Preceder of bravo in radio alphabet - THURSDAY Apr. 30 2009- G Kaiser/S Ginzburg (Food whose name comes from a language of West Africa)

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "CAPITAL OFFENSES" (36A: Pun-crimes committed by the answers to the six starred clues?) - theme answers are world capitals clued via puns on their names

Word of the Day: LUNA moth - n.

A large, pale-green North American moth (Actias luna) having elongated, taillike hind wings.

Here is a LUNA moth:


And here is a LUNA moth shawl I found at (no foolin') ELANN.com (40D: Personal flair):


I winced inwardly when I saw the phrase "pun-crimes" (the phrase being a redundancy in my book), but mercifully there are no punny tortured phrases in the grid itself, which is masterfully, beautifully, colorfully filled. Honestly, I think this puzzle is beautiful, from the RUMINANT (18A: Cow or goat) in KHARTOUM to the SPACE BAR (57A: Long key) in NEW DELHI. The grid is super-geographical, with six world capitals plus IDAHO (50D: Home of the sawtooth range), SIBERIA (14D: Home of the 2,700-mile-long Lena River), and the UBANGI (17A: Congo tributary) ... plus SARONG (43A: Island attire) and PAN-ARAB (46A: Like Gamal Abdel Nasser's movement), both of which suggest more and different parts of the globe (different parts of ASIA, to be precise - 56A: _____-Pacific). I had a little trouble getting into the NE - I knew RIDGE (16D: First secretary of homeland security), but the other 4+ Downs were adequately disguised enough that I had to crawl into that tiny 3x4 space in the puzzle's attic and work on those 3-letter answers. Poor initial success (didn't know, wrong answer (NTH), right answer, didn't know) ended up being enough, as the "G" from GUN (11D: Rev) tipped me to MTGE (9A: You can get one on the house: Abbr.), and everything fell from there.

Oh, and I "finished" the puzzle and then realized I hadn't checked my crosses and had NUTTY where BATTY was supposed to go (67A: Crackers), resulting in the plausible cross of NIN (for NIB - 62D: Penpoint) and the implausible cross of ABRU (for ABRA - 56D: Start of a magic incantation).

Theme answers:

  • 2D: *Multiplyin' by 2? (Dublin) - HA ha. Love that one.


  • 48D: *Base of a fragrant tree? (Beirut)
  • 15A: *Final resting place for old autos? (Khartoum)
  • 24A: *Father of the Ziploc? (Baghdad)
  • 49A: *Wide shoe specification? (Tripoli)
  • 63A: *Recently opened sandwich shop? (New Delhi)
Gotta run - busy day - so I'm going straight to ...

Bullets:

  • 19A: Preceder of bravo in a radio alphabet (alfa) - thought Bravo would be capitalized in this context. Also thought ALFA was spelled "alpha." Live and learn.
  • 29A: Extreme Atkins diet credo ("No carbs!") - so extreme that if you followed it, I believe you would die. Then you'd *really* lose weight.
  • 33A: Author Fallaci (Oriana) - had it as ARIANA, but then the wonderful COIN-OP came into view and set things straight (30D: Pinball machine, e.g.)
  • 64A: It's white and fleecy (cirrus) - another beautiful word for the grid
  • 5D: REM researcher's tool (EEG) - new clue on old fill. Nice.


  • 6D: Food whose name comes from a language of West Africa (okra) - I had no idea - part of the reason getting into the NE was harder than it might have been, what with OKRA's providing the first letters for those long Acrosses.
  • 23D: It has feathers and flies (dart) - a bit too much like a riddle for my tastes
  • 59D: "How cute!" (aww) - ah, the arbitrary, rarely-seen double-W. If you're lengthening the vowel, why isn't the "A" the letter that's repeated?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

72 comments:

HudsonHawk 7:56 AM  

Just a fabulous Thursday puzzle. Geography is right in my wheelhouse, so that helped. I stared at blank spaces for a minute or so, then got traction in the SW, figured out the theme, and rolled through the rest.

foodie 8:02 AM  

I too loved this puzzle.

I made the NUTTY/BATTY mistake.

I smiled when I saw Beirut. I just returned from a visit there. I lived there for so many years, as an undergrad at the American University, which has one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen. Lovely views of the Mediterranean and of the mountains from so many spots in the city. And while they were rebuilding downtown, they discovered layers and layers of ruins. You can see Roman Columns, with churches and mosques right nearby. Sometimes, it looks like Paris, sometimes like LA, and the people are hip and sassy in spite of all the troubles they've endured.

foodie 8:16 AM  

PS. I wanted to add that the second biggest city in Lebanon is also called TRIPOLI. And the food in Lebanon is FANTASTIC.

PPS. @Ulrich, I answered you belatedly, on yesterday's comment page. Thanks!

joho 8:18 AM  

This puzzle had me BEAMING with a big GRIN from beginning to end. My ears are DEAFTO criticism!

I loved the unusual capital names plus such interesting words as QUEUES, UBANGI, ORIANA, FIDGET, CIRRUS and COINOP.

Just a beautiful Thursday thanks to misters Kaiser and Ginzburg.

ArtLvr 8:20 AM  

Beautiful! Thanks to Rex for a benign commentary, and to Foodie for insights on Beirut! Do check the comments from the puzzle-makers at Orange's blog, they're very amusing. And of course you'll get further suggestions from the "Taipei" solvers...

∑;)

dk 8:33 AM  

The theme fill CAPITALOFFENSES came right after AFRAME (why I don't know). That made the rest of the puzzle a guessing game.

I wanted Oreo to be the food from West Africa but I knew it was OKRA.

SNOOP was my last fill.

This is a cheerful puzzle and is what I needed after reading the front page of the NYT. I wonder what will be next: Locust? It seems we have war & pestilence why not famine. Alas, I ruminate.

CIRRUS has me thinking of old Joni Mitchell songs like this one:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vTJ0lNY54E

SEEYOU

Orange 8:39 AM  

But Rex, W is a vowel. Apparently. Sometimes. In a "glide" fashion, according to the comments on Joon's Crossword Fiend post about the Matt Gaffney Weekly Crossword Contest puzzle.

Rex Parker 8:51 AM  

If you're telling me "W" is a vowel in "AWW," I am calling "bulls#$t"

The only "W"=vowel word I accept is CWM.

rp

DanaJ 8:55 AM  

Loved the puns - especially BAGHDAD. Got hung up on SPACEBAR, kept thinking "sandbar", like in Long Key, FL.

Nice Luna Moth Shawl.

DEnise 8:57 AM  

I loved doing this puzzle --- the slow reveal after some good brain work. Then, the "aha" and the finish.

Crosscan 9:00 AM  

AWW, what a cute puzzle. Some great, original crossings, like GLIBLY/FIDGET and NO CARBS/COIN-OP.

fikink 9:06 AM  

Wow! Really enjoyed this puzzle. Everything seemed to be just out of my reach until I untangled it. bit by bit. Loved KHARTOUM, FIDGET, SARONG, RUMINANT .. REFRESHING FILL.

dk, not locusts, boils.

PuzzleGirl 9:18 AM  

Joining in with more praise for this puzzle. Loved it! Perfect level of difficulty for a Thursday, IMOO. Besides the NE corner (which took me a full five minutes to untangle), only two other real hangups: I read 41A [Like some primaries] as [Like some primates]. I was looking at -PE-, so, yeah, APES. Then in the SE I stuck a U in front of the N, thinking an UN prefix would be reasonable for the [Natural] clue, but then found myself looking at UNBORN and thinking, "Well, that's weird." BATTY came to me immediately because I just described someone yesterday at bat-s**t crazy (*cough* Michele Bachmann *cough*).

Perfect way to start the day. Thanks, guys!

Dough 9:26 AM  

@Rex, there's an article about "w" as a vowel in "aww," etc. on wikianswers. I enjoyed today's puzzle. Lots of variety, with new, fresh entries. The NE corner (nice ref to attic, Rex), was a bit resistant, but kudos to the setters for making a claustrophobic corner interesting.
Very little of the gimme "er" and "s" endings, so you had to work through it all. That included finding an eyebrow-raising "u" at the end of a 6-letter word. Nice.

toothdoc 9:30 AM  

Ditto the comments, a fun puzzle that was workable for a newer solver. Nice distraction between my first couple of patients - should be a good day.

Nebraska Doug 9:31 AM  

I agree with Puzzle Girl, this was a perfect level of difficulty for a Thursday, which for me means it was a medium, rather than Rex's easy rating. I really dislike "AWW", it feels very forced, "AWW" is usually, and should be "AAH" in my book.

Anne 9:31 AM  

I think "ubangi" would be a great word to express outrage. Ubangi!

But there is no outrage today, this was a great puzzle, just perfect for Thursday.

I worked down the west side, picking up Dublin and capital and saw the theme quickly.

The trouble came in the northeast which took some time to untangle. And I didn't know what panarab was until I came here. Pan-a-rab?

And I always buy a few pansies in the spring. They fade away as soon as the temp goes up, but they're nice for a few weeks and so worth the trouble. Mine are purple and yellow this year.

fikink 9:34 AM  

@puzzlegirl, a perfect description of that maniac! Can't believe she is from the enlightened state of Minnesota - what a FANATIC DUD

edith b 9:51 AM  

@puzzlegirl-

A perfect descriptive word for Michelle Bachman.

These puns are of a different sort from those used by Merl Reagle although I enjoy them also.

It took a little longer than usual to untangle this puzzle but it was well worth the effort.

The SE corner was well nigh perfect especially the GLIBLY/FIDGET cross.

Bravo to Mssrs. Kaiser and Ginzburg

edith b 9:55 AM  

Sorry, I meant the SW corner.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Never in my life have I been able to get every single theme entry with no crossings ... until today. I scanned for the theme clues, saw [Recently opened sandwich shop?] and put in the answer. C'mon - give us a little challenge when it comes to theme answers, would'ya? The others fell right after, with BEIRUT coming to me last. CAPITALPUNISHMENT would have been much better in the middle, but it's way too long so I guess this is a fine way to do it.

Rather gorgeous fill, tho, except for APAR/TOA (fill-in-the-blanks), ABRA-, MTGE. (saved by a stellar clue), SAMEAS, AQUAS (awkward plural), NOFEE/NOCARBS (no more NO+, pls) ORIANA and AWW (which isn't in my dictionary or the OSPD4.)

Oh, and there's CWM's cousin (also from ScrabbeVille): CRWTH.

--O. the G.

foodie 10:03 AM  

@ann, re PAN-ARAB. Nasser (who was in the clue) initiated the idea of an entity that would encompass all the Arab countries-- i.e. a pan-Arab state. The closest that he came to that was uniting Egypt and Syria, briefly under the crossword worthy UAR (United Arab Republic) which lasted between 1958-1961. I was a child when he came to Damascus and the scene was similar to Obama's inauguration. He was a very charismatic man, but the mission he was on was near impossible.

retired_chemist 10:04 AM  

Kudos to Messrs. Kaiser and Ginzburg. A most enjoyable puzzle. Difficult enough for a Thursday to keep a solver hoppin’ but readily doable. Took solving a theme entry to get the theme. Had “TRIPLE E” for 49A, proved it wrong with the 45D cross, and then – SATORI! – I put TRIPOLI, figured out that CAPITAL OFFENSES did not refer to the capital E I just got rid of, and saw the theme. That, of course, changed NEW DELHI (63A) from a WTF to a neat theme answer. The rest of the theme answers then fell easily.

Various redos – UPSET -> ADDLE (1A), SO LONG -> SEE YOU (32A), NUTSO -> BATTY (67A), MUUMUU -> SARONG (43A). Didn’t trust UBANGI (17A) until I had a cross or two, but had NO CARBS (29A), ORIANA (33A), and PAN-ARAB (46A) without any.

I agree with RP. Shouldn’t “Bravo preceder in a radio alphabet” really be ALPHA, not (19A) ALFA? Picky.

dk 10:11 AM  

@fikink, Boils it is. I am not up on my old testament as every time Michele Bachmann and I cozy up for bible study it seems these strange brithmarks (666) we share start to glow, cause us intense pain and things like truth seem to burst in flame. But it is way cool the way Michele's head can spin.

Off to champion the INBORN.

Sorry but @anne asked for it:

Young man looks up from his map to the girl at his left and states: UBANGI! She replies I doee.

PlantieBea 10:11 AM  

Geography is not one of my puzzling strengths, but even so, this puzzle was completely doable--a medium for me. I wanted CANDY for the violet type--didn't know the PANSY was in the family. Great photos of the luna moth and shawl, Rex
:-) We see the moths down here. They are surprisingly large.

This was a pretty puzzle--perfect for a Thursday with great words. I enjoyed it much. Thanks G. Kaiser and S. Ginzburg.

Vega 10:11 AM  

Fun puzzle. Multiplyin' by 2? = awesome. Agreed: perfect Thursday difficulty level. I just dropped my sweetie off at the airport and returned to a lonely house. This puzzle was just the antidote. I'm impressed that they managed to pull off a pun puzzle (cringe) that actually did not make me cringe even once.

-Vega

Susan 10:18 AM  

Thank you, Rex, for REM on the Muppets. Absolutely made my day!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

Fun puzzle, even if three of the puns were very familiar. (Khartoum, Baghdad, and Beirut were new to me.) Had heard the others used as punchlines many times, of course. In fact, one of the earliest jokes I can remember from childhood is, "Why is Ireland so rich? Because it's capital is always Dublin." And when I first heard that, I didn't know that "capital" referred punnishly to financial assets.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:20 AM  

Hold the complaints. I meant "its capital".

retired_chemist 10:30 AM  

@ Bob K - you were expecting maybe capital punnishment?

HudsonHawk 10:41 AM  

I've always remembered it as ALFA, but didn't know why it was spelled with an F. Here you go, as per wiki:

"In most versions of the radio alphabet, the non-English spellings Alfa and Juliett are found. Alfa is spelled with an f as it is in most European languages. The English and French spelling alpha would not be properly pronounced by speakers of some other languages whose native speakers may not know that ph should be pronounced as f. Juliett is spelled with a tt for native French speakers because they may treat a single final t as silent."

PlantieBea 10:47 AM  

@HudsonHawk: Thanks for the ALFA explanation. When I started this puzzle, I thought that it was going to be a rebus with ALP(HA)being the first answer I got. After getting DUBLIN, I realized it wasn't a rebus at all and that the spelling had to be ALFA, like ALFIE, or ALF. Glad to know the reason.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Could somebody explain 57D: __digital short? What is that?

PGubanc 10:58 AM  

Shouldn't it have been capitOl offenses? Not capitAl? The English major... ;-)

Jim in Chicago 11:03 AM  

A fun Thursday puzzle, although like anonymous10:52 I have no clue about SNL Digital Short. Is the SNL short for Saturday Night Live? Do they have Digital Shorts? Is that maybe something they photoshop in over performers who've let it all hang out? I have no idea.

For me, the word that made the entire puzzle fall was BEIRUT, after which I quickly disovered I had enough random letters to fill in the long CAPITALOFFENSES. With all those letters in place in the dead middle of the puzzle everthing else just word of fell into place.

As a total aside, I do the puzzle on paper, with a pen, on the bus. I had an especially bumpy bus this morning and my puzzle looks like it was completed by a 2 year old who hasn't yet learned about "staying within the lines."

fikink 11:07 AM  

@PGubanc, I believe Capitol refers to the building, PER SE, the seat of the government.

PlantieBea 11:08 AM  

@PGubanc: The way I understand the difference is that CAPITOL refers to the actual buildings of government, while CAPITAL is used for the geographical region--in this case, the cities.

CarolynR 11:12 AM  

Also loved Beirut, Tripoli & Pan-Arab. Majored in Arabic Studies at the Univ. of MI years ago, & not so many years ago, lived & worked in Beirut for the American University. Miss the people, the views and mostly, the FOOD.

joho 11:12 AM  

@anon 10:52 & @Jim In Chicago ... yes, it SNL does stand for "Saturday Night Live." They oftentimes feature a digtital short on the show ... animated and usually hilarious.

Z.J. Mugildny 11:14 AM  

Just a flat out great puzzle!

Ulrich 11:18 AM  

Great puzzle--can't add to what has been said already.

@foodie: I, too, have the fondest memories of Beirut, which I visited in 1963 on a trip that also got me to both Tripolis. And I'm glad to hear what you say about the current mood there. As to your late comment, thx and I agree.

Doc John 11:55 AM  

A very nice, fun puzzle. My only nitpick- I just wasn't thrilled with the OTS clue. Very, very minor, though, compared to the rest of the puzzle.

@ Rex: actually a very strict "no carb" diet would not result in death because there's enough carbs in meat, veg, etc. to supply your body with what it needs.

Hey Ms. Bachman- you know what else is natural besides CO2? Arsenic!
Where do they find these people?

jeff in chicago 12:05 PM  

Crap. As poster #42 all the praise has already been given. This was a grand puzzle. I wasn't sure what 1A was, so I went to 1D and threw in AQUAS. DUBLIN came instantly for 2D. I smiled and guessed the theme. Went to 13A and, with the QU there, filled in QUEUES. Smiled again. Turns out there was a lot of smiling in this puzzle. My only slowdown was having PROARAB for a moment. Crosses fixed it easily.

While I love Schoolhouse Rock, Rex's clip bugs me. Kinda uses religion to teach math. Bad idea.

@PG: Ha! When I put in BATTY my thoughts went BATTY --> Bats*$t crazy --> Bachmann --> PG's Facebook post. Must be the "inter" of the interwebs!

Great, great puzzle. Thanks Greg and Steve.

ileen 12:20 PM  

Yes, Saturday Night Live has had SNL Digital Shorts for several years now. I believe Andy Sandberg is the cast member who started them. A few of them have been the funniest (or sometimes only funny) things on a given show.

This puzzle was too hard for me, as sometimes happens come Thursdays. But it was entertaining enough that I enjoyed it anyway.

jae 12:24 PM  

Fun and funny. Perfect Thurs. Unfortunately I screwed it up. I thought of SNL but changed it when I read the 65a clue and came up with DAHS (as in Morse Code). That gave me AWH which seemed OK and SND which I figured I just didn't know. This violated my own rule which says "if your answer is something you don't have a clue about it's probably wrong." Ah well, I had a pretty long errorless streak going so it was bound to end. Too bad it was on such an entertaining puzzle!

Clark 12:32 PM  

Here's my (very subjective) take on AAH and AWW. First case: Imagine someone who has been puzzling over something for a long time and who finally get that breakthrough. They might say AA -- intonation going immediately way up, and then down a little at the very end. Second case: Someone sees a cute baby or a little dog. They might say AA -- intonation going immediately down and staying down. If I had to match up AAH and AWW to those two cases, I'd do it in that order. But that's just me.

George NYC 12:41 PM  

Agree with all. One of the best of the year. Fun and satisfying.

Parshutr 1:24 PM  

Yes, a very enjoyable trip. Even though I started with JUNKYARD instead of KHARTOUM, and NTH instead of TOA...and filled in MAY because there was no "abbr" notation for SEP.
The puzzle had ELAN, for sure.
SEEYOU!

archaeoprof 1:35 PM  

Is this the best Thursday of the year, so far?

@foodie: me too. How did such a troubled region produce such wonderful cuisine?

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

No one seems to have mentioned yet the connection between the starred clues - each has had some terrorist activities. Add to that Ridge...interesting.

mexgirl 1:43 PM  

Definitely saying AAH doesn't do justice at all to the effect that's expected from its reading. To me at least, every time I see AWW written down, it immediately puts it in the right scenario. Right there with someone watching the happy furry monsters and going awww...! (granted, not everyone is expected to react this way).

And, this puzzle was absolutely ingenious. Dublin and Baghdad my favorites of the day.

Michele Bachmann 1:47 PM  

Anon 1:42: I'm with you. And the American people really shouldn't have to stand for this kind of propaganda in the crossword puzzle. It's just another indication of how the liberal media is pushing its socialist agenda down the throats of us real Americans. Why, the last time these countries appeared in the puzzle it was the late 1970s and Jimmy Carter -- another Democrat -- was president. I'm not saying that Barack Obama is responsible for this, or that this only happens under Democratic presidents. I just think it's quite a coincidence.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

As Anon 1:42: Huh?

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

@Michele: You got it backwards--this puzzle is full of references meant to tell the liberals who rule this blog what real Americans have known all along: That Obama is an Arab and a terrorist.

chefbea 2:35 PM  

What more can I say??? What an ingenious puzzle.I had to google a bit but I agree with you all - the best puzzle in a while.

My first thought was oreo also. and I had nth for the longest time.

Rex Parker 2:40 PM  

@doc john,

"there's enough carbs in meat etc." You make my point. If there are carbs in meat, and you eat meat, then you are not eating a NO CARBS diet. This is the idiocy of the concept of NO CARBS.

Chris Kern 2:54 PM  

The issue with "vowel" and "consonant" is that the linguistic definition of them involves sounds and mouth/lip/vocal chord/etc. movement, not written representations. Saying "This letter is a vowel" or "This letter is a consonant" is technically incorrect from a linguistic standpoint; letters can only represent vowels or consonants, they can't *be* vowels or consonants. There's been a little discussion on languagelog about this recently.

Doc John 3:02 PM  

@ Rex:
In this case, "carbs" refers to carbohydrate-laden food such as bread, pasta, rice, etc. And especially sugary stuff such as sweets and sodas.
Even Dr. Atkins would say that his diet wasn't "no carb" but "low carb".
That said, the clue is incorrect.

It is possible for the body can live on just fats and protein (and vitamins) alone, though. It's just easier to burn carbs.

joho 3:26 PM  

To me aaaah is a sigh of relief or sound of complete satisfaction. Awwwww is for cute babies and puppies.

SethG 4:04 PM  

I've been to a recently opened sandwich shop.

Don't forget pwn.

Chris Kern 5:05 PM  

@Doc: I interpreted the clue not as meaning "The credo of the Atkins diet, which is extreme", but rather "The credo of an extreme version of the Atkins diet".

Jim Weed 6:04 PM  

i've seen "aww shucks" written before. it's a bit awwkward but it works.

"w" is a vowel in welsh, innit?

i completed about 80% of the puzzle before i started googling--which is better than i typically do on thursdays. so "easy" seems a good fit.

Orange 6:24 PM  

Rex, where on earth is there a consonant sound in AWW? Does it not sound like "au" wih nary a consonant to be found?

I'm mad that this sometimes-a-vowel W business was not relayed to me before this week. Why the secrecy, W vowel people??

Shamik 6:55 PM  

Six replays of "Furry, Happy Monsters!" It's a great day!

deerfencer 8:09 PM  

Yup, solid A for this puzzle--very ingenious and full of life.

mac 10:01 PM  

Fantastic puzzle, I'm beginning to thing Thursday puzzles are my favorites.
I've been running around, spending time in lovely, sunny Manhattan, and am planning a Kentucky Derby cocktail party. Personally I'm afraid to watch these races, hate to see the poor animals crumble.
@Jeff in chicago: I am so with you. I had many aha and smiles moments with this puzzle.
Re: the cuisine of Lebanon: my all time favorite barbequed chicken is the Lebanese kind: marinated in olive oil, lots of lemon juice and garlic. Very crisp. Also like their marinated and stuffed vegetables. And we all know the hummus, tabouleh, eggplant dishes..... My kind of food.
P.S. all the lemon juise wreaks havoc on the teeth of the Lebanese.... Several friends have had to have their teeth re-enameled (toothdoc, I couldn't think of the proper expression).

foodie 11:02 PM  

@ulrich, I was in Beirut when you visited back in the 60's :)

@archaeoprof, about wonderful food developing in an area where there is great strife... in a way, it's adaptive. A kind of cultural resilience. A tasty meal can heal all kinds of pain.

@mac, less well known from that area are some really good fish-based dishes.

Today's discussion made me realize how little I know about some of the other capitals mentioned, e.g. KHARTOUM. Let's see, capital of Sudan, name means "Elephant Trunk", it sits at the intersection of the White and the Blue Nile, and I bet it's hot. A few factoids is about it...

Lisa in Kingston 11:10 PM  

I think the Middle East has such great food because it is the cradle of civilization. They've been at it for a looong time, and have a lot of wonderful ingredients to work with.
Oh, and I liked this puzzle a lot, too, like pita and tahini.

andrea carla michaels 2:59 AM  

@Seth
PWN!!!!
But that's different, I think that's dropping a letter.
W as a vowel is
sort of an open secret...
I mean it says it in the name: double-u.
They use it in Welsh that way all the time
(they wse it in UUelsh all the time?)

It's such a weird letter...practically non-existent (I think) in French and other romance languages...swappable in German with V, etc.

The good thing is THE "W" is gone.

What was weird for me with this puzzle in the tournament was that the FIRST word I put in was DUBLIN and got that there was some sort of world capital pun thing happening, but then I simply forgot!
So I stared at _ _ _ HDAD and thought, what kind of last name is that??? How would I know who the inventor of the baggie was...
Like I totally forgot there was a theme happening!

Competitions are strange for me that way, concentrating so hard that I go blank. Is that possible or just pre-menopausal?

Like Rex, I had Ariana...and also thought about ALPHA, but it would be sloppy for the editor to use the word "alphabet" in the clue for "Alpha".

Did not like the abbreviation-y NE corner with MTGE crossing MTN and EMT...so in that spirit, again like Rex, I had NTH for "_ degree".

By the time I untangled T_A and unclear how to spell KHARTOUM I had to go through every letter of the Alfa-bet for that O.
Can you have a TEA Degree? DO airport workers get TSA Degrees?

@foodie
Can't wait to take you to my favorite Lebanese/Armenian restaurant next week!

kathy d. 5:31 AM  

Loved this puzzle!

Sat in a doctor's office waiting room, smiling while solving it.

The clues and answers were so clever and fun to solve.

Wish more puzzles could be like this one. It had so many good attributes.

On the "w" being a vowel, then is "h" a vowel as in "aah," "ooh," "Pooh"?

On the Atkins diet, a friend followed it religiously. He ate tons of meat, including bacon and ate a lot of butter. He barely ate vegetables or fruit.

He argued his position in favor of this diet against everyone who had other views or worried about the Atkins diet.

He had a terrible stroke when he reached 63 and is still disabled 2 1/2 years later.

I don't know what the exact relationship was to his diet, but I am suspicious, so back to no red meat, and lots of vegetables and fruit.

Kathy D.

PGubanc 10:09 PM  

Thanks for the clarification on Capital vs. Capitol. I never knew that ... miles to go before *I'm* a crossword "Queen."

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Difficulty: Easy ?????

Are you serious. This thing had me cussing for about 20 minutes. Pretty ridiculous when it comes to xwords.

Kaiser and Ginzburg can eat me.

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