Ancient kingdom Asia Minor / SUN 9-11-11 / Death in Dresden / L'shanah Rosh Hashana greeting / Ad-filled weekly / Alabama speedway locale

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Constructor: Kay Anderson

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Cornered" — theme answers bend at ninety degree angle. First part of the answer (before the bend) looks like a self-standing word, and the second part (after the bend) is clued as its own, self-standing word.


Word of the Day: RENIN (47D: Enzyme regulating blood fluid and pressure) —

Renin [...] also known as an angiotensinogenase, is an enzyme that participates in the body's renin-angiotensin system (RAS) -- also known as the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone Axis -- that mediates extracellular volume (i.e., that of the blood plasma, lymph and interstitial fluid), and arterial vasoconstriction. Thus, it regulates the body's mean arterial blood pressure. (wikipedia)
• • •

Took me a little bit to catch on—saw that BRASS was in the "corner" of the puzzle and thought that was relevant (it wasn't). Then noticed that STRAW was missing its HAT just as BRASS was missing its TACKS (or KNUCKLE) — closer. Somehow I noticed that STRAW + WHAT = STRAWHAT, and that was that. I knew the theme. Rest of the grid just involved figuring out the others. I found the theme a little dull—I've seen stuff like this before, and nothing really held this together besides the turns (and the bonus "each side of the angle forms a separate word" thingie). There's some very creative fill in here — DEWY-EYED, JOHN GALT (95A: Ayn Rand protagonist), SKETCH OUT, PAN GRAVY (13D: Roast go-with), and "HERE WE GO" all stand out. There's also some "holy CRAP!" fill (IODIC, CETUS, RENIN, TOVAH) and then some "... Really?" fill (STAYER? ROSTERED? TROUPER?). I found the northern center — the whole HUNCH OVER section — really hard. CETUS, no. RENIN, no. Had D blank TEN and had no idea what that next letter was (53D: Classic McDonnell Douglas aircraft). Clue on NINE is absurdly hard (68D: "The ___ Tailors," Dorothy L. Sayers mystery). Very, very rough going through there. Mostly, though, I thought this was a fine, mildly entertaining work-out.



Theme answers:
  • 1A: *Nitty-gritty, as of negotiations (BRASSTACKS)
  • 6A: *Boater (STRAWHAT)
  • 14A: *Title figure in an Aesop fable (GRASSHOPPER)
  • 58A: *Work on at a desk, say (HUNCHOVER)
  • 77A: *Bracket shape (RIGHTANGLE)
  • 107D: *It's pitched for a large audience (CIRCUSTENT)
  • 35D: *Ernest and Julio Gallo product (MERLOTWINE) — wow, didn't notice this was theme until just now. Who is going to notice that MERLOT isn't a complete answer UNTO itself??
  • 57D: *Usual amount to pay (GOINGRATE)
  • 95D: *Part of a boxer's training (JUMPINGROPE)
  • 117D: *Common secret (PASSWORD)
I know RABAT as an African capital, but not a "royal African capital." I guess if it's a kingdom, then its capital is royal. Strangely, I wrote in CAIRO there. ACCRA also fits. Neither of those are "royal," but hey, look at me, I know 5-letter African capitals. Thought Susan was a SANDBERG at first. That's Ryne. Ryne is a Sandberg. Susan is a STAMBERG (55A: Susan of NPR). I know about Death in Dresden (or any other Germanic place) because of R. Strauss's "TOD und Verklärung," which is the work of classical music of which I own the most copies.


It was a great day for Asia Minor today, with both ANATOLIA (38D: Asia Minor) and LYDIA (104A: Ancient kingdom in Asia Minor) making the grid (know the latter only because of having read the "Iliad" several times ... or Herodotus ... dang, I forget how I know LYDIA). NYT applet continues to cut off parts of words in some of the clues, which made WATER DROP (118A: The dot on the "i" in the Culligan logo) hard to get. Had never heard of "Culliga" ... I saw "TALLADEGA Nights" and really enjoyed it (124A: Alabama speedway locale). TED Baxter is one of the ten greatest characters in television history (somewhere ahead of Frank Burns on "M*A*S*H" but behind Ron Swanson on "Parks and Recreation") (108A: Newsman Baxter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"). The greatest character is, of course, Homer Simpson. The only reason I know the term SHOPPER (18D: Ad-filled weekly) is because the main newspaper on "The Simpsons" is the Springfield SHOPPER. Makes its first appearance in the very first episode, almost the very first frame—sign outside Springfield Elementary shows that the Springfield SHOPPER has given the children's Christmas pageant "3.5 stars"!

Lastly, OLD LATIN probably sounds redundant to you (91D: Source of many English words that come to us via French). It refers to the period before classical Latin; so, pre-75 B.C. I bet you didn't know that. Hell, I didn't know that. Not the exact date, anyway. Oh, and MERIDIA? (112A: Onetime weight-loss drug)—completely forgot it ever existed. Phen Phen ... that was something, right? Fen Fen? Whatever, it's all shit you shouldn't take, so I never bothered to keep the names straight (or even learn how to spell them properly, as you can see).

Thanks to those of you who have asked after my family. We are just fine. Boiling water to survive! But otherwise, just fine. Many thousands of our neighbors have it much, much worse. The story that has made me most irate—in fact, the only story that has made me irate since the flooding started—is the one about Petco not evacuating its store, leaving its animals so that some of them could die slow, miserable deaths, trapped and unattended (if not drowned) from Wednesday to Saturday. Here's the link to the (developing) story. The community is, understandably, livid. I threw away my Petco card earlier in the day (to be fair, here is the corporate statement from Petco—they are blaming a "communication lapse" by the city). My Humane Society, on the other hand, evacuated all its animals safely and is doing great work trying to care for them in severely trying situations. Not surprisingly, they need help.

We took toys and toothpaste and cookies baked by my daughter to shelters yesterday. Probably going out to try to be useful tomorrow. September 11—seems like as good a reason as any to try to do something for someone else. I know it's a big day for NYC. Here's a 9/11 story for you: guess who showed up to assist in the rescue / recovery effort today? FDNY. They'll be spending the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 200 miles upstate, doing what they do best. And everyone here is really, really grateful.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch "Breakin'" (1984). God bless America.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

38 comments:

syndy 12:22 AM  

LYDIA OH LYDIA OH HAVE YOU MET LYDIA LYDIA THE TATOOED LADY.I had finished the puzzle busily writing down the missing words trying to figure out what they had in common_DOH!!My eyes finally unscrambled.It did make the HUNCH part hard-I had HATCH for a bit:/ good work out for a Sunday. REX The Nine Tailors are Church Bells and as everything MS Sayers wrote a wonderful tale -I highly recommend it!

CoffeeLvr 12:29 AM  

@Rex, Sandy and daughter, thanks for the updates on your challenging flood, and more. I'm impressed by your service. And incensed by the PetCo incident.

I really, really liked this puzzle, and found it easy, mostly. I read the clue for 1A and thought "get down to BRASS TACKS, but that doesn't fit. Got the gimmick at GRAS(S)HOPPER. Only real stumper was NENES, where I wanted NiNoS or NiNaS or bEbES.

A lot of things with personal meaning to me in this grid: STACKS, PARADIGM, TWINE, TALLADEGA, TWA, RAG TOP, NEVIL Shute's "On the Beach" (the first dystopian literature I ever read.)

@Rex, thanks for explaining OLD LATIN, I wondered about that. I mentally tried both Egypt and Libya before CAIRO at 126A. Got RABAT from the crosses.

May tomorrow be a day of peace and comfort in our shared grief, and one of honor to our heroes here and abroad.

Noam D. Elkies 1:03 AM  

Neat theme, with a bunch of two-word phrases whose second word can be extended to a different word with the last letter of the first word. Too bad there wasn't a central theme entry with a 3-word phrase that works the same way.

Always glad to see 92:א in the grid (it's my Hebrew initial), and it's nicely clued here. Apropos Hebrew, 22A:TOVAH (טובה) = "good", the feminine form of "tov" (טוב) as in Mazel tov. TODAH (תודה) = "thanks" is grammatically feminine but there's no Hebrew 64A:TOD. The German is cognate with "death", and also appears in Siegfrieds Tod (Wagner) and Der Tod in Venedig = A Death in Venice.

Yes, the clue for 68D:9 is ridiculous, but still better than cluing a digit as some b*seballer's uniform number, which was perpetrated in the NYTimes at least once. Newcomer 122A:IODIC could hardly be clued another way (be thankful that PERIODIC didn't get the same clue! Ask ret.chemist to explain), and might have suggested IOnIC as a red herring.

Kudos to FDNY, especially on this somber anniversary.

NDא

CoolPapaD 2:01 AM  

Quite difficult but, in the end, fun fun (not fen phen). Got very hung up with AWAY WE GO, LEOTARD, and KILLED IT. Once these were remedied, it fell nicely.

@David - saw your kind post late last night - will drop you a line soon!

SAD DAY - God bless NYPD. Be safe, Y'ALL!

BAC atcha carla michaels 2:29 AM  

Can't get my head around 9/11 anniversary and helpless animals at PETCO, too heartbreaking, so I will put my head in the sand at the moment and give a brief commentary on the 4th annual Bay Area Crossword Tournament, now renamed BAC Fill.

Success, tho smaller turn out than last year (50+ instead of 60+) but we were competing with a Dodgers Game and all of us sort of forgetting to plug the event.

@Fergus, @SanFranMan
You were both sorely missed...odd to think about meeting you both 3 years ago with Green Mantis in tow, and finding out she was a Mission hipster, not a gay man...and Fergus is a Santa Cruz hippie, not a 70 yr old English fop! ;)

Jordan Chodorow who won down in LA, actually flew up to SF just ot kick our collective asses. Such a sweetie who is tough on films.

Lots of folks came in from Seattle (Karmasutra and Len Elliot to name a couple) and up from LA, (The winner Jordan and 3rd place finisher Eric LaV, we were missing Eric Maddy...And among the bright lights, 14 yr old David Steinberg who made the fun Thurs code puzzle and the Tues one with buried text...so so young and adorable. Future looking bright!

No diabolical Tyler puzzle today, unclear why, 'ceptin' he's a busy boy. Just the straight M-Th of the NYT generously provided by Will.

Without giving away spoilers, I will just say that themes helped in every single case!

Tournaments too far and in-between, so Andrew Laurence who created this whole fundraiser for the CA Dictionary project and has done a smoother and smoother job with every year, and I have decided to launch a BAC Society (Bay Area Crosswords)
Plus the name lends itself to such fun offshoots: BAC Fill will be the tournament, BAC Nine if we get together for Golf... BAC Swing for a dance. BAC Hos for all the gals.
oops, maybe not BAC Hos...how about BAC helorettes??!

Point being it will be fun to socialize and not necessarily compete when we have events like Merl or Will coming to town, or the return of Dan Feyer, etc.

SO many folks in the Bay Area who aren't necessarily speed solvers but might want to socialize other than this blog, which has brought us all together in the first place.

Sending good vibes from the West Coast...and donations to come.

PS Kay Anderson, forgive me for interloping on your special day...
Congrats on the wildly inventive puzzle!

jae 4:12 AM  

I liked it! Tough but doable. Nice debut!

Bob Kerfuffle 7:10 AM  

As one with no familiarity with Hebrew, I didn't feel too bad about trying TORAH before TOVAH.

And as one who avoids exercise as much as possible, I didn't find it strange that I tried LEOTARD before UNITARD.

Other write-overs: 119 D, RANK before RIPE, and 127 A, OUTRE before NUTSO.

Very good puzzle, IMHO.

Glimmerglass 7:58 AM  

Good for you, Rex. Congratulations on surviving the flood and on being a good guy. Best Sunday puzzle in a long time. I really enjoyed it. The asterisks, however, were a mystery to me. I never saw the gimmick until Rex pointed it out to me. It would have helped with HUNCH OVER (I was guessing between RENIN and REtIN). I wrote the missing words down, hoping they would make sense as a group, and never noticed that I'd already written them in the grid. I think I'll stop shopping at any Petco. Inexcusable.

mitchs 9:02 AM  

Liked this one, which is kinda rare for a Sunday. Weird layout though, there were only two entrees from the NE diagonal to the SW.

According Rex's link, all pets have been evacuated. That's great news, because I can now dismiss that from my brain. I wouldn't be too quick to demonize Pet Co. Looks like a major SNAFU that they addressed.

jberg 9:15 AM  

This one was a breeze, after Saturday's. Once I had 1D and 5D, BRASS TACKS just leaped out - so I had the theme right away, and that did help.

I didn't much like HUNCHED OVER, and really didn't like MERLOT WINE (come on, would you ask a bartender for a glass of 'merlot wine?' rather than just merlot?) But all in all, a fine puzzle. GTO/TOVAH and OTERO was just a guess, but it came out right.

Let me second the endorsement of Sayers's The NINE Tailors. I could have been clued with "a peal of bells," rather than the novel, to make it really obscure.

My Spanish is better than my Mongolian, but NENES? I thought those were Hawaiian geese.

My best wishes and thought to all the people and animals suffering from the floods.

joho 9:21 AM  

One of the most entertaining Sundays in a while for me!

I got the theme quickly at STRAWHAT just like @Rex and also didn't put MERLOT and TWINE together until well after I was done.

I really enjoyed much of the fill and there wasn't a stinker of a RIGHTANGLEd theme answer.

Most of all, this wasn't a bit boring as long Sundays can sometimes be.

Thank you, Kay Anderson ... you made my morning!

arlene 9:26 AM  

I do this puzzle on Saturday, as the Sunday magazine and some other sections are delivered with the Saturday NY Times (which is a good thing because I'm not as adept at Saturday puzzles as some of the folks here!) This one was fun - the words kept filling in until it was done. Ironically, it was the recent Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test puzzle that made me think the answers would turn some corners. I got "stacks" right away, and that tipped off everything else.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, but was highly irked by 31A. Regarding the casino game: "Craps" is singular. You roll "craps". "Crap" is what you say when you roll it, unless you have a bet on the :Don't Pass" line.

jackj 10:21 AM  

When reflecting on memorable openings, Loretta Young's glamorous entrances, with taffeta swirling, on her eponymous TV show and George C. Scott's dramatic flag backed yet bare bones opening monologue in Patton come immediately to mind and, if I can be allowed a bit of hyperbole, I'll include the extraordinary debut of Kay Anderson to this mix. Wow!

The theme was clever and easily determinable at 1 across when a mere tinge of basic geometry showed the full answer as BRASSTACKS and the rest of the starred theme answers flowed seamlessly.

The fill was truly inspired, to the point that, when I got HEREWEGO for 93 down, I made a note in the margin of the puzzle, "This is really good stuff!" and it certainly was.

From PANGRAVY to FORAGER and using the Hebrew alphabet to give us Abraham's "A", the list of goodies is long indeed.

What a way to join the crossword community, Ms. Anderson. A quick encore would be greatly appreciated.

(Did I mention that I liked this puzzle?)

Martin 10:43 AM  

Anonymous @10:16,

I can't find a dictionary that doesn't support the singular "crap."

I know, that isn't really important because people don't say it.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Nine Tailors is a great read
I thoroughly recommend it

Eckless 10:49 AM  

I'm going to put on my cranky person hat for a bit...the last few days there have been NPR personalities in the grid (yesterday was "NPR's Shapiro", today's is "Susan of NPR")...do we really have to learn these? If you don't listen to NPR, there is very little chance of getting these except from crosses. I know Mr. Shortz has a show on NPR, but NPR personalities to me is like "obscure people currently on Broadway" or "obscure bygone players somewhere on the NY Yankees roster" that work their way into crosswords. I'd prefer that if there's a person in the grid, there should be some "in the public consciousness" aspect to them.

Or am I way off base and these NPR personalities are "gimmes" for everybody else?

OK, rant off. I liked the puzzle otherwise. :) Good to get away from the (in my opinion, overdone) "add a letter for a wacky phrase" every once in a while!

chefbea 11:06 AM  

Great puzzle and very easy. Had it almost finished before breakfast.

Had it in MY bonnet that roast go-with was potatoes but that soon got straightened out.

@Rex glad you all are safe and are helping out on this very sad day.

Mel Ott 11:07 AM  

Nice puzzle. I enjoyed the theme - had a few pleasant aha moments as I saw how the words were put together.

Minimum of CRAP. ( I too think the casino term is CRAPS.)

I wanted POTATOES with my roast. But PAN GRAVY is good too. Can I have both?

Don't know the NPR person but as long as I can get the name from the crosses I'm content.

Norm 11:35 AM  

AS is often the case, one person's "absurdly hard" (68D for Rex) is another's "gimme." Fun puzzle, despite the few ugly words.

David 12:21 PM  

@Rex, very happy to see that you and your family are safe, hope things will continue to improve upstate...

This puzzle grew on me quite a bit as I went along. I got BRASSTACKS and the theme right away, and thought, eh. But the more answers I solved the more I enjoyed the cleverness, and the way I was forced to think through most of them.

EASEFUL Death. Wow.... Have never read Ayn Rand, so JOHN GALT was new and also the last answer for me in the grid. Terrific answer though, as well as WATERDROP, TALLADEGA and ROSEAGAIN. Aside from some slowness in the SW with Galt and HEWEDTO, other problem spot was the East Central, where ENERVATE came slowly and I wanted KILLEDIT for RIPPEDIT, which would have given a not-so-plausible SOAKED for SOARED.

archaeoprof 12:30 PM  

Smooth, clever, not-too-easy, all-in-all wonderful Sunday.

One writeover at 54A: maam/YALL.

Thanks, Kay!

@Rex: glad the situation is improving.

Lewis 1:02 PM  

It felt fresh, not boring. I got it without Googling, which is a joy for me. I too wanted potatoes, but fixed it...

mac 1:50 PM  

Very good Sunday, I enjoyed it! It took me a little while to get the trick, then it was quite easy. I wanted potatoes with my roast, but "pan gravy" is excellent. Had a problum in the hunch area, but a little staring solved it.

Those NY-ers are good neighbors. Did I mention it was a NY crew who turned the power back on in our street in CT?

quilter1 2:05 PM  

Hands up for potatoes. DNF as I screwed up the SW, since I just "knew" boric acid was right. Sigh.

Incensed over the PetCo incident. What were they thinking? It seems to go against their whole mission.

Ten years ago I was on my way to a clergy conference on domestic violence, when, in passing a colleague's office I glimpsed the image of the first tower. He said a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. By 11 a.m. everyone's cell phone at the conference was ringing and before lunch they were departing in droves. Conference canceled. Tears in my eyes still today. In the following weeks, we who cared for people's bodies, minds and spirits were inundated with folks coming forward asking for help as they realized they were living with their terrorist. So today I want to hear from the politicians wanting to gut the police and fire fighters' departments just what their justification is.

Liked the puzzle.

skua76 5:26 PM  

Interesting puzzle, different and surprising compared to most Sundays in that there were no long theme answers clued wackily or otherwise. And a bit difficult, but I got it. Had problems with potatoes for 13D, also I quickly wrote in ephedra for 118A, guess that's not a weight loss drug. Great debut Kay.

I for one have no problem with NPR clues...I listen to a lot of radio and haven't listened to commercial stations in years.

Rex, thanks for the update on conditions in the Southern Tier...

Anonymous 5:55 PM  

I somehow managed to complete the entire puzzle without understanding the theme--to me that's the mark of a lousy Sunday puzzle.

santafefran 6:18 PM  

Been busy getting ready for a trip to Italy so crosswords are getting short shrift. I did enjoy this one. Had PANFRIES before PAN GRAVY and IDIOTIC before MORONIC. Hands up as well for BORIC acid and a tough time with TOVAH. RAINDROP wasn't a fit and I misread La. for Ia. for the longest time, but it all worked out in the end. Thanks, Ms. Anderson for a great Sunday puzzle!

Sandy, thanks for posting the link to your blog. Those photos were devastating. Glad you are all ok and much sympathy on the dog bite as well. Ouch. Hoping everything is drier and healing today.


leded-the kind of gasoline my car uses.

Sparky 7:26 PM  

Took some time but finished wth one error, TOrAH/ArGRADE seemed okay. The newspaper version had the theme clues in italics and the title as Cornered. Hint, hint. But I was looking for things to happen in the four corners not turn corners for a while.

Sayers a gimme; have read all of them several times. Not like Chandler at all. The cover art, Rex, gives away an important plot element. Sigh. Why do they do that?

A lot of airplanes in the sky yesterday droning away. I assume because of the alert. I'll never forget the sound on Sept. 11 and thinking, Wow, he's flying too low.

Tomorrow is another day. Glad things are improving for Rex and family, Mac and others hit by the floods.

Swimslikeafish 10:07 PM  

Rex and all:
75D is "let's live," isn't it? Not "let's lide"? Making the diet drug "merivia"?
Great puzzle. The theme was easy but I would say the fill was hard.
Down here in the Catskills we are thankful for each sunny day.

Janet 10:11 PM  

This was hard at first, then picked up STEAM and rolled along. DEWYEYED was tough. Theme was apparent at STRAWHAT.

On 9/11/01 I was headed to the WTC when I looked up and thought, "That plane is flying so low." 1-2-3 and it hit the North Tower. Www.bit.ly/my9-11

Stan 10:52 PM  

A solid theme that was fun to discover. The second parts of the phrases all looked so natural as stand-alone answers I didn't think to look at them at first.

Plus some fresh fill and better than AVERAGE clues for standbys like ALEPH and GTO. Did not care for IODIC (related to MORONIC?) or RENIN (enzyme that dissolves custard?)

Overall, a very successful debut--congratulations!

syndy 11:19 PM  

@swimslikea fish-Nope it's let slide

fergus 3:06 AM  

Run of the mill puzzle solved in half an hour.

I regret my September penury, which is my own fault - it kept me from dealing with our own strange kind.

And though ACM didn't toss me off
or endorse in any way, I remain
a nebulous guy.

Patchen Barss 12:52 PM  

This puzzle spoke to me - I have been working on coining a word formed by making a portmanteau of a two-word phrase, welding the last letter of the first word onto the entire second word - as happens in this grid.

This specific form of portmanteau is how we get "blog" from "web log." The word I'm trying to create is "flatte" formed from "decaf latte." My big dream is for flatte to make it so far into common parlance that it one day shows up in a NYT crossword puzzle.

(I know, I know - I have a long journey ahead of me.I wonder if it would help my case to start referring to brass tacks as "stacks" and jumping ropes as "gropes.")

Anyway, if you're interested in coinages, here's my original blog entry, making the case for "flatte."

http://patchenbarss.com/2011/07/05/the-flatte-project-brave-new-word/

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Saw BRASS TACKS right off the bat, then went to the opposite corner and filled in WATER DROPleT. Could there be an after dinner drink callet PleT? If I haven't heard of it, it probably doesn't exist, so I correctly changed that to WATER DROP ORT. Took me some time to see that I was taking the wrong angle to that corner.

Did not get far in NW for the longest time because I kept reading 1d as "some inmates"

I like PANGRAms with my roasts, so that messed me up a little.

Finished with one error (missed it by just a TaD)

Anonymous 5:52 AM  

Spacecraft here. Had the puzzle been left untitled, I don't know if I ever would have "gotten" the key. But as RP said, we've seen this type of bending before. Had a few writeovers: TREY was the only losing casino roll I could think of. Though much of my luck has been CRAP, the roll is craps, that's just a fact. Then, I tried LETSTAND instead of LETSLIDE, and WIDEEYED for the more obscure DEWYEYED. To the stuff others disliked, may I add yet another example of THE: THEUN. Ugh! When will it stop? But there was also a loot to like. A bit tougher than the usual Sunday do. There was a revolution in Cairo this year? Missed it. Ah, our old friend EPSOM, twice in one week. Good for it. I actually went there once, saw the Derby. Santa Claus--what a horse! Dead last coming into the final straightaway, Lester Piggott flew him past the field as if they were going backward, and won going away. Child's play.

forabil: hell, I'd do just about anything!

Deb @ RoomscapesDecor.com 6:44 AM  

@ Patchen Barss - I love "flatte" for a decaf lat! Brilliant. I have no advice for you as to how to get it into the language, but this can't be a bad place to start.

Re the puzzle: I started and tumbled to the theme forthwith, but the rest of the puzzle still didn't fall easily. I'm not sure whether to blame my current WWF addiction or the fact that I solved most of it while watching the Emmys, but it was definitely challenging (for a Sunday) for me.

I wish I knew how to invite any readers of this blog to play WWF with me on FB without breaking rules. I'm having so much fun finally having folks I can play word games with. Am I alone there?

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