Today's LA Times Puzzle (Nov. 24, 2008)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hey, everybody, PuzzleGirl here. Ya know how I can't stand having other puzzles spoiled in the comments section here? Well, I convinced Rex we needed a separate thread for discussing today's LA Times puzzle, which was co-constructed by our very own acme! She says the puzzle was inspired by the comments on this blog and I think she better pipe up and give us more details on that. If you haven't solved it yet, don't read the comments! There will be spoilers in there!


Rex Parker 9:37 AM  


Cool LAT puzzle today, Andrea. I don't think one of the theme answers works at all (the first one), in the sense that that person would not make that "demand" (not in that way, not with that phrasing). However, I would like to recommend that all people looking to construct an early-week themed puzzle study Andrea (and Myles)'s grid (or virtually any of Andrea's grids). There is no one better at filling "easy" grids than Andrea. Smooth and gorgeous. It's a skill that may be hard to appreciate, but as someone who has to think about this stuff every day, and who has stumbled over forced junk, a superfluity of abbrev's, etc., I can't tell you how much I appreciate the polish of an acme puzzle.


Orange 10:03 AM  

May I just say that when I had **COC* in the space at 25-Down, I almost entered DECOCT without reading the clue. (Andrea and Myles, of course, would not put a word like that in an easy puzzle, and gifted LA Times crossword editor Rich Norris wouldn't either.)

joho 10:45 AM  

So exciting to see acme's name at the top of the puzzle!

Regarding Rex's comment about "easy" -- the parentheses meaning that constructing a smooth, cringe-free puzzle is anything but -- is a point well taken.

The more I've learned about the process of constructing, the more mindboggling it becomes and the dumber I feel.

Congratulations to Andrea Carla Michaels and Myles Callum!

Janie 10:50 AM  

ULTRA-nice monday from acme and myles!



mac 10:52 AM  

@Rex: imagine a poolplayer looking up and praying to the gods: "Give me a kiss"!

Which clues/answerd do you think refer to us? Gimme, I guess, but I hope not saggy.....

jeff in chicago 12:42 PM  

Yes, a beautiful Monday puzzle. But I'm hard-pressed to see the connections to Rex's blog. I wouldn't expect a reference to me, but my apartment usually is a STY.

Rex Parker 12:49 PM  

I don't know the connection to my blog, either. We have to wait for Andrea to tell the story.

And mac, I imagined just what you said (before I wrote my comment) and it just doesn't work. It's not a plausibly common scenario. The fact that one can imagine such a scenario does not mean that said scenario is grid-worthy.


fikink 1:05 PM  

@Andrea, cool puzzle and the LAT stickman pay-off when it was successfully completed is a nice touch. (I am trying to avoid doing more than one puzzle a day and that little man is not helping!)
I remember talk of pool shots and Hershey's kisses on this blog in the last few months. Were those exchanges some of your inspiration?

SethG 1:14 PM  

The first theme entry might (or maybe might not) refer to this.

I think fikink's right about the connection--seems to be the Aug 9 puzzle. FROG PRINCE was the answer, Norm said POOL PLAYER, and someone named Barry originally put in CHOCOHOLIC.

chefbea 2:07 PM  

A great puzzle Acme. I too am wondering the connection to the Rexites. Nary a beet in the puzzle.

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

It's not the pool player that wants to be kissed. He wants the pool balls to connect -- a "kiss" is a legitimate pool term.

PuzzleGirl 3:03 PM  

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Rex understands that "kiss" is a legitimate pool term.

JannieB 4:04 PM  

Loved it! Would have recognized your style anywhere - well done!

Myles 4:11 PM  

Yes, it had its genesis here on Rex's blog, but I'll let Andrea explain that part. I just wanted to add that as one who has spent more than a few hours in pool halls, Rex is right that you wouldn't hear it stated that way in those places. We're just talking about making kiss shots, where one ball "kisses" off another. But it was CEFM--Close Enough for Me.

Norm 7:11 PM  

Very nice puzzle. I feel honored to have contributed my small bit. You can keep my millimicron of a penny.

Rex Parker 7:23 PM  

Ah, Puzzle Girl. She understands. There's a reason I trust her to run things when I'm on vacation / out cold / on the lam.

CEFM ... interesting ...


MichaelBlake 7:29 PM  

Like Myles, I've spent no small amount of time in pool halls. (I remember when the first one came to my Midwestern town. A man warned us, "Now either you're closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are unaware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a POOL HALL in your community." Alas, we didn't listen.) What I can attest to is that a pool player, worried that he'll be charged with a 'scratch' if the cue ball doesn't touch any others, will plead "KISS!" to the little white ball. For me, it's not a big stretch to think that such a player might get a bit poetic, and just as likely yell, "Gimme a kiss!"


Norm 8:02 PM  

Ummm, I'm not sure one guy yelling "gimme a kiss!" while playing pool with another guy in the midwest is all that likely. SF maybe ...

joho 8:03 PM  

@MichaelBlake: your explanation is totally plausible.

@rex: you have to admit, well, you don't have to, but POOL PLAYER works. It's not just CEFM ... it's legit.

Greene 8:21 PM  

@MichaelBlake: Friend, you should have joined the River City Boy's Band, for that game with the 15 numbered balls is the devil's tool. I couldn't make myself any clearer if I were a buttonhook in the well water.

twangster 9:35 PM  

This was the first time I had ever done an LA Times puzzle. I also took a stab at Sunday's. I have to say the most remarkable thing is that their interface really stinks, whether you do it online or print it out. Printing out the Sunday puzzle is especially terrible -- the boxes and clues are so small it's making me dizzy (and I'm not even that old!). The lack of standardization from one paper to the next is surprising -- or maybe the NYT's technology is proprietary?

edith b 10:03 PM  

I think Seth G is on the right track and my inspired guess is this:

I think Andrea took three words from the Comments section on August 9 POOL PLAYER CHOCOHOLIC FROG PRINCE and connected them with the clue Gimme a kiss to create a theme.

Don't kick me around if I am wrong - this is only a guess.

andrea carla michaels 2:46 AM  

Hi everybody!!!!!!!
Thanks for these lovely comments.

Sorry it took me so long to comment (I was traveling today, sort of saying goodbye to my 96 (and a half!) year old grandma...
but that's a story for another time :(

re: puzzle
@edith, seth:
Yes yes yes yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 9th there was a clue "Someone seeking a kiss" and the answer was

Norm wrote in saying he had put in CHOCOHOLIC and Barry wrote that he had POOLPLAYER, so I wrote: "one more and we have a theme!"

Myles wrote and said "shall we?"

We tried dozens of ideas for a fourth ten letter theme answer.

We settled on LATINLOVER (but Will rejected the puzzle saying too close to the same kind of kiss as a FROGPRINCE
(I had told Myles same thing, but had hoped to slip it past Will and Rich...nope!)

SO we rewrote it with HEADBANGER
(as in someone seeking a KISS member like Gene Simmons)
Myles thought too many steps away and not everyone would get headbanger...
I convinced him no one would notice...

result: rejected a third time!

So we rewrote it with FMLISTENER
(someone seeking KISS) and Myles even did research to make sure KISSFM was all across the was !

But Rich said no, but said maybe we could revamp it and put the concept of "one seeking a kiss" into the grid...
But that had to be ten letters...

So, I believe it was Rich who suggested GIMMEAKISS and we redid the puzzle like, a fifth time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the meantime, a puzzle appeared in the NY Times with CHOCOHOLIC in it and I thought it was obviously inspired that same day as ours! Drat!

But in the end, Rich took it, it's now published and we are awaiting our respective checks for $30!!!!!!! (note to self, ASK FOR A RAISE)
Seriously, it's shameful. SO, again thank god for all your praise!!!!!!!!

edith b 9:56 AM  

@seth g & fikink-

You guys are geniuses!


Great puzzle and you flatter we who Comment and He Who Created This Space.

dk 11:26 AM  

oooooohhhhhh, @andrea: dk droned deliciously.

Great job. GIMMEAKISS you tease! :):)

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