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Puzzles for January, 2012
with Constructor comments

View these same grids with comments from:
Constructor (4)Jim Horne (2)Hide comments
Sun 1/1/2012 ADDENDUM
PHDSSARANPBJABEAM
SEEIFICAROMOUIGOLDA
HYPNOTICTRANSOMAGAIN
AJARODEVEINSTAYED
WORSENSTEMTOSTERNUM
ETALSTERNOHOSTESS
GETAWAYVOW
CAPGALESOFFICEMAXIM
BLOBLOLBREAKOLIVE
SILICONVALIUMSTONED
EARNERAIMOKONG
RINSESBRUTEFOURSOME
ACTEDSEOULYSLOURS
HEADOFHAREMMOCKSTIP
LOUEURASIA
ACHEFORBUMMERDXCV
THELIONSDENIMPEERED
BEANEDNOAHTARAUTE
EATINPARTICLEBOREDOM
SPENDIRAPIEALAMODEM
TODOSGELGOLEMNYSE
Mon 1/2/2012
ANDESSNIDESALE
HIREENORSEEMIT
OVERTHEHILLLASH
YEASARISEFILE
AROUNDTHECORNER
UPSLANE
ASKTOSPLITLARA
BEYONDTHEHORIZON
CALFERITUEATEN
SINOLMN
UNDERTHECOUNTER
LIRASDOULAMEA
TKOSSIGHTUNSEEN
REPOADEARTORSO
ASSNCARNESTYES
Tue 1/3/2012
RICHGTOSSCAMP
AMYSIRAEELDER
TENTSTAKELAILA
AMIUMWBARDOT
TICROLLERSKATE
ANISEORESSTD
TESHCAROTID
MINUTESTEAK
PETITESHEAR
IMSGILTILENE
DOUBLETAKESPIP
TORRESORAPSA
ANTICJOHNKEATS
GIANTOWLSSCOT
SEXESBESTPENS
Wed 1/4/2012
OBSSLOMOSPINS
NEAWOVENMARIN
ELLISAWANOTICE
DUARTECIGSHE
OSRICFSIXJEEZ
WHICHSAIDBOSSY
NIEELMIRA
DRINKCANADA
EATAMCLOX
BEHANDRYANDIVE
ANALZEDSEDGER
NOSPINJETHRO
JUSTSTARTEDTUX
OGLESDOWELESE
SHEETADOREDES
Thu 1/5/2012
MDITELATTIC
AUNTBEEGOODALL
LESIONSEURASIA
ALTONSONGIVS
CLOSEENTHRONES
HENTRESANGLO
IDESOOFMISSY
ALLFORONE
NORADREATITO
DOUAISAABNWA
ENTHRALLSTVSET
BOGMILSBITES
UNRATEDINADAZE
GOODONEGALILEE
WOODSNHLLSD
Fri 1/6/2012
JIFFYLUBESTAFF
UNRAVELEDCELLO
MAYBEBABYEXLAX
PRESONOENTITY
EERNOPESTAFL
RASPSVSOPNEA
AIDASOLACED
PATINASURETY
ATINGLEBALI
LAMTALELEWIS
ILEDORAGSINK
NATHANGOATGHI
INREMWERWHOWER
STALEMARIOKART
MAXISDRAINAGES
Sat 1/7/2012
RESCUEDCATBOAT
EXTENSIONCOURSE
DEADASADOORNAIL
TRYASLETONLAE
ICERBETELSETS
DIDSECTSCCXII
ESTIMATESERACS
EHLERSBIREME
SMELLSWENTWILD
TACITVANESNEW
ECONDESEXCAPA
PHUOUTOFMOTHY
DIRTYPOLITICIAN
ANSWEREDTONOONE
DEEPREDSONANTS
Sun 1/8/2012 DOING WITHOUT
STILTCLARICECERAMIC
TOGAEAEROSOLAVOCADO
OSAKADONTPLAYMATCHES
REVERSEITECREAM
KEEPUPTHEJONESESARLO
OPAEACHLAW
FEWCOASTERDULCINEA
GREENENVYDATEDESTINY
EARLESEASTAREECCE
STYLIZEEATMEZEROES
GETTHEPROGRAM
GOETHEAORTAEPICURE
ANTIMLLEPHENLATEN
SEALEDAKISSIMTHEBAND
PATTERNSSTANDEEAHA
KINOLDENIL
AQUAPASSFLYINGCOLORS
MULLSOILRENEWAL
IONLYWANNABEYOUIRENE
STAINEDUKULELEZONED
HARNESSSEMINALESSES
Mon 1/9/2012
WOESWAVEAFTER
OPECEXITTRADE
LANAALSOTULIP
FLYLIKEANEAGLE
ACESTRA
DARWINSHHLABS
ISAACSPAINDEL
SINGLIKEACANARY
CATERICSREPEL
SNOBINKKNOTTY
USSSLIP
WATCHLIKEAHAWK
QATARUTEPYEAR
ECONONEWTTORI
DOZEDAMSOENDS

This puzzle marks my first successful foray into the competitive world of NYT crossword publication. I am indebted to two other cruciverbalists who supported my puzzle solving and constructing over the years. The first is Molly Jackson, a grandmotherly friend who encouraged my intellectual curiosity as a child and reviewed my weekly attempts at solving the Sunday puzzle. The second is a friend and former colleague, Kristian House, who showed me the ropes of crossword construction, gave me a copy of Patrick Berry's Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies, and patiently critiqued my early clunkers.

Having endured about twenty prior rejection emails, the puzzle represents a "Eureka!" moment for me as a novice constructor. FLYLIKEANEAGLE was the inspiration for the theme (thanks to the Psalms and the Steve Miller Band). SINGLIKEACANARY, a wonderful expression I first heard watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon parody of old gangster films, became the perfect central entry with 15 letters. My dilemma was to find a third entry exactly 14 letters long to offset the first symmetrically on the grid — not easy. There are only so many birds and far fewer "(act) like a(bird)" phrases out there, so unearthing WATCHLIKEAHAWK was a godsend.

Finally, editor Will Shortz taught this bird-brained NEOPHYTE about including more interesting fill words, especially in the longer entries of the grid. This was true in the northwest corner where I replaced some utterly forgettable word with the always interesting SCALAWAG.

In the end, I am both honored and proud as a peacock to have my work appear in the Times.

Tue 1/10/2012
FASTCARLASTAB
ASHEALTERPENA
THINKPIECEOATH
CONNIETACKPIN
AREINATELEA
TERSELARGERHO
PRIORROTTEN
ASTRTEPEEHYPE
CHOOSEINGLE
TEMAMITYAMPLE
PARNSABELEM
THEPIPSREPAVE
HATSTEAMPLAYER
ASTIACLAMRING
WHYSSTEPSKNEE
Wed 1/11/2012
APSEORIONDABS
NAPACAMPYORAL
SWATCHTEAMNORI
MAOARPTMAN
PATCHONTHEBACK
BELKITPESKY
USOCGOOSIS
GOTOTHEMATCHFOR
LUCGNUYURI
OPEDSNFCLEG
BATCHOUTOFHELL
ORCAPTAIVS
ITESALLEYCATCH
SITELEONEDOUR
TICSSYNCSEPEE
Thu 1/12/2012
PLATAPESYCHAR
RELICERIELIMER
OGOODTERMSELIDE
ESECAROWADEIN
MARLONRANDO
BLAFATODAY
ISOBAREOEBOER
CANADIANPROVINCE
STEMPRYVOTERS
ESSOBENBUP
COMPAQENTER
ONEARMRIISALS
LEARNQUARTERPIP
ANNEEURDUVESPA
DYEDINETEBOOK
Fri 1/13/2012
MUSLIMSTEENAGE
ANTONIOBANDERAS
SPRINKLERSYSTEM
LINSEEDSSTYLE
SEP
PALISHASOFLIP
ISINTOTORABORA
DANGEROUSCURVES
ENGENDERALIENS
RTSTERNSTEREO
SAN
INTWOMANIFOLD
DOMESTICANIMALS
ELEPHANTTRAINER
DONTASKLETTERS
Sat 1/14/2012
CREWMATESDCUPS
PIXIEDUSTRANUP
LAPSEINTOEMORY
UTAHSTARSAEDES
SATIECASTDOUBT
BAYERRELO
BOLTONLIPITOR
CONOIDCONROY
IDIOTICWEDGED
GEOSNOMAS
AGNESGREYMASTS
RASTANACHOCHIP
ABOILINOURTIME
SAULTSTONEOVEN
HYPESHOLDSFAST
Sun 1/15/2012 WEATHER REPORT
COLDCASEZAPSPHASER
OPERATORIDEEPHALANX
CASTLEINSPAINSORBETS
ALTIMSTIMSAINTE
EMOTICONOLDBAG
ATCHBEAMTORTGEORGE
LOAFERSAFESITRYORS
URBANEOTISMPAAWNET
MELDANNANTEEUPAXES
NAETKODAIRERHERB
ITSRAININGCATSANDDOGS
ITENXYLEMPREYMOE
MATEGROPECLIMEEBON
ABCSTENDFAIRDWEEBS
DOOPHILKARMALEGREE
ADMIREINITENDEDSRI
MESMERNOMINATE
LAUPERGADLGALIV
MIRACLEDEUSEXMACHINA
EPITHETIGETEARMARKS
HONEYSCOSYDRYERASE

I dreamed this foul-weather puzzle up on a beautiful sunny day. The goal was to think of 21-letter phrases that hadn't before appeared in the Times, and the revealer at 66-Across came to mind pretty quickly. While it was always the idea to have the theme answers go down (and with circles representing raindrops), for some reason, it never crossed my mind to make that revealer go vertically down as well — I was always beholden to the idea that the theme answers should intersect 66-Across.

So, contrary to what Rex Parker wrote in his review, it actually proved very difficult to find theme entries containing cats and dogs, of equal length, and which intersected the central answer at the right moment. As it often is, the weakest of the theme answers (CABLE SITCOMS ... it's not really a real phrase, though I think my clue redeems it) was the first one I came up with, and my favorite themer (BREAKING THE RULES) was the last one in place. Rejected entries include TRAIN ROBBERY (tabby), PROOF OF DELIVERY (poodle), and OBTUSE TRIANGLE (beagle). At one point in time, I also had ANIMAL CRACKER going down the center of the puzzle, clued as something like [Kid's snack ... or what you are when you solve this puzzle?] before I realized that was just a liiiittle too over the top.

Mon 1/16/2012
JASMINEOMNIBUS
EMPERORLANTANA
WORDSWORDSWORDS
SKYSDUETREES
SNEEREDDRY
SHASTARIP
PICKYPICKYPICKY
ALAIGNULOLA
MONEYMONEYMONEY
ROIESTEES
FADWRITTEN
AFROASEAEPEE
CLANGCLANGCLANG
TACTILEGOOSING
STOOGESONEADAY

This one was inspired from Patrick Blindauer's wedding to his lovely bride Rebecca in St. Louis. I wanted CLANGCLANGCLANG 15 WENTTHETROLLEY 13 and MEETMEINSTLOUIS 15 but somehow that evolved into just three repeating words.

I thought PICKYPICKYPICKY was funny and MONEYMONEYMONEY was the name of a song. Again Will pushed for four, which is the new 3. WORDSWORDSWORDS was from Shakespeare so I thought that classed things up a bit!

Tue 1/17/2012
MIFFBATHEAPES
ODORAFOOTDRAW
TALENONOSVOTE
THICKRESBIPED
SOCKEYEEYESORE
LYEAGATES
MERESTNOWADAYS
ABAWOWLET
OBTRUDESFLOSSY
SABINERAN
VINCENTVANGOGH
ONAIRSSEKOREA
WAKEMOUTHIDES
EWESELITENEST
LESTTOTEMGREY
Wed 1/18/2012
PEWSGTSAMTOO
ONIONEEENOHIT
NILLATRUSTBELT
ZACSPARSESMEE
ICONARTISTSERR
ELOSLIP
FAQSOASTADAIR
ROUTOFTHISWORLD
ALIENMEMEIKEA
CAMPLAD
IRKEATALLCOSTS
TESTNORUSHTAI
SPARETIREOPENS
MINOSLAGOJAYS
ENDUPESOSLAY
Thu 1/19/2012
BROUHAHAACROSS
AHANDFULHOOHAH
SIXSTORYSMOOTH
ANAVOLSIMF
LOCSLYSNORTHS
TSABAHTAKEI
KSUUNICORN
PIONEERLOOKSEE
IMMORALLMN
GRIEFYMAOPT
SETSUPEBAYTEA
CFLLADETAM
STRAFEOLDSCORE
HOOPLATOENAILS
EMCEEDTODOLIST
Fri 1/20/2012
NEAPBITTCARLA
ONBALANCEABEAM
DONLARSENTONKA
ULEESGOLDALTER
HARDSELLSLITHE
ROSEBUYSOUT
BOYRANSHORT
HOVSWEARATWOO
ONESTORYCNN
MARCONIGOSH
EPSOMCHACHACHA
SATUPBESTIRRED
PRATEALTARRAIL
UTTERNEONTETRA
NEEDSANNEDESI
Sat 1/21/2012
FERNSPALUPNEZ
AREYOUALONEELO
COMEINTOTHEOPEN
EDITEDOUTCANE
SEXENDOFCLAD
CARECU
SACAGAWEADOLLAR
PRIMEREALESTATE
AIRPORTTERMINAL
SEEDLESSRAISINS
ADSTCM
OLAVTAKEIORB
TONIPYROMANIA
TENDERLOINSTEAK
EWESTATESENATE
REXLENOSCOMAS
Sun 1/22/2012 SNOW WHITE'S EMPLOYMENT AGENCY
SPRCPAMOMENTWINED
THEBARDORATIONAMATI
ROMANOVNIGHTWATCHMAN
UNITEDSIGMABULKIEST
GOTHMUSICIANASCOT
CONANGREWRY
EMIRTAGCHIAPACHES
RITESPOACHERSELAINE
ANALOGFLORALARRANGER
SILICONARODWICK
MOTIVATIONALSPEAKER
AIDANICEENZYMES
ALGEBRATEACHERTALONS
PAELLAUNCLESAMMETER
OUTSELLTHESOOSEWS
DDSASSELTON
CHESTVILLAGEIDIOT
SEAHORSEOLIOSPLAQUE
TVPERSONALITYWALNUTS
EISENSTRAFEDBIGGIES
PLOPSSTRESSCROTRA
Mon 1/23/2012
MAULTERPMIRTH
ARNEATIEIDEAS
LOINBONONONET
TOOTHANDNAIL
AMNIOSSYNCFAA
LOCHOATERS
WESFOOTINMOUTH
ITLLLAGEDIE
CHEEKBYJOWLSEN
CAESARRAID
ANTRAINDRILLS
HANDOVERFIST
AUDIOACIDFEAR
BRINKHADIETTA
ELATEOLANROSY
Tue 1/24/2012
IVYCUBASTARVE
CIAARABAIRCOOL
EELDANIELDAEKIM
TWEEDLEDEERELO
MISSESCOBRAS
CHIMEMAUI
ROSYDIECASTCARS
ALLIMEANTREO
MEETJOHNDOEBEAR
HEROGOAPE
RESETSDROOLS
AXLEDUEPROCESS
TIEDYESHIRTSATE
ELEGISTNAHSSAX
REPENTAHOYTRY
Wed 1/25/2012
SWIGBLOBSWAM
IONALATEHAMID
GOSPEUSICEBOLA
STEERCOLDAELL
UNORBIMUSBAI
SARASTEPLARS
AMENABLEILIED
TREERINGS
KREMESNEEZING
LAUDGMENTROU
INNSEIOSHESS
EYITNESSPOACH
GENREFSTAIDKIT
ESTEREGADIONS
TOOTSTYEANGE
Thu 1/26/2012
CHADADAPTSIDS
AIDELORRIENIL
STALLFORONETVA
HAGUEMETEAHEM
TEXASSTRANGERS
EDUAROAR
OHOCNBCTSARS
JACKTHESTRIPPER
OSCARVASEYDS
UTUBEBAM
STRIKERSISLAND
PUREAMANODEON
RBISTILLATEASE
EENPINSONUTES
ERGATDAWNPOST
Fri 1/27/2012
EMMASIKIDUMPS
SAUDIMICEREAP
QUIZMASTERANTI
SIREJUSTMYLUCK
MARCEAUSHY
LECTUREHALLS
AGARSEWERS
MANICBOXTALIA
EDSELIMETA
DEEPSEADIVER
QEDINRANGE
TRIANGULARALDA
IANSANIMALFARM
PSATGENESATUP
SERAEDELDREGS

I thought it would be cute to have an isolated word in a grid, but it had to connect with the surrounding fill somehow, so a pangram seemed a natural fit. By the way, two other words — BIN and DEN — describe enclosures (as well as have their letters in alphabetical order).

The main task was to prepare a word list with B, O and X removed. After that, the fill process proceeded normally. I tried to use up Scrabbly letters quickly; QUIZMASTER tucked the Q and Z into an alcove, while JUST MY LUCK meshed nicely and disposed of J, C and K. With those in place, the rest came easily, so I tried to make the other long entries as lively as possible.

On a personal note, I absolutely loved it when my sixth grade teacher read ANIMAL FARM to the class. I had my wife read it to my kids on road trips just about the time this puzzle ran.

Sat 1/28/2012
LUMPHASHBROWNS
UNESSQUAREROOT
GDAYTALKEDINTO
GULCHBLEWETAL
ALPHARAYINDIE
GALOSHPISTOLS
ETAPOPSICLE
ENSNOTCHDIS
ENDORSESTAS
CRUCIALCESSNA
LOGONBIKEPATH
OMANPEARPODIA
SANDBARRELNEAR
ENDEARMENTGAGA
ROADGRADERELON
Sun 1/29/2012 NETWORKING EVENT
SLUEBIGDINANEORB
EINESINAICORALSRIA
SPIKEHEELSEMARKETING
ATVMARVCAMEBYNOOSE
MOATEDERODELIONEL
ENCOREPRESENTATION
OGREETSROWERSUP
IRATEYALUMANIAPARE
OATHCTRSIONEXCHANGE
CHOPCHOPEMUSRAIDER
MAYANSDONABOUND
KRISTISIFTBASSTUBA
HISTORYBUFFJARSBNAI
ACTELOONYLUSTBREAM
NESMIKANBADALOU
LIFETIMEMEMBERSHIP
AGHASTATPARADHERE
WRESTOHSNAPHONECOE
FOXHUNTERSOXYGENTANK
UKEPIRATESEDEROTOE
LSDPAPASTREEPEND
Mon 1/30/2012
EGGSSNUBSSPCA
LEAPEERIEELEC
MEGAASSETTILE
ONESTARHOTELS
CURMOLALSO
OLDLINESTATE
SNEERPADSBIS
TARTBIRDSHASP
ASSALOETITLE
ITUNESTOPTEN
FARMOAFLSD
BONESTRUCTURE
ERINHENCEYARN
NAMEENTERAXLE
DYESMOORSNEST
Tue 1/31/2012
APEGAGREESAGO
DIVADOUBLEPOX
DAILYJUMBLERYE
UNCLASPSYRIAN
POTOKTEAOIL
IPODSHUFFLE
SESAMEUKELOOP
PLACATESIDEONE
AINTEVEGIRLIE
MADSCRAMBLE
DUHCUETACIT
TAUPINAVERAGE
RUNLEMONADEMIX
ATEISABELNEVA
YOSSTRIDEALES
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