Sunday, 9/9/12

NYT 11:23 
LAT 8:06 
Reagle 7:32 
Hex/Hook 11:36 (pannonica) 
WaPo untimed (Doug) 
CS 8:13 (Sam) 

Congrats to the winners at Saturday’s BACFill crossword tournament in the Bay Area! I hear that Jordan Chodorow won, thanks to nipping Eric Maddy by 2 minutes on puzzle #2 (which we’ll see as the Tuesday NYT). Team Fiend’s very own Doug Peterson placed third by winning the tiebreaker. We are still waiting for California’s female crossworders to place in the top 3 at the various West Coast tournaments, aren’t we? If you’re a speed solver in California with two X chromosomes, I encourage you to train for these events.

Kevin Der’s New York Times crossword, “Circling the Job Listings”

NY Times crossword solution, 9 9 12 “Circling the Job Listings”

The circular theme makes good use of multiple meanings, but overall this puzzle went slowly and sloggishly (caveat: not a real word) for me. Headache? Oddball fill like EL ROPO? Tough clues? I’m not sure which was the primary reason.

For the theme, each job listing fits two different jobs, and each job is described by two job listings:

  • 23a. [... and 33-Across: "must wear gloves in the field"] BASEBALL PLAYER.
  • 33a. ARCHAEOLOGIST [... and 50-Across: "experienced in conducting surveys for sites"]. So the archaeologist wears gloves at a dig to avoid getting skin oils on relics, I think, and surveys dig sites.
  • 50a. ONLINE MARKETER [... and 62-Across: "may be tasked with generating impressions"]. Online marketing efforts may survey websites as well as generating eyeball hits.
  • 62a. METAL WORKER [... and 69-Across: "excellent filing skills required"]. Not sure what “impressions” metal workers generate. With stamping equipment? Filing metal is entirely different from filing library books … which aren’t filed.
  • 69a. LIBRARY PAGE [... and 86-Across: "focused on improving circulation"]. Well… In my experience, library pages shelve books more than they do filing, and they’re not focused on improving circulation of library books aside from making the books findable by library patrons.
  • 86a. CARDIAC SURGEON [... and 96-Across: "willing to open chests and work on vessels"]. Blood circulation, blood vessels, thoracotomy, yadda yadda.
  • 96a. PIRATE CAPTAIN [... and 112-Across: "strong, disciplined hands a must"]. I call foul. Are there job listings for pirate captains? And must they provide the crew of “disciplined hands”?
  • 112a. CONCERT PIANIST [... and 23-Across: "should be comfortable sitting on the bench"]. Piano bench, baseball dugout bench. And so we come full circle.

Spots that gave me trouble abounded:

  • 5d. [Fishing line attachment], BOBFLY. Wha…? Is this for fly fishing? Because I’ve never seen this term before.
  • 22a. [Cheap cigar, in slang], EL ROPO. Must’ve encountered this in prior crosswords.
  • 40d. [Mount Narodnaya's locale], URALS. Hard to find a clue for URALS that hasn’t been used umpteen times, but Kevin did it.
  • 12d. [It might say "ATM Here"], NEON LAMP. “Neon light” or “neon sign” is a far more familiar term. I wasn’t sure if I’d seen neon signs saying “ATM Here,” but here’s one.
  • 79d. [Mars atmosphere features], CIRRI. I know about Earth’s cirrus clouds but not Mars’.
  • 57d. [Troubadour's love song], ALBA. Hunh?
  • 83a. [One down in the mouth], TONSIL. I had TONGUE. I think of tonsils as being at the back of the mouth, not “down.”
  • 1a. [Elvis's "Can't Help Falling In Love," e.g.], SIDE B. Wanted OLDIE.
  • 19d. [Pride Lands queen], NALA. Don’t remember Pride Lands being a term from The Lion King but it must be.
  • 85d. [Decorative Valentine's Day gift], LOVE KNOT. Wha…?

Liked the pair of 10-letter Downs, ONE OF A KIND and DESIGN FLAW. Also nice to have GLYPHS crossing the ARCHAEOLOGIST. Not much else jumped out at me as fun. Three stars.

Merl Reagle’s syndicated crossword, “The Constancy of Consonants”

Merl Reagle crossword solution, 9 9 12 “The Constancy of Consonants”

As Merl explains in the note attached to the clue for 1-Across, “ABOUT THIS PUZZLE: If you saw the headline ‘Fiend Found!’ you might instantly notice that, between the two words, only the vowels change — the consonants stay put. Okay, if you were me, you’d instantly notice it. Anyway, this puzzle contains more of the same, with Y’s counting as vowels.)” This is the sort of theme I can get into.

  • 23a. [Works as a "merchandising futurist"?], PREDICTS PRODUCTS.
  • 27a. [Garnish for a tiny T-bone?], PETITE POTATO. I saw the teeniest little fingerling potatoes at Whole Foods the other day.
  • 36a. [Pricey place to live?], COSTLY CASTLE.
  • 52a. [What horror writers use?], GRIMMER GRAMMAR.
  • 60a. [Headquarters?], CENTRAL CONTROL.
  • 76a. [Political talk radio?]. DAY-LONG DUELING.
  • 84a. [Moose?], VERMONT VARMINT. Cute.
  • 101a. [Derelict American in Mexico?], GRUNGY GRINGO. Lively.
  • 109a. [Ad boast in a Northeastern city?], BEST IN BOSTON.
  • 118a. [Island ailment?], BORA BORA BERIBERI. Ah, yes. Merl saved the best for last.

Can you think of other phrases that would work well in this theme? BAHAMA MAMA BOHEME MIMI … COMOROS CAMERAS …

Merl saved room for some long fill, including ERYTHROMYCIN (please, I beg of you, do not pronounce the end of this as if it rhymes with “niacin,” as it really is not hard to pronounce it as “mice-in”), INIMITABLE, MODEL TRAIN, and the [1950s film gimmick] AROMARAMA. The latter was a competitor of Smell-o-Vision and its premiere revealed that the smells sometimes lingered too long.

Four stars for the theme, three for the fill.

Updated Sunday morning:

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Sunday Challenge” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, September 9

Randy Ross gives us a natty little 66/24 freestyle puzzle for this week’s Sunday Challenge. The only real sticking point for me was having STATE PATROL for the [Governor's guards] instead of STATE POLICE. That error cost me a fair amount of time in the northeast corner since I couldn’t get any of the crossings to work. I remember thinking more than once, “Gee, I would think the [Bread spreads] would be OLEOS, but this answer ends in -AS, not -OS.” I need to get a better sense of when to abandon my original answers when I get a nagging suspicion on a crossing.

I broke into the grid with NIA VARDALOS as the [Star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"]. Regular crossword-ers know NIA all too well, so it’s nice to see her get the full-name treatment here. Plunking down an 11-letter answer to start was a nice feeling, and it fed the rapid demise of the southwest corner. Speaking of that corner, hats off for the wonderful clue, [G, in music]. I was convinced the answer would be some musical term, but it proved to be KENNY, as in saxophonist and Seattle native Kenny G. Pure and simple, that’s an awesome clue.

The southeast corner is a bit choppy. ABOLISHER doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and LIVES HOME feels a tad arbitrary to me. Also on the arbitrary side is CULTIVATE A HABIT, the answer to [Faithfully exercise each day, e.g.]. I might cultivate a garden or even a relationship, but I don’t see myself cultivating a habit. Do you use this expression in your everyday conversation?

The only other entry that struck me as clunky was FIRST SEED, the [Favorite to win]. I know it as NUMBER ONE SEED. SEEDED FIRST is fine to my ear, but for whatever reason FIRST SEED seems off. Everything else, though, was really nice. I especially liked the clue for DRAFT PICK, [Pro choice?] (the absence of hyphenation makes all the difference). That’s a terrific way to start at 1-Across. Other highlights were KATE MOSS, the CABLE ACE Awards, A.A. MILNE, KIDDOS, and the [Basic training bark], TEN-HUT.

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s Sunday crossword, “Wordsmiths’ Tongue Twisters” — pannonica’s review

Hex/Hook • “Wordsmiths’ Tongue-Twisters • Cox, Rathvon • 9 9 12 • solution

Just what the title suggests, famous authors combined, possessively, with relatively similar-sounding nouns.

  • 22a. [Verses by an American author?] TWAIN’S QUATRAINS.
  • 34a. [Trash from a satirist?] SWIFT’S SCHLOCK.
  • 52a. [Sneezy playwright's accessory?] CHEKHOV’S KERCHIEF.
  • 70a. [Tool for analyzing a writer?] SARTRE’S RORSCHACH.
  • 87a. [That thing a dramatist does?] BRECHT’S SCHTICK.
  • 104a. [English novelist's brass?] HUXLEY’S CHUTZPAH.
  • 15d. [Playwright's neutral sounds?] SHAW’S SCHWAS.
  • 62d. [French writer's trouble talking?] PROUST’S LISP.

It’s an odd compendium of themers. Some of the items (QUATRAINS, SCHWAS, LISP) are overtly linguistic, some (KERCHIEF, CHUTZPAH) not at all, and some (SCHTICK, SCHLOCK) arguably related to writing, or at least applicable. There’s also a distracting preponderance of CH and SCH constructions, which unsurprisingly include a generous helping of Yiddish. Are such sounds overrepresented among tongue-twisters? I’ve learned from a previous write-up that my experience in this sphere is deficient. Finally, all but one of the wordsmiths is minimally identified, either by nationality or genre/style; poor Sartre is having an existential crisis.

  •  Bonus writers: NOËL Coward, Karen BLIXEN (ALIAS (102a) Isak Dinesen), and a passing mention of George Eliot by way of SILAS Marner. (18a, 87d, 92d).
  • Less familiar fill: 16d [Summery wraparound] PAREO, 51d [Small carriage] CALASH, 63a [Neonate test eponym] APGAR (see also the backronyms thereof in English, German, and Spanish). 78a [Coe's running rival] Steve OVETT, possibly familiar (especially six weeks ago, when this puzzle appeared in print) because of SEBCOE’s profile as the spearhead of London’s 2012 Olympics effort.
  • For 33d [Helpless initials?] I’d originally plunked in SOS, but the better answer was DIY.
  • Redundancy: 76a [Cross to bear] ONUS, and 38d [Irritated] CROSS.
  • Favorite clues: 39d [Ad hoc screwdriver] DIME, 98a [Quark flavor] STRANGE. Best-looking fill: SYRUPY [Like treacle] (89d).

Good puzzle with a slightly puzzling theme.

Mike Shenk’s Washington Post crossword, “The Post Puzzler No. 127″ – Doug’s review

Mike Shenk’s Washington Post solution 9/9/12, “The Post Puzzler No. 127

Hey, crossword fans. Doug here. I had a great time at BACFill (Bay Area Crossword Tournament) yesterday. Kudos to Andrew Laurence for putting it all together and for raising money for a great cause: Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

The highlight of the day for me was meeting Manny Nosowsky. He came into the room just before we started solving Puzzle 1 and received a standing ovation. Great moment. Thanks to Andrea Carla Michaels for helping to arrange for Manny to be there. And also thanks to Michael Blake for delivering a touching tribute to Manny. Michael is one of Andrea’s frequent puzzle collaborators and the guy who created the Manny Nosowsky Wikipedia page.

OK, I’m still pretty beat after flying to and from Oakland yesterday, so let’s get to it. I enjoy puzzles with 11/13/15 stacks at the top and bottom, and I’ve found them deceptively difficult to create. Not suprisingly, Mike Shenk did a marvelous job with this one.

      • 1a. [Professional sports team with a very long championship drought (100+years)] - CHICAGO CUBS. Gimme at 1-Across. Cubs last won the World Series in 1908. That was during the “Tinker to Evers to Chance” era. I’m a Yankee fan, so I consider a “long championship drought” to be three years.
      • 42d. ["We are but dust and shadow" writer] – HORACE. “All we are is dust in the wind, dude.”
      • 33d. [Greek wrestling school] – PALESTRA. Weird entry of the day. I bet that uber-wrestling geek PuzzleGirl hasn’t even heard of this one. From Wikipedia: “The palaestra was the ancient Greek wrestling school. The events that did not require a lot of space, such as boxing and wrestling, were practised there. The palaestra functioned both independently and as a part of public gymnasia; a palaestra could exist without a gymnasium, but no gymnasium could exist without a palaestra.” Okey-doke.
      • 51d. [Total coverage?] – MILK. Total cereal. Marvelous clue.

Other goodies: COUCH POTATOES, MANHUNT [What might result from a slip of the pen?], SWEET CAROLINE, APRICOTS.

Marti DuGuay-Carpenter’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword solution, 9 9 12 “Going Daffy”

The “Going Daffy” title refers to Daffy Duck (71d. [This puzzle's honoree, for one], TOON), a famous animated lisper. Each theme answer has swapped in a /th/ sound for an /s/:

  • 23a. [Quite somber Independence Day?], FOURTH OF GRAVITY. Plays on “force of gravity.”
  • 32a. Expandable waistline, say?], GROWTH MARGIN. “Gross margin.”
  • 55a. Ghost from outer space?], ALIEN WRAITH. “Alien race.”
  • 75a. Big bag of wind?], MIGHTY MOUTH. Fellow toon “Mighty Mouse.”
  • 91a. Jet bridge?], BOARDING PATH. “Boarding pass.”
  • 108a. The truth about Zeus, Apollo, etc.?], MYTH INFORMATION. “Misinformation.”
  • 37d. Texas Hold’em player’s confidence?], POKER FAITH. “Poker face.” That is both a familiar phrase and the title of a Lady Gaga song, and I don’t know how anyone kept a straight face while filming this over-the-top video.
  • 47d. Parisian pals?], FRENCH KITH. “French kiss.” Kith, of courth, are friends; your family is kin.

With all the crossword action that TO A T gets, it’s nice to see the full phrase, FIT TO A TEE (27a. [Was perfectly tailored]), for a change. Did you notice the stack in the upper right corner? Three answers with stand-alone letters: an EASY A, a G-STAR, and an O-RING.

Ten more clues:

  • 44a. [Cape Cod feature], GABLE. In a Cape Cod-style house, not the peninsula.
  • 65a. [They're often full of hot air], FLUES. Above a fireplace.
  • 1d. [Comedian Foxworthy], JEFF. He’s the host of a new game show on the GSN channel, American Bible Challenge. Puzzler/writer David Ellis Dickerson wrote tons of Bible trivia questions for the show.
  • 10d. ['70s radical gp. with a seven-headed cobra symbol], SLA. That’s the Symbionese Liberation Army, the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst. Basically a footnote in history these days, but it’s nice to see a fresh clue for an old answer. I didn’t know about the seven-headed cobra.
  • 41d. [Like most mailed letters], FOLDED. Personally, I like to crumple my letters up and mail them in a padded envelope.
  • 46d. [Ebenezer's epithet], BAH. Does a mere outburst qualify as an epithet? I think it’s technically a word or phrase used to describe someone or something. “Bah” is just an expression of contempt.
  • 58d. [Rogers rival], AUTRY. Singing Cowboy Gene Autry, Roy Rogers. Did Rogers sing too?
  • 66d. [One of five in a kids' rhyme], PIGGY. It’s kind of creepy to think of a piggy eating roast beef, particularly if the piggy is actually a toe. (See also 104d: [Sandal revelations], TOES.)
  • 70d. [Austrian city with a torte named after it], LINZ. That’s the Linzer torte.
  • 73d. [Hard worker], PLIER. As in one who plies a trade. The Scowl-o-Meter doesn’t like this answer.

The fill is fairly ordinary. TALK SHOP is pretty zippy, but most of the rest is plain. Which is better than being clunky, awkward, or racked with crosswordese pain. I like the theme, especially if you read the theme answers aloud. Note also the consistency: Each theme answer lisps in one spot, with no excess unchanged S’s. There’s also a good mix of spelling changes (e.g., gross to GROWTH, race to WRAITH, mis- to MYTH, force to FOURTH) to keep things interesting. 3.75 stars.

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29 Responses to Sunday, 9/9/12

  1. Bruce says:

    The one that made me tear my hair out was 29 down (oops) crossed with 41 across (pah). Pah? I had “nah” which gave me “oons” (and thereby fumbleoons which made no sense). DOH!

    • David L says:

      I ended up with OOHS and HAH, which seemed (and still seems) entirely plausible to me. On the other hand, I guessed right at UINTA/HAW, despite having no idea what person or creature in a field is likely to shout HAW, or on what occasion (the Monty Python Upper Class Twit of the Year competition is coming to mind…)

      I thought this was a terrible puzzle — dubious words, clues strained to breaking point and beyond.

  2. John E says:

    Solve for AxxLET.

    Hmm…AMULET? No.

    ANKLET? Nope.

    Running out of ideas…..

    ARMLET? Really?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      It partners with the helmet ARMET in the game “name something you wear that contains the letters A R M E and T in order, and is fairly obscure.”

  3. RK says:

    I just finished today’s NYT puzzle and boy are my Google searches tired.

  4. Nance says:

    Tedious!

  5. barryw says:

    Unfairly hard clues for O rings and Ohio

  6. ArtLvr says:

    In the Cox/Rathvon puzzle, CALASH came with crosses but still intrigued me: it seems to have been named after the 18th century bonnet which was a “folding hooped hood”! Talk about tongue-twisters. Also in French, calèche. I think I’ve seen modern converrtibles like that!

  7. ArtLvr says:

    p.s. Can’t we go back to 20 minutes for spelling corrections, etc.?
    Doug: I enjoyed your write-up — and congrats on third place, too!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Alas, our old comment-editing tool is not compatible with the newer WordPress themes, and we absolutely had to switch to a new theme because the old one generated too much of a drain on our server. Our clue-edit options are limited.

      It would be nice to hear a little appreciation for how easy it is to post comments here. The NYT comments are moderated and you can’t use any “naughty” words (whereas here, we do have frank discussions of those words), and the Blogger/blogspot comments pin you down to interpret a captcha of mangled letters. And everyone gets a chance to edit their comments here. Seems like whatever Evad and I do, people want more more more! Evad worked his tail off to implement the new theme and the customized features (the daily standings widget, the comment editing) and thereby kept the site from being shut down by the webhosting service for excess server usage. I’m grateful to Evad, and you all should be too!

      • Huda says:

        Amy, this is indeed a very nice format. I greatly appreciate the ability to edit. Like Artlvr, I wondered whether the time limit was flexible because it’s so helpful, but a few minutes is certainly better than none. I don’t know why it’s impossible to see the errors when you’re typing and you can see them plainly after you post! It’s so weird. And at worst, one can request a deletion (as I did recently after realizing that I had misunderstood something).

        Particularly cool, I think, is the fact that the system generates a little avatar for a poster that is consistent over time if they don’t have their own. I find that I got attached to mine before switching it out to a gravatar (thanks to instructions here).

        In general, I think hosting these blogs is a labor of love. Thanks to all of you who host, work on the website and blog the various puzzles. It definitely gives a whole different dimension to puzzle solving!

        And “that” will be “that”– which is what I had in lieu of “BOYS” will be BOYS, among numerous other stumbles in the NYT.

      • Lorraine says:

        I’m primarily a lurker, but I love the new system! And the few times I’ve commented, I had plenty of time to edit my mistakes. So kudos to you and especially Evad!

  8. dianah says:

    A big yuck to today’s NYT puzzle

  9. John Haber says:

    I thought it was a terrible puzzle, too, and I’ll add another flaw. It had me at start hurriedly entering gimmes, often crosswordese. A puzzle shouldn’t have so much forced fill anyway, but definitely not mixed with Monday level.

  10. Papa John says:

    Boy, am I glad I’m not alone in thinking this was one lousy puzzle. After finally giving up on trying to make sense of the theme and the title of the puzzle, I just slogged through it without much enjoyment. Amy’s parsing of the themes is spot on but I think she was being generous in her star rating.

    Many of the weird clues have already been noted but let me add 45D “School bully?” Aren’t you glad that real school bullies don’t eat their victims? Can ORCAs even grasp the concept of bullying? I certainly can’t see orcas, or any prey animals as bullies. Well, perhaps in a PIXAR movie.

    What about 44D “What ‘.99′ may represent” giving us CENTS? Isn’t the $ necessary for it to mean cents? Otherwise, it’s just .99 of anything.

    Steve, are you there? Is a 110A “Cleanup hitter, say” really called an RBIMAN?

    Granted, the slew of bad clues/fills was offset by 115D “Something you might turn on” for RED, but that hardly made up for the drudgery of working this puzzle.

    • pannonica says:

      re: 44d, that’s what the “may” is in the clue for. While it’s true that it could represent anything, that particular decimal is very common in pricing, so it isn’t unfair in that regard either.

      As for ORCA, they’re highly intelligent and social, and I would posit that they do indeed have a concept of bullying. This, however, doesn’t excuse the strange clue (although male dolphins and whales are called bulls, for whatever that’s worth). Point of usage: “prey animals” refers to the victims.

      • Papa John says:

        If you regard bullying as a way of determining dominance, then I suppose bullying is rampant among species. Then again, it would be confined to other members of the same species. I stand by what I said. I don’t think orcas “bully” fish; which, I think, the clue implies with the word “school”. No matter how intelligent a predator may be, they simply don’t bully their prey. That’s not to say that I don’t get the intent of the clue, but, as David L. said, this clue was strained to my breaking point.

        I noticed my error with “prey animal” but (please don’t jump on me, Amy, this is not a complaint) I was unable to edit it because, as they say, my time was up. Like Hudu, I often notice my mistakes after posting. Thanks for pointing it out.

        I’m going to stick with my comment about “.99”, too. It may represent ninety-nine cents only if the dollar sign precedes it. As a pricing stratagem, I don’t follow your argument. How does the clue reference that?

        Perhaps this puzzle was so dreary for me, I refuse to give it any benefit of the doubt.

        Consider the first theme entry, 23A …and 33-Across: “must wear gloves in the field” and its fill, BASEBALLPLAYER. Does one baseball player wear more than one glove in the field? I think “gloves” is pluralized to make it work, albeit strained to the max, for the fill for 33A, ARCHAEOLOGIST. That put me in an off mood, right from the get go and I’m still not a happy camper.

      • pannonica says:

        I don’t want to be tedious—seemingly we can agree that the puzzle was tedious enough—but if a dollar sign precedes “.99″ (and assuming we’re not being esoteric about foreign currency such as the peso) then there’s no “may” about it: it’s definitely CENTS. Without the dollar sign, a point-ninety-nine may represent cents, and often does because it’s probably the most common context for seeing that particular decimal.

        I’m still not defending the clue for ORCA; I had simply been adding some information into the mix. However, “bullying” can mean coercing, which is common behavior from predator to prey.

        And, for my pièce de résistance, BASEBALL PLAYER. Said player could (a) have more than one glove available to wear in the field (nothing in the clue that specifies it must be simultaneous), (b) is it possible that baseball players wear a lining glove inside the mitt? I don’t know. and (c) can “in the field” be separated from the idiomatic meaning of “playing defense” to allow for an offensive player using batting gloves? Yes, I’m just playing devil’s advocate; it’s another weird stretch of a clue.

  11. dianah says:

    Re LA times:
    Forget Lady Gaga’s Poker Face , listen to Homer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMNkYK_IuuI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  12. Steve Tice says:

    Glaring error in the Randy Ross clue for 32 A : Brother and sister Hollywood hoofers.
    Adele never made a movie with Fred. After years of appearing on the London and Broadway stage, she retired in 1932 to marry a British royal.

  13. jane lewis says:

    the la times puzzle was titled going daddy in my newspaper – i got the puzzle but i could not tie it to the title. now it makes sense.

    • Margaret says:

      I don’t know if your paper is the SF Chronicle, but the pink section had this “Go Daddy” error also. I understood the TH for S substitution right away, and the TOON answer confirmed what I thought was the theme, but I couldn’t figure out the title at all! Thank goodness for this blog, giving me a place to figure these things out and also giving me a chance to vent!

  14. pannonica says:

    LAT:

    Does a mere outburst qualify as an epithet? I think it’s technically a word or phrase used to describe someone or something. “Bah” is just an expression of contempt.


    From m-w.com:
    epithet (noun) 1a: a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing, b: a disparaging or abusive word or phrase, c: the part of a taxonomic name identifying a subordinate unit within a genus
    2 obsolete: expression

    nb: For sense 1c, the most common locution would be “specific epithet” to describe a species-level identification. I suppose it could also apply to subspecies and perhaps variety (for some plants).

  15. pannonica says:

    mind wandering:

    ATM(OSP)HERE

    OSP could stand for Oregon (or Ohio) State Police, Old Spanish, osteoporosis, Office of Special Plans.

  16. pannonica says:

    No WaPo in .puz this week?

    • Lorraine says:

      I haven’t been able to get WaPo in .puz format for 3 or 4 weeks now — they want to force everyone to endure the opening commercial…and i HATE the interface we’re forced to use — if you use your up/down/left/right arrow buttons a lot — they don’t stop at the edge of the grid but merrily keep going. It’s annoying!

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I have not heard anything from Peter Gordon about making .puz/Across Lite files available. CrosSynergy puzzles continue to be made available in the .jpz/Puzzle Solver format at the Crossword Fiend forum. (Thanks to CrosSynergy leader Bob Klahn for making these files available, and thanks to Janie for posting them each day.

      Both the Post Puzzler and the CS puzzles are available in the Arkadium Java applet at the Post’s website. Yes, you have to sit through an ad, but bear in mind that newspapers are struggling these days and they pay constructors and editors to provide us with crosswords. Is it annoying to have to sit through an ad? Sure. But it makes it easier for the newspaper to continue publishing crosswords. Also, the Post’s Java crossword applet has been significantly modified to make the navigation feel quite a bit more like Across Lite. All of the Post’s crossword providers had a chance to suggest changes, and I helped them give feedback. I don’t care for the Newsday applet or the Chicago Tribune/LA Times applet because they don’t navigate the way I expect them to—but the Post’s applet feels normal to me.

      If you’re averse to using Puzzle Solver and .jpz files, you can also access the CrosSynergy puzzles at the Facebook app Crosswords by PuzzleSocial. (Disclaimer: I’m a PuzzleSocial employee.) The navigation there feels normal to me, too. If you’re new to PuzzleSocial’s app, be aware that you’ll need to disable Ad Blocker on that page if you’re blocking ads—but you can still use Ad Blocker on other Facebook pages.

      I’m grateful that we have so many routes for getting good crosswords for free (or at least cheaply). In an era where the Tribune Media Services discontinued the Tribune puzzle and the Washington Post canceled the old Sunday puzzle edited by Fred Piscop, we’re lucky to have as many remaining crosswords as we do.

      And do remember to send a few bucks to the expanding group of constructors who make their puzzles available online at no charge. (Matt Gaffney, Brendan Emmett Quigley, Trip Payne, Patrick Berry, Andrew Ries, Erik Agard, Neville Fogarty … am I forgetting anyone?

  17. sbmanion says:

    John,

    I just got back from tutoring all day. I would not normally use the term “rbi man” to refer to a specific player, but I honestly don’t have a problem with it. Tony Perez, part of the Big Red Machine of the ’70s was known as a top rbi producer and I can envision even a hardcore well-versed in baseball vernacular fan saying something like “the rbi man is up.” And, of course, the clean-up hitter (number four batter in the lineup for the sports phobic) is the most likely to lead any given team in rbi’s.

  18. Chris Wooding says:

    Re: LAT, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans notably sang their closing theme,”Happy Trails to You.”. I think Dale wrote it?

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