WEEKLY WRAP-UP: May 5-18 (Super-Sized)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Actually, this write-up won't be Super-Sized at all, as I have not preserved good comments and emails as vigilantly as I normally do. End-of-the-semester takes me out of my normal rhythm a little. OK, a lot. I just turned my grades in today ... a great feeling. Now I have to deal with my cluttered, disorganized, messy house, and an In-Box that's ridiculously backed up and scores of donors who still need Thank-You cards, etc. But all the cleaning house is fine by me, as I won't have the go-to-the-office semi-daily grind for another 3+ months. I will still have a grind (of the "write your damned book already, you idiot" variety), but it will be a grind I can endure in my pajamas if I so choose.

Another reason my comment- and mail-saving vigilance has abated is that I've been constructing puzzles like mad. Mad. As in "insane." As in my wife is worried about my losing my mind. Apparently it's all I talk about. How annoying. I may have to take a break.

Here are some comments on the week I missed (week before last):

re: WACS (Tuesday puzzle) John in CT commented: "Also, as a thirty-something puzzle solver, while I am familiar with Francis the mule, I am not familiar with the adventures of his life."

Crosscan echoed my puzzlement at SEDALIA (Wed. puzzle): "While I always say I live in Victoria, BC , I am actually in Saanich, which is a suburb with more people than Victoria proper. However, despite the appealing SAA, I would never expect to see it in a puzzle as most solvers would consider it an obscure 7 letter random city starting with S. Along comes SEDALIA and the bar has been lowered."

My minor tirade against a poorly constructed Star-Tribune puzzle resulted in some funny comments from people who tried the puzzle themselves and somehow survived. Wade wrote: "Man, what a weird sensation to read another xword blog (the Star Tribune blog link Rex provided.) It's like discovering life on another planet, or the Bizarro-World episode of Seinfeld--there are all these people out there like us, but stranded in a different world and in another space-time continuum, making do with inferior puzzles. Dennis, C.C., Thomas . . . . I'm so, so sorry. . . . How long have you been there? Where are your people? . . . . Rex, do something, dammit! Save these people! Are they not crossworders? Prick them, do they not bleed?"

And green mantis: "That Tribune puzzle terrified me. It's like Nam over there. Gory. I don't know why those poor villagers don't run. It really is like they have been lulled into compliance by some sort of mediocrity Kool-Aid. I'm staying well away from that puzzle from now on, for my own safety, and I suggest you all do the same. If you go back, don't blame me when you're wandering around in nothing but a dirty sarong worshipping Ler and muttering about all your lost vials of galipot."

And who could forget abigail's incisive comment on the Wed. 5/14 puzzle?: "i Nice Blog .Christmas Games And puzzle Ideas For Kids, Family. i first free UK bingo 90 ball game. Play free collectable card games online and dpnight jpg great. expenses free readable christmas bingo card.Bingo online games for primary elementary pushout bingo cards free christmas printable bingo bible lotto esl bingo generator st clarence free ride bingo rules operator precedence regulations." Well said.

Back when Ernie PYLE was in the puzzle, I got this note from William N.: "Re: your comment on Ernie Pyle. Pyle was in the ETO before he went to the Pacific. He knew Hemingway there, which led to Hemingway's jest that he was Ernest Hemorrhoid, the poor man's Pyle."

My remark that the spelling of ERROLL (in ERROLL Garner) in Sunday, May 11's puzzle, was startling and odd, I was gently corrected by reader Erroll H. (seriously): "More info on Erroll with two L's, which is the preferred spelling. Apologies to Mr. Flynn.

Having nothing to do with puzzles, my wife (Sandy) sent me this interesting link, accompanied by the message: "'50s plastic' seems like the best euphemism ever for 'crazy racist $#!#.'"

Word of the Week! What should it be? Well, we need two - one from two weeks ago, and one from last week. OK, from two weeks ago, let's go with: pepper (since it caused so much weird derision and animosity to be directed my way). Def. 7 leads us to: PEPPER GAME -

a group warm-up usu. preceding a baseball or softball game consisting of short quick throws bunted in return by a single batter

However common this is, I am having trouble picturing it. Perhaps because the dictionary does not appear to know what "bunting" means. Other descriptions I read on-line describe the ball being hit (in a controlled fashion) back toward 3+ players who are standing rather close to the batter (20-30 feet away). It's a warm-up exercise that many ballparks have outlawed, allegedly because of fan safety, but, according to this article, more to keep the field pristine for gametime.

And for this week, let's go with the non-proper noun version of quixote, which was (oddly) clued as [Visionary] in this past Saturday's puzzle. My dictionary has simply "a quixotic person," so here's "quixotic" -

idealistic and utterly impractical; esp : marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or chivalrous action doomed to fail <~as a restoration of medieval knighthood -M.R. Cohen> syn see IMAGINARY

"Visionary" misses everything particularly interesting about the word. It also contains in it an element of implicit cynicism, as if any "vision" of a better world is foolish. "You may say, I'm a QUIXOTE ... but I'm not the only one." Please keep in mind that when used as a general noun, quixote is pronounced 'kwik-set [that "e" should be a schwa, but I can't find the key that makes that symbol]

OK, that's all. More organized wrap-ups begin again in a week.



Anonymous 8:20 PM  

I loved the "visionary" clue. The knight of the woeful countenance had visions, so it’s literally true.

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

I missed Abagail's comment the first time, but that is genius. Reminds me of scraps of paper that I would find (and hoard) in a coffee shop I worked in in San Francisco. Insane rambling makes me giddy!

Taking my cue from a few of them, I was able to write some very entertaining editorials.

Bill D 10:53 PM  

I don't recall Abigail's comment either - what in heck does it refer to?

SethG 11:02 PM  

Bill D, I think she's encouraging us to go to college online to get our verifiale Deg|ree.

Barbara Bolsen 11:39 PM  

In honor of Abigail, I offer this non sequitur, a headline from the morning's news here in Chicago:

14 tons of spilled Oreo cookies snarl Ill. traffic ...or as MSNBC had it ... Slam dunk: Truck full of Oreos crashes.

Crossworders in Morris, Ill, 50 miles west of chicago were rushing to snatch "dunkable snacks" from the road.

Anonymous 11:56 PM  

I just about lost it reading Abigail's comment. It's so easy to spot automatically generated spam that I never read it. But read it out loud and try to take it seriously. I challenge you not to laugh.

Anonymous 5:51 PM  

Sigh. First runner up again.

I just returned from a holiday in the land of UTEs and HOPIs. Went to SEDONA, which is certainly crossword-worthy. No SEDALIA in sight.

Wanted to put $10 on Rex to capture the 2009 ACPT B finals but it appears to be the only event you can't bet on in Vegas. Yet.

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