12.18.14 — Pig Latin


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Puzzle by Timothy Polin / Edited by Will Shortz

Five asterisked clues, X-ray, Ashtray, eBay, Airway, along with PIG LATIN (62A. Hinto to interpreting the five starred clues) constitutes the main feature of this lackluster Thursday crossword:

JALOPIES (17A. *X-ray)
RIP TO PIECES (24A. *Ashtray)
LIVE AND BREATHE (32A. *e-Bay)
KNUCKLE DRAGGER (41A. *Outlay)
DETERIORATE (48A. *Airway)

Other — EXTRAS (19A. Ones who are never billed?), ON THE STAGE (10D. Performing, say), REDUCED FAT (30D. Attribute of the 1%?), SHEMP (6D. One of the original Stooges), STEEPLE (8D. Carillon holder).

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12.17.14 — Figures of Speech


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Puzzle by Stu Ockman / Edited by Will Shortz

A hyperbole, an oxymoron, a litotes and a simile,, different examples of linguistic tropes, constitute the interrelated group of this Wednesday crossword:

IT’LL TAKE FOREVER (17A. Hyperbole for an arduous task)
TAKE HASTE SLOWLY (22A. Oxymoron for cautious travel)
NOT UNATTRACTIVE (45A. Litotes for beauty)
AS THICK AS A BRICK (50A. Simile for denseness)

Other — FIVE WS (11D. Reporter‘squestions, collectively), WELL-KNIT (3D. Tightly interlocked), GALLEONS (4D. Many Spanish Armada ships), REST AREA (34D. Place to stop and text, perhaps), OLD IRISH (35D. Ancestor of Scottish Gaelic and Manx) and ZIP IT (31D. “Hush!”).

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12.16.14 — The Bee Gees


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Puzzle by Joel D. Lafargue / Edited by Will Shortz

THE BEE GEES (60A. Trio whose members start 17-, 26- and 44-Across), GIBB (66A. Last name of 60-Across), along with BARRY, ROBIN and MAURICE constitute the main feature of this neat Tuesday crossword:

BARRY WHITE (17A. R&B singer backed by the Love Unlimited Orchestra)
ROBIN WILLIAMS (26A. Late comic genius)
MAURICE SENDAK (44a. Chldren’s author/illustrator with a National Medal of Arts)

Other — Jane ADDAMS, ANSELM (9D. Canterbury saint), BULL MARKET (28d. Something you won‘t see many bears in), CANTEENS (21A. Thermos alternatives), DO OK (33A. Scrape by); EARTH (14A. Wod after Mother or Google), GEWGAW (5d. Showy trinket), HARD TASK (51A. No easy chore), KEPI 53D, French army headwear), NERD, (3D. One whose favorite website is Sporcle, say), SAPOR (63A. Flavor), SKIN (19A. Banana discard), SUPERB  (47D. Top-notch), TAKE A STAND (10D. Declare something boldly).

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12.15.14 — S to P



Monday, December 15, 2014

Puzzle by Zhouqin Burnikel and Dennis Ryall
Edited by Will Shortz

STOP [S to P] (69A. “Freeze!” … or, when broken into three parts, how the answer for each of the six starred clues goes), along with the six starred clues and their answers, constitutes the main feature of this fairly likeable Monday crossword:

SLAP (1A. *Obstetrician’s action on a newborn’s behind)
STANLEY CUP (18A. *Goal an N.H.L.’ER SHOOTS FOR?)
SKINNY DIPPING (20A. *Go swimming in one’s birthday suit)
SKI TRIP (40A. *Visit to Vail, maybe)
STEEL TRAP (56A. *Sharp mind, figuratively)
SUMMER CAMP (61A. *Setting for “Meatballs” or “Friday the 13th”)


Other — STP (36D. Indy letters), ALFA ROMEO (34D. Sports car with a Spider model), RACE AHEAD (11D. Quickly take the lead).

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12.14.14 — Musgrave Ritual — the Acrostic

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

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

This Sunday’s intriguing acrostic draws a quotation from “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual” by Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1893, and was collected later in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the majority of Holmes stories, the main narrator is not Doctor Watson, but Sherlock Holmes himself. With Watson providing an introduction, the story-within-a-story is a classic example of a frame tale. It is one of the earliest recorded cases investigated by Holmes, and establishes his problem solving skills. "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" shares elements with two Edgar Allan Poe tales: "The Gold Bug" and "The Cask of Amontillado".In 1927, Conan Doyle ranked the story at 11th place on his top 12 Holmes stories list. ~ Amazon.com  

The quotation:  ALTHOUGH… METHODICAL… [HE] KEEPS HIS CIGARS IN THE COAL-SCUTTLE, HIS TOBACCO IN THE TOE END OF A PERSIAN SLIPPER, AND HIS UNANSWERED CORRESPONDENCE TRANSFIXED BY A JACK-KNIFE INTO THE VERY CENTER OF HIS WOODEN MANTELPIECE

The author’s name the title of the work:  A C DOYLE, THE MUSGRAVE RITUAL

The defined words:

A. First and worst among adversaries, ARCHFOE
B. Director of a crew, COXSWAIN
C. British form of “Phooey!” (2 wds.), DASH IT
D. Cloud, fog, muddy, perplex, OBFUSCATE
E. Encouraging cry to foxhounds, YOICKS
F. Relax, LOOSEN
G. Given some improvement or magnification, ENHANCES
H. Onetime game craze with falling figures, TETRIX
I. Jazz Age term for a drug  addict, HOPHEAD
J. Items on which deposit may be paid, EMPTIES
K. Impressively grand, MAJESTIC
L. Like the loser of a medieval contest, UNHORSED
M. Detective whose name literally means “fair-haired”, SHERLOCK
N. n. Go see a therapist, say (2 wds.), GET HELP
O. Notable player of the quote’s subject, RATHBONE
P. Chopper named for a tribe, APACHE
O. Made to seem the bad guy, VILIFIED
R. Whimsical or odd sort, ECCENTRIC
S. Kept a sub going?, RENEWED
T. First small suggestion of comprehension, INKLINGS
U. “Charge of the Light Brigade” poet, TENNYSON
V. In no position to lie (2 wds.), UNDER OATH
W. A little something preprandial, APERITIF   
X. Battle of LEPANTO, 1561 naval engagement that was a setback for Ottoman Turks


The Full paragraph of the quotation: An anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was none the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, coming on the top of a natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs. I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when Holmes, in one of his queer humors, would sit in an arm-chair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges, and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it.  ~ The Musgrave Ritual 

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12.14.14 — Gee


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Sunday, December 14, 2014

“Well, Golly!“ — Puzzle by Jim Peredo / Edited by Will Shortz

The sound of “Gee” in seven entries changing the meaning of a common phrase is the main feature of this run-of-the-mill Sunday crossword:

KITTY LITURGY (23A. Religious rituals for cats?), kitty litter
KANJI ARTIST (42A. Master of Japanese writing?), con artist
WEIRD ALGAE (52A. Strange pond scum?), Weird Al Yankovic
GENIE JERK REACTION (67A. “Grant you own damn wishes,” e.g.”), knee-jerk reaction
BEE GEE LINE (87A. “How deep is your love?” or “You should be dancing”?), beeline
GPS I LOVE YOU (93A. Comment from a driver who finally reached his destination?), P. S., I love you
OH DARJEELING (115A. Surprised comment upon rummaging through a tea chest?), oh darling

Other — BESTIE (109A. Closest friend, slangily), DANTE (51A. Poet who wrote “Let us not speak of them, but look and pass on”), DEKED (58D. Made a false move?), DIAL-A-RIDE (79D. Transportation service for the disabled), ENUF (8D. Sufficiently, informally), GOD NO (100D. “Heaven forbid!“), INSTINCTIVE (44D. Not learned), JALAPA (43d. Veracruz’s capital), LAPD and DRAGNET (40A. “Let’s Be Cops” org.; 41D. Friday night series?), MAIL ORDER (15D. Like early Sears business), NETIZENS (25A. Web browsers), PATTI PAGE (7D. “Tennessee Waltz” singer), PROEMS (23A. Literary prefaces), STOOP (45d. Keep a low profile), TETRAGRAM (81D. Any four-letter word), WHITE GLOVES (38D. Some queenly attire), ZOLTAN (26D. Korda who directed “Sahara”).

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12.13.14 — Saturday with Swee' Pea


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Puzzle by James Mulhern and Ashton Anderson
Edited by Will Shortz

Of interest — ANTONIA (43D. Title girl in literature’s “Prairie Trilogy”); ANTS ON A LOG (9D. Celery topped with peanut butter and raisins); ARTIST (20A. Met someone?); BOLSHOI (1D. Where Prokofiev’s “Cinderella” premiered); BRISBANE (60A. Kangaroo Point is a suburb of it); BUTTOCKS (1A. Cheeky couple?); Langston Hughes’s “CORA Unashamed”; EASY READ (65A. Beach book, typically); G  I JANE (48A. Action figure released in 1997); HAIL (23A. Caesar’s predecessor?); HIT ME UP (39D. Modern request for contact); JABBER (49D. Yap); KNURL (7D. Small projecting ridge); LINKEDIN (63A. Online aid for job-hunters); LIQUOR UP (17A. Become ripped); STREET MEAT (28D. Kebabs sold curbside, say); SWEE’PEA (38D. Comics boy with the given name Scooner); TEQUILA (3D. 1958 #1 hit whose only lyric is its title word).

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12.12.14 — The Friday Crossword

Macaulay Culkin, “Home Alone”, 1990

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Puzzle by Erin Bornholm / Edited by Will Shortz

Obscurity and cutesy clues dominate this unfriendly Friday crossword:

Across — 1. Person at the top of the order, ABBESS; 7. Excited, AMPED UP; 14. Fan’s output, COOL AIR; 16. Brand behind the mouthwash Plax, COLGATE; 17. Tex-Mex item, TOSTADA; 18. Robert Goulet, e.g., CROONER; 19. Annual event held in the Theresienwiese, OKTOBERFEST; 21. Certain tube filler, NEON; 22. Slangy goodbye, KEEP IT REAL; 27. Relative of a harrier, ERN; 28. All hits all the time?, FIGHT; 29. Reply on the radio, WILCO; 30. Person with important clerical duties, VICAR; 31. Tuber grown south of the border, JICAMA; 32. Tomfoolery, HIJINKS; 35. Ones trying to prevent stealing, BASEMEN; 36. Stud muffin, ADONIS; 37. Certain branches, SECTS; 38. The tropics and others, ZONES; 39. Uses maximally, MILKS; 43. Influential figure in upward mobility?, ELISHA OTIS; 45. YULE Ball (event at Hogwarts during the Trinidad Tournament); 46. Their best-selling (23x platinum) album had no title, LED ZEPPELIN; 48. Series of drug-related offenses?, THE WIRE; 52. Politico who wrote “The Truth (With Jokes)”; FRANKEN; 53. Skin cream ingredient, RETINOL; 54. Square snack, SALTINE; 55. Licensing requirement, maybe, EYE TEST; 56. Wee, TEENSY.

Other — 1. Start to play?, ACT ONE; 2. Talk show V.I.P., BOOKER; 3. Common ground?, BOSTON; 4. John in a studio, ELTON; 5. 9-5, e.g., SAAB; 6. Talk show V.I.P.’s, SIDEKICKS; 7. Put up with, ACCEPT; 8. Mohamed MORSI, Egyptian president removed from power in July 2013; 9. Thickening agents?, PLOT TWISTS; 10. Psych 101 subject, EGO; 11. Judo ranking, DAN; 12. Trojan competitor, UTE; 13. So says, PER; 1`5. 21-Across, e.g., RARE GAS; 20. N.H.L. players’ representative Donald REHR; 23. Reduces to bits, RICES; 24. Land east of Babylonia, ELAM; 25. Fictional corporation that made a jet-propelled unicycle, ACME; 26. It has points of interest, LOAN; 28. This is the end, FINISH LINE; 30. Tree huggers?, VINES; 31. Half a nursery rhyme couple, JACK SPRAT; 32. Run through the gantlet, say, HAZE; 33. Pop IDOL; 34. Iowa politico Ernst JONI; 35. Credo, BELIEFS; 37. SITZ bath; 39. Car modified for flying n “The Absent-Minded Professor”, MODEL T; 40. “Home Alone” star, 1990, CULKIN; 41. Time Lords on “Doctor Who,” e.g., ALIENS; 42. Big name in retail, PENNEY; 44. Planes, quaintly, AEROS; 45. Broadway character who sings “The Rumor, YENTE; 47. Not that bright, PALE; 48. Number of weeks in il Giro d’Italia, TRE; 49. “Stop right there!”, HEY; 50. When le Tour de France is held, ETE; 51. Romeo’s was “a most sharp sauce”, WIT.

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