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Puzzles for March, 2015
with Guest comments

Sun 3/1/2015NOTED ANNIVERSARY
OMGCLOMPSPECGORD
NILEVEGOUTERROTOH
ENACTSALZBURGAUSTRIA
SAMOANREAESSENTAL
JULIEANDREWSELO
PIPETSTSALWSUIT
EDASWEDESIGMA
THEHILLSAREALIVEFLAK
HOYAELATESVINGTIME
OMENSROACHTGI
RODGERSANDHAMMERSTEIN
GOLSIREETIPSY
OPERABUFFDENCHTILE
WINOBESTPICTUREOSCAR
LCDTVSUSANUGH
SASHIMTRIASIDES
DSTTHEVONTRAPPS
THRESOMETANARCANE
THESOUNDOFMUSICNOCAL
ORITSAXRUBIESTERM
DORSALIODESSAYES
Mon 3/2/2015
JAILSPARFRAUD
ELSIEHWYLENNY
STILLLIFEELIDE
TOTESAUREISER
CALLLETTERS
EMMETTOBI
ZEALSHAGNAMES
RAISEERAGLARE
ANNEXRINGERIC
PVTRACKET
MELLLAZARUS
OCELOTMOETBAG
OHGODTWOLLLAMA
LOOSEDAMEERIE
ASSADSYSYODEL
Tue 3/3/2015
HOHODRAGSCOPE
ACERRISEKUDOS
DELTJOHNNYDEPP
ALLINTOLD
GONZOJOURNALISM
OTOBETSYBELIE
LEISULNA
HUNTERSTHOMPSON
OTOHEINE
ONREDEELERREX
FEARANDLOATHING
MBASZEBRA
INLASVEGASSCAM
KOALALUXEHUGE
ERNSTSTEWETES
POW Wed 3/4/2015
CUPIDSCALERAW
UPENDWOMANOVA
BONDTRADERSCAR
ANTIOMANISKIP
GATDACTYLS
CETOLOGYTHUS
ORRDROOPINTER
LOIREEKEAGATE
ASPENSERINRAN
LATESUBTITLE
DEEPENDSIB
ERASBINGEIDEM
FOXPLAYINGSOLO
ODEMONETSERBS
EELSCATSASYET
Thu 3/5/2015
SHIESSTALAG
TEABAGTIMECOP
ARMADADONALDTR
BABYALBSIRPEU
TAUTONEARM
AHICMAJDROP
TENETNEWAGE
FALLINGBEHIND
RASCALRANTO
TWINPEPEGSA
HONDASSELF
RUGLAPGORYDET
UNAMERICSIERRA
DIORAMATATAMI
DOOHANRIYAL
Fri 3/6/2015
AFCSOUTHTOKLAS
MARINARASANITY
PRIMERIBPROZAC
LIMOSTINEXTRA
ESPNDOTARDAIM
TENURETYCO
SPRAWLEYECOLOR
IROBOTNOMORE
DINOSAURTWERPS
ECRUCREPES
SEECONCURMUTT
ALAMOSETLEMUR
LIGERSITSADATE
ANADEMPETNAMES
DENIALTRUELIES
Sat 3/7/2015
FROMATOZPEEDEE
LEMONADELARYNX
ICEBOXESITASCA
MILNETTLESLOM
SPEDSOILSJEDI
YETISJEDTOXIN
VAPORVISINE
HOMEKEYRAGBAGS
INASECMUCHO
TEXTSKITTYPEB
SOWSDFLATSEMI
QUEBACKBAYZIP
UNBORNCALAMINE
ACEDITAGONIZED
DERATEPANGRAMS
Sun 3/8/20153.1415926 ...
ACTPUMAPROTEARREM
PLYESAUREPERIEAYE
ROTENEGGESEMADHATER
SCUDGUILTRIPSADDS
DEARSIRRITABLEBEFOG
OSLOSESAMESEEDSLIRA
NELSONTHERES
STYNEILKFCHAIRESP
SATERIOAWLS
CHATKITELMPALALPS
HOWIWISHMLIPIEASILY
EGOMANIALINETRUSCAN
CAKEDLYINGONTOKYO
KNESSETANGSTPROCEED
SSNBOARISEEDRS
ICOULDCALCULATE
ASCENTSADASTIRSUP
MUTINYOSMOSISRECTOR
ERUCTCRAPSHOOTAROSE
TATLEHAREETUIDOTED
ELDERENIDDATESWAYS

Jill Denny notes:

First impression of the empty grid: pi.

Second impression of the empty grid: Stonehenge! <insert obligatory Spinal Tap reference>

A win-win situation.

Graphic grids tend to lend themselves to left-right symmetry for obvious reasons. I particularly like how PI appears to be bursting through a wall, à la Kool-Aid Man, though this makes for a more septate grid.

I count five variations on a theme of PI:

  • The central black-squares PI formation in the grid
  • FILLING in the middle of the grid's PI formation
  • Five flickering TT/PI rebus squares (reading as TT in the across direction and PI in the down)
  • Flickering rebus squares are roughly arranged in a PI formation (sort of)
  • Mnemonic for the first eight digits of PI — HOW I WISH I COULD CALCULATE PI EASILY — where the number of letters in each word corresponds to a digit of PI

Packing in so many thematic layers is an impressive feat. I love how vibrant many of the answers are, and they are all well within the common parlance. I'm looking at you, ROTTEN EGG, MAD HATTER, GUILT TRIPS, UTOPIA.

Mon 3/9/2015
BETASAPSSHAPE
OVENBREACOBRA
RISKTAKERHOBOS
ECLAIRLIFERAFT
STAARMUMA
TROUBLEAHEAD
ALOHANEALLIE
LIMESIRSSWANK
AMAACRENOLTE
SORRYCHARLIE
EENSIPACT
CLUEMEINBETTOR
AISLEBOARDGAME
PREENATRAIRAN
SARDIREFSFIST
Tue 3/10/2015
KEAJABSCOBALT
ILLEPICACACIA
SPEEDIERREBELS
MARTINLANDAU
ESTAMAINSTAY
TOSTADATOSHIBA
GINSUKNEW
PAPERCARRIAGE
MAMAIPADS
GRASSLELAPDOGS
MISSPENTCROC
BATTINGCOACH
RESORTPARENTAL
EXPOSEIZODERE
SOAKERNIKESTP
Wed 3/11/2015
WOMANISHCLONED
OPALOCKAOOLALA
RAREMEATRADISH
ELSAATSIGNLES
SEXTIEUP
PESTSABSDROPS
ARTTVTRAYGLEE
BARTCHILIEIRE
STARRECIPESOY
TOWEDIKEMEHTA
BEEPSHUN
AVEBUTWHYTRUE
MERLOTREDCROSS
ERRANTAIRBASES
SAYYESPROSPERO
Thu 3/12/2015
LOLITAMAWSORS
ANODESGRIPBOT
VASSALMALIIDO
STAREDCDTOWER
PLAYSWITHLANE
EARSGUNANTS
ENTOMBMILAN
PTSIOSDIXAPE
ASNERTERROR
OPENMANEBON
SUREINTHEHOLE
BROWSESHOMERS
ODDAXONROADIE
RUELIFESTRADS
NEDETTAYESYES
POW Fri 3/13/2015
IDBADGESHARLEM
TARBOOSHAREOLA
ANECDOTESAVOIR
LESSDARKAGES
OSTRADIOSREPS
OUTOFTHEBLUE
ASTINFOOTIRE
SPILLITSTRIPED
SETONUSAPSES
ALLIWANTTODO
YLEMSIMONEESA
PACECARSTRIM
DRAGONREARAREA
AUGERSYULELOGS
DEEDEESPECKLES
Sat 3/14/2015
LOBSTERBIBNSFW
ANIMANIACSOHIO
MONEYTALKSRENO
ANGELTAYSLED
REOOMANSMELTS
SRICOCAGUM
WHISTERICBANA
SHAMWOWBAHAMEN
HARPISTSTIRED
OCRFISTINN
VAULTSPACEPRU
EMMAHETWIRES
LOPSEATENALIVE
ELHITHEINSIDER
DESKCARTWHEELS

Jill Denny notes:

James Mulhern, you had me at LOBSTER BIB. Some see it as the most dignity-destroying accessory ever invented; I prefer to see it as a harbinger of deliciousness. Mr. Lagerfeld agrees.

The eastern hemisphere of this puzzle slid into place smoothly, thanks to the scaffolding of ERIC BANA, THE INSIDER, and BAHA MEN. I like the flow around the center black blocks — a nice balance between fluidity and structure. Despite my lobster love and Kendrick LAMAR admiration, the NW corner was the last to fall for me. I went down a blind alley with RES instead of REO, and ANIMANIACS was slow to emerge from the deep vaults of my brain.

REO means nothing to me without a Speedwagon in tow, but it turns out that it's the same REO of Diamond Reo Trucks. REO stands for Random Eli Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile. What a fantastic 19th-century name! I love it. Random's father was named Pliny Fiske Olds, which is also just grand, and Random married a woman named Metta Ursula Woodward, who later inspired NBA player Ron Artest to change his name to Metta World Peace (allegedly).

Sun 3/15/2015MAKING CONNECTIONS
PROSPECTFRISCOIGAVE
HISHONORAUSTENORBIT
INLETLIEINSUREENOUGH
SKORTNEARSTRYIT
REEFQUACKSEATSAT
INFIDELCASTROGENOESE
MOONIOBEINBOXSEATS
AFLATPGASPARTASWAT
RUINEDSTSUSMCAGE
INCANOPENERSNOOARED
INJURYTAMPERING
VERSELITINFIELDGOAL
AVERASEANOLORDLY
NEAPCAPERSYOUSODAS
INDUCTTAPEMAYNTEMO
SLUSHIEINTAKECONTROL
HYPHENSCARJOAVEO
BSIDEIEVERCROWE
INFANCYPANTSLINKEDIN
FARCEEARNITSNEERING
SMOKYSLEEPYEGGDONOR
Mon 3/16/2015
BABSAPESTREAT
UCLARELYBURRO
SQUIRTGUNSLUMS
SUEDEDOAEDYS
TILFRIEDSHRIMP
ORASONSHETAO
PEWSONSTALENT
GETSHORTY
ALTTABHOEEGGS
TIEVETZENYON
PEEWEEREESEMRI
ESTARIMIONIC
ALIVESMALLTALK
COMETHYPEISLE
EWERSASPSSTAR
Tue 3/17/2015
JARSTAMIMBACK
ODIEIMOLALALA
LATERMANALISON
TMZAIRERANIS
UNDETERMINED
BSATAUALE
MASTERMINDPOP
HEIRLAIRDSPOT
ATLBUTTERMILK
MRIADEONE
MONSTERMOVIE
AGOGSILASBEE
BROLINMIDTERMS
OEUVREEVEWIMP
LATELYDERWEAN
Wed 3/18/2015
FEDORASUSCOPS
EPISODESPILLIT
DIVISORMONOSKI
CARIBBEANQUEEN
INEAIGINST
AWLSISLETS
CHITIDYBACKUP
DOMESTICWORKERS
CANVASHOBOESS
ARAWAKPLAT
SAWNSOIMHO
PREDATORDRONES
RENEGEDAMSCRAY
ANDREASBEEHIVE
YAYSLYSTROKES
Thu 3/19/2015
SELBYINCHJAM
ONEADSELAERA
CROCSMAXEDRAN
HONKPAYTVRUBY
INSTEADTEXAS
ODIEORIGAMI
TIMBURTONISLAM
ANYASOLOSTELE
BOSSAMETACOMET
UNHINGEHIER
ACCRAILLICIT
CARSASSNSCANE
OHOSTUNGSHINS
PENAEROTENET
YMAGREWUSERS
Fri 3/20/2015
ENDSITARROWS
BOOTLEGRONNIE
BIGYEARSEASTLA
EDTSTAMMERILL
TEARSNAILOPIE
SAGERDRSSITAR
GIANTSLALOM
MICKEYMOUSE
COMEUPPANCE
LONERHANEENSY
IMANSENNADINO
NPRPEWTERSEAU
EUCLIDSRILANKA
ATHENASAUNTER
LEYDENSECEDE
Sat 3/21/2015
JUMPINJACKFLASH
AHOOSIERHOLIDAY
NOCAUSEFORALARM
EHSZAPSACTSIN
FUNINK
ITEAUSMMAGE
ORANGEPOPSICLES
TURNEDTHETABLES
ATTENTIONPLEASE
SHODLTDAYES
MOTDSL
YESBUTEDUCSLO
ONEAFTERANOTHER
GETSTOFIRSTBASE
ISTHISSEATTAKEN

Jill Denny notes:

Hanging my head in shame, I was forced to turn in my Hoosier credentials this week, never having heard of A HOOSIER HOLIDAY. A very sad day indeed. I assuaged my chagrin by watching The Shot five times in a row. Nobody stopped the clock!

A triple stack of triple stacks, with narrow throughways between. The top section was a brambly brawl for me, between the aforementioned Dreiser reference and my shallow familiarity with the Rolling Stones. Weren't we all raised by toothless, bearded hags? (Just kidding, my mom is actually too beautiful for her own good.) I liked a lot of the down answers in that section, both for scrabbliness and for liveliness: ISUZU, JEEP, CHO, KORAN, HYMN. NISAN and POA were new to me, as was ITEA, the other plant genus in this grid.

The middle and bottom triple stacks came together more easily, but looking over the finished grid, I admire the top stack more. It sparks more, to my eye. Besides, ORANGE POPSICLES were never my favorite — grape all the way!

Hansel, SO HOT right now.

POW Sun 3/22/2015UPSIDES
WBALEFLAPHAMTVDAD
AINEDROSAACEBRAISE
RONGDRINKSSHAREONESB
TLEOIIGATAENEIDDAU
SAXEDGINESSTINYOUT
BEADEDCLIMBINGOWL
SSTAREMOOTTMNT
TANYAPOKYNCAA
TOSELFPHONECOLDMEAL
EVENALITTLEBOREAVAI
TAXSTRUMSMAMMALANV
ORTHEARLTASMANIANDE
NYSENATESICKOLESSER
LAMEBCCSNSYNC
ODESMORKASHACT
URNTHEWALLSOOMPAH
FTEAOAFPEACHPIERED
ALSPOLISHPRULEGALI
CISIONTREEDIGESTIVEA
ENUDESSRAOBEYUNAFR
DEPOTTAPGEREPANTY
Mon 3/23/2015
JAMALMADLYBLT
OBESEIBEAMIOU
KLEPTOMANIACUB
EEKHAITIOKIE
MARCHMADNESS
FLAILSREAR
OURSMECCAOFT
CATSCRATCHFEVER
HUHHEXESDEMO
IVANGOGRAY
FASHIONCRAZE
OUTSUSOFAACT
ADOMEDIAFRENZY
MIRGRINDKAYAK
STYTREYSSTARE
Tue 3/24/2015
PEARLTHAWLARA
INTHEEASEEVER
SCHOOLCLUBGAZE
TOLDAHAFARO
IDEALSLIFELINE
LETOTSSLUICED
DESKHERAZEDS
TIMETABLE
MODEPACEADDL
PARAPETLTDIAL
SKYLIGHTREBATE
TWASWOEALIS
CRAWSTICKSHIFT
DELAEACHSANAA
RELYAXESNIGHT
POW Wed 3/25/2015
ATOASTDELAWARE
NUDGEDENAMORED
OPERASESTEEMED
IDESRUINOVA
ECOEENPRES
AHAENDBAY
SUVNEILEENSY
ALATONGANSHOE
UNPENASIMORB
TEDTAIWEB
SAGAPCTCRS
TVACLAWCAST
AIRPLANETHRESH
RADIATORREDNO2
KNEEDEEPIDIDSO

Jill Denny notes:

What a beautiful theme! I love revisiting a seminal work of art, especially one with a controversial past. Duchamp's own brothers requested that he withdraw his painting from its debut exhibition in Paris, arguing that it was disrespectful to depict the nude form so mechanistically, engaged in such a humdrum activity as walking down a staircase. The Cubists felt it was not Cubist enough. And no one liked the title, which was seen as not sufficiently literary.

Duchamp's painting

With a twenty-first century gaze, it's difficult to imagine why anyone would have ever considered this 1912 work shocking or even surprising. So here's my billion-dollar idea: glasses that allow one to see a work of art as it would have been seen at its debut, so that its groundbreakingness can be appreciated anew. Put on the glasses, and you temporarily have the cognitive history and experience of a Parisian in 1912, so that when you look at Duchamp (or Manet or Picasso or Giotto), you feel the "what IS this?" frisson, accompanied by delight or repugnance or confusion. The Apple version is the iEye (dibs on the trademark).

Right, back to the puzzle! The staircase architecture and circled letters tightly constrain the grid, necessitating several tricky little cul-de-sacs. I liked the inclusion of ARMORY SHOW and AVANT-GARDE, as well as the H2O/RED NO. 2 crossing. The southwest corner was a quagmire for me, with ambiguous cluing and the trickiest of the cul-de-sacs. Those are minor nits to pick, though. The theme just delighted me thoroughly.

Thu 3/26/2015
ALPHASABUDHABI
PARENTNINEIRON
AYEAYETOILETTE
SLYTHERINSDIOR
SASOPEDOHEXT
NOSERINGS
LEOIKETHOU
INTENSERIVALS
PLEXLESPDA
SPINSERVE
GOTONOFAASEC
IMACRINSECYCLE
MALENUDELAMOUR
PHONESEXINCODE
SANTAHATSTATES
Fri 3/27/2015
BIGMACREPEALS
ENRICOOPENSUP
ALAMORTLEADSTO
TABERNACLECHOIR
STSNEBOHORSE
MIALINPUTTS
ENTITESISS
UTAHSTATE
ISAATMSSHH
TASESOASHOI
IPODSGRIMASP
LATTERDAYSAINTS
STOOLIESTINKAT
IONBEAMENCAGE
TWEEDLEDEARER
Sat 3/28/2015
BIKINIWAXOHJOY
ECONOMIZEDUANE
DEATHSTARERICA
LALOESLROLLER
AGASTEEPENBOZ
MESSYNAILSAVE
PRODCARTIER
SCARUMTEATRO
NOTEPADBEAR
ALOENAPACRISP
POMLITCRITMIR
CRIPESGEMFORE
HAZEDLAXATIVES
ADEPTOMAGAZINE
TORSOLEMONZEST
Sun 3/29/2015CALIFORNIA, HERE I COME
TABORSBLADESPLICATE
ACADIAEOLITHRUNRIOT
STREAMINGINCAEMBASSY
TIROENZIDESISLIP
EVENPARCASTELSEWHERE
BATESEWARLURID
UTTERADAGESRELIEFS
DEEPSPACECANINEMEDAL
SOIREESTRASATIRE
NOTONCEDOESITTOE
YOUMAKEMEWANNACASHOUT
ALFALETAPITWORKS
LATESTDNYCORNIER
ALEUTREALLYBIGCASHEW
SADCASESAUCEDREINE
HEIDIILLAGERTE
BACALLHANDLERBERSERK
AVERLENIHILTALAD
LETITIATHELIFEOFPICA
TRUSSEDTALONSFLINTY
OYSTERSIDOTOOFUDGES
Mon 3/30/2015
JOYWHOBBC
LUREIREDAYLA
BIRDSOFAFEATHER
BEYASPGOOSE
QUOPROPREPOSE
FOEICEKEN
EYREGNUSRODS
FLOCKTOGETHER
OSURAPABBES
XERPITAPLAYAT
PIEPALCSI
CECEHELIBRER
CLEARFORTAKEOFF
AIRMAILONEHOUR
ROSETTASTARKLY
Tue 3/31/2015
PLAYASTIRLITUP
REMOPAINEIRONS
ONIONRINGSTERRA
MANHOODEIRETEL
OWNLASERBEAM
ALLOWMIRTHELLS
TEAHAULEARL
VERBALGYMNASTICS
YETIEATSNIH
CONTSEAMYURIAH
HIGHHORSESAE
ALIONESAUGUSTA
SETINCOFFEEBARS
TRIPETREADERIE
ESSAYSTYNENAPA