Pages

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Diamonds to a yegg / SUN 1-1-12 / Twelve Oaks neighbor / Quijano Don Quixote's real name / Swirly marbles

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: "Addendum" — sound of "um" is added to end of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: GOLEM (119A: Monster of Jewish folklore) —
In Jewish folklore, a golem [...] is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter. The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing. // The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century chief rabbi of Prague. // The word golem occurs once in the Bible in Psalm 139:16, which uses the word גלמי, meaning "my unshaped form". The Mishnah uses the term for an uncultivated person: "Seven characteristics are in an uncultivated person, and seven in a learned one", Pirkei Avos 5:9 in the Hebrew text (English translations vary). In modern Hebrew golem is used to mean "dumb" or "helpless". Similarly, its is often used today as a metaphor for a brainless lunk or entity who serves man under controlled conditions but is hostile to him and others. "Golem" passed into Yiddish as goylem to mean someone who is clumsy or slow. (wikipedia)
• • •

Reader wrote me ahead of time and told me this was probably the easiest Sunday puzzle she'd ever done, so I was expecting some kind of record time, but I wasn't even close. It's reasonably easy, but I was hardly faster than normal. There were enough odd words and crafty clues to keep me busy. No strong feelings about the puzzle one way or another. Seems pretty good to me — the "funny" phrases are at the very least interesting, the stacks of two theme answers (NW, SE) are impressive, and the fill is unsurprisingly smooth. What's most weird about this puzzle is the preponderance of cheater squares — black squares that do not add to the word count of the puzzle. These are typically added to make the grid easier to fill, and constructors tend to avoid them if possible. I count ten (!) in this grid. This makes for a choppier grid with shorter fill, especially through the middle. A handful of cheaters in a Sunday grid isn't that remarkable, but I'm a little surprised there are this many, especially in a Patrick Berry puzzle. Still, the result is smooth and mostly enjoyable, so I can't complain too much. Well, I can, but I won't.

Just a few hang-ups today, most notably in the SW, where LONG FOR really made a mess of things for a while. Took a while before I had the good sense to change it to ACHE FOR (89A: Desperately want). I thought TOM was the [Pal of Huck Finn] (JIM) and thought the [Injury symptom] was a CRINK or a CRICK before I ever got to SHOCK. Never heard of MUMM, as far as I know (83D: Big name in Champagne). Wanted MOËT, then wanted ... nothing. Had no idea where Twelve Oaks was. Thought maybe somewhere near NAPA. But no, it's fictional, and it's neighbor is TARA. Took an embarrassingly long time to see NOAH (105A: Rainy day planner?). And FORELEG, yikes. Not a body part I think of or read about much, if ever, so that took a while (19D: "Praying" part of a praying mantis). On the other hand, we had a Zener card-themed puzzle not too long ago, so ESP was easy (75D: Ability to identify Zener cards), and I read a lot of crime fiction, so ICE (70D: Diamonds, to a yegg) and BOGART (14D: "The Big Sleep" co-star, 1946) were cinches. I've read (most of) Don Quixote, but had no recollection of his "real" first name (ALONSO). Not sure I understand the clue on EAT IN (109A: Restaurant greeter's option). If I'm talking to a "greeter," I'm (almost by definition) eating in. Context is lost on me.




Theme answers:
  • 18A: Pool ball's "Watch this!" comment? ("SEE IF I CAROM") — awesome
  • 23A: High-mounted window you can't stop looking at? (HYPNOTIC TRANSOM)
  • 32A: Part of a watch touching the breastbone? (STEM TO STERNUM)
  • 46A: "You don't have to be busy to look busy," e.g.? (OFFICE MAXIM)
  • 59A: Pill that relieves computer-related anxiety? (SILICON VALIUM) — again, awesome
  • 71A: Inhuman group of golfers? (BRUTE FOURSOME)
  • 81A: Sultan's wife, perhaps? (HEAD OF HAREM)
  • 99A: Jungle king's jeans and overalls? (THE LION'S DENIM)
  • 110A: Ennui among quantum physicists? (PARTICLE BOREDOM)
  • 116A: Dessert delivered over the internet? (PIE A LA MODEM)    

Bullets:
  • 13A: Crosswise to the keel (ABEAM) — like ABAFT, I learned this from xwords.
  • 22A: Onetime first name in Israeli politics (GOLDA) — had this been four letters, I'd have been lost, but at five, GOLDA was the first name to come to mind.
  • 79A: Handbag monogram (YSL) — one of the few fashion monogram's I'm aware of (besides, perhaps, DKNY).
  • 86A: Reed of rock (LOU) — wanted OBOE (no, not really)


  • 87A: "1984" superstate (EURASIA) — somehow, this never seems fictional enough to be from "1984"; but there it is.
  • 2D: Jimi Hendrix's debut single ("HEY JOE") — already one of the most searched for terms of the day—I apparently covered it in a bygone write-up.
  • 8A: "___ hath an enemy called ignorance": Ben Jonson ("ART") — I teach Jonson every year but didn't know this. One of two literary quotes today, the other coming from Harriet Beecher STOWE (29D: Best-selling author who wrote "I did not write it. God wrote it. I merely did his dictation").
  • 13D: Swirly marbles (AGATES) — considered AGGIES for a bit. That's slang for AGATES, right? I've never played marbles, so what do I know?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Noël à Marrakech #2

Pour rester sur la lancée de notre tour aux souks de Marrakech, rien de tel qu'une vidéo complètement inutile mais totalement dépaysante.

Au coeur de la Medina, Place Jemma El Fna.

On remerciera Romeo et sa bonne volonté, sans lesquels, ce petit moment n'aurait pas été aussi cocasse.





Et pour finir, quelques clichés pris lors de ma dernière journée.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sandy tract by sea to a brit / SAT 12-31-11 / Novelist whose character Adah speaks in palindromes / Curly-furred cats / Old Testament man of field / Thoughtful soul to solitude retires poet

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none





Word of the Day: DENE (29A: Sandy tract by the sea, to a Brit) —
n. Chiefly British
A sandy tract or dune by the seashore.
Also
n (Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) Brit a valley, esp one that is narrow and wooded (freedictionary.com)

• • •

High point: KINGSOLVER
Low point: DENE (?)
Crucial gimmes: NODS, SCION, SSW, SAGA

Took one look at that four-stack and thought "ugh, this is not going to be good." Such stunts rarely are. But I must say, as four-stacks go, this one was not terrible. Solid all the way across, and with only slightly rickety crosses here and there. Actually, only SENG seemed particularly out-of-the-ordinary (38D: Hong Kong's Hang ___ index). As RRNs (random Roman numerals) go, I actually don't mind XIII, and every other cross is decent. Nicely done. Mind you, the fill you get on a four-stack is rarely scintillating, and today is no exception. Hard to get excited about REAL ESTATE TAXEzzzzzzzzz (31A: They're often placed on parcels). But still, the whole thing comes off clean, which is about as good a result as I could have hoped for. 

Started with NODS (22A: Approvals), then guessed SCION (1D: Offshoot) and immediately got its anagramming cross, ICONS (17A: Computer screenful). NW, done. KINGSOLVER (4D: Novelist whose character Adah speaks in palindromes) and MOISTEST (20D: Like the best chicken or turkey, say) went down easily into that middle section. Off of MISS (6A: What a 61-Across will be called for only a little while longer), I guessed BRIDE-something in the SW, which got me into that section, which ended up being the easiest of all. Threw HEART SHAPE up into the middle section and thus had a very nice block of crosses to get me started (28D: Feature of many a box of chocolates). I don't remember much else, except having to change AT THIS RATE (which feels familiar) to AT THAT RATE (which feels ... something else). And I finished up in the NW—not for any particular reason; that's just how it worked out. Nothing tough up there. 


Bullets:
  • 23A: "The thoughtful soul to solitude retires" poet (OMAR) — had the "O" and got it instantly. I assume this is OMAR Khayyam. Yes. I guess "Khayyam" is not his last name (?) (though wikipedia sure seems to think it is). 
  • 47A: Old Testament "man of the field" (ESAU) — might have gotten this even without the "ES-" already in place. Seems pretty easy stuff for a Saturday (maybe we're supposed to end the year with an easy puzzle so everyone can feel like a winner!)
  • 34D: Red Sox anthem ("TESSIE") — I've liked the Red Sox for decades and have been to a couple games at Fenway and still didn't know this. Wanted "Sweet Caroline" or "Dirty Water."
  • 52D: Curly-furred cats (REXES) — ironically, I had absolutely no clue about this one 'til I got that "X" in there.  
Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve, everyone.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Perle du Sud

Perdue au beau milieu des souks, j'ai beau venir à Marrakech depuis mon plus jeune âge, je découvre sans cesse des ruelles.

Des petites rues étroites, dont les couleurs sont fidèles au reste de la ville.

Et le hasard a voulu que ce jour-là, je sois assortie au ton des murs...

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Pantalon - New Look
Ceinture - Asos
Tee-shirt - Le Petit Petit
Slippers - Topshop
Sac - MySuelly
Lunettes - H&M


Thursday, December 29, 2011

1957 Cy Young Award winner / FRI 12-30-11 / Site of 1815 escape / Russain chemist with law of thermodynamics / Show for which Jim Dale won Tony 1980

Constructor: Mike Nothnagel

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: Germain Henri HESS (5D: Russian chemist with a law of thermodynamics) —
Germain Henri Hess (Russian: Герман Иванович Гесс German Ivanovich Gess, August 7, 1802–November 30, 1850) was a Swiss-born Russian chemist and doctor who formulated Hess's Law, an early principle of thermochemistry. (wikipedia)
• • •

High Point: UP THE WAZOO
Low Point: HAIL TO
Crucial gimmes: SMOOT, SPAHN

Really liked this one—played tough at first but then opened up beautifully. I like having to struggle for results that do not then make me resent the struggle. Beginning was rough, with nothing going in in the NW until I just took a flyer on SPAHN (25D: 1957 Cy Young Award winner) and the crosses Worked (hurrah!). I guessed HOSTAS (38A: Landscaping plants) off the (at that point imagined) "H." I repeat, *I* guessed HOSTAS. Me. My knowledge of flora is ... I would say "lacking," but that's hardly strong enough. Crosswords taught me that HOSTAS was a word at all, and now today, bam, I just throw it down and off I go. Didn't go off so fast on HESS, though. Still science deficient. Needed Every Single Cross (HESS is a gas / toy truck company to me). I tanked at least one other sciencey clue ... oh yeah, I went with PETROchemical over NEUROchemical. Seemed reasonable. Just watched some awesome animated versions of PLATO's "Allegory of the Cave," and yet still needed virtually every cross to get the answer to 32D: Academy head. Had PLAT- and thought "how is a PLATE an 'academy head'?" Because of the PETRO error I had 45A: Most chic as TOPIEST (which I believe is the correct answer to [Most like a 33-Downed person]). Was annoyed at myself for not coming up with the director of "Good Will Hunting," until I realized I had No Idea Gus VAN SANT directed that. The only names I associate with that movie are Matt Damon and that other guy ... played O'Bannion in "Dazed and Confused" ... come on, what's his name? Affleck! Ha. Brain only partially decayed. Just like two of my teeth, it turns out. Stupid dental X-rays and their diagnostic abilities! I've got an appointment with Dr. Novocaine next Thursday ...





Bullets:
  • 17A: What you might reach for after hearing "Don't go anywhere!" (RADIO DIAL) — I don't really get this. Why are people so defiant of the admonition?
  • 16A: Holder of legends (ATLAS) — first two answers that leapt to mind : ARK, ERIC.
  • 33A: Show for which Jim Dale won the 1980 Tony for Best Actor in a Musical ("BARNUM") — this clue couldn't have been more meaningless to me if it tried. Jim Dale? Yeah, I'm gonna need a *little* more information than that.


  • 41A: Shout with cupped hands, maybe (BOO) — Not computing. Are you shouting it across an open field?
  • 48A: Drug sold under the brand name Retrovir (AZT) — Did not know this, but I had the "Z," so no sweat. I'm guessing "Retrovir" refers to retrovirus and not, as I originally thought, a Roman who wears bell bottoms.
  • 51A: Site of an 1815 escape (ELBA) — I had ERIE. That's a big miss.
  • 15D: How Simon Cowell often critiques (CRUELLY) — "The X-Factor" (or the first and only episode I watched, at any rate) was dull and terrible. And "American Idol" has gotten soft and keeps generating irrelevant winners. So I'm out of the reality singing competition game, I'm afraid. More time for watching and rewatching "Downton Abbey."
  • 10D: ___-X (septic treatment brand) (RID) — kind of a cruel way to clue a perfectly ordinary word, but somehow I managed to pull this answer out of my X.
  • 52D: Humorist who wrote "Progress might have been all rigiht once, but it has gone on too long" (NASH) — As in Ogden. I had SAHL. As in Mort. Humorist, four letters—SAUL is the knee-jerk reaction.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rudy with megaphone / THU 12-29-11 / g2g follower / Muckracker Tarbell / Spanish muralist / Old bus maker / Zoological wings

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: PIZZAZZ17A: Start of a brainteaser whose answer appears in order, from top to bottom, in this puzzle's circled squares (NAME THE ONE / SEVEN-LETTER WORD / IN ENGLISH THAT / CANNOT BE PUT DOWN / IN SCRABBLE)

Word of the Day: Rudy VALLÉE (2D: Rudy with a megaphone) —
Rudy Vallée (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was an American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer. [...] Vallée became the most prominent and, arguably, the first of a new style of popular singer, the crooner. Previously, popular singers needed strong projecting voices to fill theaters in the days before the electric microphone. Crooners had soft voices that were well suited to the intimacy of the new medium of the radio. Vallée's trombone-like vocal phrasing on "Deep Night" would inspire later crooners such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Perry Como to model their voices on jazz instruments. // Vallée also became what was perhaps the first complete example of the 20th century mass media pop star. Flappers mobbed him wherever he went. His live appearances were usually sold out, and even if his singing could hardly be heard in those venues not yet equipped with the new electronic microphones, his screaming female fans went home happy if they had caught sight of his lips through the opening of the trademark megaphone he sang through. A brief caricature of him in the Fleischer Brothers' color Betty Boop theatrical short cartoon from 1934 Poor Cinderella depicts him singing through a megaphone. (wikipedia)
• • •

Before I even saw this puzzle I got an email about the puzzle from a fellow solver that consisted entirely of anguished exclamations. This is probably the only reason I wasn't unduly pained by the puzzle. I was pained. Just not unduly. Never did like the instructions-as-answers gimmick, and this is 63 squares worth of instructions. PIZZAZZ letters go in order from top to bottom, but they're a bit of a mess. And then there's the fill—I should be happy at the preponderance of crosswordese, because I destroyed this grid. ODAS, bam! SERT, bam! (60D: Spanish muralist) SDS, bam! Take that, SE corner. ALAE?! (4D: Zoological wings) Pfft, child's play. HOER!? I barely knoer! And yet instead of feeling happy at my success, I have that sickly feeling I imagine one has when one shoots a deer in one of those deer parks where they're essentially tame and you know you're gonna get one. No joy. I HEART is very inventive stuff (6D: Start of many a bumper sticker), but I don't have much to say about the rest of it. That NW corner, man ... nah, I'll just stop here. You get the idea.


Bullets:
  • 1A: Wagner heroine (EVA) — needed every cross and just guessed at the "V" (at that point, I may have been thinking that Rudy VALLÉE was Frankie Valli, or else a Notre Dame cheerleader (I never saw the movie "Rudy," so I don't really know the details)
  • 19A: City in the San Gabriel Valley (EL MONTE) — I lived in said Valley for four years. Have no recollection of a place called EL MONTE, even though it *is* the 51st largest city in California.
  • 22A: John XI's successor (LEO VII) — a random LEO! Who doesn't like those!?
  • 39A: 10th- to 12th-century Chinese dynasty (LIAO) — Yiao! Did not know.
  • 50A: 1944 Sartre play ("NO EXIT") — one of the first works I ever read entirely in French. Most memorable quote: "L'enfer, c'est les autres."
  • 48A: Muckraker Tarbell (IDA) — another crosswordese Hero. Sometimes I get "muckraker" and "Moonraker" confused in my head. Sometimes. A little.


  • 46D: Person with a conical hat, maybe (WIZARD) — took me several stabs, despite the fact that I'm currently in the middle of reading "The Hobbit" 
  • 56D: "g2g" follower (BYE) — apparently I do not text nearly enough, or with the right people. Had to ask what "g2g" meant after I was done. "Got to go" (or "gotta go").  BYE? Not C YA or something equally pithy? And why waste the keystroke on the "E." BY or BB (for bye-bye) would work just as well, I'd think.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Noël à Marrakech #1

Comme vous le savez, je reviens de Marrakech où j'ai passé deux jours.

Bien sûr, je n'ai pas pu m'empêcher de jouer la touriste et me rendre au cœur des souks... Je dois dire que je n'y avais pas mis les pieds depuis bien trois ans...

Toujours un plaisir de retrouver ces belles couleurs, ces odeurs que je ne pourrai pas nommer et tous les commerçants qui vont avec !

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


Google bot last visit powered by Bots Visit
keyword finder Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Tool free counters
widgeo.net
http://www.777seo.com/seo.php?username=ahmadabdulosmanmukarra&format=ptp http://www.paid-to-promote.net/member/signup.php?r=ahmadabdulosmanmukarra http://www.paid-to-promote.net/?r=ahmadabdulosmanmukarra Get Paid To Promote, Get Paid To Popup, Get Paid Display Banner

Followers

Blog Archive