Saturday, August 8, 2009

Monday Puzzle #42 or "The Skepticism of a Skeptical Age"

Holy crap meat. Life has just taken a 90 degree turn. Within a period of three weeks. 90 degrees is fine. I always thought things looked kinda cool over there. But, it was a bit of a sharp turn and I'm still smooshed up against the driver's side door. It's all career related...I'm going from being what I was for the last 15 years to doing something that is pretty different. So, I'm looking forward to doing some crosswording tonight - which feels like meditation to me.

Puzzle #42. The theme turned out to be "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus." The main clue was "Part of a famous 1897 editorial." I got it after answering some other clues and it totally came to me...but I have no idea what it is. I was delighted to read the story behind the editorial and to read the editorial.

New vocab words for me:

1 across, "Borrow without intending to repay." CADGE. MW provides "beg" and "sponge" as alternative words. And, the sentence "cadge a free cup of coffee" as an example.

26 down, "Sailor, slangily." GOB.

46 down, "Artist's workplace." ATELIER

Stuff I just didn't know:

42 across, "Swiss river to the Rhine." AAR

65 across, "City NNE of Paris." LILLE

69 across, "Philosopher known as 'the Stoic'." ZENO

Friday, July 31, 2009

Monday Puzzle #41 or "Stop Violent Acts Against Arbits"

Wow, this month has been pretty hectic. No time for crosswording, which is sad. But, I have been able to read a little bit of the Pierre Loti book - it's such a short book and so easy to read, I should be done with it by now. AND, I watched Purple Rain last night (that ended up on my Netflix list as a result of the xword project) and LOooooooVED it! It was awesome - not good awesome, but super cheesy 1980's awesome. Except for the music, which was genuinely awesome.

Puzzle #41 was alright. There was one clue and answer that completely surprised me. The clue was "Lone Ranger's cry" and I put Hi Ho Silver. But no, it's Hi Yo Silver. Yo. Yo? Now that I think about it, Hi Ho is kinda weird. That's what the dwarfs on Snow White say...right? Now I'm doubting myself, so I had to look it up. And, yes, they say Hi Ho.

Here's something I've never heard of - Moog Synthesizer. That was the answer to 69 across. Wikipedia tells me that it is "any number of analog synthesizers designed by Dr. Robert Moog...and is commonly used as a generic term for analog and digital music synthesizers."

There were a lot of answers I got, but don't know. Stutz Bearcat, Gino Vannelli, Julius Larosa, Raga, My Friend Irma, Minot (city in North Dakota), and arbs. That last one - the clue was "Wall St. figures" - stands for arbitrageurs. MW tells me that an arbitraguer is "one that practices arbitrage." Arbitrage is, of course, a violent act against arbits, which I'm totally against.

I was happy to see 13 down, "Part of Q.E.D." ERAT...of course.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Monday Puzzle #40 or "A Penetrating Wind"

What a week. Crazy busy. I need to figure out how to do this xword project and still be able to do crosswords every day. They really are a great thing for me to do at the end of the helps me relax. But, I haven't been doing them because I want to complete one and then blog about it before I complete the next one. So, it's not really working for me. Maybe I'll keep working on the huge NYT crossword book that I have - do those whenever I want - and just do the research and blogging with the specific M, T, W, etc. books that I buy. Definitely don't think I'm going to be able to do one a day, though.

I did complete a Seattle Times crossword puzzle online on Tuesday (or Wednesday?) and timed myself. Completed it in 7 min 20 sec, which I thought was great. I've never timed myself before.

But, for this post, we're on Monday Puzzle #40. Definitely some weird clues in this one. For example, 11 down was "Penetrating wind." I was thinking gale or (laughingly) fart. But, the answer was OBOE. Common answer in these puzzles, but never heard that clue before.

(Ok, it is now hours life is one long interruption...which is fine, it just makes it more difficult for me to complete anything. BUT, the totally cool thing is I just saw the Space Station zoom by in the sky. Saw a note at 10:32 pm saying it would be visible in the NW sky at 10:33. I ran outside and there it was. I got to call the husband and the kid outside just in time for them to see it. Very cool.)

So, answers that I don't really know were:

10 across, "Damn Yankees siren." LOLA. I have not seen Damn Yankees and have added it to my Netflix queue.

17 across, "Rock bottom." NADIR. MW tells me that nadir means "1. the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the zenith and vertically downward from the observer, 2. the lowest point."

And, reflecting my complete lack of any bible/religious information, 58 across, "Creche figures." MAGI. First, I had to look up creche, which is the nativity scene. So, then, the Magi makes sense.

61 across, "Stewpot." OLLA. MW says an olla is "a large bulging widemouthed earthenware vessel sometimes with looped handles used (as by Pueblo Indians) for storage, cooking, or as a container for water."

The last one is 64 across, "Hammer's end." PEEN. That makes sense now that I think of a ball-peen hammer. MW says a peen is "a usually hemispherical or wedge-shaped end of the head of a hammer that is opposite the face and is used especially for bending, shaping, or cutting the material struck."

Alright, that's it for #40. Only 10 more to go in the Mondays and then I start on the Tuesday book.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Puzzle #39 or "Sexual Harassment Runs in the Family"

Holey moley. Super busy. (And, it doesn't help that I've just discovered I can no longer copy and paste my posts from Word or Notepad...I love downloading Windows updates. There are always little unexpected surprises. Like little Microsoft presents...that SUCK!) Now retyping my blog post and am definitely behind on the crossword project.

The first season of "Get Smart" arrived - the kid loves it. I have enjoyed the few episodes I've watched...and may be developing a weird crush on Don Adams.

Have not made it any further in my Pierre Loti book - had to finish my book club book and am now swamped with the other things in my life. But, I am looking forward to picking it back up as it really is a lovely book.

Now, puzzle #39. Now this was my kind of puzzle. With clues like, "____ Excited (Pointer Sisters hit)," "Zellweger of Bridget Jones's Diary," "Frank Zappa's daughter," and "Stimpy's pal on TV" - this is the stuff I know.

And, this puzzle had "Norma ____, Sally Field Oscar-winning role" - I always knew the answer to that one, but just recently saw the movie because of this project. It's so much more fulfilling to really know the answer...not just have something memorized.

But, there were some answers that I did not know - got them, but don't really know them.

22 across, "A Chaplin." SYD. There are two Syd Chaplins. The first was the half brother of Charlie Chaplin. Syd worked with his half brother and managed his finances. He was also a comedian and actor and had roles in some films. He also started the first privately owned American airline. The most scandalous thing about him (on Wikipedia) is the story behind why he never acted again. Wikipedia says, "Sydney Chaplin was involved in a sex scandal with acrtress Molly Wright in which he was accused of biting off her nipple in a sexual assault." Apparently, the studio settle, "conceding the truth of Wright's claims."

The other Syd Chaplin is Charlie Chaplin's son, Sydney Earle Chaplin. This Sydney just died in March of this year. He was also an actor (Tony winning and nominated) and starred opposite Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl on Broadway. They apparently fooled around in her dressing room while she was married to Elliott Gould. Wikipedia says, after Streisand decided to end their affair, "he started disorienting her on stage by whispering 'nose' to her during their 'You Are Woman' love scene. She asked him to stop, he didn't; she then filed harassmetn charges against him with Actors' Equity."

So, both Sydneys were slapped with harassment charges.

I've added 'Limelight' - a 1952 film with both Sydney and his father - to my Netflix list.

52 down, "Acress Mimieux." YVETTE. She was in "Where the Boys Are"...oh, looks like I'm going to have to add "Jackson County Jail to my queue. It has Tommy Lee Jones in his first starring role.

56 down, "Actor Cariou." LEN. He's Canadian. Tony winning actor. He looks vaguely familiar to me.

That's it for #39.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Puzzles #37 & 38 or "I'm Going to Title My Children's Book 'Ivan the Terrible Czar'"

Puzzle #37 – completed with no errors. I don’t dare say I’m improving ‘cause that will mean the next puzzle will suck.

There were only two answers that I don’t really know:

11 down, “Actor Morales.” ESAI. He’s a modern day actor (born in ’62) and while I recognize some of the movies and shows he’s been in, I don’t recognize him. He was in La Bamba, Jericho, and a ton of other stuff.

60 down, “School for a future ens.” USNA. It wasn’t until after looking at the answer that I understood that ens. is ensign (a rank in the Navy), so USNA would stand for U.S. Naval Academy.

Since I completed #37 yesterday, but didn’t have time to blog about it – and it was so short – I am going to complete #38 and put it all in the same blog post…

Sometime later and after dinner (for which I made up a new recipe and it was yummy! Sundried tomato and basil polenta cut in ½ inch thick circles and sautéed/fried up a bit in olive oil – put “Just Jack” cheese on top, then slice of tomato, then a little pile a lightly steamed spinach on top – and then just a little dollop of garlic aioli on top of the spinach. Mmmm…).

#38 was great! And, it was chock full of tried and true clues and answers. First, here are a couple that I totally got and are a result of this little project o’ mine:

65 across, “Director Preminger.” OTTO
13 down, “Art Deco designer.” ERTE

The other very common answers were OBOE, ELIE (as in Wiesel), EDAM (as in the cheese), EDEN (lovely place where Adam and Eve allegedly lived), and IVAN (the terrible czar).
Answers I got, but don’t really know are:

26 across, “Money in South Africa.” RAND. Wikipedia tells me that it gets its name from “Witwatersrand, the ridge upon which Johannesburg is built and were most of South Africa’s gold deposits were found.”

3 down, “Actor Lloyd ___.” NOLAN. He’s been in a lot of stuff and, by all accounts, was a great actor. One movie I’ve heard of that he is in – but I have not seen – is The House on 92nd Street. That has been added to the Netflix queue.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Puzzle #36 or "I Loooooove Harper's Island"

Well, I am at least proud of myself for continuing this puzzle thing every day. The last five days have been crazy hectic.

Puzzle #36 – couldn’t complete it, but came close. There were some familiar clues:

44 across, “Nick and ___ Charles of ‘The Thin Man’.” NORA. Totally nailed that. AND, this puzzle even had “44-across’s dog.” ASTA. Totally nailed that, too.

This puzzle also had “Art Deco master” as a clue. The answer is ERTE. This was a clue/answer in Puzzle #23. I remembered that I should remember it, but I couldn’t think of his name. But, the other answers gave it to me.

Couple of answers I don’t know are:

25 down, “King of Thebes, in myth.” CREON. I’m really weak when it comes to Greek mythology.

24 across, “W.W. II female.” I knew it was WAP or something like that, but the answer is WAC. WAP is Wireless Application Protocol. WAC is the Women’s Army Corps.

Ugh, so many things to write about and no time (Michael Jackson service is tomorrow! I need to find a countdown to Glee. I need to check out the Netflix queue and get back to my Pierre Loti book.). Actually, there is always time – but I’m going to watch the next episode of Harper’s Island – loooooove it!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Monday Puzzle #35 or "Please Don't Disown Your Lesbian Daughter"

Puzzle #35 was great. Completed it with no errors. I was happy to see the clue, “Fit for drafting.” ONE A. Learned that in Monday Puzzle #20.

The few answers I got, but don’t really know are:

24 across, “Conservative pundit Alan.” KEYES. Got the answer – know the name – but realized I don’t really know who he is. Did some research (a.k.a. read a bit about him on Wikipedia) and stopped after reading about how he disowned his lesbian daughter (she confirms this, he denies it – but does say that he cannot approve that which destroys the soul and must stand for the truth Jesus Christ represents) and protested Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame. Not interested in spending any more time learning about him.

42 across, “Stephen of ‘The Crying Game’.” REA. Once again – got the answer, know the name, even saw the movie. But, wouldn’t be able to pick him in a line up. And, now that I’ve Googled him, I totally know who he is. He’s one of those actors that I feel like I’ve seen in a ton of stuff – totally recognizable – but didn’t know his name.

47 across, “Treated a lawn, perhaps.” LIMED. I just haven’t heard that term before as it relates to lawn treatment. Apparently, lime helps keep the pH level of your soil/lawn where it should be (between 6.0 and 7.0).

61 across, “Singer Lopez.” TRINI. Mexican American musician. I absolutely love the biography on his web site - It includes a lot of very interesting and life path changing moments in his life, e.g. “When he was 11 years old, his father spanked him for ‘hanging around with the wrong kind of kids’...what a wise man he was to lead his talented son from a life of street gangs to a life of sophisticated graciousness. Trinidad Lopez, Sr., felt so bad about the spanking he had given his son, he bought him a $12.00 guitar he really could not afford. Trini says, ‘A spanking literally changed my life.’”