Variation of rummy that was 1950s fad / MON 1-3-11 / Miss America band / Old cop show starring Telly Savalas / Take someone's wheels from at gunpoint

Monday, January 3, 2011

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (foraMondayforaMondayforaMonday)

THEME: ACK Attack — theme answers are seven two-word phrases (or two-syllable compound words) that end in -ACK

Word of the Day: CANASTA (4D: Variation of rummy that was a 1950s fad) —

Canasta (Spanish for "basket"; pronounced /kəˈnæstə/ in English) is a card game of the rummy family of games believed to be a variant of 500 Rum. Although many variations exist for 2, 3, 5 or 6 players, it is most commonly played by four in two partnerships with two standard decks of cards. Players attempt to make melds of 7 cards of the same rank and "go out" by playing all cards in their hand. It is the only partnership member of the family of Rummy games to achieve the status of a classic. // The game of Canasta was devised by attorney Segundo Santos and architect Alberto Serrato in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1939. In the 1940s the game quickly spread in a myriad of variations to Chile, Peru, Brazil and Argentina, where its rules were further refined before being introduced to the United States in 1948, where it was then referred to as the Argentine Rummy game by Ottilie H. Reilly in 1949 and Michael Scully of Coronet Magazine in 1953. The game quickly became a card-craze boom in the 1950s providing a sales avalanche of card sets, card trays and books about the subject. (wikipedia)

• • •

Hello and welcome to the 2011 edition of Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle — Now With a Fresh, Lemony Scent! I am freshly returned from four days (of what should have been seven days—thanks, snow) in Orlando with my family (dad, stepmom, their four children, their five grandchildren). I am happy to say that in the three full days I spent there, I did nothing, nothing, and the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park (the highlight of which was the Aerosmith Rock&Rollercoaster, which I rode first thing in the morning, and the lowlight of which was ... most of the rest of it, except for the company of my family, of course, which is —mostly— priceless). We had a decidedly horror-free flying experience (including the fastest home-to-gate and gate-to-home times I've ever clocked), and are glad to be back and rested and ready to show 2011 who's boss (maybe this is the year I explain my love for "Who's the Boss?"—the comfort foodiest, guilty pleasuriest thing I indulge in, TV-wise) (my best friend and I once created a series of pitches for "Who's the Boss" remakes–remains either the funniest thing either of us has ever done, or a stupid thing that we mistakenly believe is hilarious—maybe 2011 is the year *you'll* be the judge of that—maybe not). One thing I know—2011 will not be the year I stop overindulging in parentheses.

Ian Livengood ... so here you are. I was wondering what happened to you when you Failed To Submit Your Picks for the final week of our NFL pool. I could only surmise that after taunting me around week five for how poorly I was doing, you were too despondent this past week when you realized that you were hopelessly behind me (12 weeks in a row picking 50-50 or better, thank you very much) and could do no better than ... well, who cares, you were behind me. But it's possible you were CARJACKed. I hope not, but who knows? At any rate, I see you are alive and well and constructing, so that's something.

PS I didn't win the pool (stupid SethG and his stupid impossible 15-1 week a while back put an end to that dream), but I did come in second, and the Lions did end the season on a four-game winning streak by beating stupid over-exposed (!) Brett Favre, so I'm mostly fairly pleased anyway. It's not like money was at stake (was it? Seth?).

Today's is a *very* loose theme that gains tightness (and NYT-worthiness) through several factors:
  1. Density — 7 theme answers of 8+ letters on a Monday is a Lot
  2. Relative liveliness — "THAT'S WACK" alone puts the puzzle well into Fresh and Lively territory
  3. The two-syllable thing — Every theme answer = two syllables, giving another dimension of unity to the theme, as well as adding a fabulous jackhammer rhythm (if you read the theme answers aloud in quick succession)
Furthermore, the non-theme fill, while not scintillating, is absolutely solid (except ALB ... which is more than offset by "LET'S TALK," so my point stands). With occasionally tricky cluing ([Miss America band]!), this one took me slightly longer than the average Monday. But again, as I've said before, "Medium-Challenging" for me on a Monday is just a big handful of seconds over 3 minutes.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "Don't get too close!" ("STAND BACK!") — here is where I got held up and ended up with a mistake I had to fix. I started out with STAY-something. STAY-blank. And then when I got the BACK end through crosses, I forgot to go back and fix STAY, so ended up with the nonsensical STAYDBACK, which gave me CAYASTA (!?!?!) instead of CANASTA (4D: Variation of rummy that was a 1950s fad). One simple letter fix and perhaps this puzzle would have been a normal Medium Monday after all. We'll never know.

  • 21A: "Wow, totally crazy!" ('THAT'S WACK!")
  • 26A: Stars of "The Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire," collectively (BRAT PACK)
  • 40A: Take someone's wheels from at gunpoint (CARJACK)
  • 49A: Hiker's bag (KNAPSACK)
  • 54A: Place for parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (SPICE RACK)
  • 64A: Bulletin board fastener (THUMB TACK)
Better clue today for SENILE (47A: Definitely past one's mental peak), though perhaps still unwelcome to all those people solving because they believe it will do something to help them avoid dementia. Good luck hiding from me, says SENILE. I'm sure the word has a perfectly neutral, clinical meaning, but it always strikes me as slightly ... derisive. Plus, it rhymes with PENILE, which is just unfortunate. I put Edmonton in ONTario, today, lord knows why. Perhaps because ONT. is sooo much more common than ALB. as a Prov. abbrev. ARMOR, however, I got easily, even though (as any student of Arthurian literature will tell you), the real source of [Galahad's protection] is God. Galahad is like a dang superhero, only more untouchable. I'm not sure the bad guys ever even put a dent in his armor. He is the Chosen One. The only one to achieve the Holy Grail in Malory. He is perfect in every way. Hence, he is dull as a post and sanctimonious as all get out. No fun at parties, either.

Never did understand what "the tropic of Sir Galahad" was all about... explanations wanted. Fictional explanations preferred.

Happy 2011,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Tobias Duncan 12:45 AM  

Welcome back Rex.
Cansasta is really one of the best card games ever.Alas everyone I ever played with is either dead or far away.I hope card playing comes back someday(online does not count).
At the opposite end of the spectrum from Rex, my Beginner time was just about medium.The Monday span for me from easy to difficult is more than five minutes rather than a handful of seconds.

chefwen 12:50 AM  

Welcome back Rex, we missed you but enjoyed your stand-ins.

SENILE two day in a row, I agree that this cluing was not as jarring.

Two huge parties this weekend, Saturday the rose bowl, sniff, sniff, sob. Sorry Bucky! Sunday the Packers, yeah!! My condolences to Mr. Anon "da Bears" guy. Luckily all of our friends are younger than we are and don't mind cleaning up. Love those guys. With so much football distraction, I'm still trying to crank out Sundays puzzle, getting there.

My only PROB with this cute, little gem was taking out PROB because I thought back pACK would fit nicely at 49A until I looked up and saw that we already had a PACK at 26A, so plopped it back in and KNAPSACK appeared.

Thank you for a good start to the week Ian.

imsdave 1:52 AM  

I hate doing puzzles online (didn't want to print it and possibly wake up my wife) - I need my paper for some odd reason. Posting now because I just got off of a phone conference involving Brazil, India, and some guy out in California (I'm in CT). Ain't outsourcing great!

Puzzle was good, though some of the fill was IFI.

Looking for all of you to PRAY that I never have to be up this late again, unless it's at a party with all of you folks.

n.t. 3:12 AM  

I made the same mistake as you did re: STAY/STAND BACK, and ended up with around the same time. Waaaack.

r.alphbunker 6:27 AM  

Never heard of WACK. A little research on the Internet revealed that it is a back formation of wacky and that it is a radio station in Rochester, NY.

It would be interesting to hear Mos Def or Ice T or Lil Wayne or any other crossword rapper perform this puzzle.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

I've been away for a little bit but was looking forward to seeing a "Puzzles of the Year" section at some point. Did I miss it, Rex? Or is it not happening anymore? This is just the first year that I've done or at least seen every puzzle, so I'd really love to see if some of the ones I remembered are the same that everyone else remembered.


Anonymous 7:48 AM  

Fastest ever for me..

"Tropic of Sir Galahad" - Gay bar in south beach.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

re: "Senile rhymes with penile." I agree this is unfortunate, mainly because coffee came shooting out my nose upon being reminded of this fact.

Good puzzle. Perfect level of difficulty for this newbie.

mmorgan 8:24 AM  

I thought that this was a fabulous Monday -- fresh and fun and just enough in there to make me think "Okay, I'll come back to this or get it from crosses" a few times. No real delays or bumps but clever enough to prevent yawns.

And a much better clue for SENILE, if the word needs to be used.

I used to play canasta years (decades) ago but really remember how to play it.

ACK!!! -- but in a very, very good way. Crisp and yummy. Thank you, Ian Livengood!

And welcome back, Rex and thanks to the stand-ins.

mmorgan 8:25 AM  

Oops -- I mean I DON'T really remember how to play it...

nanpilla 8:30 AM  

Wonderful Mars Attacks puzzle, just what a Monday should be.

@mmorgan - I used to play canasta all the time with my parents and grandparents, and I don't remember a thing about the rules either. It was a rite of passage up to be invited to play with the grown-ups.

Welcome back, Rex!

Ruth 8:42 AM  

It occurs to me that when I've heard someone say "that's wack" I mentally pictured the spelling as WHACK. I see there's some support for this as both spellings occur in the Urban Dictionary, with slightly different meanings. WHACK carries the more unsavory connotations, for the most part.

Another one that sounds like a Car Talk summary of John "Bugsy" Lawlor's latest trip.

John V 8:48 AM  

Delighted at the more "seasoned" solvers having an unfair advantage today with 4D, canasta, as I recall my parents playing when I was a kid. With that in place, found this to be one of the very easiest Mondays in some time.

chefbea 8:59 AM  

Easy puzzle. My Mom use to play canasta - had a weekly game. I learned also and played way back when. I also played Mah Jong and Bridge.

Of course loved spice rack

The Big E 9:02 AM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle, not only because I beat my fastest solving time ever by 30 seconds (sorry, very proud of myself), but also because ACK has a very different meaning for me.
My family has gone to Nantucket for several years, and the airport code for Nantucket is ACK. So when we talk about the island, we often refer to it as "ACK!"
Lots of fun!
Thanks for a great start to my Monday.
Happy Puzzling all!!!

geopal 9:02 AM  

@imsdave - I've been pondering your not being able to print out the puzzle issue. Is your only printer a '70s era impact line printer, parked in your bedroom? Cause you know, they make these laser things that are virtually silent. Have been for 20-30 years now.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

What's up with 52D? Natch?

The Big E 9:03 AM  

oh, and I would also like to say welcome bACK to Rex! (hee hee)

Gord 9:10 AM  

54D. Miss America band could also be "Styx" (see The Grand Illusion, of the greatest albums of all time).

retired_chemist 9:24 AM  

I thought this was easy, even for a Monday. Pretty much filled it in as fast as I could type, proofread, retype, proofread again, and retype again. Which is to say the mechanics slowed me down, not so much the fill. Liked it - no ACK here.

Question for Canadians - is Alberta more commonly abbreviated ALTA.? That is what sticks in my mind. Or am I just making that up and need a SENILE implant?

Played CANASTA with my mother frequently in the 50s. Like others, I remember nothing of the rules.

captcha diesters - a legit chemical word. Cool!

jackj 9:34 AM  

Have only heard WACK as "wack job", never THATSWACK but, it is still the best theme clue in the puzzle.

Delighted to see Ian use the dated but smile inducing bit of slang, "natch", ; had pleasant Archie, Veronica and Jughead flashbacks.

A nice Monday from Mr. Livengood who is "living good" as a crossword constructor if not as an NFL prognosticator.

John V 9:41 AM  

@Anonymous 9:03: 52D "Natch", as in naturally.

mac 9:42 AM  

Coming back in great form, that trip seems to have done you a lot of good, Rex!

Very easy puzzle to me, even for a Monday, and I've never played Canasta, ever. Fast and snappy, clean work.

Samantha 9:46 AM  

This puzzle was thankfully so easy (I like Mondays) that I was able to finish it before the baby woke up to be fed. Yaaay.

Rex, I concede your point about Galahad willingly, but this begs the question - who is your favorite knight from Malory?

Rex Parker 9:47 AM  


Gawain. It's not even close.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Rex is back
Not for lack
Of a knack
To Give a whack
At some hack
Or some quack
With a jack
Rex is back

quilter1 9:49 AM  

Easy rating for me. Had backpack and rucksack before KNAPSACK. I played CANASTA with my grandma. My granddaughter loves cards so I'll have to relearn it and play with her this summer. Never saw the clue for ALB having filled in with all acrosses, but I own an alb and wear it now and then. Alas, no room for a SPICE RACK in my new kitchen, so keep them in a drawer. Away from heat and light, NATCH.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

@Gord - I came to say exactly that; I filled in "STYX" right away and cost me many seconds coming to grips with the fact that it wasn't right. (Even after it was clear it didn't fit, I was trying to think of another band, as in musical band, that started with S.)

Leslie 10:00 AM  

So nobody else flashed on Whitney Houston declaring "Crack is wack?"

Signed, "pecoat" (Naval issue, not quite warm enough for the Michigan weather right now)

joho 10:11 AM  

Perfectly lovely Monday puzzle. I'd rate it ACKACKACKACKACKACKACK.

I was looking for MACATTACK, too.

A lot of fun, thank you, Ian Livengood.

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

Very nice slangy puzzle.
Rex, your vacation seems to have been good for you. Welcome back and thanks for Bill the Cat.
I've never played Canasta but I like the name. Same goes for Parcheezi.
It's snowing in Las Vegas. Weird.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Warren Zevon has a funny canasta reference in the song "Model Citizen":

In the cool of the evening
When the sun goes down
My wife's playing canasta
With everyone in town

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Odd to see "SLUE," a word with which I was unfamiliar, on a Monday.

Van55 11:43 AM  

I liked it. No quibbles IFI don't mind saying so, myself.

SethG 11:46 AM  

There was a lot of money at stake. A lot of money. Or not, but feel free to send me some.

I should point out that I beat you by four games that week, you beat me by four two weeks later, and we tied over the second week of the season. Also, go Steelers.

Sir Galahad was like a common or overused theme or device. Also, what with the plants, birds, rocks, things, and no one for to give you no pain, America was maybe super high. And Curtis Armstrong played Ack Ack in One Crazy Summer.

Sfingi 11:49 AM  

Easy and cute CW.

@Chefbea - My mother played CANASTA a bit. Still have some decks in the back of drawers. I played Mah Jong with my Jewish friends' mothers!

Kid GALAHAD was twice a movie, with Edward G. Robinson in the '30s and Elvis in the '60s.

What about SLUE foot Sue?

Rex - Thanx for the Keith Haring. May he RIP.

Was going to write SENIor and grump, but realized it was SENILE just in time.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

And right down the middle, KOJAK!

Shamik 12:29 PM  

Haven't laughed so much at the write-up or comments in a long time....starting with (foraMondayforaMondayforaMonday) and making puzzle husband listen to several quotes from the blog and comments. Poor guy.

THATSWACK is just is coffee coming out the nose and SENILE implant. Really? Tropic of Sir Galahad is a gay bar? Really?

Light sleepers will still wake up at the sound of the laser printer. My cat used to run from the other end of the house when she heard the "quiet" laser printer.

I think there's a terminal speed for each of us. This puzzle came in at 3:06 which is my second fastest NYT speed EVER. It's probably genetic, mixed with state of health, etc. as to how fast you can read the clue and have the eye/hand coordination to scribble in the right answer. Two minutes was cracked on this? THATSWACK!

No one says SENILE in the medical field anymore. Someone is no longer senile, they "have dementia." Yes, and I do know that the full term is senile dementia.

@Rex: must have been a priceless week...not a cranky note in the write-up and chock-a-block full of humor and laughter. Bravo and welcome back!

JaxInL.A. 12:36 PM  

Sooooooo glad to have you back, Rex! You made me laugh three times. Glad you and fam had a lovely, if abbreviated, time in sunny Florida.

Sped through the puzzle in very short time for me, which is good because my solving time was cut short when my 8th grader, who went back to school this morning, had a meltdown about the math assignment that she was supposed to do over the last two weeks, not starting late last night after we all went to bed. Aaaaaaack!

Bill the cat, Cathie, Keith Haring, but no Mars Attacks video? Ack ack!

Captcha: ackerstr. Really!

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

THAT'S WACK is clued all wrong. It should "that totally sucks" or similar. WACK is about being boring, underdone, derivative, lame. crazy is too energetic, and has too many positive connotations.

CaseAce 12:59 PM  

To See-nile two days in a row...why,I think that's almost AMAZON!
Welcome back, Rex, old stick, the two gals did a terrific job in your really should get away more often...just joshing, we love ya, man!

Look Up Guy 12:59 PM  

Definitions of WACK on the Web:

•An eccentric; an oddball; a weirdo; bad (as in not good), inauthentic, of an inferior quality, contemptible, lacking integrity, inauthentic, lame, or strange; Egregious

•Term that refers to anything bad – usually a move done incorrectly. The opposite of “fresh.” Definitions by New Jersey State Theatre. []

NATE 1:27 PM  

Why all the upset about "senile"?
It's a good,non-pejorative, word
when used properly.Also, it rhymes
with "smile", "worthwhile","style" and "agile"(in England).

Samantha 2:04 PM  

Huh. I thought Gawain was little bit of a jerk sometimes.

Gareth for me! Still trying to talk the husband into that as a possible name choice for any future sons. :)
He's not having it. :(

NATE 3:03 PM  

To Sfingi at 11:49

This is NOT,repeat Not, a criticism of your phrase "Jewish
mothers" when you could have just
said "mothers". I'm Jewish and when
I was a kid I always thought of
Jewish mothers as playing Mah Jongg. It's just that I am surprised that no one else found
it unPC,what with all the criticism
of "senile" and "Otay", none of
which I found offensive.

sanfranman59 4:19 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:00, 6:55, 0.87, 5%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:22, 3:41, 0.91, 14%, Easy

I'm ba-a-a-a-ack! I decided to give you all a two-week hiatus from the numbers while I visited family and friends in Ohio for the holidays. I still tracked solve times, but not as diligently since I was less attached to my computer than is normal for me (which is to say that my fingers were in contact with a keyboard somewhat less than 100% of my waking minutes). I hope everyone had a joyous and jolly holiday season.

Sfingi 4:59 PM  

@Nate - In the 50s-60s - that's who played Mah Jong. It was what it was. Last tear I went to a Senior Center where everyone plays it now. But, it's a half century later.

I also know that most Seniles are Seniors, and my mom, 91, is one of them.

The last time I stepped on someone's toes is when I used the verb "to gyp." As a New Year's resolution, I'm trying hard to avoid this and the expression, "that's retarded."

foodie 5:01 PM  

Seven plus KOJAK... they keep upping the density ante!

Fun, fun puzzle.

I agree with Mac (whose nom de blog rhymes with the theme) that Rex, you sound great-- easy and breezy. I want to hear about Who's the Boss, which used to be one of my favorites BACK in the days.

Livengood-- what a great name! Enough to inspire its owner to love words.

PIX 5:03 PM  

@ sanfranman59 ...glad to see you back; I miss the numbers...hope you had a good visit.

Doug 5:03 PM  

As a mediocre solver, I found this one incredibly easy. I've never seen so many literal clues.

crosswordnovice 5:20 PM  

This was my fastest Monday to date. By far. Just under 8 minutes! :)

Very happy, as they normally take me about 15 on average.

Joe 5:38 PM  

The answer to "Miss America band" is not Grand Funk Railroad.
That would be "WE'RE an American band."

And don't look for meaning in America's lyrics.
They also came up with
"In the desert you can remember your name,
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain."

Could someone please parse that sentence?

Horse with No Name 6:26 PM  

Joe, it parses fine. Subject you, verb remember, yadayada; sublordinate clause subject there, verb ain't OK, a little ungrammatical but still....) You get the idea.....

I think you are referring to meaning, which, on good authority, is:

"Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang..."

CoffeeLvr 7:35 PM  

Not sure how long this one took me, as I started in the waiting room, used extraordinary self-discipline to not look at the clip board while driving, and finished in the car wash. I liked it a lot.

I have heard my son or his friends say "that's w[h]ack" so I checked Urban Dictionary for myself. Found a definition for "wacked" as follows: "just plain crazy...and fun......out of this world......"

Sparky 7:42 PM  

Welcome back, Rex. You do sound rested. Thanks for Bill the Cat. I always identified with him.

I played Canasta in college. Games going all day. I guess the rules were a lot like Rummy.

Pretty easy puzzle. Never heard of THATSWACK. @Doug, right, clues were straightforward. Also, almost anything about beauty pageant will have the answer SASH.

Off to a happy start for the New Year.

Sfingi 8:35 PM  

@Joe - if you don't know what this hippy-period stuff means, just say, "Ooh, that's heavy."

@Sparky - Or TIARA.

Anonymous 8:57 PM  

Rex coming home . . . SENILE . . . ACK?

This can only mean this --

This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on my thumb;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played two,
He played knick-knack on my shoe;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played three,
He played knick-knack on my knee;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played four,
He played knick-knack on my door;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played five,
He played knick-knack on my hive;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played six,
He played knick-knack on my sticks;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played seven,
He played knick-knack up in Heaven;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played eight,
He played knick-knack on my gate;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,


Rube 10:05 PM  

When a kid in the late 40s I remember playing Hopalong Canasta. Had card sets with boots, spurs, rope, etc. Yes, I don't remember how to play either.

Had the usual error at KNAPSACK/backpACK. Also had MRES before MESS.

A typical Monday CW. It goes so fast I really don't have time to enjoy it. Don't particularly like Bill the Cat or, (Ack), what's-her-face either. (That's Kathy.)

Hey, I'm really in a good mood. Just fixed the stove so the ovens now work. Think I'll go for a dip.

sanfranman59 10:09 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:04, 6:55, 0.88, 8%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:41, 0.89, 8%, Easy

Arty 10:37 PM  

@Anon - If you look through the comments, you'll note that everyone but you limits their posts to 10 lines or so. Just sayin'.

@Rex - Does Mallory ever get beyond the body counts at various battles? I got about 50 pages in and just gave up.

SethG 11:00 PM  

Can I just say I've had America in my head all day now? Did you have to go there?

poc 2:11 PM  

36A BOOM (Sound made when passing the sound barrier): the clue is wrong. A sonic boom is caused by the shock wave of an object travelling faster than sound. The wave exists continuously as long as the object is moving faster than sound, not just at the moment it achieves the critical speed.

remi online 2:26 PM  

i noticed that rummy is becoming a verry well played game online, but it isn't as popular as poker.In my country rummy isn't played with cards, it is played with tiles and there aren't many types of games, actually there are only two or three, but rummy is much appriciated from where i come.

Dirigonzo 2:44 PM  

Now it's February 7 and the P(ACK)ers are the Super Bowl Champions so the theme seems more topical than ever.

My Dad was an anti-aircraft gunner on a Navy Destroyer in WW II - he always referred to the weapon as an "ACK-ACK" Gun.

Glad to see the BRATPACK make an appearance at 26a - that's what I call my 3 dogs, collectively (had no idea the term applied to a group of actors, though - still glad to see it.

Waxy in Montreal 3:59 PM  

Discussion in a MESS: would ACK-ACK fire be adequate to bring down the ENOLA GAY once it has passed through the sound barrier, resulting in BLIPS on a radar screen? Or perhaps the ARMOR on the plane would make it as useless as RIFLE or TASER fire meaning the crew would be UNAWARE of any HITS. Only the TAILgunner might know for sure. PRAY tell.

Tanya 8:26 PM  

Never seen Alberta abbreviated ALB but easy enough for a Canadian to figure out given it is three letters, it is usually either AB or ALTA.

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