Googling on My Mind

Copperstate Design
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Puzzle by Henry Hook, edited by Will Shortz
GOOGLING (1D. Solver’s online recourse) has changed the world of crossword puzzles as surely as it has changed the world. Authors (or constructors) of crosswords, along with solvers are falling further and further into the pit of electronic entries -- even the clues are being affected. The crossword puzzle constructor has forced the issue -- it is possible to find a justification for almost every combination of letters in any corner of the puzzle into which the constructor has been painted. It doesn’t take a vast array of knowledge or exhausting tactile research to come up with a Mann’s “Der TOD in Venedig”.
Change that clue --GOOGLING (1D. Crossword constructor's online recourse). Like it or not, it's here to stay! So Google this!
ONMYMIND (20A. 1968 Glen Campbell hit); GEORGIAONMYMIND (34A. 1960 Ray Charles hit); and ALWAYSONMYMIND are this Wednesday’s inter-related entries.
Across: 1.
Taunt; 5. Slalomer’s moves; 9. ALLI ask is a tall ship…”; John Masefield; 16. Present” in bad kids’ Christmas stockings; 18. Bellini two-actor; 23. Daughter of Muhammad Ali; 25. Mouse who’s always throwing bricks at Krazy Kat; 40. Peace-and-quiet venue; 42. Title lover in a 1920s Broadway hit; 44. Little fingers or toes; 47. He wrote “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invest him; 57. False deity; 59. New Jersey’s SETON Hall University; 61. 1961 “space chimp”; 63. Accordion part.
Down: 4.
Title locale in a Cheech Marin flick; 5. Actor Billy of “Titanic”; 6. “What AGOOD boy am I!”; 8. Super Bowl XXI M.V.P., first to say” I’m going to Disney World!”; 11. Longtime Cowboys coach Tom; 32. Singer DiFranco; 35. Things people are trained in?; 36. Van Susteren of Fox News; 42. Burial place of King Arthur; 49. N.H.L. Eastern Conf. team; 54. Department store section.
Today's Shortzesque twin clues? 15- and 48- Down, Senate tally, NAYS and AYES.
Google it!
For today’s cartoon, go to
The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.



Syzygy, stained glass by Carl Powell


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Puzzle by Will Nediger, edited by Will Shortz

Five alphabetical syzygies are the inter-related entries of today’s crossword:

ALLTHATJAZZ (17A. Semiautobiographical Bob Fosse film); ALEXRODRIGUEZ (38A. A.L. M.V.P. in 2003, 2005 and 2007); APOLLOSOYUZ (60A. 1970s joint U.S./Soviet space project); ASHKENAZ (12D. Namesake of a branch of Judaism); and ALCATRAZ (38D. The Rock) -- that is to say, each entry begins with the letter A and ends with the letter Z.

SYZYGY (46D. Alignment of the sun, earth and moon, e.g.) is given an astronomical definition; however, it has a broader meaning, as defined in Webster’s:

Beyond that, this crossword puzzle’s entries are like bumper cars at an amusement park -- BATTY (4D. Loco) and CRAZED (48D. Loco), the requisite Shortzesque twin clues are a good definition. Can’t remember seeing KALKAN (2D. Brand name in dog food) and OSAKAN (8D. Resident of Japan’s “second city”) on the same page. Bashing about are JAG and ZAG, LIZ and IZE, UGH and URN, EWOK and EXES, EZRA and UZI, and the wee and wild PYX ramming about with TANYA, TARTAN, TASK, TECHNO, TOJO, TUNES and TYPE, leaving the only other long entries, JACOBITE (11D. Supporter of the House of Stuart) and LAGRANGE (39D. Georgia city or college), IDLING (3D. In neutral) in a LAZE (10D. Loll).

This puzzle also HADAGO (14A. Tried one’s hand [at]) such fare as The Beatles’ “I Am the WALRUS” (23A.) and WAGERS (34D. Exactas and trifectas); SKIBUM (1A. No stranger to the slopes) and SHASTA (1D. Daisy developed by Luther Burbank); NEWLINE (33A. “Lord of the Rings” studio); New Jersey’s MCGUIRE Air Force Base (43A.); RETINA (27D. Eye part); RUPAUL (40D. Drag performer with a wax likeness in New York’s Madame Tussauds) and ALEXEI (25D. Only son of Czar Nicholas II); AIRDRY (32D. Hang on the line) and SERUMS (35D. Blood fluids) -- rounding out with OBEYED (68D. Followed orders),JINGLE Bells” (65A.), BLARED (41A. Trumpeted) and EUROPE (44A. It was divided by the Iron Curtain).

About that bumper car analogy -- one last look -- HERE!


For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.



Monday, April 28, 2008
Puzzle by Gary Disch, edited by Will Shortz
NECKING (41A. Making out … or a hint to this puzzle’s four hidden articles of clothing), along with ROOMSTOLET (17A. Boardinghouse sign); NOVASCOTIA (64A. Halifax’s home); ANTIELITE (11D. Favoring common folk) and NASCARFAN (34D. Daytona 500 enthusiast), are this Monday back-to-work crossword inter-related entries.
Whoa! This is certainly minimal clothing -- stole, ascot, tie, scarf -- sounds like formal wear at a nudist colony. Other articles of “clothing” (or the lack of it) in the puzzle include
SASH (1A. “Miss America” might be printed on one); LOADS (57D. Laundry units) and naturally, NUDE (41D. Michelangelo’s David, e.g.).
TANGLE (25A. Snarled mess) of the Monday commute could easily lead off this puzzle’s rubber- NECKING plethora of crosswordese with the six-letter group including NEPALI (23A. Katmandu resident); PREVUE (35A. Sneak peek: Var.); UNSEAL (44A. Open, as an envelope); ACETIC (50A. Vinegary); THRALL (54A. Slave); BEAGLE (10D. Snoopy, for one); ICEAGE (47D. Time of advancing glaciers); preceded by two seven-letter entries: HYMNALS (4D. Church songbooks) and PERGOLA (45D. Shaded passageway).
Five-letter entries include ALTAR,
Three-letter: ADS, CAT, EKE, ERA, ISM, SOD and
For today’s cartoon, go to
The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.


Sunday, April 27, 2008
Puzzle by Oliver Hill, edited by Will Shortz
Perhaps in anticipation that this crossword puzzle would not be dreary or tedious enough, there are ten across entries deliberately misspelled, which along with IMPROPERLYSPELLED (65A. Like the answers to the 10 asterisked clues, more often than any other English words, according to a 1999 study) are today’s little spelling bee lesson of inter-related entries.
MILLENIUM (26. *Long, long time) = millennium; INNOCULATE (32. *Stick with a needle, maybe) = inoculate; EMBARASSMENT (34. *Absence at a nudist colony?) = embarrassment; HARRASSES (44. *Bugs) = harasses; MINISCULE (51. Wee) = minuscule (however, Webster‘s has miniscule as an alternate spelling); NOTICABLE (82. *Conspicuous) = noticeable; SUPERCEDE (87. *Supplant) = supersede; PERSEVERENCE (94. *Doggedness) = perseverance; ACCOMODATE (97. *Oblige) = accommodate; OCCURENCE (107. *Event) = occurrence.
I just had a war with my spell-check function while typing the above.
Saturday’s puzzle offered us CURATESEGG (18A. Something damned with faint praise, in British lingo); today’s gives us CURES (99D. Parish priests) and VICARS (96D. Parish priests) -- very Shortzesque -- Heavens (114D. SKY) and then “Heavens!” (109D. EGAD) -- well it is Sunday!
For an additional cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.

04.27.08 -- the Acrostic

Dog Show -- the Acrostic

Sirius Rex, 1984, photo by Donald
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Acrostic Puzzle by Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon, edited by Will Shortz
One might encounter some difficulty in locating a copy of
“The Pant Glas Story” by Elma Williams, but today’s acrostic allows us a glimpse in the form of a quotation from same:
Author’s name and title of the work: ELMAWILLIAMSPANTGLASSTORY
The defined words: A. Top-level canines,
EYETEETH; B. TV role for eight generations of one acting family, LASSIE; C. 1812 invention featuring a pendulum, METRONOME; D. Swift hunter or colorful cover, AFGHAN; E. Yarn used in weaving bark, WOOF; F. Nobel scientist with canine experiments, IVANPAVLOV; G. Stuff to be picked up; group from which to make a pick?, LITTER; H. Wrapping that may make a pill more palatable to a canine, LIVERWURST; I. “Come Back, Little Sheba” author, INGE; J. Valley around Leeds, England, AIREDALE; K. Like the hairless breed Xoloitzcuintli, MEXICAN; L. Human pal of Scooby-Doo, SHAGGY; M. Half-pint, run, miniature, PEEWEE; N. “The Call of the Wild” genre, ADVENTURE; O. Ratter from East Anglia, for short, NORWICH; P. Regarded as a faithful friend, TRUSTED; Q. Like an Irish wolfhound or St. Bernard, GIANT; R. Shade of a beagle’s ears, often (2 wds.), LIGHTBROWN; S. First character to recognize Odysseus upon his return, ARGUS; T. Four-legged Monopoly token, SCOTTIE; U. Shook, trembled, vibrated, SHIMMIED; V. Playful struggle for dominance (3 wds.), TUGOFWAR; W. Kind of school where students may learn to beg, OBEDIENCE; X. St. Bernard’s job description?, RESCUER; Y. Cry of complaint from a pound, YAWP.
I'll not argue with
"Argus", but I cannot find "Argos" with that alternate spelling -- however, Wikipedia gives us this beautiful little paragraph:
In Greek mythology, Argos was Odysseus’ faithful dog. He waited for his master's return to Ithaca for over twenty years while most presumed Odysseus dead. He was the first (after those to whom Odysseus revealed his identity) to recognize the King returning from the Trojan War, even though Odysseus was disguised as a beggar to discover what had been going on in his palace during his absence. It was said that as soon as Argos recognized his master, he dropped his ears and did his best to wag his tail. Having fulfilled his destiny of faith by laying his eyes upon his master once more, he released a final whimper and died.



Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones";
Curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!"
"True Humility" by
George du Maurier, originally published in Punch, 1895.

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Puzzle by Brad Wilbur, edited by Will Shortz
This is a nice-enough crossword for a Saturday -- a quick countdown and then I’m out of here!
Ten letters:
IAMACAMERA (5A. Play for which Julie Harris won the 1952 Tony for Best Actress); MRSMINIVER (16A. Title housewife in an Oscar-winning film); CURATESEGG (18A. Something damned with faint praise, in British lingo); ONARAMPAGE (51A. Like King Kong in New York City); MADAGASCAR (56A. Its currency unit is the ariary); PLOTTWISTS (58A. O. Henry specialty).
Nine letters: WAXPOETIC (30A. Rhapsodize);
CESTSIBON (37A. Song title followed by the lyric “Lovers say that in France); SCHEMATIC (1D. Techie’s drawing); PHONELINE (2D. Cell’s lack); CODENAMES (3D. Indicators of intelligence?); TAILSKIDS (31D. Some airplane runners); ISLEOFMAN (32D. Douglas is its capital); CLOWNCARS (33D. High-occupancy vehicles?).
Seven letters: MENIALS (22A. Drones); ENTITLE (24A. Call); STPETER (44A. Titular author of two books of the Bible);

NILSSON (47A. Swedish soprano noted for her Wagnerian roles); MISFILE (11D. “Lose” at the office); TREERAT (38D. Small, furry African climber).
Six letters: ALARUM (27A. Old-style call to arms);
CURLEW (43A. Cousin of the sandpiper); IMCALM (5D. Response to “Don‘t panic“); CIDERS (43D. Some like them hot).
Five letters: AXIAL (28A. Kind of skeleton or symmetry); TIMED (29A. Like Olympic races); HEROS (35A. Torpedoes);
PHILO (40A. Gunsmith Remington); RAVEN (42A. Croaking flier); ARUMS (6D. Green dragon and skunk cabbage); EVERT (12D. Winner of six U.S. Opens); REGAL (13D. Splendid); ARGUE (14D. Get into it, so to speak); EXXON (24D. Replacer of the Humble brand in the early 1970s); AARON (28D. One of a pair of biblical brothers); WEBER (30D. Max who wrote “Politics as a Vocation”); STOMP (44D. Jazz Age dance); TONAL (45D. Like much music); PRADO (46D. Home of “The Garden of Earthly Delights”); NAGAT (47D. Plague).
Four Letters: ADAR, CHOW, FRAU, HIVE,

Three letters: AMA, ANE, ASL, AWS, CIT, ENE, HRS, INE, IRE, KFC, MAW, PAS,
As puzzle‘s go, I suppose one might say that parts of it are well-rounded, egg and all!
For today’s official cartoon, go to
The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.

For clown-car cartoons, go

For egg cartoons, start from the top, work your way back down, and then go



Friday, April 25, 2008
Puzzle by Mike Nothnagel, edited by Will Shortz
Get out your Rosetta Stone, it's going to be a bumpy solve!
PENNYWISEAND (30A. With 36-Across, shortsighted); POUNDFOOLISH (36A. See 30-Across); along with THEBORNLOSER (7D. Long-running Art and Chip Sansom comic strip); and MAXWELLSMART (21D. Fictional secret agent) are the longer entries in this Friday fossil -- a tedious exercise in etymological archaeology.
OOLONGS (37D. Gunpowder alternatives) is the star relic in this dig -- I was thinking ammunition. ICEDTEAS (12D. Some are sweetened) has all the potential for being "deals".
RACEME (18A. Simple inflorescence, as in a lily of the valley) could have been more simply clued, perhaps something to do with the Indianapolis 500? MATZO (25A. Food described in Exodus) really should be MANNA. ETTA (38A. Editorial cartoonist Hulme) is usually "James".
Other than “penny-wise and pound-foolish”, “The Born Loser” and the secret agent named “Smart”, the author of the puzzle has a fondness here for even more gradations of intelligence, e.g., EASYA (43A. Piece of cake in school); HIPTO (50A. In on); ONTARGET (17A. Accurate); APES (49D. Goons); SOTOSAY (8D. In a manner of speaking).
I am sure it’s my lack of total-knowledge-of-everything-in-the-universe that kept me from instantly recognizing such rarely-seen artifacts as
KARA Sea (arm of the Arctic Ocean) (5D); ALEPH number (set theory concept) (26D.); LORAX (28A. Dr. Seuss book, with “The”); or the preposterously overdressed clue for LEOI (29A. He was succeeded by his archdeacon Hilarius), not hilarious at all! ZMED? I can honestly say I have never heard of, nor have I any idea how to pronounce this man's name, nor have I seen the referenced "T. J. Hooker" of the clue, where to access same, nor any idea what subject matter is involved! HERE!
CAROM (48A. Two strikes?) is but one of many clues so far-fetched that a question mark is required after the clues, along with ESS (27A. Start to salivate?); GRIDIRON (56A. Rushing home?); ECG (6D. Thing that keeps track of the beat?: Abbr.); OUTSCORE (34D. Come home more often than?). Clues that could use a question mark are BMOVIE (1D. No Oscar contender) or should that be BOMBS (20A. Zero-star movies); and half-a-dozen others -- take your pick!
Did METEOR (41A Streaker with a tail) flash to mind for you? Other fragments strewn across the puzzle are clued as 9A. Cheerleaders’ doings; 40A. She played Fantine in ‘”Les Misérables,” 1998; 46A. "T. J. Hooker" actor Adrian; 58A. Its dome was designed by Michelangelo; 9D. Dinar earner; 30D. Iloilo’s island; 50D. 1996-2001 House Judiciary Committee chairman.

In this puzzle pit, TREXES (57A. Some natural history museum attractions) are afoot! ...and with that I'll ZIPIT (“Shut your pie hole!”)?!
For today’s cartoons, go to
The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Puzzle by Michael Langwald, edited by Will Shortz

Feeling silly? Good. This will be right up your alley!

IGOTYOUBABE (62A. 1985 hit by the performers suggested phonetically by the ends of 18-, 24-, 37- and 56-Across), MIDNIGHTSUN (18A. Summer arctic phenomenon); WOUNDEDKNEE (24A. 1890 battle site that’s now a memorial); SAINTANNE (37A. Grandmother of Jesus); and MARKETSHARE (56A. Measure of a company’s dominance) combine for I Got You Babe, Sonny & Cher. What the…?!
I mean, what the….??!!!?
Oh well, here's a few more of the acrosses: 4. Former New York governor; 15. Big name in pest control; 16. ALOHA Bowl; 32. Mysterious creature; 41. Hamilton who wrote “Mythology”; 45. Pool accessory; 53. “Ghostbusters” director Ivan; 67. Classic sportster, for short.
Downs: 4. Field for Fields; 4. Field for Fields; 12. Condiment made with a mortar and pestle; 13. Two-wheeled carriages; 25. Item for a travel bag; 36. Mother of Charlemagne; 51. War preceder; 52. Actress Andress;
For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.


Ride 'em, Cowboy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Puzzle by Stephen Edward Anderson, edited by Will Shortz
QUICKSILVER (17A. Mercury); HAIRTRIGGER (60A. Easily set off, as a temper); CHARTTOPPER (11D. #1 on the Hot 100); and TALENT SCOUT (25D. Discoverer of stars?) are today’s inter-related entries -- horses for The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and Tonto comprise the second half of each entry. RIDEEM (30D. With 27-Down, western cry) COWBOY (27A. See 30-Down)!

Ridin’ the high country are the seven-letter entries including ENCLOSE (4D. Hem in); HADABIT (38A. Ate, but not much); INASTIR (29A. All riled up); OKAYGUY (46D. Nice enough fellow); and Neil Simon’s “Lost in YONKERS” (49A.).
Close on their heels are the six-letter entries: AUGURY (12D. Prognostication); BOARDS (54A. SATs); ETCETC (55A. And so on and so forth); FAKEIT (5D. Try to get by through bluffing); HOTOIL (23A. What French fries are fried in); ICESIN (9D. Strands after a blizzard); ISOBAR (39D. Weather map line); NODICE (50D. “I ain’t buyin’ it!“); ONDUTY (31A. Working the desk, say); PECAN (48D. State tree of Texas); SALIVA (18D. Spit); SITCOM (47D. Soap alternative); SKIRUN (21A. Where to spend time with moguls?); STEPPE (47A. Part of the Kazakhstan landscape).
Kickin' up the dust are the five-letter entries of ARENA, ASSTS, CURED, ENNUI, EYERS, FCLEF, , LEANT, MENSA, PHONO, PIECE, STRIP, STRUT, TILTS, TOADY.
The posse includes the four-letter words BIRD, EROS, HIRE, IOUS, MIST, ONUS, OPIE, OTIS, OTRO, PERK, RULE, SESS, SPIN, THEA, VIEW and three-letter extras, AGO, AMT, CRU, DOT, EAR, EER, EMS, ESE, FAQ, GAP, HAP, HUH, INS,LEI, NBA,NCO, OSO, PBS, RDS, REV, SCI, SOU -- I’m sure I missed one or two hidin’ in them bushes, keep an eye out fer them rattlers!

Ride ’em, cowboy!
For cartoons for today’s Shakespeare’s 444th Birthday celebration (“A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”), go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.


Earth Day

The Dream -- Henri Rousseau

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Puzzle by Nancy Salomon, edited by Will Shortz

SOIL (48A. Terra firma) is the sole bow to Earth Day in this Tuesday crossword -- other than that, it’s business as usual.

NETEARNINGS (17A. Fishing trawler’s haul?); CAPITALGAINS (28A. Seat of government’s acquisitions?); PAPERPROFITS (44A. Publisher’s windfall?); and GROSSINCOME (59A. Salary for selling insects as food?) are ordinary phrases in themselves, inter-related by the fact, and dressed up with twisted clues containing a faint trace of humor.

So, what does this crossword offer…diversion, I guess. HARDG (1A. What a gal has that a gent doesn’t?) is certainly the most outrageous entry/clue seen in a Times puzzle in a while, slightly ameliorated by it’s following entries, BABAR (6A. Elephant of children's literature) and PEW (11A. Church perch).

Pairs include AMEER & OMANI; AYE & YES; and I guess SPLURGE & FATTENUP. Lots of little stuff including AIR, AMI, ANT, ANY, APE, ARA, ART, CAN, CHE, DES, DIE, EON, ERN, LIS, MIN, PTA, RAE, REO, SAX, SEE, URI.


Five-letter entries include the notorious HARDG -- AROAR, along with ADELE, DEKES, EGRET, FLOAT, HENCE, ONEND, PERSE, RATON, REAPS, REMUS, SINAIR, UHAUL, along with four-letter entries BAND, CAPE, ENYA, ERIE, HAAS, INTS, ISAY, MINT, NEAT, PORK, SOAP, SOTS, PORK and WIND.

At sunset yesterday, I went out to the oceanfront. As I walked along the water’s edge, I saw a tangle of thin ribbons and knew they were tied to a murderous object -- I planted my cane firmly in the sand and bent down to pick up the colorful but deadly item, for dangling from the end of the ribbons was a fragmented balloon.

Through ingesting plastic bags and balloons, approximately one billion seabirds and mammals die every year. I am only one of 6,500,000,000 -- I put it in my pocket, not sure if I made any difference at all, not sure where to dispose of it, not sure of anything.

My time on this Earth is nearly gone -- I will gladly go with the soon to be extinct, rather than weep in the coming storm. It is not someone else that must save our world -- it is us! Balloons and plastic bags? May God help us! There is so much more that is wrong -- take the time to view the following -- Earth Day 2008.


Google has dedicated its' main page to Earth Day, with the above logo -- go to Google, or click on following: GOOGLE -- after you're there, click on their logo, which provides links to everything on the subject of Earth Day.

For today’s Earth Day cartoon festival, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.


Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning -- Mark Keathley


Monday, April 21, 2008

Puzzle by Janet R. Bender, edited by Will Shortz

CLEANSLATE (18A. Symbol of a new start); SCRUBOAK (20A. Low-growing tree found typically in rocky soil); SWEEPHAND (33A. It indicates the seconds on a clock face); DUSTDEVIL (40A. Small whirlwind); WASHSALE (52A. Stock transaction done at a loss for tax purposes); VACUUMTUBE (57A. Old radio part) are the inter-related entries of this Monday back-to-work puzzle.

Getting one's surroundings in order, of course, is more complex than just cleaning, scrubbing, sweeping, dusting, washing and vacuuming, but spring cleaning days are here, and on the eve of Earth Day, this crossword is an appropriate reminder of chores to be performed. Recycling, of course, is an important consideration, as is conservation and preservation. Let’s clear out this crossword by using it's words!

Spring's in the AIR and there are SEEDS to be planted, later to REAP, remember, no ALAR -- perhaps cleaning the EAVES, watch your STEP, oh and do the GLASS -- in a LULL catch a few RAYS, wander through ARDEN with a NET or be one that SWIMS. Perhaps ESCORT your SWAIN to your respective ZOOS to espy some ROOS, or go to a SPA.

The IRS has your return for the YEAR, hope for no audit, just APERCU by a HARD nosed accountant somewhere in PERU. Our banks are now SITED o’er the ATLAS we fear, tax forms floated by NAVIES ASEA with a shiploads of HAZMAT and ETAIL. Yes, your bank accounts’ RIFLED, but that’s knowledge at ERST.

Visitors are here with one DRACULA by GASLAMP, issuing a REEK and RUIN. At the NABES we might find EVA, AUDIE or EWELL. MESTA may have a guest or two, perhaps ALOU, the MAGI who'll perform ALOES with ADAIR, then serving everyone MEALS done MEDIUM, EARS, and PECAN, all sprinkled with SENNA, by an outgoing EXEC, ALLIED in oil.

No time or room left for such as ERIE, ARAL, DEED, PLANE, RDS, AXLE or NINE -- for where they’d fit in, we’d need ESP!

So get out that AJAX in the corner with AJAR, go into a SPATE, turn on the TAP -- don’t be a WUSS, clear off that SHELF, get everything SITED; SEVER from clutter without BIAS, get to the PITH of what LAGS in your world, no more of the SAME --RESEAT!

With that, I EXIT -- PSST, Earth Day tomorrow!

For today’s cartoons, go to

The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.



Honey, I Shrunk the Solar System -- NASA

Sunday, April 20, 2008

SPACED OUT, Puzzle by John Farmer, edited by Will Shortz

In today’s crossword puzzle, another one of those irreconcilable differences occurs between the electronic and printed newspaper (New York Times Magazine) versions of this puzzle.

Electronic reads SUN (9D. Center of many revolutions) -- Notepad: When the puzzle is done, the letters in the following squares spell a bonus phrase: 7A - 3rd letter, 31A - 5th, 65A - 4th, 104A - 6th, 136A - 3rd, 151A - 1st, 149A - 4th, 133A - 4th, 100A - 1st, 62A - 1st, 29A - 6th.

Printed copy reads SUN (9D. Center of many revolutions [whose first letter starts a bonus phrase reading clockwise around the shaded squares]).

It appears that shaded squares cannot be implemented in the electronic version, hence the long explanation in the Notepad.

However, the solution posted here is from the electronic version, so I just shaded them in because it's tedious to look up all of the notepad letters, e.g.:


Now, with that out of the way -- what fun!

Qualify that. It’s fun for the solver of the printed copy, not as much for the electronic solver. In the printed copy, there are those mysterious shaded squares, and in the electronic version, one doesn’t even know they exist -- hence it’s an afterthought instead of a clue or a goal of the solution. Both copies, of course, have the circled squares, which spell out MERCURY, VENUS, EARTH, MARS, JUPITER, SATURN, URANUS and NEPTUNE.

The SUN (9D) presides above center of the puzzle, and the planets in the eight entries follow in order of their proximity to the sun. Alas, however, poor PLUTO (131D. 2006 neologism meaning “to demote”) doesn’t even get a “dwarf planet” mention -- Pluto’s been doubly Plutoed! Credit that as “gone, but not forgotten!”

The entries containing the planet names are as follows: THEAMERICANCENTURY (24A. 1941 Henry Luce article that coined a name for an era); EVERYTHINGMUSTGO (34A. Closeout come-on); THECATCHERINTHERYE (52A. Novel that ends “Don’t ever tell anybody anything, if you do, you start missing everybody”); SMOKEANDMIRRORS (75A. Artful deception); JUMPINTOTHEFIRE (82A. 1972 Harry Nilsson hit); FIVESTARRESTAURANT (107A. Prime eatery); VANCOUVERCANUCKS (125A. Stanley Cup finalists of 1982 and 1994); and INDEPENDENTCOUNSEL (138A. Head of a special government inquiry).

I went on and on about PLUTO in the post of 03.11.08 -- A Shot in the Dark, so I’ll cool it here, ‘cause I already did it there!

Pluto in True Color -- Eliot Young (SwRI) et al., NASA

The verb "to pluto" (preterite and past participle: "plutoed") is a neologism coined in the aftermath of the decision to demote the planet Pluto to the status of "dwarf planet". In January 2007, the American Dialect Society chose "plutoed" as its 2006 Word of the Year, defining "to pluto" as "to demote or devalue someone or something", "as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet."

Beyond the solar system, I found myself wavering on the spelling of AMONTILLADO, ECHT, JETES, HENMAN, VAIL, VIJAY, WOLDS, and others. There were lots of conversational entries and clues -- “Poor venomous fool“; “I’m king of the world!”; “You did it!”, YAY; “Dee-lish!” and YUMMY; “These ARE the times that …”; “ANY takers?”; “NONEOF (either) the above” or “your business”; “So long, dahling” and TATA; “The fix ISIN”; “May IGO now?”; “OUR Father…”

I also exhausted the subject of "The Catcher in the Rye" (here used to give us EARTH in circles) with the post of 03.16.08 -- Solitaire -- the Acrostic -- so, that too, I’ll leave alone -- “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody”, oops, couldn’t resist!

Never heard of MOTHERNIGHT; didn’t know Sting’s last name was SUMNER; just couldn’t register ROTHKO, There are lots of people in the puzzle -- YAZ, Antony and Cleopatra, Mary URE, ALAN King, Henry Luce, SHOLOM Aleichem; ORR; Celine Dion and RKELLY; Seigneur de Montaigne; Beethoven, ROSSINI, LIV Ullmann; Harry Nilsson, PORTIA; MINEO and Gene Krupa; Lorenz Hart; NAOMI Watts; Charles de Gaulle; STELLA; ASA Gray; LEAH and Judah; IRVS Kupcinet and Cross; Paul Bunyan; YASMINE Bleeth; IDI Amin; Robert URICH; Nick Nolte, Kurt Vonnegut; Jean KERR; Mussorgsky; Miley Cyrus; Emile HIRSCH; EUCLID; Joel and Ethan COEN; and those two standards AYN Rand and EMO Philips. They are all awaiting Gustav Holst, composer of “The Planets”!

Today’s little square box of a crossword puzzle containing so much of our solar system with a vast variety of miscellany is a brilliant composition, and conjures up William Blake -- “To see the world in a grain of sand; And heaven in a wildflower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand; And eternity in an hour.”

Read Linda at Madness…Crossword and Otherwise.


For today's cartoons, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.