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Puzzles for May, 2015
with Guest comments

Fri 5/1/2015
ESCAPEMECHANISMS
MONTECARLOCASINO
THESCARLETLETTER
SOTREEFSHUME
HATSPRAM
DONATEFEROCIOUS
ECOLIJULIETNTH
LEMONMERINGUEPIE
LASGASLOGPROLE
ANGELDUSTJOTTER
LEESPANE
DIALAKEEMOLD
ADRENALINEJUNKIE
METROPOLITANAREA
EASYTOUNDERSTAND
Sat 5/2/2015
GABORSOAPAGED
UTEROALLORNONE
ARRAYLEAKEDOUT
MAGNOLIAEMIGRE
GRUNTEDELEC
ALGEBRAEXAMEST
ROOMIESSTAMP
FLOESKILTS
GNOTEDUELERS
CPONEARESTEXIT
HALFKRAMERS
ONPOSTCURATORS
MELSDINERCOVET
PRESSTIMEKNEED
SAXEEMERSERFS
Sun 5/3/2015NON-STARTERS
BEAKSSHYERSAHARA
OXLIPTIMMARAOPENERS
BETSYANOOKOFTHENORTH
SCAMAMOKSITINSMAIA
REDLINESCECEBATED
EARTOONESHEARTBALERS
ARANAGPOLADANO
SEIZEDORMANCONQUEST
YALEUPETECOSTUSAIR
APGARSTUTIORTE
COWLARROWMINDEDAPEX
AHACPAAAAADAGE
PHYLABAHTMUNICREEP
OISEPOLLUTIONBLONDE
VOWELMTMDREDEE
HAMITEICEPIECEOFWORK
OBOTEISONFRACASES
MONTBHOPALIPODSPOT
EUROTRANSMITTERALEVE
SNOWCATTEASERSCERES
DENUDEOLORDHYMNS

Jill Denny notes:

A tidy Sunday grid with an eat theme. Er, rather, a neat theme. Ow, we're cooking with gas!

Drop-a-letter themes are common enough, so the burden is on the constructor to choose clever, colorful theme entries. ORMAN CONQUEST? A NOOK OF THE NORTH? Great stuff. OISE POLLUTION was the only outlier in my solve. Although it works visually, OISE is pronounced "wahz," like the first syllable of "lozenge", so the theme phrase clunked in my ear, like a tiny blip of noise pollution.

Other notables:

  • Virginia APGAR was a pioneering obstetric anesthesiologist who created a quick system for assessing the affects of anesthesia on newborns. Newborns are assigned points based on five criteria: Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respirations ... very convenient parameters, Dr. APGAR.
  • CERES, the Roman goddess of the harvest, appropriately crosses with TESS, a dimunitive for Teresa, meaning 'to harvest or reap'. TESS also happens to be one of the most beautiful names in the world, according to an unbiased source.
  • Another apt crossing: WESLEY and HYMNS, with O LORD hanging off to the side. John Wesley was known for his efforts in writing and anthologizing poetry and hymns, elevating their importance in worship services.
  • Milton OBOTE makes far fewer crossword appearances than his successor in Uganda, Idi Amin.
Mon 5/4/2015
DOHAPESOSALAS
AVERENERORISE
HAMANDEGGSCOIL
LLAMAMAYORNFL
SNAPPYCITI
ILODREAMACT
TRACEROAROMAR
AAHSTEPMOMERE
DDAYILEIAGREE
SAMADAMSCRO
ROMAFACETS
IBMNADIRISAAC
FLEXIAMACAMERA
SINEDRAMAABIT
OPTSSEXEDDOSE
Tue 5/5/2015
SWEETCAFEDOZE
PARSEAILSAXIS
ANITASWAPMEETS
GEORGIABROWNIE
SOTILO
MSNBARSTOOLIE
WATEROUSTUSA
ERASEPUBOSCAR
ALIEDENVIRAL
RAREBIRDIESEC
COGMRI
SHOCKINGPINKIE
MILLSTONEDIDSO
URGEAMADIDEAL
TEASLOWEADDIE
Wed 5/6/2015
STRIFEPROTEM
NEEDIERALUMINA
ANNALEEGUNBELT
ITTMEFIRSTGIT
LOOMSENESUAVE
SNUBFREESMMES
STAIRSTEEPEN
SEASONS
GUTHRIEAANDW
LENAERNSTIIII
ATRIPACHINALL
DIERECEIPTLDL
INSHAPERESPECT
NOTATESRAILCAR
ONSITEKNOTTY
Thu 5/7/2015
SAGERASPWASH
YAKOVELHIIDLE
EFILESOAPLION
SENDNATUREEEOC
SOTDEUCEUPE
ABSUALSPAY
CLAPTRAPLOPEZ
TIREICELDTIDY
SPINYSCREENED
TOESDAMGRE
DADEUNTYNIP
ELESGOINGGREEN
RIFTROPERERDS
UVEAAGEDEOLIC
MERLMESSSKEE
POW Fri 5/8/2015
SNAPCHATCLASSY
KETELONEHALITE
ICERINKSANIMAL
SMELTROEOIL
CANOEEROSENDS
ANONSMUGMAC
CGISTONEMASONS
HESSIANRENEWAL
ELECTRICFANEVE
MAZTHENCLAW
HEATVOIDROLLS
ELKCORDELIA
LIELOWIRONCHEF
ETRADENEWSHOLE
NESTEDGREEKGOD
Sat 5/9/2015
MUFFINTOPKEBAB
ONEINFOURIVANA
ASIFICARENOTIN
TENETSPYGLASS
EATDIRTSUTURE
DTSAEONMUTATE
PLAYATTINTS
AGHAMETOOOGEE
NOUNSDARWIN
YENTASLUISFAR
SKYLABSEAHARE
AGELIMITDUTCH
MARINDOCTORWHO
AGENAENTERTAIN
HADESTENNESSEE
Sun 5/10/2015LITERARY CIRCLES
TKTOVUMVACROPEWAY
UNHNANODENYATEDIRT
LEECUCAMONGAGOGGLED
ILLTELLOFTENLIL
PLOYTEARFULGREENING
CPAANTROLLINGGAIT
GRUELINGMASTIFFMNO
RESOLDEWESALIENCES
ACTALBRIGHTENDEAR
BUTCHEREDYAOOAR
RRRBROKENRIBTLC
EOSWINBRANCHOFF
BECOMENATIONALSLR
PRISCILLACTNNORWAY
IONDIAGRAMEGGWHITE
LIFEISSWEETPRONEL
ELLIOTTSMAYISEEILLS
ODDDONUTSPANIEL
REWEAVEOVERAGAINAAA
EXERTEDRENTSPCAMSN
CORSETSADDTESTSET

Jill Denny notes:

First question: did you know the poem? I didn't. William Carlos Williams is familiar to me — his short story "The Girl With The Pimply Face" contains one of my favorite lines* — but I didn't know this poem.

Second question: does it matter? Not as much as I would have thought. Although familiarity would have made the solving experience easier (and the aha moment more crystalline), discovering the poem word by word was a charming process in its own right. Even if the puzzle contained a unknown poem from a unknown poet, I probably still would have enjoyed the puzzle. It's just fun to see a poem emerge from a grid, like happening upon a particularly beautiful garden during a walk.

I loved one of Jacob's previous puzzles for similar reasons. Crosswords as a vehicle for art, whether visual, musical, or literary — right up my alley. Jeremy Newton's "Ode to Joy" puzzle from 2011 was another beautiful example of this idea. Either I am reminded of something beautiful or I learn something new. Win-win.

*"Boy, she was tough and no kidding but I fell for her immediately. There was that hard, straight thing about her that in itself gives an impression of excellence."

Mon 5/11/2015
BOOMSPDASGIF
IMSETORCAMENU
CALLOFDUTYONCE
SNOOKIBUSDEAL
DEBTANAIS
EASYBALLOFFIRE
RPMSERATYSON
INATROUNCEKOS
CELLORUHREMU
HALLOFFAMEELSE
WALLEBARN
WHOMUMPPAWSAT
HORAFALLOFROME
ILLSFLOETASER
ZEDYETISPASM
POW Tue 5/12/2015
LAGCASITAASTI
APERIOTEDSWAN
NPRURBANDESIGN
DEARMEALLAN
HAREBRAINEDIDEA
OLDEMSTLEN
ANGIOSAGELY
BROADMINDED
TRENDYECLAT
OATBROURDU
WHIPPERSNAPPERS
TIARANASSAU
ELASTICBANDAGR
LOLACEASEDLOP
KOLNASHLEYENS
Wed 5/13/2015
ALKAISMMOPYON
DOINSHALALAEWE
ASTICITIZENKANE
PETTHREADSHRED
THETHIRDMANANDY
SENECAEEK
TAILHARRYLIME
ORSTHEWAROFORO
THEWORLDSATOP
ROOMORITA
SHIATOUCHOFEVIL
HASTAPRIESTACE
ORSONWELLESETAS
APUTENSILEPORC
LYEIDSASSARTE
Thu 5/14/2015
LFMASTSHRIVEL
ARALSEAYOUBETC
SANDLERSOMEWAY
YEETOTESEGO
NGERABBEYGMEN
ANAABRIMBAER
BURSTOUTNORTE
POUTMONT
FAINTLAUGHING
EPEEGODNOCOO
TRODCOLDSBERT
ARCVILLAYAR
BERETTASWAYING
IRYLEGSHOMONYM
TOPKNOTWAUKES

Jill Denny notes:

The massive Big Bertha drill in Seattle, stopped by a ... tiny steel pipe. It's unusual for me to print out a puzzle, but due to circumstances too boring to describe here, I ended up with a paper version of this grid. Surprisingly, that transformed it into something much livelier than the screen version. The puzzle is laughing at and/or with you!

YOU BETCHA was my breakthrough, a folksy phrase immortalized by Sarah Palin and Marge Gunderson. It was only after I completed the grid and counted up the HAngers-on that I realized Big Bert was not a WWI weapon. My apologies to BERTHA. I only know her as a golf club and a stalled megadrill.

Fri 5/15/2015
DARKANGELTRAP
INACLAIRECHEMO
KIMJONGUNHERBS
SIONADDTOCART
PENNEHILOATOI
BETESETUNREST
ADOSTRESPASSES
ARTYEP
GQMAGAZINELAPS
SUITESNTSODIN
TESTSASHICALL
RESIDENCEMAWS
INUREDATAPLANS
NISEIOLIVETREE
GEARRECEIVERS
Sat 5/16/2015
DRIPPOTBEATSME
REMORSEUPDATED
UPPSALALEAKING
GROTTOCLEMENTE
CIRCESLYSUGAR
ZETAALOFTPOLS
AVERAGESOUT
REDDIAPERBABIES
LITTHETORCH
ASTINARISNOOR
SPANGROMPENNI
HINDUGODWESSON
ANGELOUTITMICE
RELEARNONRADAR
PLEDGEDMOONERS
Sun 5/17/2015TO-DO LIST (ABRIDGED)
BREADSROMAODDSSTEM
MARINECORPSKEEPSCOOL
WINDAWATCHAPLAYAPRANK
NOELTIATHANROADS
AMENHEESTOW
THUMBARIDEAWAVEAFLAG
LESSSORPMEELTUG
CREDFLATCRIMESCENE
DOAFLIPACOINAPHRASE
SNOOZEHUESSETSIN
MTMNOWSIPBOAETA
ARARATSALECHANTS
RUNALIGHTAFIREASHOT
CITYSTREETSUMSRULE
SSRABASAMBATBOY
MAKEACATCHABUSATABLE
ACNEARKPADS
WORLDAGRIALBTOOL
FILEARETURNABOOKATRIP
TVANTENNAKARATEKICKS
DEFSATOMSHADYESSES
Mon 5/18/2015
EMUPAPERSTEAK
RANALICEEAGLE
ROWWITHERINGLY
ORIONODES
LILLIANSAMOSAS
LANDEDMISHIT
TRIGAPEDCHIME
HANGMANIAAFEW
EDGARLICITTDS
FILLETMENIAL
TOYSHOPSTEREOS
EWERDISCO
OFFHANDEDLYSTS
PLAITANNIELEA
TUXESLOADSYTD
Tue 5/19/2015
SLOBSBRIEFAZT
AEIOURIATAGEO
FALLENANGELGRR
EVESENDOAPRON
REDHEADSLOE
OBLIQUEANGLE
ADLIBUGGYAYA
MOESOMEHOWTNT
ASTINILAMENS
JESSICALANGE
DACENESTEGG
KHAKIACNEHALO
NANCONRADNAGEL
OTCLOYALONEAL
WEEEXAMSGERMY
POW Wed 5/20/2015
SACSPEALMADAM
HELPRATEAROSE
ORALAREARIGHT
VISAVISAVISA
EASTERMESHJAB
SLYRIGLATINO
ABELABELABEL
FLAWAGOLEWD
RIDERIDERIDE
ERASERENOPSA
TAMBAASSNORTS
PIESPIESPIES
RAZORPURRTONE
EXISTEMITIRON
DEPTHNESSCYST
Thu 5/21/2015
ABEETOLDEBARK
BRAGHROAROQUE
BARGEEARTHSIGN
RELOFMONKEYS
ORSPAGED
DECORSBAREAYE
ERODEDRIERREEF
BAROABIDEELLE
TSIMPSONLAZIER
EENAHOYEXACTS
EDGERACE
RAISEDTHEBAR
BARNSTORMEVADE
BIESELIEAESOP
SLOTMINNDRESS
Fri 5/22/2015
SEALEDWITHAKISS
ALLOVERTHEPLACE
BAGGAGECAROUSEL
ANIONSATESSPF
DTENATMOSKUTI
ORRHELENAIMEE
ASHOREEARNER
AMICUD
MONIESHUMANE
BINGETTOPSALP
ILLSBEATSGINA
SEEIRANISAVOR
TRACTORTRAILERS
RUSSIANROULETTE
ONHANDSANDKNEES
Sat 5/23/2015
HATCHETJOBMFAS
YEAHIMSUREARGO
ESKIMOKISSNEON
NOELSCOTCHEGG
APIECEENBLOC
AHASYOULIE
SCENESHOPWRIST
TOXSTOODONMTS
EDITHOFFICEBOY
MATHISSNAG
LERNERKRONOR
PLACEABETTUNA
RENUROCKGARDEN
OVERFLOODLIGHT
WISESANDPAPERS
Sun 5/24/2015A TALE OF MANY CITIES
JUSTALUMMBAHOTDATES
UHAULTERAOOHATHENIAN
LUIGISTUDFARMGREWINTO
ERNSTETSONNETALSO
SATTHAIERSTESSONYRO
FUSENONOONKPNOSOAP
CORENIGHNABEEGGSUDE
SHAYEROOEDERCOKEKIN
PANSWONKYEMOIRISNAB
ORCDYNEALLYWAGSROTA
TAIRAYSWEEBALESEWER
SVENHELMACDCGNAW
TACOKCARONBYOTOEHEF
AROWERISNAYSUHOHAXL
GELJEEROSHTIREDETUI
SALOWEDAQUASTUNWIDE
AWEKOKOTUMSOMNIAMES
LAGGERWISEPINAGINS
EYESKENSERINRAHMATV
HASPHAZARDTITOYEE
MARATHONHEREITISFRIAR
OVERRODEERIGOALFANON
BAGPIPESMSNOGLEOGRE
Mon 5/25/2015
HANGIMPSBIGOT
ALARMAREANODE
VIDEOCLIPBUYIN
OBIVOTETYRANT
CIRCULARFILE
OLDRKOQUO
GIVETRAINBUFF
TORECRAMSRIOT
MOONSHINESOPS
INNTENSKI
SOCIALPOLISH
REMARKNORANEO
ECOLIINAILEDIT
SHOVERUNTSIZE
TOTEDELSEPEEL
POW Tue 5/26/2015
BESTCOPATUSHES
OTTOOWENASHORE
CHILDSEATNEUMAN
CARLOSBIRDSNEST
ENSMEMOAOUT
MITASTOPBCE
JAPANGREERFLOW
ALLYOUNEEDISLOVE
MPAABOSSAPETER
BOXDELTAGED
SARIWARNSAT
MATCHGAMEEDITOR
OLEOLELIFESTORY
MORRIELRONENTS
STREAKEDGEMEAT
Wed 5/27/2015
OBAMATRADETVA
VIDALWAKEDOAR
AGORAANIMUSTNT
EPIMIAMIPEG
CATSCANTSKIBOB
DREARYPEERAGE
LSDOASESNIGHT
BUSHWASNT
OCTETOESTESTA
LOWNOTEATRAIN
ALIGNSMATHISNT
GSAHOOFSTHY
KATYDIDNTQUITS
ITETRITETAMIL
XEDSTEERSLIMY
Thu 5/28/2015
CSIASPECTAHH
ALUMSTATUELOO
CELLOSUITESBUT
ARTOORAILPASS
CIASPIESNARNIA
ISNTSVUEINK
AYSCLAPADPAGE
EVENODDS
ABBESSSPITHEM
REARUAEMANE
TEDIUMBLUETITS
FREEMEALRETRO
OMGALTERNATION
RUGMOTTOSNAPS
MGSINASECANY
Fri 5/29/2015
TAPSCLAPTONGA
OBOEHEALTHFOOD
YOKEINRAREFORM
SUESSTONEHENGE
TRADEONVEREEN
BAGFULKIA
ABATESAINTHOOD
ROMEGOTTOORZO
EYERHYMESARGON
APEINSANE
ATBATSPANTENE
BYACCIDENTHIHO
UPSTHEANTEIZOD
ZEROESINONDELI
ZBARSSENDEDEN

Jill Denny notes:

There's an episode of "30 Rock" where Jack Donaghy sails through his day untouched by mortal luck. Everything he touches bursts into bloom. Jack calls it "Reaganing". Patrick Berry manages to Reagan through crossworld, grid after grid after grid.

It's challenging to find any nits to pick off of this one. Maybe EYE RHYMES? I thought that phenomenon was called 'visual rhyming', but Google tells me that both are legit. TREVINO? Even a golf Luddite like myself has at least heard his name. Z BARS? A certain engineer who lives with me and sometimes writes on this blog scoffs at my hesitation.

A few favorites:

  • I love the understated sarcasm of the clue for SAINTHOOD. Oh, did you not achieve sainthood, Judas? Ha ha, burn. It's hard to think of Judas as an irredeemable villain once you've seen him sing like in the clip below.
  • A Melissa McCarthy reference (THE HEAT) will always brighten my day. Her performance in "Bridesmaids" is spectacular.
  • HIHO crackers are somehow linked to Bibendum in my visual memory. It turns out that the Sunshine baker logo resembles Bibendum ever so slightly.
Sat 5/30/2015
KIDSMEALFRAMED
EMINENCELADYDI
DUXELLESICONIC
SPIREATANYRATE
FETEWESTASHY
ROCSNARLSAT
ERRSORSTWISTS
DIAMONDBOLOTIE
OTTERSRANNAME
LETTUCESTED
IDOLASSTHIES
DONTERASEINLAW
INSERTERUPTIVE
ONESIELISTENED
MATTERLABORERS
Sun 5/31/2015MAKING PROJECTIONS
TACOTEACHPILLSARF
ALBUMWANDAINDIADEL
ITSNOWONDERLOFTYIOU
TRESSKRONASKORT
TAMERPROFITIRONAGE
CIRCLERABIDRTEENS
AMOKGOTONSUHWEET
SEMIANNUALTOMFOOLERY
TRANSFATCOLOURSNOI
LILTSEAWORLDSNAP
ANDESKELVINSQUADS
TORYHOARSENSNOUN
OVODECRIEDVANISHED
MAPLELEAFSSMARTPHONE
DEFEATSROOMYIMAC
NOVNNELAPUPSTNICK
PAWEDATSENSEITWEET
ASNERRELICROUES
PAMALEXAHIBERNATION
ALEWINITEKEBYKASHI
SSNSECTSRELAXTOMB