TUESDAY, Dec. 25, 2007 - Nancy Salomon

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Merry Christmas" in different languages

First of all, Merry Christmas to you all (those of you who are still bothering to keep up with crosswords and my blog over the Holidays). It's a gray day and the furnace is doing this new thing where pipes bang violently like the house is haunted by angry and / or four-year-old ghosts. But still, it's a lovely day because I get to drink coffee and eat orange rolls and open presents with my family, woo hoo.

Today's puzzle was a bit ho-hum rather than ho-ho-ho, but it did give me one great new language-related adventure: GLAEDELIG JUL! Mother of pearl! That just looked like nonsense to me. With every new cross, I kept expecting the phrase to become familiar, or at least semi-clear, but it never did. When I was done, I wondered what "GLAEDE LIGJUL" meant. Google told me that it meant virtually nothing. Then I noticed JUL and thought "JUL ... YULE ... yeah, that's probably where the word breaks, dumbass." And sure enough. Hamlet wishes you a Merry Christmas. My time: 6:01 (on paper, as all my times will be from now til tournament time). Sad. But whatever. I'm a patient man.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: "Merry Christmas" to the French (Joyeux Noel)
  • 29A: "Merry Christmas" to the Danes (pound your keyboard with your face! GLAEDELIG JUL!)
  • 47A: "Merry Christmas" to Spaniards (Feliz Navidad) - song will be in my head all day.
  • 64A: "Merry Christmas" to Italians (Buon Natale)

Blogger / my computer is Really slow this morning, so I'm gonna make this quick.

Bad start: HILTS for HAFTS (1A: Sword handles) followed by SHUN for SNUB (5D: Cold-shoulder), which is less explicable, but still understandable. So that slowed me down. I also tried to anticipate the answer to 10D: Car safety device by writing an "R" at the end: -BAR. Surely some kind of BAR would be used to protect your car. Like The Club. But no. AIRBAG.

Kwik Piks:

  • 14A: "One for My Baby" composer Harold (Arlen) - o great, now there's more than one ARLEN to keep track of!?
  • 10A: Wood-shaping tool (adze) - I gotta get me one of these. They appear so frequently in puzzles that their powers must be awesome.
  • 8D: Greek earth goddess (Gaea) - misspelled it GAIA.
  • 6D: Hit the jackpot (won) - got verb tense wrong and wondered what an IVAL was (15A: Horse course - OVAL).
  • 33D: Sailor's behind (abaft) - had -B-FT and filled in the remaining letters without even bothering to look at the clue. That's how accustomed I've become to this word.
  • 71A: Makeup maker Lauder (Estee) - she's Pantheonic, of course, but I will say that it feels as if her appearance frequency has fallen off of late. Which is Just fine with me.
  • 2D: Kitchen drawer? (aroma) - first of all, I wanted some kind of pen, pencil, or marker. Why is AROMA always clued as this cartoonish wafting that lures people into the kitchen. There are billions of AROMAS that are yet to be explored. Get out of the kitchen.
  • 25D: It had a notable part in Exodus (Red Sea) - great clue. Me: "Aaron's Rod ... Golden Calf ... er ... locusts." Etc.
  • 45D: Make balanced (even off) - ick. I had EVEN OUT, of course.
  • 50D: "Rats!" ("Darn!") - Problem here is that you've got at least three plausible "D" answers: DRAT, DANG, and DARN. That is the order I went in.
  • 55D: Knock-down-drag-out (melee) - when people fight in CrossWorld, they do so in the form of either a MELEE or a SET-TO. MELEE is the less-stupid-sounding answer.
  • 49D: Benzoyl peroxide target (zit) - gross.
  • 21A: Winter melon (casaba) - this answer has appeared multiple times this year. I think it's "wrinkly." I know that people came a-Googlin' for it earlier in the year.

"Eleven Geeks a-Googlin'" should be added to the "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

Enjoy your day, do puzzles, stay warm, put on John Denver's Christmas Album (as I do, every year of my life without fail since I was a very small boy). Thanks to everyone who had kind words for me and this blog yesterday. I sincerely appreciate it.

More tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[drawing by Emily Cureton]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Good Morning and Merry Christmas Rex,

Add my voice to the throngs from yesterday giving thanks for this blog. What a great community of folks who love words and sharing knowledge.

All the best to everyone in the New Year.


Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Happy Festivus from the rest of us.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Oooohhhh.....Now I'll be singing "Fleece Navy Dad" all day.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Made every mistake Rex mentioned, to the letter! Still was pretty quick. Have to open some presents now. Prettige Kerst!

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

The Danish "Merry Christmas" is unrecognizable and more alien to English than non latin alphabet languages (Russian, Arabic, etc)

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Buon Natale a tutti!

Quick and fun puzzle, even though I, too, started with "hilt."

Got all the Christmas greetings except the Danish. But it filled in nicely.

Happy Winter Solstice to all!

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

God Jul ! (Swedish)

Imbibe some Aquavit and eat some Herrings !

DEKE faked me out big time.

On to the presents, which include the recommended Orange tome and Gridlock.

Orange 11:59 AM  

IVAL genius! (Yeah, I had WIN/IVAL, too.) The rule of thumb for the crossword tournament is: Check the crossings, even if it's just to eyeball them for plausibility without reading the clues. I didn't my first time at the ACPT, and that's how I ended up with TOWAWAY ZOTE in puzzle #1. D'oh! (My son's playing the Simpsons Hit & Run video game Santa brought him. It's predictably hilarious. He also exulted when he opened the Simpsons movie DVD.)

The Red Sea looks like a slug, with two snaily eyestalks up north.

[Bathroom repellent] = AROMA.

Oh! Rex, if by furnace you mean a boiler for radiators, and you know how to open the boiler's valve to drain out water, try that. We once had what sounded like an angry, large beast pounding a metal sledgehammer on the pipes beneath the floor, rattling the bedroom at 2 a.m. It was from some sort of excess of water in the system. And maybe try having the radiator valves all the way open or all the way closed rather than part way.

Fröhliche Weihnachten für alles! And Maligayamg Pasko!

Orange 12:01 PM  

And parshutr, Festivus was on the 23rd. I hope you aired your grievances (I aired mine) and performed the Feats of Strength.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Glaedeligjul sort of came out of left field, given that the others were no-brainers. I had HEFTS instead of HAFTS (brain spasm) and guessed ALLEN for the composer, which left me with ELOMA for the kitchen drawer, and I actually logged in here to see what an ELOMA was. Too much Christmas cheer last night, I guess. All in all, a good attempt for a Tuesday, but not my favorite holiday puzzle ever, largely because of the lack of other holiday clues besides the four long ones.

Rex, let me add my thanks to the others. I stumbled across this blog a few months ago, and it has made my puzzling much more enjoyable. My patter is 1)finish the puzzle (or as much as I can) 2) log in here to see your comments. I especially like it when we've been led down the same wrong paths.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Just noticed that this puzzle has every letter in the alphabet except.....

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

q*bert... I don't see a Q. Now awesome would be a Christmas puzzle with "No L"...

just sayin'... (and I'm new enough to daily online puzzling and this blog that somebody has probably used it as a theme or subtheme on Christmas past sometime)

I made all the mistakes previously mentioned, plus in doing some downs first, put in stern where abaft was meant to be.

Campesite 2:36 PM  

That 6D win/won was a tense situation for me as well.

Thanks again for this blog, Rex. Though I'm not always able to comment, I do read, and appreciate, your blog just about every day.

Gene 2:53 PM  

Always happy to make the same errors as Rex (HILTS, GAIA, WIN, EVENOUT). Also had MUDPACKS for -BATHS. But REDSEA came easily.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

I'll add my thanks to Rex for his fun and informative blog.

I, fortunately, didn't make any of the mistakes that everyone else did (partly because I do it in pen and don't write down anything until I'm at least pretty confident that it's correct). Of course, my solving time was also twice that of Rex's (I don't even want to know what multiple of Orange's it was).

Can never remember if [Warrior princess] starts with X or Z. Fortunately JOYEUX looked more right to me.

I loved Rex's comment of doing a face-plant on the keyboard for GLAEDELIG JUL! I just prayed for the crosses on this one and still wasn't sure until I came here to check my answers.

Good ol' DEKE Slayton! As a child of the 60s, I was "astronaut happy" and for some reason his name in particular sticks with me.

Least favorite today: [45A. Make balanced]: EVEN OFF (I guess it makes sense but it seems very awkward.)

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Inspired by Rex...

Twelve puzzlers puzzling while
Eleven geeks are googling
On a ten-minute Tuesday
To find nine winter melons
Behind eight sailors' behinds
Watched by six inspiring sisters
Who love five M B As
Four chatroom chuckles
Over three knock-down-drag-outs
By a pair of tippling netmen
And an area man does a blog for free.

Merry Christmas to all!

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

Check the crosses, so thats the secret! If I'd done that I wouldn't have ended up with ARLUN and JOYNUZ. I figured TUNINGUP my car for a drive was the thing to do, and I play golf, alot. I also wondered why the Marines would want MBAs (although with the way $$$ are disappearing in you know where they may need some.)

wendy 4:28 PM  

Rikki, that's great. Set it aside somewhere and then do a new one every year off the new clues. Of course you'll have to retain "an area man ..." year to year unless with the passage of time our area man starts charging ;)

doc john, DEKE was a gimme for me too. With a stepfather who was director of NASA Goddard and a father who was a WWII bomber pilot and aeronautical engineer, I couldn't have ignored the space program even if I'd wanted to.

But I misspelled GAEA too, although it looks like both are correct.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  


Hungry Bird 8:45 PM  

Jae, think corporations. I orginally entered CPL's, but then it wouldn't go. Sigh.

Emily, thanks for the link. What a great card.

I've been alternating between Jose Feliciano and Trini Lopez in my head all day.

Off to celebrate 12/25/07, "The Feast of Jews Eating in Chinese Restaurants."

Anonymous 9:08 PM  

Snarkygirl -- I should have put "initially thought" -- I did have the head slap moment when corporations dawned.

Joy of the day was watching the grandkids open presents.

Hungry Bird 9:32 PM  

I had the same headslap moment.

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

Thank you Rikki, but what am I missing, where is the 7th? Jose lives in CT, I sat next to him at the hairdressers' and he had brought his guitar. He has the most beautiful, thing, longnailed hands and he made beautiful music with one of his small children on his lap.
How do you all feel about the move of the championship? I had looked forward to going to Stamford to meet some of you, but now it's in Brooklyn?

Anonymous 3:50 AM  

Mac... that is what happens when I work in pencil and then copy to computer, after spiking my eggnog with brandy. Cheers! And with seven:

Twelve puzzlers puzzling while
Eleven geeks are googling
On a ten-minute Tuesday
To find nine winter melons
Behind eight sailors' behinds
Lit by seven genie holders
Held by six inspiring sisters
Who love five M B As
Four chatroom chuckles
Over three knock-down-dragouts
By a pair of netmen tippling
And an area man does a blog for free.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

CAlady said:
Theme puzzles are often harder 6 weeks out when you aren't thinking of eggs or hearts or whatever, but this one was a joy (joyeux experience?).
I work in pen-find it easier to see than pencil on newsprint-maybe its just old eyes! At any rate, I often get a clean puzzle by avoiding the haft/hilt type of mistakes-Both have "h" and "t" in common-so fill them in and see what the crosses bring. Also worked for the win/won combo on this puzzle.
Sorry I'm too late to join the Christmas wishes, but here's a belated Happy New Year for all my puzzle-pen pals. That must be the wrong expression, but I enjoy your comments daily, and rely on Rex for when my solving tricks go astray!!

synda kate 3:35 PM  

The best thing about this puzzle? No more Christmas references. As if the holiday season isn't long enough, those of us in syndication land are subjected to an additional six weeks of reindeer, yule logs, and ho ho hos. To have Feliz Navidad stuck in your head in February is just cruel. Anyhow, love the blog and the comments as always.

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

And here in surreal syndicatland, Super Tuesday falls on Christmas Day. And the Super Bowl has already been played.


Happy Boxing Day, I guess...

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