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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cosmetician Adrien / MON 11-1-10 / WW II admiral Chester / Nixon's Florida home / War chief Black Horse's tribe

Constructor: Holden Baker

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: various KAINEs — five theme answers end with "KAINE" sound


Word of the Day: PHLOX (24D: Showy flowers) —
Phlox (pronounced /ˈflɒks/ "flocks": Greek φλόξ "flame"; plural "phlox" or "phloxes", Greek φλόγες phlóges) is a genus of 67 species of perennial and annual plants found mostly in North America (one in Siberia) in diverse habitats from alpine tundra to open woodland and prairie. Some flower in spring, others in summer and autumn. (wikipedia)
• • •

Happy November (my birthday month, my favorite month). I think this one might skew slightly harder than the average Monday, if only for phreaky PHLOX and a host of proper nouns, at least one of which was likely to cause any given solver to seek help in the crosses. Was going to say I've never heard of PHLOX, but it was in a (Wednesday) puzzle two years ago, so I must have heard of it. Just didn't stick. This puzzle makes me miss Michael CAINE. COCAINE just seems like a cheap trick (and not the good kind, the kind that sang "Dream Police" — the other kind). So does KEY BISCAYNE, which I needed many crosses to get, not knowing as much Nixon trivia as perhaps I'm supposed to. One major omission, KAINE-wise: Virginia governor Tim KAINE. I realized that eight letters, there's really nowhere to put him, but if you're going to go with ALL the KAINEs, then get 'em all.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Aid for a person with a limp (WALKING CANE)
  • 11D: Nixon's Florida home (KEY BISCAYNE)
  • 36A: Drug from Colombia (COCAINE)
  • 25D: Creating a ruckus (RAISING CAIN)
  • 53A: 1941 Orson Welles classic ("CITIZEN KANE")
I have a lot of respect for a puzzle that gets this close but DOESN'T go for the pangram. Why force a "J" into this grid? Who benefits? (no one). Overall, I think the grid is pretty good. I mean, A CAT, A PIG, A LIE, a bit much, but otherwise, mostly good. Tripped at PHLOX, then COMANCHE (Black Horse?) (36D: War chief Black Horse's tribe), then NIMITZ (Chester?) (42A: W.W. II admiral Chester), then KEY BISCAYNE, but crosses took care of any problems I had pretty quickly, as is typical for a Monday.

Bullets:
  • 31A: Cosmetician Adrien (ARPEL) — I know ... him? ... nope, her ... only from crosswords. Well, maybe I've heard the name, somewhere... strangely, she does not have a wikipedia page, at all.
  • 40A: Long-armed ape, for short (ORANG) — another word I know just from xwords. Oh, and maybe from Poe.


  • 51D: Latin jazz great Puente (TITO) — Here's a little something. Enjoy.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Saturday, October 30, 2010

1986 Brad Davis film / SUN 10-31-10 / Jazz saxophonist/flutist Frank / 1987 Adrian Pasdar film / Athenian porch

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Fangs for the Memories" — Vampire movies, and then you draw a bat


Word of the Day: SAL soda (75D: ___ soda) —
n.
A hydrated sodium carbonate used as a general cleanser.
• • •

Lots of pretty damned obscure movies, but a delightful puzzle experience nonetheless. A thematic tour de force, with tons of theme answers are a child's place mat activity at the end. None of the connect-the-dot letters are inside theme answers *except" the first "R" in VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, which I'm kind of obsessed with now, from a constructor's point of view. That's 18 "dots" for the drawing—to land that last one right inside a long theme answer ... that impresses me, somehow. I might just be naive. I'm wicked tired from waaaaaaaaaaalllllking so much today at the Rally For Sanity, so I don't know how much sustained writing I can do. How far did we walk? Well, we parked at Arlington Cemetery and walked to rally, so you do the geographical math. Mob scene. Public transportation largely useless (for those of us who didn't bother getting there at the crack of dawn). So: walking. Fun, but exhausting. Maybe I'll just pick at this thing for a few minutes at a time for the rest of the night. Maybe I'll make PuzzleGirl alternate 10-minute shifts with me.

Well she's out getting ice cream or something, so I'll have to forge ahead. I had two errors in this puzzle—one a stupid oversight, the other ... actually, the other wasn't an error, but a flat-out guess that proved correct. So the error—I doubt I ever even looked at the clue for 26A: High-water mark; I just have seen most of it filled in and figured, because of the theme, that the answer was BLOODLINE. Why not? I'd buy a "Concerto in B" by Gershwin (the Down cross). But no: FLOODLINE is the only thing that fits the clue. And the guess? The NAYA / SAL crossing. Never seen NAYA brand water, never Ever heard of SAL soda, so that "A," pfft. Honestly, that's a terrible clue for SAL. Rest of the puzzle was mostly EASY AS PIE (120A: "Piece of cake!"), or at least easy enough to hack through without much trouble. Never heard of many of the vampire movies, but those titles weren't hard to get.

Who orders a BANANA SHAKE? (4D: Fruit-based fountain treat)—never heard of such a thing, though of course I can imagine it. ROCOCO STYLE feels redundant (12D: What Chippendale furniture was made in). ROCOCO *is* a STYLE. Clue makes the answer fit, but :(

Theme answers:
  • 23A: 1922 Max Schreck film (NOSFERATU)
  • 56A: 1995 Eddie Murphy film (VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN)
  • 68A: 1931 Bela Lugosi film (DRACULA)
  • 97A: 1979 George Hamilton film (LOVE AT FIRST BITE)
  • 113A: 1987 Adrian Pasdar film (NEAR DARK) — directed by Kathryn Bigelow (who directed "The Hurt Locker")
  • 117A: 2008 Robert Pattinson film (TWILIGHT)
  • 125A: 1986 Brad Davis film (BLOOD TIES) — this last one appears to be very obscure—listed at imdb as "Il cugino americano," and appears to have ZERO to do with vampires. I ... don't understand.


Bullets:
  • 21A: Odd Fellows' meeting place (LODGE) — no idea what this means. Oddfellows are my wife's favorite candy from back home (New Zealand)
  • 55A: Saturnalia participants (FEASTERS) — "Saturnalia" makes me think of orgies, not feasting.
  • 61A: Athenian porch (STOA) — a crosswordy word that is just a reflex answer for me at this point, like STELE / STELA (which I would confuse STOA with if they weren't different letter counts)
  • 95A: Bygone flightless bird (MOA) — like Oddfellows, also from New Zealand.
  • 130A: Many visitors to Legoland (DANES) — Baffling. Aren't there Legolands of one kind or another all over the world? Is there some mother ship in Denmark?
  • 119A: Bones also called cubiti (ULNAE) — hey, new ULNA knowledge! But, really? Someone calls them that?
  • 118D: Jazz saxophonist/flutist Frank (WESS) — Uh ... OK, sure, why not? He needs a second "S," we'll give him a second "S."
  • 60D: Epoch in which mammals arose (EOCENE) — Would never know this epoch existed were it not for crosswords ... so many vowels, such a weird opening pair of letters ...
  • 72D: N.F.L. defensive lineman B.J. ___ (RAJI) — Uh ... OK, sure, why not? I wonder if there is anyone, anywhere in the world name WESS RAJI. Please write me if that is your name.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Hey, everybody. PuzzleGirl here. I managed to get out of writing anything about the puzzle by offering to take the kids out for ice cream. Worked like a charm! But Rex asked me to post some pictures from the rally today. You might have been under the impression that the rally was political in nature, but I think the following examples of rally signs clearly show that the people who attended had a wide variety of concerns/issues/opinions. Enjoy.













[Sahra Parker and PuzzleDaughter]


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Baby you're a firework.



« Do you know that there's still a chance for you, cause there's a spark in you. » ♥.

( Est-ce que ce clip n'est pas formidable ?! J'ai même pleuré en le regardant, c'est pour dire ;__;'. Vive Katy Perry quoi ♥.
Isn't this video clip awesome ?! I even cried while I watched it ;___;'. OMG, long live Katy Perry ♥ ).

~~~~~

Ouiiii, je sais. Dans mon article précédent, je promettais que les vacances seraient synonymes de plus d'articles par ici, & au final : que neni. J'espère que personne n'est rancunier, surtout que j'ai une très bonne raison : j'étais à Paris pour quelques jours, ou plus exactement de Lundi à Vendredi. Durant cette mini-semaine de vacances dans la capitale, j'ai pu notamment faire du shopping ( bon, ok, ça, c'est un peu le minimum syndical quoi ... ).

Yessss, I know. In my previous post, I swore that holidays will be the occasion for me to write more articles, but in fact : not at all.
I hope that nobody's vindictive, & btw I have a very good reason : I was in Paris for a few days ( Monday to Friday ). During this little week in the French capital, I was in particular able to make shopping ( well, that's the most important, isn't it .. ? ).

 
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Dress
: Mim, Cape : Gémo, Shoes : New Look.

Ma robe jacquard, je l'aime d'un amour fou & sans borne, tout comme ma cape ♥.

I love my jacquard dress with an unbelievable love, like ma cape ♥.

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J'aurais vraiment voulu ces deux dernières paires de chaussures *_*.
I wish I had those two previous shoes *_*.

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Jacket, top & leggings
: Pimkie.

( Vous pouvez retrouvez des articles de chez Pimkie sur le site de ShopAlike
).

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Dress
: Naf Naf.

Je vous jure que dans cette robe, vous vous sentirez plus princesse que jamais *o*.

I swear you that in this dress, you will feel more princess than ever ! *o*.


~~~

Enfin, en dernier mais pas en moins important, je souhaiterez vous demandez les améliorations que vous aimeriez voir sur mon blog. Parce que oui, mon blogounet, c'est trop chouette d'y poster des articles & tout ça, mais c'est quand même vous qui le lisez & qui me laissez des commentaires. Par exemple, je ne sais pas, est-ce que la taille des photos vous va ? Est-ce que je parle trop ? Est-ce que je devrais arrêtez de vous faire partager mes goûts musicaux ? Est-ce que le design est sympa ? Est-ce que .. J'en sais rien moi, allez-y, je prends touuuuuuutes les remarques.

Last but not least, I was wondering myself if you, readers, was thinking about some stuffs to change my blog in a better way.
I mean, it's really fun to write this blog & so on, but it's YOU who read it & let me some comments. For exemple, I don't know, is the size of the pics ok ? Should I speak less ? Should I stop post music on my articles ? Is the design great ? ... I don't know but let's go, do not hesitate to be part of the blog with your advices & so on, I accept allllll remaks.


Merci pour tout, je vous aimes ! ♥. Thank you so much for all sweeties, love ya ! ♥.


~~~

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Les fiiiiilles, malheureusement je dois revenir sur mes propos : le concours sur mon blog prend fin aujourd'hui, en fait il y a eu confusion avec Miss Moss car le concours était mis en ligne sur d'autres blogs, c'est à dire que les trois prix sont répartis sur plusieurs blogs aussi ..
Miss Moss a effectué un tirage au sort ( http://laviedanslamain.canalblog.com/archives/2010/10/30/19470715.html#comments ), & sur mon blog, une lectrice a gagné le second prix, soit 7 euros sur tout le site de Miss Moss, & c'est ... Pauline, de Pinupapple !
Désolée à toutes celles qui n'ont pas gagné, j'aurais tellement aimé que toutes les participantes plus adorables les unes que les autres remportent quelque chose ! Néanmoins, toutes celles qui ont participer ont droit à 12% de réduction sur tous les bijoux de Miss Moss n_n. 
De plus, j'ai très envie de moi-même vous proposez un concours prochainement, ça vous dit n'est-ce pas ?!
Je pense à des lots comme du maquillage ou des bijoux, parce que pour les vêtements tout le monde a une taille différente donc ça ne serait pas équitable ^_^".
Donc voili-voilou, je vous tiens au courant pour ce futur concours que j'espère pouvoir mettre en place durant le mois de Novembre !
Je vous adores très fooooort ♥.

Girly


Le brunch light entre filles...

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Ma nouvelle amie, américaine et chanteuse Justyna Kelley.

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Margaux B, dite "la brune"...

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La pause shopping avec India...

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La suite et fin du shooting avec Bouchra...

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Comintern creator / SAT 10-30-10 / Leandro's partner / Empathic counselor / William Herschel discovery 1787 / Treaty Fort McIntosh signer 1785

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: OTTO II (31D: Holy Roman emperor, 973-83) —
Otto II (955 – December 7, 983), called the Red, was the third ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty, the son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was hard for me, especially in the bottom half. Sadly, most of the difficulty was due to my completely misreading a clue, and Continuing to misread multiple times, over the course of several minutes. The clue: 61A: Eponym of an Australian Open arena (ROD LAVER). What I read: 61A: Eponym of an Australian Open area. “There’s an Open Area in Australia? And ... it has an eponym??” I figured my geography just sucked and there was some large Open Area of Australia that I should just know. RED RIVER? That’s not an eponym. You’d think that between “arena” and the fact that “Open” was capitalized that I’d have figured it out. But no. Well, yes, eventually, but not for a while. Had BARN for BALE at 56D: “Oklahoma!” set piece, which didn’t help. At all. That whole (open) area down there in the SE is kind of ugly. Driving all those -ER answers into the SE corner like that! It’s not like this is a 60-worder. No need to cluster bomb -ERS like that.

There wasn’t much that I liked in this grid except B.J. THOMAS (34D: Singer with the 1966 hit “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”). Absurd proper nouns like EILAT (51A: Gulf of Aqaba city) and OTTO II (!?) (31D: Holy Roman emperor, 973-83) and CAPE CORAL (!?) (33D: Florida city on the Caloosahatchee) and WESER (?!) (7D: River to the North Sea), and the long, odd partial I QUOTE (3D: Lead-in to someone else’s words, after “and”) kept this from being terribly enjoyable. CHIPPEWA (1A: Treaty of Fort McIntosh signer, 1785) and ESCAROLE (58A: Common salad ingredient) and, to a lesser extent, EXTRA FINE (20A: Coin collector’s classification), are the only answers that really pop. POOR AT? OWES TO? MEAN TO? It’s all a bit awkward and lumbering, though I do kind of admire the aggressively 18th-century vibe of the puzzle, with both CHIPPEWA and OBERON (16A: William Herschel discovery of 1787) getting clues from 200+ years ago.



I’m writing this in northern Virginia—specifically, from the living room of PuzzleGirl, who is hosting me and my family this weekend. I’m writing in a Word document because she couldn’t figure out how to get me on to her wireless network ... only to find out that the problem was that she had given me the wrong password initially. Not that you need to know this, but I’m just saying: she just spent half an hour detectivizing the problem for me. She’s good people.

Bullets:
  • 22A: De Gaulle's predecessor (COTY) — Did not know this. Know COTY only as the fragrance ... guy?
  • 25A: 440 yards, for many runners (ONE LAP) — interesting. I always think of ONE LAP as a quarter mile ... which I guess that is. OK.
  • 43A: Empathic counselor of sci-fi (TROI) — she's super-common in crosswords. Yesterday BOI, today TROI. Yesterday RESODS, today ... RESODS (44D: Covers over, in a way)
  • 58A: Group 13 member, in chemistry (BORON) — The boron group consists of boron (B), aluminium (Al), gallium (Ga), indium (In), thallium (Tl), and ununtrium (Uut). (wikipedia)
  • 2D: El Cid player (HESTON) — A gimme. Otherwise, this NW corner might have been a lot harder than it was.
  • 5D: Marks in a casino (PIPS) — I had SAPS.
  • 6D: Leandro's partner (ERO) — I know these folks from the Marlowe poem "Hero and Leander." Leander swims the Hellespont—that's pretty much all I remember from that poem.
  • 47D: Stonemason's chisel (TOOLER) — Had to infer this one.
  • 50D: Comintern creator (LENIN) — short for The Communist International, dedicated to the overthrow of the "international bourgeoisie," among other things.
  • 52D: "The Frogs Who Desired a King" author (AESOP) — Not a tale I remember, but the animals made me think AESOP anyway.
  • 59D: Year the Visigoths invaded Italy (CDI) — I do not care for "CSI," but I would totally watch a show called "CDI."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Pirate de... Boulogne !


Il y a un an, ouais c'était le 30 octobre 2009, je posais pour le magazine Paulette.

Je me souviens encore de cette journée, nous nous étions toutes retrouvées à Boulogne mais je n'avais pas imaginé à quel point j'allais souffrir... Non pas que l'équipe ait été dure avec moi, loin de là, mais j'ai eu tellement froid. Je pensais vraiment que j'allais finir à l'hosto avec une pneumonie, heureusement pour moi, ce ne fut pas le cas.

Les photos sont donc sorties aujourd'hui et comme vous pouvez le constater, la série tourne autour du thème "Pirate".

Pour connaître les marques des vêtements que je porte, vous trouverez tout ici.


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Photo, Rachel Saddedine.
Retouches, Julien Lion.
Direction Artistique, Irène Olczak.
Stylisme, Ludivine Ifergan.
Maquillage/Coiffure, Cathelyne Viriot.



Et hop, un petit bonus vidéo avec mon acolyte India. Cette connasse qui dévalise toutes les boutiques de New York, qui s'empiffre de cupcakes chez Magnolia Bakery et engloutit des Burger King, en ce moment-même !
Ce n'est pas grave, il y en a qui badent à Paris en écoutant Coldplay et en ingurgitant de l'eau de noix de coco... Moi au moins, je ne grossirai pas !



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mingo player 1960s TV / FRI 10-29-10 / Longtime enemy Wonder Woman / Quaint humilator / Locale for Olivier Award winner

Constructor: Barry Boone

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none


Word of the Day: BREMEN (44D: State surrounded by Lower Saxony) —
The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (German: Freie Hansestadt Bremen, pronounced [ˈbʁeːmən]) is the smallest of Germany's 16 states. A more informal name, but used in some official contexts, is Land Bremen ('State of Bremen'). // The state of Bremen consists of two separated enclaves: Bremen, officially the 'City' (Stadtgemeinde Bremen) which is the state capital, and the city of Bremerhaven (Stadt Bremerhaven). Both are located on the River Weser; Bremerhaven is further downstream and serves as a North Sea harbour (the name means "Bremen's harbour"). Both cities are completely surrounded by the neighbouring State of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen). The two cities are the only administrative subdivisions the state has. (wikipedia)
• • •

Liked this one OK. It has some fantastic mid-range answers (which, in this puzzle, are the longest answers), especially NUDE BOMB, which is a jolt from my childhood (54A: 1980 Maxwell Smart film, with "The"). Also really enjoyed FLEA BAG (40D: No posh hotel), DUNCE CAP (36D: Quaint humiliator), and the two-part BICYCLE / STAND (7D: With 6-Down, common sight outside a school building). The grid shape feels very ordinary, very common, like it was lifted right out of some generic themeless template. Its structure allows for words of only 8 letters or shorter—hence, a lot of tired, shortish stuff. High-end crosswordese like ORLE (46A: Shield border) and DENEB (45A: Star in the Swan constellation) and XIAN (23A: Capital of Shaanx province) and EXOCET (15A: Missile that sank a British destroyer in the Falklands War) rubs elbows with low-end crosswordese like INCAS and ACRO and AMO and DELE. Answers like LALALA, RESODS, SOLIDER, and NASTASE (24D: The court's Bucharest Buffoon) don't do much to endear the puzzle to me either. The puzzle is redeemed somewhat in the clues, many of which are quite clever. But I like my themelesses with somewhat more sizzly fill than this one provided. Did this one in 7-something, which is fast, but not record-fast. Didn't encounter any significant trouble. AVOCET for EXOCET started me off a little wobbly, and BREMEN was a complete unknown to me, but everything else went in fairly easily.



There's an interesting array of pop culture clues in this puzzle—I did not know the 10D: Longtime enemy of Wonder Woman (ARES), but the answer makes sense, given the classical context of her origins (e.g. I know WW worships Athena ... who, coincidentally, my daughter is dressing up as for Halloween this year). "Sk8er BOI" (50A: "Sk8er ___" (2002 top 10 hit)) I know just 'cause, and it was reinforced in my brain when it was mentioned recently on the (fabulous) podcast "The Bugle" (John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman). Avril Lavigne (the singer of "Sk8er BOI") is, for reasons too complicated and ridiculous to get into, part of a running joke on the podcast. I don't know who Mingo is (8D: Mingo player of 1960s TV), but I am vaguely familiar with the actor ED AMES (entirely because of crosswords). Looks like Mingo was the "American Indian friend" of Daniel Boone in the eponymous '60s TV series. Sounds like an evil space emperor, but I think I have him confused with Ming the Merciless and/or Mungo Jerry.



Bullets:
  • 31A: Company at the forefront of the dot-com boom (NETSCAPE) — Yes, I remember their browser well. '90s!
  • 44A: Club cousin (BLT) — sandwich, not card suit.
  • 51A: Locale for an Olivier Award winner (THEATRE) — no idea what to do with this one, but answer was fairly easy to infer—got TROUPE first (42D: 51-Across unit), oddly enough.
  • 9D: Sawyer's successor in Chicago (DALEY) — never heard of Sawyer, but Chicago-to-DALEY is a pretty easy move.
  • 11D: Discipline symbolized by a painted circle (ZEN) — don't think I knew that. Had the "Z" so getting the answer was easy anyway.
  • 12D: Style associated with washboards (ZYDECO) — off the -CO, actually wrote in ROCOCO.
  • 51D: Alternative to a carpet lift (T-BAR) — wow, never heard of a "carpet lift." It's essentially a conveyor belt. They didn't have these where I skied as a kid.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. One of my own crossword puzzles is featured today at Brendan Emmett Quigley's (fabulous) crossword site. Kindly check it out.

P.P.S. This made me laugh (contains profanity)


P.P.P.S. Back in September, I designed a puzzle for tomorrow. You can get it here (as .puz file or printable .pdf), or print it out below.

The Washington Brawl

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