Ill-gotten wealth / MON 10-29-12 / Old Soviet naval base site / Porky's porcine sweetie / New York city with name from antiquity / Muhammad Ali strategy / Company that originated Frisbees Boogie Boards / Spy grp dissolved in 1991 / Instrument with metal keys / Imam's holy book

Monday, October 29, 2012

Constructor: Gareth Bain

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: animal business — two-word verb phrases where an animal is the verb

  • WOLF DOWN (17A: Devour)
  • MONKEY AROUND (24A: Waste time playfully)
  • PONY UP (39A: Pay what's due)
  • PIG OUT (41A: Eat, eat, eat)
  • SQUIRREL AWAY (49A: Hoard)
  • BEAR UPON (63A: Pertain to)

Word of the Day: PELF (3D: Ill-gotten wealth) —
n.
Wealth or riches, especially when dishonestly acquired.


[Middle English, from Medieval Latin pelfra, pelfa, probably from Old French pelfre.]


Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/pelf#ixzz2AdUEk42A
• • •

What, no COCK BLOCK!?

This puzzle was splashy. Ever-so-slightly tougher than your average Monday, I think, but not enough so that I'd up the difficulty rating to include the word "Challenging." If, like my wife, you had No Idea what PELF meant, or that it was even a word, you may feel differently. Either way, it's very solvable. The theme is simple and amusing—BEAR UPON was a bit sad, first because BEAR DOWN has more oomph and second because (unlike all the other theme answers, except PONY UP, I think), the verb in this answer has nothing to do with the actual behavior of the animal that bears (!) its name. But this is more observation than criticism. The fill on this puzzle is pretty close to ideal for an easy, high-word-count, early-week puzzle. Zing and zazz all over the place. Grid's got every letter except "J" or "V"; "Oh, so close, why didn't he go for the pangram? They're so *fun*!" A: Because the puzzle would clearly have been WORSE. And I doubt the grid could be any funner than this. Gareth knows what he's doing.


Loved ROPE-A-DOPE most of all (8D: Muhammad Ali strategy). Got stymied by QU'RAN, not 'cause I didn't know it, but 'cause I couldn't spell it (went QARAN at first, which now that I look at it is a horrible guess) (50D: Imam's holy book). CYAN is not a Monday blue, but it's not *so* strange (22D: Blue shade). WHAM-O always looks like it should have one more "M" (else I want to pronounce it WHAY-MO) (52D: Company that originated Frisbees and Boogie Boards). Love the fact that PIG OUT is followed by PETUNIA—recalls the fact that when Porky the "pig" came "out," it was a grave disappointment to his girlfriend (42A: Porky's porcine sweetie).

Stay safe, northeast! (he said, as if Sandy were not going to affect him at all...)

REX out!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

51 comments:

Tobias Duncan 12:09 AM  

HEARTO reminds me of this weeks NPR puzzle challenge somehow.

Life's obvious if you just pay attention 12:21 AM  

Oh, PETUNIA knew, at some level they all know, they just can't face it. Look, Porky goes around with wearing a bow-tie and crotchless pants, when he even bothers to wear pants. How cold she not know?

Alibis Cody Monkeys 1:04 AM  

Such a charming puzzle!
Perfect Monday theme, total Tuesday fill.
QU'RAN, UTICA, CYAN, APIARISTS, PELF, ROPEADOPE
I'd not've gotten away with any of them...damn, I'd like the chance to have tried!

Six animals, from a vet, no less.

So "poppy", not just the Q X Zs but all the Ps... I count at least ten! Three alone in POPUPS.

Also sly animal winks...o - MOO, eg.
And, whoa, do I spy a REX at 44A?!?

Anoa Bob 1:16 AM  

Isn't today's constructor a newly minted veterinarian? Looks like he had enough good horse sense to draw from a deep well (cocksure, cat quick, dog tired, snake eyes, crocodile tears, lion hearted, etc., etc.) to get six (!) theme entries and still leave wiggle room for a SYRUPY & INFAMY here, and a ROPE-A-DOPE & APIARISTS there, and, IDI, AER, DEP, ORIG & IAM notwithstanding, hardly a NO NO in sight. A real WHAMO of a Monday puzzle.

Anonymous 1:20 AM  

Really nice puzzle, but almost an exact repeat of Lynn Lempel's 5/30/05 offering. 5 out of 6 themers are identical.

Evan 1:24 AM  

Seems pretty fitting that a veterinarian made this puzzle, no?

BEAR is a real flexible word for this kind of theme -- BEAR UPON/DOWN/OUT/IN (mind). Other animal phrases that fit the bill include CLAM UP, DUCK DOWN, HORSE AROUND, and WHALE ON.

I've seen PELF before....pretty recently, in fact (in the LA Times), so that wasn't a big surprise. SYRUPY, on the other hand, was my toughest get. I don't usually think of syrup when it comes to sappy things.

I'd have been thrilled to see COCK BLOCK too, but "block" isn't a preposition like the other second words, so that's too bad. And yes, I have no breakfast test for dirty words, so that would have been my only problem with it.

Still no sign of a hurricane here in Philly, but school's out either way!

Evan 1:28 AM  

@Anoa Bob:

You got to the veterinarian point before me -- that's what happens when you hit Publish before Preview.

@Anyone who knows how to disable automatic links in blog comments:

How do you disable automatic links in blog comments? Blogger threw in a couple on "test" and "hurricane" in my previous comment when I didn't ask it to do so.

chefwen 3:20 AM  

Lions and Tigers and BEARS oh my! Very cute Monday puzzle.

Had a cat named Phydeaux who used to walk with us on a leash, husband called him DOPE ON A ROPE, pretty close to 8D. He was a very cool Morris type kitty.

Milford 7:07 AM  

Oh let's not mention Tigers. Too depressing. Glad "tigers" isn't a verb, so it couldn't be in this puzzle.

This was a really fun puzzle! Took me longer than average, but I'm not sure why. I had koRAN before QU'RAN and Awl before ADZ, but I think those were the only real writeovers. Loved, loved ROPE-A-DOPE! Also SYRUPY was fun to figure out. PELF, I'm not even sure I saw it, honestly. Did see the REX shoutout, though!

Got Tappan ZEE reference due to watching a disturbing documentary on the mom that killed the van-load of kids driving drunk and high the wrong way on the interstate in NY. Didn't think that would ever help me out in a crossword puzzle.

Glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read cock block. Too hilarious. Like @Evan, I have no breakfast test.

My captcha might be Festivus.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:34 AM  

As many times as I have to write "SQUIRREL . . .", I am never sure if it is one R and two L's or two R's and one L. Thank you, crosses!

OTD 7:35 AM  

Easy for me--under 5 min doing it online. Remember well Ali yelling ROPE-A-DOPE in the mike, but then again I'm OTD. Also had Koran before the SQUIRREL straightened me out. Nice puzzle. Enjoyed it.

Stay safe, NE.

Z 7:36 AM  

Ditto with above. I had chowDOWN before looking at any crosses, but quickly fixed and then I got the theme at MONKEY AROUND.

This played a little crunchy for me, but I was being distracted by Sandy news while solving. The puzzle strikes me as very timely with NOMINEE and RACIST Jim Crow laws making appearances.

I think CYAN is a fairly common blue in the age of inkjet printers, so it is a Monday answer.

loren muse smith 7:59 AM  

When I saw Gareth's name, I was HOPIng for fun, and he delivered big time. Bright, fresh fill surrounding terrific theme answers. SYRUPY, ROPE A DOPE, ZANIER, WHAMO, NO FAIR. . .

The KGB keeping TABs on everyone, PIG OUT crossing NO NO, MONKEY crossing ZANIER - all great!

Yeah - big WOE for PELF. It looks like it should be a synonym for WOLF DOWN. "I really PELFed my breakfast this morning and I'm HERE TO tell you it's not sitting well."

@chefwen - My roommate and I had a huge pet tarantula in grad school named PETUNIA. Mercifully, we didn't walk her on a leash, but we would go in and retrieve her fully-intact shell after she molted. We'd then ride up and down the elevator with it on the palm of my hand and ask other tenants if they were having trouble with spiders.

Thanks, Gareth. EUROk by me!

joho 8:18 AM  

Really cute theme well done!

@Rex, you couldn't really have BEARdown as you already have WOLFDOWN. As it is we've got POPUPS, PONYUP AND BEARUPON. Lots of UPS.

I liked how the second half of each phrase is active, though, with DOWN, UPS, AROUND, OUT, AWAY and UPON. Coupled with the animals as verbs makes for lively theme answers.

This is a great start to the week, thanks, Gareth!

chefbea 9:03 AM  

Fun easy puzzle. Did it in record breaking time...and I never time myself. Did it while wolfing down my cereal

jackj 9:24 AM  

South African veterinarian Dr. Gareth Bain gives us a petting zoo puzzle of sorts with six theme entries featuring common animals that are combined with words that give us familiar phrases such as WOLFDOWN, PIGOUT, and PONYUP.

Not content with just using his theme bits to accentuate his clientele, Gareth also sprinkles a host of hidden references among the non-theme fill to give us the added fun of MOO, PUP, PET, ASP, et al.

Among the regular fill answers there are some intelligent, clever ones like ROPEADOPE, INFAMY, ZANIER and NOMINEE but he is pushing his luck with early week solvers who will likely be calling NOFAIR for his inclusion of REMIX, PELF and QURAN (absent the designation of “Var.” for those Americans who rarely, if ever, see it as anything but KORAN in print).

Then there is one clue that Gareth went out of his way to include that uses a new, five dollar word, “Superannuated” for the commonly seen answer AGED. It’s certainly a proper usage but Monday constructors shouldn’t feel a need to be so original in their cluing that they confound the tyro solver.

Gareth is a reviewer of puzzles for Amy Reynaldo’s Crossword Fiend, a widely published constructor (heavy in the LA Times), an occasional poster on this site and one of the best of the bunch among the new folks gracing us with their work and my mini-nits aside, once again he has given us a winner.

Thanks, Gareth.

Susan McConnell 9:39 AM  

Fun and easy :-) But PELF? Huh?

And Amen to REX re: WHAMO. You read my mind. Whammo. There. Doesn't that look better?

Sick of storm coverage already in CT. Insurance exec hubby can't get enough of it. It's gonna be a looong couple of days...

John V 9:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John V 9:45 AM  

Fun, easy. PELF was no problem here; go figure. Yep, fill was lively, good for a Monday, but more peppy than usual. Good work on that Gareth

Hey to continue the COCK theme and for a good time, listen to Firesign Theater's

I Was A Cock Teaser For Rosterrama.
Well worth the 99 cents, I promise you

dk 9:50 AM  

For Yogi who would BEAR UPON picnic baskets to obtain PELF I say great puzzle.

For the rodents in my yard who often hear SQIRRELAWAY I say wonderful Monday.

To the Tigers I say when it comes to the World Serious ya gotta PONY UP.

To Obama I say time to ROPE-A-DOPE.

No more time to MONKEY AROUND - off to work.

������ (3 Stars) Way to go Gareth.

Carola 10:07 AM  

A delightful Monday menagerie, with a dinosaur and bee keepers joining the mammals in the theme answers, and a Crow along with a Buffalo in the clues.

Amid the fun a darker Cold War vibe with ODESSA, KGB, and YURI Gagarin.

I was surprised at PELF in a Monday puzzle - I knew it from a medieval work I read in grad school loooong ago, but don't recall seeing it since.

@loren and @jackj - Thanks for pointing out the neat crosses and hidden extras.

@Gareth - Thanks! This one was lots of fun.

jberg 10:50 AM  

Gee, doesn't anyone say "keep you filthy PELF" anymore? Easy word for me. Posting late, and I have to go be a GRADER (taking advantage of the storm closing), so not much to add; except to wonder if he is calling @REX a dinosaur.

quilter1 10:54 AM  

I really like this one. I found it easy. PELF is a great word--in the current economy it should be used more often. Husband is a retired printer so CYAN was no problem. Thanks, Gareth.

Sandy K 10:54 AM  

Nice job, Gareth! Not-so-eZEE NOMINEE-zy fun puzzle!

Needed something lively to take my mind off this storm and I AM getting SIC of same coverage on every tv channel.

We've SQUIRRELed AWAY lots of food and plan to PIG OUT til it's over.

Liked the theme, ROPE-A-DOPE, SYRUPY, APIARISTS, PETUNIA, REMIX, et al. Had to use crosses to get spelling of QURAN.

Hope everyone stays safe!

Masked and Apiaristimous 10:58 AM  

Six varmints and a PET(UNIA). Nine U's. Three of 'em UPpity. One REX -- always uppity. The rare center plus sign. thUmbsUp.

All the best, NE folks. Hope Sandy is all arf and no bite.

mac 11:16 AM  

Fantastic puzzle! Big, fun theme and beautiful fill. Rope-a-dope is great!

Filled in "apiarians" before -ists. Doesn't it look better?

Remembered pelf from another puzzle, I think. Mnemonic pilfer.

M and A should also earlier have 11:20 AM  

p.s. Very similar varmints in a 2005 Lynn Lempel puz. She had DUCKINTO in hers, and thereby avoided the dreaded BEAR+stuff issue. Have U constructors done a puz with animal puns yet? Example: LIONDANCE. BARERUG. If not, git busy, Andrea Darlin'.

BUOYCONSTRICTOR.

Gareth Bain 12:35 PM  

Thanks guys! Embarassed that I didn't see LL's puzzle. Though without a subscription to cruciverb/xwordinfo it can be tricky. I should do something about that... My original version had RABBITON. Apparently the phrase only exists in Commonwealth English. If some of the fill seems Tuesday-ish, well I expected this to run on Tuesday, on account of the short entries, which, IMO made the theme more subtle. Surprised at PELF though, I hear it used as a jocularly old-fashioned term, a la "swag." I miss my clue for APIARISTS, "They take the honey and run," though I guess it is Monday, and WS contributed a lot of other great clues in any case!

imsdave 1:13 PM  

Exceptional Monday fare. No write overs, but plenty of "wait for the crosses" moments.

Good luck to all my friends in the path of the storm. Sustained winds of about 30mph now with gusts up to 50 in north central CT. Hope to be able to get the puzzle and see the blog tomorrow.

@Mac - hope the generator fires up when needed.

mac 1:23 PM  

Thank you, Dave, it got fixed this morning!

Sparky 1:31 PM  

Lovely puzzle Gareth. Hand up for koRAN. Same as @BobK; the SQUIRREL fixed it. Cup runneth over: 6 animals here plus a hippotigris in the Jeopardy! clue and another SQUIRREL on Bob Ross's shoulder in the Google Doodle. I loved Bob Ross and miss him.

Shout out to Rex. Belated thanks @JFC. It took me a while to realize I could copy and paste.

It's starting to rain harder here. The wind due later today. Good luck Rex and all Rexites.

jae 2:55 PM  

Excellent fun Mon. Gareth! Me too for KORAN plus a couple of other erasures, so I had this at medium-tough.

@Evan -- The L.A. Times Sat. puzzle made PELF a gimme for me too. Had not seen it before then.

Rex Parker 3:17 PM  

Already have a guest-blogger lined up in case I lose power / the will to blog.

RP

Lewis 3:28 PM  

@jberg -- NO. Nobody uses the phrase "keep your filthy pelf" anymore.

Gareth -- bright and zippy, great Monday puzzle. Rabbit on!

Notsofast 3:55 PM  

Sped through like I was on a Texas highway! Loads of fun. PELF is one of my favorite words. EPEE and OMOO were the only over-used answers. Everything else was fresh-ish. Loved WHAMO! A really nice Monday!

sanfranman59 4:13 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Mon 6:24, 6:47, 0.94, 29%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:41, 1.01, 58%, Medium

So far, this one rates as a Medium-Challenging Monday in both groups of solvers using only recent Monday solve times as the basis of comparison.

M and A 4:22 PM  

p.s.2. Har. Some constructor did do an animal puns puz, back in April of 1995. LIONDRIVE. GNUSPAPER. Clever.

@Gareth: No need to hang yer head, son. Your puz was just as fun, and worth the redux. Would be a pretty sad world, if only one varmint puz was allowed throughout all of time.

Frankly, I scratch my head a lot over what some people don't approve of in puzs:
1. Partials. Don't get it. What's the problem? Let's have a whole darn puz with themes that are all partials, sometime. Would be mind-blowingly cool.
2. Pangrams. If folks ever layed eyes on an all-E's puz, they'd be beggin' for the pangram every time.
3. Proper names. Reminds me. Just saw Phantom of the Opera (1925) on TV last night, with Christine DAAE. Thought how great it was, that I'd just learned about her from a puz.
4. Re- and -er words. Bring it on. Let's have more rere- and -erer words, too.
5. Roman numerals. That would also be an absolutely kickass theme. How 'bout columns of VIC DID DIM VID MIX type-stuff? Roman columns! Luv it. Don't rule anything out.
6. The Unknown. People, people, people. You're smart, enigma-unravelin' folks. You know you like to learn new stuff. Word of the Day should be a Pantheon of Honor, not a Snarx Object.
7. Almost Anything Small. Example: LST, LAC, ENA. A boat, a coat and a goat... er... deer. This stuff is the glue that binds a grid together. No glue, no crossword. You think Patrick Berry doesn't use glue? Pat likes LAC.

That was way too long. Sorry. Bored, holed up, watchin' the weather. Be safe, Y'all.

Susan McConnell 5:24 PM  

@M and A point 5.... Once when listening to Car Talk, Ray gave their call-in phone number in Roman numerals "VIII VIII VIII II II VIII VIII II V V" I laughed myself silly!

Two Ponies 5:43 PM  

Late to the party but very enjoyable puzzle Dr. Bain.
@ Rex, your write-up was so upbeat that I thought perhaps the storm had already brought on the stand-in bloggers. Very surprised to see your T. Rex.
To all of our East Coasters best of luck.

acme 5:58 PM  

@Gareth
I don't think you should be embarrassed but if it's happened two or three times, you might want to invest some of that PELF in cruciverb.com, good cause and if you put in a theme entry everything comes up and then you can make your own decision if you want to repeat the theme or not.
ANd if Will is okaying it, it must be ok, and the fill is different.
On the other hand, if it were just the fill that counted, we could just have the same theme every day with different fill and that would suck. Plus I'd be annoyed if something I came up with is repeated just a few years later, esp now that it is so easy to check.
Actually if you had put in MONKEYSAROUND with an S, you'd have gotten David Kahn's puzzle:
ID 1516
Constructor David J. Kahn
Publisher code nyt
Date Tue, Jan 30, 2001
Size 15 x 15
Word Count 76
Blocks 40
Mean Word Length 4.87

Theme Info
Entry L Clue
DUCKSOUT 8 Leaves a zoo quickly?
MONKEYSAROUND 13 Plays in a zoo?
SEALSOFF 8 Blocks access to a zoo?
RAMSHOME 8 Emphasizes forcefully in a zoo?
PONIESUP 8 Settles a debt in a zoo?
BEARSWATCHING 13 Has a promising future in a zoo?

which also has PONIESUP, but these are all plurals, all tied to a ZOO clue (Isn't there a kid's show named that?!) and it's well over a decade ago.

I'm torn. I thought your puzzle was nice...and Will thought so too, but I know I'd have been annoyed if someone repeated one I had a few years back that was CRYINGWOLF, PLAYINGPOSSUM, etc.
SO there's that.

Bottom line, always room for fresh nice puzzles, 98% of the folks won't have done the other, remembered or cared...but if it does feel even slightly embarrassing, I'd use the database, which I've found invaluable, even tho it has meant throwing out about 735 of what I come up with lately.
Depends on what kind of challenge you want. it is awfully hard to do something no one has ever done before.

@Johanna,
good catch on all those UPS! No wonder I felt the whole puzzle was so "UP"beat! Yes, maybe BEARDOWN would have been better in that case, bec then there would have been two UPS (PONYUP and POPUPS) and two DOWNS (WOLFDOWN and BEARDOWN) but it's better not to repeat in a theme.
ANd in a way, UPON seems to be a combo of UP and DOWN to me (You lay a book down on the table, you lay it upon the table)

Maybe best would have been to leave out POPUPS (but I love those three Ps!) and then in the theme you'd have had one DOWN one UP and one UPON.)

In other words, Once UPON a theme!

ANd they all lived happily ever after.

Tita 6:09 PM  

Fun puzzle - thanks Doc!
Lights hav ebeeen flickering, and actually shutting off for seconds at a time, but so far, so good.
I hope power holds out till Tuesday is published!
And well beyond, too - I don't relish a repeat of 8 days with no power one year ago!

BTW, never thought much about the phrase SQUIRRELAWAY - but watching our squirrels frantically burying their acorns, I have newfound appreciation.

Augustus Logocrucis 6:10 PM  

@M & A point five:

Surely you haven't forgotten this little gem?

Clark 7:29 PM  

Looking east over Lake Michigan we can see the outer edge of the storm. Good luck you NE-erners.

Give me an animal puzzle any day.

Seems to me that BEARing UPON is sufficiently related to the animal. If a bear sat on me I would feel it bearing upon me. The cool thing is that both bear (the animal) and bear (to carry a burden) go back by different routes to different senses of the same prot-indo-european stem *bher.

(@rex -- I haven't done the Sunday puzzle yet. We're gonna do some transcontinental skype solving. Can't wait.)

sanfranman59 10:09 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 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 6:25, 6:47, 0.95, 30%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:41, 3:41, 1.00, 55%, Medium

Still Medium-Challenging in both groups when compared to Monday's since the change in the billing policy July 9. (For more details about why this may be important, see my posts--and those of others--at the end of last week.)

Spacecraft 12:22 PM  

Always nice to see the constructor visit us. One question: how did you resist the temptation to use duplicate clues for 17 and 41a? The dupe seems to be a growing fad any more, though I guess it lives mostly in the later days of the week.

Nice, fun puzz, with some "boffo" entries. I especially like ROPEADOPE. Also smile-eliciting were the crosses of RADIAL/ISUZU and RACIST/QURAN--and I'd like to see a compilation of some of the police department's ZANIER ALIBIS. I'm sure there are some doozies.

Ginger 1:08 PM  

Typical Monday for me, breezed right through it except I paused many times to appreciate the critter connections. @Gareth - Thanks, and thank you too for stopping by (5 weeks ago)!

BEARdown is a delivery room phrase. Which reminds me, the zoo in Portland welcomed an adorable 300 lb baby girl this weekend. I wonder what encouragement the vet gave to Momma Elephant during labor? Do you tell an elephant to push?

It's eerie to hear the real time folks talk about the imminent arrival of Frankenstorm Sandy.

@Diri - Right on with your comment last week about the Syndiland Community.

@loren muse smith - LOL your pet tarantula, and the poor folks in the elevator.

It's a trap - The captcha is legible? What does this MEAN?? Be afraid, Be very afraid!

DMGrandma 1:50 PM  

A good way to start the week! My only pause was a momentary one, as I'm more familiar with the phrase scarfDOWN, but it clearly wouldn't fit. Beyond that, I'm surprised that the blogger (sorry can't remember the name) who collects "u's" didn't show up today-seems a lot of them to me.

Captcha is "tartali" which sounds like something yummy at the pizza place.

Ginger 3:21 PM  

Today's LAT is also by @Gareth! Don't miss it.

Waxy in Montreal 4:44 PM  

Though I've crossed it many times on the way to/from NYC, references to the Tappan Zee bridge always remind me of the scene late in her Oscar-winning film, Butterfield 8, when Liz Taylor's alter ego Gloria Wondrous speeds across the bridge in a flashy sports car just before her fatal crash. (Apparently wouldn't PONYUP any PELF for RADIAL tires so slid on the ICE.)

rain forest 7:23 PM  

And a good time was had by all! I think it must be difficult to create a puzzle that is easy, yet as entertaining as this one is.

@DMGrandma - The "u" guy, @masked and anonymous, WAS here (5 weeks ago), and commented on the "u"s.

Once again, no @Evil Doug sightings.

Red Valerian 8:13 PM  

@Ginger--I second that eeriness of being in the TWIlight zone (time-warped insights--blame@Dirigonzo)

Didn't know PELF, but it was gettable. Challenging for on Monday, but fine. (Balanced off by the too-easy "Lima's land" for PERU.)

@DMGrandma, M&A was here three times (five weeks ago). He changes his name slightly each time.

Reading @acme sometimes makes me glad I've never tried to construct a puzzle. All that talk of checking data bases and suggesting (it seems to me) that Gareth should feel embarrassed kinda sucks the joy out of things, which is not what I'd usually say of her posts! But 'tis a whole 'nuther world. So, I'll just keep on not constructing crosswords :-)

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