This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

Thumbnails

Puzzles for September, 2018
with Jim Horne comments

View these same grids with comments from:
Constructor (24)Jeff Chen (30)Jim Horne (12)Hide comments
Sat 9/1/2018
SAMBASGAMBIA
TRIEDONCUISINE
ITSAZOOOLDSTER
MIDSENTENCEPRO
SCOTSHATHFATS
OLESMISOSERIO
NESCENTRIPETAL
BUDGETCUT
CONANOBRIENHAN
APERYUNOSPELE
NEERWRENPRADA
INDTIGRISRIVER
TENMILESLOVENE
BROILERTALENTS
ESTATEGETSET
Sun 9/2/2018 GOING HEAD TO HEAD
STANDPAWNSBEDNERF
ARMORUHHUHECOSOLAR
SUESEHTMINOTAURTWICE
SENTITEMOIRAMBOWSER
TROTSSTOODSPHERE
LOIREWINNOWISE
NOTLIMAHBURRRODRBI
SCHSLIMBOEDRELEASE
AAACELTIDRISOWNER
LTCOLEKULDARTHVADER
ORKSUNENOYES
YPOONSREDBARONPRINT
DRAKEHAZELLAOSOAR
SATIATEUNIDEALOCTA
THEYAKDIVADGOLIATH
CAPSIDDRYHOLLY
ASSUMELAMBSSMALL
NAMTABJOKERATTAALGA
GLITZETOXIUQWINDMILL
ESTEEDOTBRUINUPSET
LAHRINAELATEOSTEO
Mon 9/3/2018
CHASESTORMAPP
AESOPIONIAWAR
SITTINGDUCKKEA
ERASENDSELWAY
SOHOASIANS
STANDINGORDER
AERIESRICODAB
AARPAOLTAME
BROAURASPIGOT
WALKINGPAPERS
INHALEEARS
GEESESONIAPAW
LEARUNNINGJOKE
ODDGRACEOLLIE
OSSYIPESNOEND
Tue 9/4/2018
IMOFFSPURNPUG
SOLARTAGUPIPO
ALLTOGETHERAFT
YEASTATSNOB
ATOMICTHEORY
ALWAYSREACT
MOORASIAMUMA
AIRPORTTERMINAL
SNLSEEPSNEIL
DALAIFAIRLY
ANCHORTENANT
COLABONDMVP
USATHEEIGHTIES
TISSEARSOATES
ERSKNUTEWREST
Wed 9/5/2018
JUTSDANETITANS
ASHESTANOCELOT
CHEERLEADTENETS
OEDOMANTAUT
BRONCOSDOLPHINS
EGODEMONSIVAN
DAFOEORAKNEEL
TEAMBUILDING
SPEWSENTANION
ODIEGETOUTNTH
PATRIOTSBENGALS
TWOSRULEPGA
BATHOSLUNISOLAR
URBANEATTNRAMI
GIANTSSHUEONES
Thu 9/6/2018
OSLOMIATAEMUS
SLAVECRUSNANA
SAVERHETTUZIS
OMARGOSEENETS
CHERERIC
JOSHESNOIDEA
ORCASSSNNAILS
CZARATEOFTEMP
KONGPRATEIDOS
ESPERANTO
SALSATAGANISE
ALAWICCANSMOD
TIPOFTHEICEBERG
ABILITYNARRATE
NINETYASANAS
Fri 9/7/2018
DISCSAGASAPPS
ONTHECLOCKDRIP
PAPAYATREEVOLE
PHASEROTTIPSE
LOUTSQUICKSAND
ELLELUNCHMONEY
RESSAIDBARER
BOUTDORY
SHAUNROOTTOW
SPELLCHECKWERE
HEADSHOPSJANET
EARPPBRRUSTIC
ARIAABOMINABLE
VENTDIVINGBELL
EDGESTEAKIDYL
Sat 9/8/2018
MAJORCSPOTCRO
ARUBAUNITYOED
RESINTAXISQUAD
KATETIPSOURCE
ERABATCHNESTS
TUSCANHASBEST
GEORGIADOME
CARROTJUICE
SEATFILLERS
DAFTMARFERRIS
UNLITSINUSONE
BIONICEELBRAN
OMAGAZINELILTS
SATRANDDADORE
ELSARTSYVEGAS
POW Sun 9/9/2018 MIXED FEELINGS
BUMTATALILACASSAY
BRAHOLEDARENAPEELE
SNOWUNDERTOTALRECALL
SLNIAOMENLIARDEL
ADULTRIOOPTSEGO
POISEBATTINGGLSAVOW
PETERPANODORSWHIRS
IGORBRITAIFONLY
ASSAMTEAORBSIR
BLUNTVETTESANDTRAP
LOVEHATERELATIONSHIPS
YESWECANMILANTESSA
RECMPGCONDOFEE
BOLEROETHOSESTA
PAVERSTETSROLLRIRA
AREAAMPERSANDSFSTOP
YERCIAOGOAFISTS
OFTARLOCEESFREDO
FOURLEAFCLRINDECENCY
FORUMLEIASLINDTMOE
STEMSADOUTYAYSEON
Mon 9/10/2018
IDTAGABSRASTA
FORCEMEWEATON
FREETRADEFRONT
YAKBOSSESPOSH
BUDSTHEDIE
CHEESEDEADCALM
COMFYTONGUES
SOBENAMESLIFE
ALROKERSEDAN
BURLIVESSPREAD
INKGASPLAY
AWEDSAVIORLEO
NODUHBILGEPUMP
CRONEONEMERIT
ANNEXWEDEWERS

I do not understand Jeff's objection to BLEU. Like the other circled words, it's a kind of cheese. One might as well complain that some of the cheeses here are from cow milk, but others are from sheep milk. (FETA can, apparently, even include goat milk.)

I love the BURL IVES clue but, Jeff is right, it's less satisfying if you don't know the man. He was a popular folksy singer in his day with a gentle, engaging voice. The "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" reference elevates the entry. When you think of that iconic film, you probably flash to Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. It takes a few seconds to remember that, oh yeah, Burl Ives played Big Daddy. "There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity!"

Mr. Stulberg is right about 10-Down. "Grp. making after-work plans?" for AARP is sublime.

I'm looking forward to arguing with Jeff this week. Well, we always argue, but this week we'll do it in public. Let's see if we're still friends after seven days. It's been years since I've written regularly about crosswords. This should be fun.

Tue 9/11/2018
METADATADEFANG
OXYMORONILLSEE
SHRINKINGVIOLET
HOEDARESO
ERSENGLISHROSE
STELLARPTAOLD
ALIASSNUG
FLOWERYLANGUAGE
LOPSOCEAN
AKAATMTARGETS
GILDTHELILYLEA
OBESEGNAT
ASFRESHASADAISY
WOEISIDOGOWNER
ELECTSSTEWPOTS

Jim and Jeff at the Puzzles continues all this week, and today, I get to go first.

One staple of comedy is the character who takes metaphorical phrases literally; think of Hymie the Robot in Get Smart. It's also a rich source of crossword themes. Today, FLOWERY LANGUAGE is, literally, phrases with flowers.

I haven't talked with Jeff Chen about this puzzle, but I can anticipate his objection. Two theme entries are noun phrases, one is a verb phrase, and one is a comparative expression. One and only one is an actual flower, as well as an epithet. Purists like more consistency than that. If the theme phrases are fun, I'm happy leaving the hobgoblins chained in the basement. Don't feed them. You'll enjoy life more without them.

WOE IS I is a fun title for a surprisingly entertaining and useful book. I don't often see GAWP outside of crosswords. OXYMORON gets a straightforward clue, but "original copy" and "open secret" are amusing examples. "Ambulances' hosp. destinations" struck me as an odd clue for ERS since Emergency Rooms aren't typically the destinations for the ambulances themselves, but I get the idea. With an entry as common and as awkward as ERS, it's tough to plow new ground, especially for an early-week puzzle.

ENGLISH ROSE was considered quite a compliment when, say, my grandmother used it. I suspect it's now mostly used ironically. Maybe it's time to resurrect more flowery language.

Wed 9/12/2018
ASHEPAPABEGAT
SHUNEYESOFBLUE
WINDPETITFOURS
INGOTEMTNEAT
TZEADDOEDSLY
HORSDOEUVRES
AFTLASMUIR
BOUILLABAISSE
ERRSGUVHOC
MILLEFEUILLE
TLCSAOFOGAAA
AEROTWOGETIT
FRENCHCHEFDIME
TOWERSUITEDOER
SISSYTOADANDY

I imagine something I call The Editor's Dilemma. Suppose you're responsible for 365 daily puzzles a year, not just to edit, but to select. How do you choose? Crosswords that rely only on wide-spread knowledge become tedious. Ones that target specialized knowledge risk turning off as many solvers as they please.

If you speak French (being Canadian helps sometimes!) and you love to eat, today's puzzle is a delight. I quickly entered theme answers, all the while realizing that if Mr. Wechsler had targeted literal meanings of, say, Mexican food, my experience would have been less satisfying. Is this fair? Is fair even relevant? We sometimes see puzzles that rely on intimate knowledge of Manhattan geography, Sondheim musicals, or professional tennis. Me? I'm still waiting for a grid with all eight of Brünnhilde's Valkyrie sisters from The Ring. (How do you spell Roßweiße again?)

I agree with Jeff that crossing SHINZO with TZE is rough, especially since those are both transliterations.

"CRY havoc and let slip the dogs of war" is just one of many great lines Mark Antony gets. Trust me; that Shakespeare guy is going to be a household name.

Thu 9/13/2018
QUIZAMAZECCS
ETREKEFIRHUT
DEKEDCARPIGABO
SOYNOSURSI
ASKJOESLLCS
THEFOUNTAIOFYOH
MIMEABORTS
VOYAGEGETUPS
HARMONSUNS
FROTHIGATTHEMOH
LENOISLEPSY
AHEMTETYET
RAIBOWTROSHELL
ESCLITERIBOX
SHHEXUDEOBOX

Jim and Jeff at the Puzzles continues through to Sunday.

We expect to get fooled on Thursdays. When we get a Thursday without gimmicks, are we, then, fooled? No need to contemplate this deep philosophy because today we get the standard ins and outs of a regular rebus.

There are hundreds of possible entries that include IN somewhere followed by OUT somewhere, but if you restrict your search to entries where IN doesn't mean "in" and OUT doesn't mean "out" (not possible with our software; you need to do this by hand, I mean eye) you end up with a much smaller set. The non-revealer theme entries today all pass that test. Ponce de León gave the trick away, so I wish it had appeared further down, but the puzzle was still fun. IN BOX and OUT BOX are solid rebus justifications.

I didn't know about KEFIR. Does the Wikipedia comment that "Fermentation of the lactose yields a sour, carbonated, slightly alcoholic beverage, with a consistency and taste similar to thin yogurt" make you more, or less, intrigued?

YOU AGAIN first appeared in 2011 with a more positive clue: "Well, look who's back." I like today's snarkier "Question to a returning pest." AFRO tip-toes around controversy by giving it a music clue. RAINBOW TROUT is delicious. I've lived in America for years, but I still find the LITER spelling jarring. LXX is a cheap entry, but IN BOX stacked over OUT BOX makes it well worthwhile.

Let's see what Jeff has to say. In my experience, if you give him three barleycorns, he'll take 1.60934 kilometres.

Fri 9/14/2018
WAVELENGTHSARP
IMAGINETHATBOA
DANGERMOUSEOTS
ESSWOESBEAVIS
FILATERSEST
SHTETLSHEEPISH
WORTHFOUNDTEE
INITBEADSBARB
SEPLAMPSDELIA
SYLLABUSKELLER
CHEATERBOIL
HOTTERSEERDAX
ANIHUNTANDPECK
REMITSAMIRACLE
DYETHATSGENIUS

In 2010, I wrote an article for the Science section of the New York Times called The Rush of the ‘Crossword Puzzle Moment.' I contended that we all have all keep information at the edge of our consciousness, things we don't know that we know. Part of the joy of crosswords is that tiny clues, sometimes just one or two letters from crossing words, can unlock these facts, and unlocking them can be very satisfying. That happened to me today with DANGER MOUSE. I have no idea what their music is like, but somehow, even though I'm not tuned in to it, I know that Danger Mouse is a thing and that it had to fit the clue. Endorphins are a great drug.

Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, how could you not have fallen in love with Sarah KOENIG? Like everyone in America except, apparently, Jeff, I followed the weekly podcast drops of Serial with great anticipation. Season 3 begins September 20th. I'll be there.

And SHTETL? Have you never seen Fiddler on the Roof? Talking crosswords with Jeff is a constant reminder that different life experiences lead to different crossword experiences. How audacious of this rectangular art form to take as its ambit of allowable topics, everything worth knowing! Personally, I haven't known everything since I was in my mid-teens.

I liked the science clue for WAVELENGTHS but it didn't feel quite right, implying subtraction was somehow involved. "Color determinants" would have made me feel better.

Jeff is right about the clues for HAS BEENS and BARBS. Outstanding.

Sat 9/15/2018
CAMPUSMAPPASTA
OHIOSTATEAXIOM
SAMESEXMARRIAGE
ABETAERAINMAN
ORELSEGAG
ROGUESYEOHCEO
APRILJERUSALEM
STANSPLITGERE
PIPSQUEAKAGAIN
SCHRIGSOVINES
OCTHIREES
IMAFOOLNANLGA
SELFDRIVINGCARS
MOVIEFINGERTIP
SWATSTAKESTEPS

How much I love a Saturday crossword depends on a couple of factors largely outside the control of the constructor or editor. The first criterion is whether I can finish, chiefly affected by the overlap of things the puzzle thinks are worth knowing and things I happen to know. The second is how amused I am by the clues, which says more about my sense of humor than anything else.

What makes today's puzzles satisfying (so, yes, I finished and with an amused smile) is that several common words get nicely diverting clues that at first seem impossible but nicely click into place. I know nothing about college football in 1890, but with a couple of letters in place, "Something STATE" seemed likely, leaving four letters to fill in. Utah or Iowa feels less probable than OHIO. I know little about Islam, but the first letter J pointed right away to JERUSALEM. I speak no Farsi, but STAN seems obvious. I don't play Risk, but SIAM fell easily. That's three fun facts I learned from one puzzle.

SELF-DRIVING CARS is a topical entry. "M" or "Z" is an impressive clue for MOVIE. The Edison clues are fun. Senate coverage isn't DOME at all, but TOGA. ASPS are cousins of garter snakes.

The equation x + 0 = x is indeed an AXIOM. Mathematics (also science, technology, etc.) depends on accepting such things on faith. If one of the famed Peano axioms is found to be untrue, your iPhone will suddenly stop working. If you have a Galaxy, it will catch fire.

POW Sun 9/16/2018 "UH, WHAT?"
CLUMSYRACYABBACAPS
HAVANAOBOEBEEROHIO
OREGONTRANSPLANTMITT
OKAYOKAYAMOUNTFETCH
APEXAGASSINATURE
MURSETURNTHECORONER
MAPSLIRABUSSAWE
AREDRAMASTMARTIN
KINGJAMESBUYABLEARES
ENDASHESEMPTYPARENT
WAIVEJAMIECRAVE
ARNETTSETONASPHODEL
RAGURIOTINGONTHEWALL
PHABLETSSNOODBOA
SAMONEASCOWALPS
PROJECTRUNAWAYSPREE
IMHEREPREFEREMIR
TSARSCABALAINUNISON
TOWSSENATOROFGRAVITY
LUKEKEENATMSFTERIE
ETSYISLETOGOSADIST

I've been waiting for PHABLETS to make it into an NYT puzzle. Like most portmanteau words, it's odd at first but easy to figure out. Smartphones are getting bigger, tablets shrink, and eventually, they overlap into a new device category.

"Tube tops" and "Case load" are clever. I like the green juice provider too. "What ... may represent" is a fun, modern clue.

As for the theme answers, here's why I'm disappointed. I'd love to end our Argument Week with bitter disagreement, but I'm afraid I concur with Jeff. They're all outstanding. Well, I love OREGON TRANSPLANT just as much as the others, but that's the extent of my divergence. Bravo, Joel Fagliano.

This wraps up our Jim and Jeff at the Puzzles experiment. I don't think we learned anything we didn't already know — Jeff and I sometimes look at puzzles differently — but it was fun to put it out for the world to see. Let us know what you think, and maybe we'll try this again sometime.

Mon 9/17/2018
SPEWPITSBOSSY
LAVAOPENIRATE
ACIDTREEFAULT
TELEPHONEPOLE
DOOMZACRAT
NEGSLIDETACKLE
EXAMESOLORAX
ACNESENDSEAST
REDDIOILDUKE
BLOOPERREELTAD
YSLAGETEES
FIDGETSPINNER
CHIRPDUOSIONA
TENORENDOFROS
RHINODEANFISH
Tue 9/18/2018
SHOOSOFIAJADA
KERRAWASHEXIT
IMACWITHCHEESE
METHANEHOP
SNEERSCOTSMEN
SEEBELOWOMG
EMTTATAAMOCO
CARBONDIOXIDE
MOLARIAMBLYE
ANAEASTSIDE
JORDACHEIPADS
OTCAMMONIA
JOHNHUGHESSTAT
UHUHSTARRTINA
GOGOESTOPSCAN
Wed 9/19/2018
IVSRUSEBOARD
TICCIGARICIER
TCHOTCHKEGESSO
INURESCHMALTZ
ATLTBONES
CHUTZPAHOUI
LIZASLAPTALES
AYEYIDDISHALA
PARMAATTAOVAL
IREOYGEVALT
BINDERMIL
MEGILLAHSINAI
ALIBIVERKLEMPT
DIVANERNIEPOE
DEERESOAPSSN
Thu 9/20/2018
MAMBAGLOTTIS
STAUBBOARHUNT
GODRYENSCONCE
MESSAGETRA
EMISLOBHED
TATAANAHEIMCA
CNBCSIDEROADS
ECGAEDWITH
INTERLCSAL
RATPOISONNABS
IGETIDEASSCOT
SRNAGESCUP
TIGSECTION
GOTORUINAMUCK
INONEACTLINEA
GYMSOCKENTRY

Clues and grid numbers here match the puzzle as printed. Some electronic versions may differ.

Fri 9/21/2018
CHIDECRIMEBOSS
OASESDUDERANCH
STUBSSTALINERA
SEPIATEASER
EMPTYWORDSIED
TAOSACNENEEDS
SISAVOCADOS
LEAVENDREAMS
CORNMEALRID
PISANOINKNOLE
ANOTRADEMARKS
STUCCOATARI
TATAMIMATMANOR
ICEPALACEALGAE
STRESSATESEEDS
Sat 9/22/2018
APPETIZERRISK
PEASHOOTERACTI
HERCULEANEFFORT
IDSSAYSIDONAE
DEEDOCCUR
SERUMSACKDRESS
CEDARRAPIDS
CHARLIEROSE
THETIMEWARP
PRESSPASSNUMBS
ROASTPERU
ECTEMBRACEKIR
THETWILIGHTZONE
TERIAAMEETINGS
YESMTEENANGST
POW Sun 9/23/2018 THE ART OF PUZZLE-MAKING
STUDSEMIRWASPSPORE
ERNIEVIVAALTACOLIN
LOSANGELESSURREALIST
FUELTANKSMARSROVER
IPASIUDMGMTOTSERA
EELPUPUAREUTESTSP
TASDORITOSSYD
MEDAYNIPATREATA
AROMASYONPOENIMROD
CAGEFREEAAHLABNOTES
TREACHERYOFIMAGES
TERSEHUMANRACEEDAMS
RTELODILINCLIE
ITASCAITSJUSTATMOST
OUTEATSTROPEQBRANCH
AREPRESENTATION
GASDRYERTURNINGS
PEDIISITNOTHOLA
ONEDOZENPEAUNPOETIC
PIPELINEOXYMAGRITTE
SETRATESDTSNEARMISS

Ceci n'est pas une répétition. As a recent crossword reminded us, simultaneous invention is common in science and technology. The same thing happens in puzzles when constructors get similar ideas, even if their executions are different. A diagramless last April by David Steinberg, one of my favorite Variety puzzles in the past year, tackled the Treachery of Images in a grid you had to build yourself.

Mon 9/24/2018
AGEGAPDRIPSNO
PINATAREBAEON
UNCLIPJEOPARDY
ALESSOAPBOX
ALEXTREBEKTINE
FURYMRISMEATS
ESLCOINGAS
WHEELOFFORTUNE
FANFADEGED
STRIPQUIPSLAG
ARALVANNAWHITE
WEGETITTRIO
PATSAJAKESPIES
ITOLARANEPALI
TSPLYINTREMOR

In 2003, Patrick Merrell had both a Wheel of Fortune and a Jeopardy! puzzle.

Tue 9/25/2018
USEDOMANIACTS
NUDERATONBARE
CBGBEATATSLAW
AWEMCMAHONVIA
SAIDOKWAKING
TYNANAMSSENSE
MAMMALIAN
MOVEBYNESOVER
APEAPSESAVA
NERVEOPPHOMER
UNTILERAADORE
BEEBHEPZOOM
MAXWELLANDERSON
AREROEDEERERE
ASSTARSALSDEW
Wed 9/26/2018
BFALOAFPASSBY
OILGAUGEESCALE
XXFACTORWARMUP
CARTERRESPIRE
ATEDEVILPARK
REDOCCSECTION
USSRALLMAE
JJCREWAALINE
AMYAAAONME
BBCOMPLEXEBBS
SALTECOLIROT
RATPACKOKFINE
ORDEALEEREADER
FIERCERADARGUN
FESSESDUESEPA

Melinda French was my boss's boss at Microsoft, until she married an exec, changed her name, and left the company to go save the world. I'm a fan.

POW Thu 9/27/2018
TIKIMEATSCIFI
ORALINCHTOGAS
FILLINTHEBLANKS
USEMISERYLIEU
MAOSEENTIE
ASSIGNSARMED
SHADESOFGRAY
SEGALEOSADR
INSIDETHEBOX
THREESEALEGS
HOEONCEELF
ALASSONATASPA
BETWEENTHELINES
IDEASDEARCARP
TORTSORBSEPPS
Fri 9/28/2018
CHRISSYARAPAHO
HOECAKELUNULAR
ENDEDITMETGALA
MEDIANRADISSON
LYINCEYKEG
APTDUOSCCLASS
BOOTYLICIOUS
TRUSTFUNDBABY
NORSEDEITIES
MTDANADISCKAT
EVEPOEBEHR
TECHBLOGAGASSI
EXITROWSMASHUP
REDTIDEGOTSORE
SCEPTERTROOPED

Like many people, I get Hamilton lyrics stuck in my head:

[BURR]
Wooh! There's nothin' like summer in the city
Someone in a rush next to someone lookin' pretty
Excuse me, miss, I know it's not funny
But your perfume smells like your daddy's got money
Why you slummin' in the city in your fancy heels
You searchin for an urchin who can give you ideals?

[ANGELICA]
Burr, you disgust me

[BURR]
Ah, so you've discussed me
I'm a TRUST FUND, BABY, you can trust me!

Sat 9/29/2018
KNITCAPTSPSPY
NOSHADEIPADPRO
ENTERINRITEAID
ECHELONENHANCE
SEAMOSSSNORKEL
TETASS
STARSTRUCKIHOP
HOLAROGUEROVE
YELLOTHERWOMAN
DAYERE
CASINOSBIOMASS
OPTSOUTODWALLA
PRALINETANDOOR
SILENCECHIANTI
ELKTEDHOTMESS
Sun 9/30/2018 SLEEP ON IT
BANGRIDSMAVSEMIRS
ADORISENALOULANAI
RIBECOCARROLLWITHIT
BELLEFAKESETTHETONE
QUEENOFMEANRAYRUGS
SPRPOLEHONPESO
WONCOBIMAFANDOSED
ENEEMAILRODAILS
LEIAELLASEASOYFOB
FULLBODIEDFAIRSHAKE
APPLSCAPEXENACITED
RORSCHACHTWINSISTER
ENTHIPEPICSPKSAFE
PODSSDSMERITIFS
THROEMUFASASPALET
ROILSOSANNEBLT
SAWNCUBKINGSOLOMON
HITCOUNTERPHENBOOZE
INREALTIMETESOROPOM
ROUSTZETAITGUYUNE
TRESSUSSRMASTSPEA
XWord Info Home
XWord Info © 2007-2024, Jim Horne
83 ms