?).

Short stuff — ABOO, BOAR, CZAR, DDT, DIKE (44D. Big bank investment?), DOIT, ERA, FOE, HATS, ISIS, KNIT, LEAH, NONO, OCT, ORZO (9D. Italian side dish), PHD, RNS, SEC, SSE, Ulan-UDE, Russia, ZONE.

Lights! Cameras! Action!

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Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — 15. Like some expense reimbursements; 18. They can make waves; 19. It’s out of bounds; 20. H.M.O. personnel; 21. Grow together; 24. “Dressing Rich” author Feldon; 25. Heartbeat; 26. Sights in an intensive care unit; 27. “___ of Roses” (1995 adult contemporary album), 29. One on board an outboard; 34. Dweller along the Skunk River; 35. 1935 Pulitzer-winning biography; 36. Take over; 37. Many a prof; 40. “Aida” chorus subject; 41. Where Hausa and Djerma are spoken; 42. Adonis’ undoing; 43. Sitter’s charge, maybe; 44. Big bank investment; 50. Political tactic; 52. Transplants. DOWN: 2. County south of Milwaukee; 3. Peaceful; 5. They have crowns; 6. Big time; 7. It’s been banned in the U.S. since 1972; 22. Like some perfume; 23D. “Bug ___” (1999 Destiny’s Child hit); 26. Calorie-rich dessert; 28. Katharine Lee ___, writer of “America the Beautiful”; 29. Garden shelter; 36. Conrad who wrote “Ushant,” 1952; 37. ___ shoes (ballet wear); 41. Young hijos; 42. Smile upon; 44. Darer’s cry; 45. Powerful person; 47. Tampa-to-Ft. Myers dir.; 48. Time of much raking: Abbr.; 49. One to counter.

11.25.10 — J, K, Q, X and Z…

Thursday, November 25, 2010 — Thanksgiving Day

Puzzle by Bill Thompson, edited by Will Shortz

ONE (65A. Number of tiles per Scrabble set for the letter at the end of the answer to each starred clue), e.g., J, K, Q, X and Z, appearing as the last letter of LL COOL J, SPECIAL K, AVENUE Q, MALCOLM X and GENERATION Z, are the interrelated group of this holoalphabetic Thursday crossword.

Other — ANGELINA (14A. Woman’s name that means “messenger of God”) , EEL SKIN (39D. Some wallet material), 38A. Plessy v. FERGUSON (landmark Supreme Court decision), FT MEADE (38D. Where the N.S.A. is headquartered), GRASPING (36D. Comprehending), IN A MOOD (12D. Feeling gloomy, say), MUSCATEL (62A. Sweet wine), OYEZ OYEZ (11D. Courtroom cry), SUCCEEDS (35A. Follows), TEASETS and TETANUS (41A. Afternoon services; 13D. Lockjaw).

Six-letter — AKIMBO, ANCIEN régime, DAMAGE, DINNER (61A. Many a campaign fund-raiser), ENGINE, ERES TU (31D. Mocedades hit subtitled “Touch the Wind”), ETHYNE, GOTOIT, INANER, INMATE, OGLING, ONLY YOU (32A. 1955 Platters hit), RANKLE, SLIPUP, STOLEN, STRATO, TOREAT.

Five — GENOA (23A. Ligurian capital), ITSME, JETTA, QUAIL, ROSAS, SNOUT, TAXCO (7D. Mexican silver center), TONAL.


Happy Thanksgiving!

The First Thanksgiving by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris c 1912 1915


Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 1. The Divine, in 23-Across; 4. “M*A*S*H” co-star; 8. Get started; 16. Simple hydrocarbon; 17. *Omaha-born human rights activist; 18. Mauled; 19. Pick ___ (quibble); 20. Supérieur et Érié; 22. Baum princess; 25. Have harmony; 28. Suffix with ball; 29. Physics unit; 30. Tee follower; 32. 1955 Platters hit; 34. Plunk preceder; 36. *Today’s kids, demographically speaking; 38. Plessy v. ___ (landmark Supreme Court decision); 40. Gate opener for Apollo; 42. Drew Barrymore hosted this show at age 7: Abbr.; 43. Est., e.g., once; 46. Approximately 946 of these makes a qt.; 47. Bouquet : pheasants :: covey : ___; 49. Volkswagen model; 51. Hockey’s Phil, to fans; 53. Hubbub; 55. “Dianetics” author ___ Hubbard; 56. How some gym instructors stand; 59. *Brand with the challenge to lose one inch from your waist in two weeks; 63. It goes in front of a coal tender; 64. Hayes portrayer in “The Mod Squad,” 1999. DOWN: 1. Split or crack; 2. More asinine; 3. Viewing with elevator eyes; 4. ___-pitch; 5. It may be good or free; 6. Con; 9. Chiwere-speaking tribe; 10. “And ___ the field the road runs by”: Tennyson; 12. Feeling gloomy, say; 15. ___-1 (“Ghostbusters” vehicle); 21. Part of a pig; 24. *“What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?: musical; 27. *Performer born James Todd Smith; 33. Urges; 34. Gunpowder holders; 35. Japanese surname follower; 37. Latin lover’s bouquet, maybe; 42. Blunder; 434. Prefix with cumulus; 44. Like some kisses; 45. Irk; 48. “Hello ___” (Todd Rundgren hit); 50. Director Kazan; 52. Bygone science/sci-fi magazine; 54. Sued party in a legal case: Abbr.; 57. Michael Jackson’s first #1 solo hit; 58. Calif. Neighbor; 60. Hosp. units.

11.24.10 — Shuttles

Space Shuttle Columbia, photograph by NASA


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Puzzle by Allan E. Parrish, edited by Will Shortz

SHUTTLES in circled letters defining an orbit, ATLANTIS, CHALLENGER, COLUMBIA, DISCOVERY, ENDEAVOUR and ENTERPRISE are the interrelated group of this Wednesday crossword.

Arts, entertainment and sports — AUDEN (53D. “September 1, 1939” poet), BORGE (46A. Performer dubbed “The Great Dane”), BOWL (7A. Word with Orange or Peach), BUCS (7D. Tampa Bay gridders, for short), CECE (26D. Grammy-winning Winans), DARE TO Be Stupid” (1985 Weird Al Yankovic album), GIBB (11D. Andy with the #1 hit “Shadow Dancing”), GTO (11A. Car that was the subject of a 1964 top 10 hit), IAGO (34D. “I am not what I am” speaker), ILIE (25D. Tennis’s Nastase), ITEMS (1D. Twosomes), LEEZA (29A. Infomercial host Gibbons), NANCI (2D. Folk singer Griffith), RAVENS (69A. Team with a big B on its helmets), RUBEN (39A. Singer Studdard who won the second season of “American Idol”), SINISE (33A. Co-star of Hanks in “Forrest Gump”), TRIB (12D. “Lou Grant” paper with “the”), 22D. Mozart’s “UNA donna a quindici anni”.

Other — ANTENNA (45A. Dish alternative), BANZAI, CAT’S PAW (52A. Tool), CRABBY, ELEVATE, ENACTS, ENTICES, GREENER (48A. Like a next-door neighbor’s lawn, or so it seems), INCHED, LAURELS (10D. Symbol of victory), LITHO, ONSIDE, PEDANTS (43D. Nitpicking types), SILICON Valley, TAHINI (14A. Sesame seed-based sauce), TIBER, UNUSED, WEEDS, WELCH (9D. Laura Bush‘s maiden name).

Short stuff — AGE, ALPO, ATOM (56D. Orbit site), BANE, CHEZ, ECO, EMB, GIZA, HIC, ICES and ICUS, IDLE, IOU, IRK, MAZE, MCL, MOVE, MSRP and NLRB, NOL and NOR, OKAY, OVO, PYRE, RUE, SOUP, SUV, SWAB, THOR (65A. Old space-launched rocket), TRES, TTOP, URGE, UVEA, WAGE, ZOOT suit.

"The Shuttle is to space flight what Lindbergh was to commercial aviation." ~ Arthur C. Clarke


Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 1. Crept (along); 15. Eye area; 16. Put out; 17. Passes; 18. #2; 20. Mid 12th-century year; 21. Hosp. areas; 23. Cantankerous; 26. At the home of, to Henri; 27. Hoist; 35. Puts away; 37. Cambodia’s Lon ___; 41. Sunroof or moon roof alternative; 42. What rings reveal about a tree; 43. Funeral fire; 50. Just sitting around; 55. W.W. II battle cry; 58. Qxe5, e.g., in chess; 59. Way in Quebec; 60. #5; 62. Kind of kick; 64. Fish-fowl nexus; 66. Still on the shelf; 67. Envoy’s bldg.; 68. Gazpacho, e.g. — DOWN: 3. #3; 4. Hawaiian Punch alternative; 5. Lures; 6. #4; 8. Lacto-___ vegetarian; 10. Symbol of victory; 13. Give a thumbs-up; 19. It may be hedged; 28. Italian waterway; 30. #1; 32. Might Dog rival; 33. Q-tip, e.g.; 36. #6; 40. Exhort; 41. Dos follower; 47. City with the Great Sphinx; 49. Prefix with hazard; 51. Certain printing process, briefly; 55. Ruin; 57. Workers’ rights agcy.; 58. Letters on a car sticker; 61. Letters from a debtor; 63. Aspen or Tahoe.

11.23.10 — Poker

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Puzzle by Richard Chisholm, edited by Will Shortz

POKER HAND (65A. What the answer to each starred clue is), ROYAL FLUSH (50A. *Sound from a palace bathroom?), FOUR ACES (10D. *Group with the 1951 hit “Tell Me Why,“ with “the”), FULL HOUSE (17A. *What “S.R.O.” indicates), THREE KINGS (27A. *The Magi, e.g.), and TWO PAIRS (40D. *Makeup of a double date) are the interrelated group of this Tuesday crossword.

GWEN and LOLA (23A. Broadway singer/actress Verdon; 59D. Role for 23-Across in “Damn Yankees”), HOW ELSE (18D. “Do you have a better idea?“), IT’S A DEAL (56A. “Agreed!“), MAYFAIR (38D. Upscale London district), PIT CREWS (21A. Indy quick-change artists) and RAPID City, S.D. crossing SPED (58D. Whipped along).

Six-letter — ALLEGE (4D. Claim), DYEING (8D. Hiding the gray, say), LUTHER (52D. Writer of “The 95 Theses”), ON A PAR (51D. At the same level with), PEEWEE (44A. King of league), SMEARY (37A. Like wet paint).




Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 1. Native encountered by Pizarro; 5. Shakespeare, with “the”; 9. D sharp equivalent; 14. “Silent Night” or “Away in a Manger”; 15. “By Jove!”; 16. Novelist ___ Carol Oates; 19. Capital of more than 15 states; 23. Arthritis preceder; 26. Part of N.B.; 31. Pal; 35. Kanga’s little one; 36. O’Brien’s late-night predecessor and successor; 39. Helpers: Abbr.; 41. “That hurts!” cries; 43. “It’s ___ of the times”; 46. Like about half of a team’s games; 48. Mauna ___; 49. ___ doble (Spanish dance); 55. Boyfriend; 60. Stilted response to “Who’s there?”; 68. Wield, as influence, 69. The “A” in A-Rod; 70. Alike: Fr.; 71. Response to a schoolyard denial; 72. Make a fuss at a public meeting, maybe; 73. Use a lasso on. DOWN: 1. Skinny; 2. Entire ___ (confidentially); 3. Boston cager, briefly; 5. Prefix with hazard; 6. Tempe sch.; 7. Blacksmith’s tool; 9. VCR button; 11. Orpheus’ instrument; 12. Have ___ (lose it); 13. Thomas Hardy heroine; 22. Flip; 24. Barely make, with “out”; 25. Madre’s boy; 27. “The Sound of Music” family name; 28. One of 12 Minor Prophets of the Hebrew Bible; 29. Alternatives to reds and whites; 30. “Don’t even think about it!”; 32. Japanese verse form; 33. Yens; 34. Talking bird; 38. Upscale London district; 42. Mop; 45. Shallowest of the Great Lakes; 47. Sam Adams product; 51. At the same level (with); 54. Supplement; 56. Steamed; 57. What planes do after landing; 61. Shakespearean schemer; 62. [Just like that!]; 63. Like some threats; 66. Novelist Kesey; 67. Bus. Card datum.

11.22.10 — Monday Meal Money

Monday, November 22, 2010

Puzzle by David Poole, edited by Will Shortz

Hah! Canadian bacon can be used to purchase CANADIAN BACON (20A. Meal money in Manitoba?), Monterey jack for the cheese MONTEREY JACK (34A. Meal money in California?), Italian bread for a loaf of ITALIAN BREAD (41A. Meal money in Tuscany?) and Boston lettuce for a head of BOSTON LETTUCE (56AA. Meal money in Massachusetts?) — that's the interrelated group of this mild Monday crossword.

Other — AGITATO (43D. Energetically, in music), GOING FAR (11D. On the path to great success), ERENESTO (44D. Che Guevara’s given name), MADISON (5D. President after Jefferson), MAMA BEAR (38D. Who owned the too-soft bed that Goldilocks tried), STRANGE (9D. Eerie).

Six-letter — AT EASE, FRESCA, GADFLY (32A. Persistent, irritating critic), MASCOT, NASCAR, OSCARS, PACKER, SCULLY, TIMING, TRANCE.

Five — ALERT (15A. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed), ARABS (8D. Most Yemenis), ARIES, COROT (53A. French painter of  “Le Pont de Mantes“), DEWAR, HERBS, MESAS, OTERO (68A. New Mexico county whose seat is Alamogordo), SANAA (4D. Yemen‘s capital), STEAK, TO LET.


Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 1. Wrestling surfaces; 5. Small plateaus; 10. Gets on in years; 14. Pioneering razor with a pivoting head; 16. Tedious way to learn; 17. Actor Penn with two 23-Across; 18. Big name in Scotch; 19. Bart Simpson’s brainy sister; 23. Academy Awards; 24. Show that launched Eddie Murphy and Chevy Chase, for short; 25 Gangster’s gun; 28. Golf peg; 29. Quick bite; 36. Unconscious state; 39. Cenozoic or Mesozoic; 40. Scots Gaelic; 46. Comic’s asset; 47. Feudal worker; 48. Tanning lotion letters; 51. Spanish “that”; 52. Actor Cage, familiarly; 54. Daytona 500 acronym; 60. Was sorry about; 62. The Ram; 63. Benevolent and Protective Order group 64. Not much; 65. Boardinghouse window sign; 66. Baldwin of “30 Rock”; 67. Not his; 69. Actress Sedgwick of “The Closer”. — DOWN: 1. Georgia’s bulldog or Princeton’s tiger; 2. “Relax, soldier!”; 3. Hypnotized state; 6. Home of Zeno; 7. Stitched; 10. Folkie Guthrie; 12. U.F.O.’s crew; 13. Word repeated in the lyric “From ___ to Shining ___”; 21. Villain in the title of a James Bond book; 26. Part of baseball’s postseason: Abbr.; 27. Rug rat; 30. British W.W. II gun; 31. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme; 33. Played records at a party, say; 35. Opposite of well done; 36. Quote from, as a legal case; 37. Elevator pioneer Elisha; 42. Quaint roadside stops; 45. “… to buy ___ pig”; 48. Mulder’s partner on “The X-Files”; 49. Green Bay athlete; 50. Sprite alternative; 55. The “turf” part of “surf and turf”; 57. 2:1 or 3:1; 58. River near the Great Pyramids; 59. Wanton look; 60. “Go, team!”; 61. Sport-___ (vehicle).

11.21.10 — Playing Sardines — the Acrostic

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ACROSTIC, Puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, edited by Will Shortz

This Sunday’s pre-Thanksgiving food-stuffed acrostic feast draws a quotation from Les Menus Plaisirs, a short story from Michèle Roberts’ collection Playing Sardines. Food, however, is not the only thing on the menu.

Playing Sardines - a game in the dark, a game about desire, about wanting, all whipped up in a tale about the erotic allure of recipes: a cook whose obsessive love turns hungry and dangerous; a fan who tries to get into a celebrity novelist's sheets; a fanatical dieter and maker of lists working out how to deal with a husband who snores; a faddy eater thrown off-course by a miracle; a child greedy for love who faces up to her demon of jealousy - just some of the characters who shape this wonderful collection. Women yearning for what they haven't got - prepared to be wily, deceptive, cunning and perverse - all these strategies for survival in love and life are deployed here to mouth-watering effect. ~ Amazon.com


The author’s name an the title of the work: ROBERTS PLAYING SARDINES

The defined words (all relating to food):

A. Handouts from quartermasters, RATIONS
B. Past expiration (3 wds.), OUT OF DATE
C. Descriptive of some oak-aged Chardonnays, BUTTERY
D. Legendary French chef who wrote “Le Guide Culinaire”, ESCOFFIER
E. Lean cut of beef (2 wds.), RUMP STEAK
F. Meant to be tossed after use, THROWAWAY
G. Beverage made in a blender, SMOOTHIE
H. Like fruits and vegetables, typically, PERISHABLE
I. Kind of diet that typically emphasizes fruits and vegetables (hyph.), LOW-FAT
J. Kind of soup named for the morsels in it, ALPHABET
K. Season for glogg and lutefisk, in Scandinavia, YULETIDE
L. Like products from foreign lands, IMPORTED
M. Patron of a 24-hour diner, maybe (2 wds.), NIGHT OWL
N. Brand peddled by truck drivers (2 wds.), GOOD HUMOR
O. Eating from the same dish, SHARING
P. Neil Simon’s “Maxim’s of the disenfranchised”, AUTOMAT
Q. Cubra libre, essentially (3 wds.), RUM AND COKE
R. Pastry said to originate in Vienna, DANISH
S. Accessible to someone out to lunch? (hyph.), IDIOT-PROOF
T. Ingredients for pad thai or tuna casserole, NOODLES
U. Enjoyer of fine cuisine, gourmet, EPICURE
V. Place to find scallops, oysters or clams, SEABED

In “Les Menus Plaisirs”, a short story from her recent collection Playing Sardines, Roberts even gives an example of what one could term “food racism”. The narrator’s father refused to eat anything but English food; suet pudding, Eccles cake, Bakewell tart, kippers, bitter marmalade, Cheddar cheese, toad-in-the-hole, bangers and mash, bacon sandwiches, and oxtail soup are all to his taste. Foreign food, however, has no chance. No courgettes, aubergines, garlic, or olive oil are allowed on his plate, and he is outraged when his daughter prepares a ratatouille for him: “None of your filthy foreign muck in my house”, he shouts before throwing the dish out of the window The narrator sums up, “food was treated like gentlemen callers in a Victorian novel: it was interrogated as to its intentions, its culture and origins. Paella, spaghetti and couscous were forbidden suitors at our door. No daughter of mine, our father seemed to imply, will keep company with a sweet potato, a mango, a yam. Making Sense: Sense Perception in the British Novel of the 1980s and 1990s by Ralf Hertel


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Puzzle available on the internet at