Saturday, April 30, 2011

Destination of 1911 / SUN 5-1-11 / Naan cooker / Baroque painter Hals / Over three-quarters of bunsenite / Leonidas' kingdom

Constructor: Xan Vongsathorn

Relative difficulty: Who am I to say really?

THEME: "Look on the Bright Side!" — When you get to the end of the allotted space while filling in the theme answers, there's NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP.

Hello, everybody, and happy Sunday. It's PuzzleGirl filling in again today while Rex is off at the Crosswords L.A. tournament hanging out with Andrea Carla Michaels, Tyler Hinman, Doug Peterson, John Beck and many other awesome puzzle people including, of course, the lovely and talented Elissa Grossman who makes the whole thing possible. So jealous! I went last year and had a blast, but just wasn't able to make it this time around. It's entirely possible I'll pout my way through this write-up. You have been warned. (Speaking of all the people who are at the tournament, did anyone tell Kevin Der about it. He lives out there and last year I was all, "Where were you last weekend?" and he was all, "What are you talking about?" Did anyone remember to tell him about it this year?!)

Here's the thing. Those of you who know me know that I don't like Sunday puzzles. They're just too damn big. For some reason, a 21x21 (or bigger) is very difficult for me to enjoy. I just feel like I'm slogging through it and when I get to the end I typically feel more relieved than anything else. So, sometime in the past year Doug Peterson and I started solving the Sunday puzzle together. Have you ever noticed the "Solve With a Friend!" link on the New York Times puzzle page? Well that allows you, surprisingly, to solve the puzzle with a friend. So that's what we do. To make it more fun, one of us solves the acrosses and the other solves the downs. We try to stay in the same area of the puzzle and work our way around as smoothly as we can. It's pretty fun. So, when Rex was looking for a sub for today's puzzle I volunteered thinking that Doug and I could solve it together and then I would blog the acrosses and he would blog the downs. Funny, right? Yeah, except I forgot Doug was at the tournament too. So you're stuck with me. The one who doesn't like Sunday puzzles. Have I listed the theme answers yet? No? Well, let's get that out of the way.

Theme answers:
  • 22A: *Most awful thing you could imagine (WORST NIGHTMARE COME TRU[E]).
  • 36A: *Destination of 1911 (THE SOUTH POL[E]).
  • 46A: *First rung on a ladder (ENTRY-LEVEL JO[B]).
  • 64A: *Dunce's place (BOTTOM OF THE CLAS[S]).
  • 83A: *Destitution (ABJECT POVERT[Y]).
  • 93A: *Coldest point (ABSOLUTE ZER[O]).
  • 110A: Optimist's phrase under adverse circumstances ... or a hint to completing the answers to the six starred clues (THERE'S NOWHERE TO GO BUT U[P]).
This is a clever theme. I figured out pretty quickly that there was literally NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP at the end of each theme answer, but I didn't realize until I had a few theme answers in place that the answer phrases represent starting points from which there's really only one way to go. And that's up. Unless that wasn't clear. ENTRY-LEVEL JOB? Yep, you can only go up from there. ABJECT POVERTY? Totally depressing, but yeah, up up up. This makes the puzzle much more appealing than if the theme answers were just random phrases with the last letter atop the second-to-last letter. I'm never happy when I finish a puzzle, review the theme and then ask "But, um … why?" Didn't happen with this one so even though it's Sunday, I'm more inclined to like this one than to dislike it. I'm sure Xan is so relieved.

There were a couple things in this grid that I just flat-out didn't know, most notably WAT and KAABA (22D: Buddhist temple / Most sacred building in Islam). With [41A: Where lavalava skirts are worn] and [55D: Hinny's mother], on the other hand, it was words in the clues that tripped me up. A lavalava skirt is a SAMOAn article of clothing similar to a pareo or sarong, and a hinny is the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey (or ASS). So there you go.

Clues that made me chuckle today include:
  • 19A: 21, at a casino, say (AGE LIMIT).
  • 67A: It may have a cross to bear (STEEPLE).
  • 78A: Doctor whose patients never pay the bills (VET).
  • 96A: Burger King vis-à-vis McDonald's, fittingly (ARCHRIVAL).
LOSER for [30D: #2 or #3, say] also made me laugh. Not because it's inherently funny but because PuzzleHusband and I sometimes like to act like we're asshole competitive parents yelling at our kids that "Second place is first loser!" (Please note: We have never actually yelled that at our kids.)

Highlights for me today include:
  • 52A: Hits and runs? (LOOTS) and 54A: Hits or runs (STAT). Sometimes I don't like the "running joke" kind of clues, but this one struck me as amusing.
  • 75A: ___ Stix (powdered candy brand) (PIXY). Memories!
  • 81A: 52 semanas (AÑO). No comment.
  • 116A: Like stars on a clear night (AGLIMMER). I tried ATWINKLE first.
  • 3D: Surprise birthday parties often involve them (RUSES). It just occurred to me just now that I don't believe I've ever been involved in a surprise birthday party. Ever. Is that weird?
  • 47D: Dates determined by the lunisolar calendar (EASTERS). I'll tell you what does surprise me every year though: EASTER. Not being Christian, it's not something that I ever really think about. Usually what happens is that at some point in March or April I'll be talking to someone about an upcoming event and they'll say something like, "So, the weekend after Easter then?" And I'll stammer a little and try to act like I know when Easter is. That annual conversation was actually pretty funny this year. Someone at my new job asked me when my birthday was so she could put it on the office calendar and when I told her, her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh! You're birthday is on Easter!" Seriously, I had no idea until that very moment.
So that's enough rambling out of me, right? With any luck, Rex will be here tomorrow with Andrea Carla Michaels. You won't want to miss that, so come on back!

Love, PuzzleGirl

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter] [Oh, and if you solve the L.A. Time puzzle on a regular basis, I'd love to have you join us over at L.A. Crossword Confidential.]

Everywhere I go all I see is your face, there's something missing that I can’t replace.

Remady - Save your heart.

Aujourd'hui, un article un peu différent des autres puisque je m'apprête à vous présentez quelques unes de mes blogueuses préférées !

Today my article's a little bit different than the others 'cause I'm gonna introduce you some of my favourite bloggers ! 


Tout d'abord, voici Jenny.
Je commence par elle parce que récemment elle a fait un article sur moi qui est juste ADORABLE. & Le mot est faible. Ça m'a fait tant plaisir ! Donc voilà, elle mérite d'être la première dans cet article :D.
Jenny, c'est une jeune fille de 17 ans qui vit au Luxembourg & qui a un cœur gros comme ça.
Sur son blog elle poste de tout : des photos avec des tenues ( une simplicité classe mais rock, ça doit être son secret ! ), des photos de tous les jours.
Elle est splendide ET super gentille. Elle poste très régulièrement donc c'est un plaisir de la suivre au fil des jours ! N'hésitez pas à aller visiter sont blog, lui laisser des commentaires & devenir membre ;').

First of all, this is Jenny
I start with her because she recently made an article about me which was just ADORABLE. & The word is weak. It made me sooo happy ! So I though that she deserves to be the first in that article :D. 
Jenny, a 17-year-old girl who lives in Luxemburg & who has a big heart. 
On her blog, she posts about everything : photos with outfits ( a class simplicity but kinda rock, that may be her secret ! ), photos of every days.
She's wonderful AND super nice. She blogs very often so it's a pleasure to follow her as the days pass ! Do not hesitate to go on her blog, let her commets & become a follower ;').


On reste au Luxembourg avec Kristiana, une jolie blonde que je suis depuis un bon bout de temps déjà.
J'adore son blog parce que, comme Jenny, elle fait partie des blogueuses qui postent très souvent & qui nous font partager leur vie de tout les jours. 
C'est une fille splendide qui a un super humour & un style simple mais toujours très joli. 

We stay on Luxemburg with Kristiana, a beautiful blond girl that I follow since a longtime now.
I love her blog because, as Jenny, she's one of those bloggers who make articles very often & share with us their everyday life.
She has a great sense of humor which is really appreciable &
a simple style who always makes her wonderful.


Vous la connaissez probablement tous ... Alix, du blog The Chery Blossom Girl.Ce que j'aime chez elle, c'est non seulement sa beauté et son style incontestable que j'adore depuis des années, mais plus encore son univers fantastique qu'elle nous fait partager à travers ses articles. Ses photographies sont toutes plus belles les unes que les autres ; son blog vend du rêve. 

Everybody probably knows her ... Alix, from the blog The Cherry Blossom Girl.It seems like I love everything about her. Not only her beauty & her incontestable sense of style that I like since a few years, but also her amazing univers that she shares with us in her articles. Her photos are gorgeous ; her blog is a dream.



Partons maintenant aux Etats-Unis pour découvrir Bonnie Barton & son superbe blog : Flashes of style. 
J'ai découvert Bonnie il y a quelques mois & j'ai tout de suite adoré. Cette fille est absolument splendide, ses photos sont toutes géniales & surtout : elle a un style admirablement beau.
Des tenues très délicates, des influences vintage évidentes, de belles pièces. Son blog est une mine d'or, toujours très inspirant ; cette fille est géniale.

Now let's go to the United States to meet Bonnie Barton & her amazing blog : Flashes of style.
I've discovered Bonnie a few months ago & I immediatly fell in love. That girl is absolutly stunning, her photos are all beautiful & she has a style admirably beautiful.  Delicat outfits, obvious vintage influences, great items. Her blog is in gold, always very inspiring ; that girl is gorgeous.


Un tour de l'autre côté du globe, en Australie plus précisément, pour rencontrer Claire du blog Stolen from Grandma. 
Comme le nom de son blog l'indique plus ou moins, ses tenues ont un côté vieillot que personnellement, je trouve génial ! Beaucoup de ces pièces sont vintages & c'est ce qui fait le charme & l'authenticité de ces tenues dont je suis totalement fan. Elle est aussi magnifique, & à un charme différent des autres je trouve. Bref, je l'adore !
BTW, J'ai gagné à un giveaway sur son blog & elle m'a envoyé mon cadeau dans un emballage absolument adorable, avec un mot tout mignon ! Je vous montre ça bientôt, of course ;').

We can go now to Australia where we'll find Claire from the blog Stolen from Grandma.
As the name of her blog indicates, her outfits are a little bit " antiquated " ( in the good meaning ) that I find amazing ! A lot of her clothes are vintage & that's what make the charm & the authenticity of her outfits, always lovely. She's also gorgeous & with a charm a little bit different from the others I think. Well, I love her ! 
BTW, I won a giveaway on her blog & she send me my gift on such a adorable packaging with a cute word ! I show you that pretty soon, of course ;').


Retournons aux Etats-Unis avec la célèbre Aimee du blog Song of Style que j'adore très trèèès fort. 
Parce qu'elle est superbe, toujours très gentille & adorable dans ses articles, que ses photos sont géniales & qu'elle a du style, nom de Diou ! 
Le plus sur son blog, c'est sans aucun doute les articles où elles nous poste des photos de beaux intérieurs ( elle fait des études d'architecture ).

Let's go back to the USA with Aimee from the blog Song of Style wich I really reaaaally like. 
Because she's is wonderful, always nice and adorable on her articles, 'cause her photos are amazing & 'cause, damn, she has a style ! 
Plus, on her blog she also does articles with beautiful interiors photos ( she studies architecture ).


& Voilà pour aujourd'hui ! J'espère que j'ai pu vous faire découvrir de nouveaux blogs ='). 
Je vais vous préparer un autre article avec d'autres bloggeuses que j'adore, parce qu'il y en a encore pleins que j'aimerais vous montrer & qui le mérite sincèrement. 

& That's it for today ! I hope that I made you discover new blogs ='). 
I will write another article with other bloggers that I love, because they're still a lot that I'd like to show you & who really deserve it.


Lots of love .

Friday, April 29, 2011

Noted elephant designer / SAT 4-30-11 / Summer of Love prelude / "Grace Before Meat" pen name / Chef Ducasse / Toward der Orient

Constructor: Frederick J. Healy

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: None — It's Saturday, duh.

Word of the Day: EM'LY (66A: Mr. Peggotty's "little" niece) —
Emily (Little Em'ly) – A niece of Mr. Peggotty. She is a childhood friend of David Copperfield, who loves her in his childhood days. She leaves her cousin and fiancé, Ham, for Steerforth, but returns after Steerforth deserts her. She emigrates to Australia with Mr. Peggotty after being rescued from a London brothel. (Wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, everybody. PuzzleGirl here, filling in for Mr. Parker while he's off gallivanting around California. And honestly, I don't know what the hell I was thinking. We just moved into a new house last weekend and I'm living out of boxes. I mean, basically scrounging for clothes every morning. It's pathetic. Still trying to take care of a few last-minute things at the old place (anyone need a huge blue filing cabinet that has to be hauled up a flight of stairs to get out of the house?) and haven't really been sleeping well because, ya know, it's just weird being someplace different. But Rex asked me to fill in and what am I going to say? No? Wait, what? I could have said no? Oh man. Sure wish I had thought of that.

As you might know, my biggest fear when I sub for Rex late in the week is that I won't be able to finish the puzzle. I've gotten a lot better at puzzles since I started solving obsessively diligently a couple years ago, but it's definitely not a given that I can finish a Saturday New York Times puzzle. I'm finishing them a lot more often than I used to, but I'm not at 100% yet, that's for sure. Fortunately, I managed to crank this one out and didn't have all that much heartburn along the way.

The biggest trouble spot for me was in the South Texas area where it was hard for me to let go of HAVE IT DOWN where HAVE IT MADE was supposed to go. And wasn't there a presidential dog named Checkers? So you can see where that D was a problem for me. Add to that the vaguely clued crossing answers at 56D and 62A (ODDS and ENDS), and I thought I was gonna be toast. It all fell together eventually though so here I am with my head held high feeling like maybe I do know a little bit about this here puzzle business.

Oh wait! Before we get to the puzzle! Did you all see the Royal Wedding yesterday?! Yeah, me neither. Here we go ….

  • 14A: Hazzard County deputy (ENOS). First answer in the grid. No crosses. Not sure if I should really be bragging about that.
  • 17A: A cowboy may have a big one (BELT BUCKLE). Heh.
  • 24A: "True, alas" ("AFRAID SO"). I'm going to start saying "True, alas" from now on.
  • 48A: Western master (ZANE GREY). I can never remember if he spells his last name with an E or an A. Is it true that one way of spelling GRAY/GREY is a British spelling and the other is American? Even if that's true, is there any possible way I'll be able to remember which is which? (Answer: no.)
  • 50A: Inn's end (DANUBE). So the Inn is a river — a tributary to the Danube. Who knew?
  • 55A: Poor (NOT SO HOT). I like to see this kind of colloquial phrase in my puzzles.
  • 65A: Noted elephant designer (NAST). Please tell me you were as confused as I was about this one. I'm all, "Elephant designer? What could that even mean?"
  • 9D: Wrangler (BUCKAROO).
  • 11D: Dragon puppet (OLLIE). It's been a long time since I've thought about Kukla, Fran and Ollie. And I'm not sure I ever knew OLLIE was a dragon.
  • 18D: "Desperate Housewives" role (BREE). I've never watched "Desperate Housewives" but I did know the show has (had?) a character named BREE. Of course, when I first entered it into the grid I spelled it BRIE and it didn't even occur to me that I was assuming she had been named after cheese.
  • 25D: Brit's "guv" (DAD). I did not know this. I thought Brit's "guv" was … "guv."
  • 31D: "Grace Before Meat" pen name (ELIA). One indication that it's the end of the week? The clues for crosswordese is ratcheted up a notch.
  • 38D: Singer Barry (LEN). I didn't think I knew this guy, but I do recognize this song.

See you back here tomorrow.

Love, PuzzleGirl

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter]

India, Jalouse, Levi's et moi...!

Jalouse Rocks Festival x Levi's, c'est parti !


Ca vous dirait d'y participer ?

Comme vous l'avez vu sur l'affiche postée plus haut, le festival se déroulera les 8,9 et 10 juin.

India et moi avons la possibilité de faire gagner une personne chacune sur nos blogs, cette pourra pourra venir accompagnée !

Des pass pour toute la durée du festival et une invitation à venir au showroom Levi’s ® dans la suite Belvedere de l’hôtel Amour l'après-midi du 9 juin.

Par contre, attention ce festival est à Paris et les nuits d’hôtel ne sont pas prises en charge.

C'est à vous !

Envoyez-vous vos photos avec au moins une pièce identifiable LEVI’S par email à avant le vendredi 13 mai 18H00.

Les 10 meilleurs looks que l'on aura sélectionné seront soumis au vote des internautes (à vous quoi !) : 1 gagnant sur le blog d’India / 1 sur le mien.

Les 8 autres qui n'auront pas été retenus par les internautes se verront remporter un tee shirt designé par l'artiste graffeur André... Ils sont top !

Je vous invite à liker la page officiel de Levi's France en cliquant ici.

Vous pourrez gagner des places pour la soirée du 9 juin au Trianon (Herman Dune, La Femme, Shining Twins) et avoir toutes les infos sur le festival !

Bon, vous nous avez repéré des pièces cool à porter pour le festival ? Dites moi tout !

Je suis supa excitée, le compte à rebours est lancé !


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