Grey Cells

Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot in 
“Murder on the Orient Express,” 1974

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Puzzle by David Steinberg / Edited by Will Shortz

HERCULE POIROT (23A. Fictional character who “died” in 1975); LITTLE GREY CELLS (39A. What 23-Across thinks with [as illustrated in this grid?]), MOUSTACHE (18A. Notable 23-Across feature); EGG-SHAPED HEAD (50A. Notable 23-Across feature) and DETECTIVE (62A. 23-Across’s occupation) constitutes the main feature of this Monday crossword.

Other — ACHE, AGAPE and AGAZE A LOOP, AMEND, APERÇU (4D. Cursory glance); ATONE, COCKTAILS (1D. Drinks before dinner, maybe), Mr. MOTO (Marquand sleuth); OBAMA (28A. President born Aug. 4, 1961), SET and LOT (45A and 47A. Movie filming spot), STILETTOS (33D. Pointy heels). 

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08.02.15 — Literally Speaking


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Literally Speaking — Puzzle by Matt Ginsberg
Edited by Will Shortz

Arrangements of letters within standard phrases further defining the base phrase within the circled letters constitutes the main feature of this Sunday crossword:

CALLBACK (20A: Result of a successful audition)
SPLIT SECOND (25A: Instant)
TORN TO SHREDS (37A: In bits)
MINCEMEAT (46A: Kind of pie)
DRIFT APART (54A: Lose that loving feeling)
SCRAMBLED EGGS (62A: Diner offering)
MIXED MEDIA (72A: Art type)
HASH MARKS (83A: # # #)
INTERMINGLED (90A: Like 0's and 1's in binary)
FAST SHUFFLE (105A: Card sharp's deception)
UNBROKEN (112A: Whole)

Other — AD RATES (82D. They vary with circulation); ANODES (80A. Battery ends); DIGHT (64D. Adorn, in old literature); ELF (59D. Figure often dressed in green); HANKS (67D. “Big” star); LOTION (93D. Bottle in a beach bag); MALI (72D. Country once known as French Sudan); ME LIKE (92D. Informal approval)p OBEISANCE (4D. Acts of deference); OBESE (68D. Big, big, big); OKAY BY ME (24A. “Sure, that’s fine”); ORCA (31D. Boat in “Jaws”); PUBLIC ENEMY (3D. “No. 1” person); RATSO Rizzo of film; REPOT (1A. Move, as a plant); SHE-CAT (6D. Tom’s partner); SKID ROWS (9D. Lush locales); SKOSH (6A. Tiny bit); START A FIRE (71D. Rub some sticks together, as at camp); TWO-ROOM FLAT (66D. Smallish London lodgings). 

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08.01.15 — The Saturday Crossword

Operation Castle thermonuclear test

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Puzzle by Kameron Austin Collins / Edited by Will Shortz

Of interest — AREN’T I (48A. Defensive comeback), ENISLE (29D. Maroon); FREE UNION (32D. Cohabitation without marriage); FRIEND ZONE (32A. Relationship with unrequited love, in modern slang); HAPPY (26A. “Are you satisfied now?”); H BOMBS (9A. Big releases of the ‘50s); HOLY SYNOD (9D. Highest authority in some Eastern churches); LITTLE ONE (39A. Tot), MATCH POINT (3D. Situation in which one person might have the advantage);  NAÏVE ART (50A. Works of childlike simplicity); PAS MOI (23D. “Not me”: Fr.);  P A SYSTEM (56A. Principal means of address?); PEACH PIT (15A. Cobbler waste); QUIRED (42A. Put in bundles for the bookbinder); SCHLEPS (4D. Lugs);  SEXTED (30D. Sent pixxx?); THE WAILERS (38D. Original band that sang “I Shot the Sheriff,“ with “the”); TONGUE-TIED (36A. Stammering).

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07.31.15 — The Friday Crossword

M. C. Escher, Drawing Hands, 1948

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Puzzle by James Mulhern and Ashton Anderson
Edited by Will Shortz

Of interest — ATOM ANT (3D. Slight ’60s superhero); AUTO-TUNE (15A. Musical tool on Time’s list of “50 Worst Inventions”); BAIT CAR (20A. Help in catching an auto thief); CANKLES (51A. Lower leg woe, slangily); DAS BOOT (1D. Oversize Oktoberfest vessel named after a classic film); DRAG SHOW (1A. It often features diva impersonators); ESCHER (60A. Drawer of paradoxes); GET WEIRD (61A. Turn awkward as a relationship); HULA SKIRT (6D. Hipster’s dance wear?); KETEL ONE (35D. Vodka with an “Oranje” variety); KERPLOP (13D. Sound head before ripples are seen); RUN AMOK (2D. Go nuts); SEXY BEAST (32D. Hunk); SLY DOG (54A. Cunning sort); SNOBALLS (17A. Sister brand of Twinkies); TALK BIG (39D. Crow); TOODLES (37D. “Cheerio!”).

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07.30.15 — Little Women


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Puzzle by Brendan Emmett Quigley / Edited by Will Shortz

Louisa May ALCOTT (45D. Creator of the characters added in 17-, 28-, 44- and 57-Across) and the March sisters of “Little Women”, MEG, AMY, BETH and JO, constitutes the main feature of this Thursday crossword:

TOUGH NUTMEG (17A: Hardy brown spice?)
BIGAMY BUSINESS (28A: Company that will get you a second spouse?)
MACBETH ‘N CHEESE(44A: Extremely tacky production of a Shakespeare play?)
TRAVEL BANJO (57A: Country instrument played by a migrant?)

Other —  GUESS NOT (38D. “Looks like I was wrong”); JAM-UPS (7D. Printing problems); LANATE (37D. Woolly); MACRON (44D. Long vowel indicator); Baby MAMA; PABST (48D. “The way beer was meant to be); PLUG UGLY (3D. Downright homely); SPEX (40D. Glasses, informally); USABLE (18D. Worth keeping).

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07.29.15 — Double-Double

Basketball Team, 1911, interest

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Puzzle by David J. Lieb / Edited by Will Shortz


DOUBLE-DOUBLE (65A. Statistical achievement in basketball … or what the answer to each starred clue is), along with those answers, constitutes the main feature of this Wednesday crossword:

STANDARD TIME (18A: *It's divided into four zones in the contiguous U.S. states), e.g., DOUBLE STANDARD and DOUBLE OVER
TAKEOVER (27A: *Coup d'état, e.g.), DOUBLE TAKE and DOUBLE OVER. 
CROSSTALK (33A: *Incidental chatter), DOUBLE CROSS and DOUBLE-TALK 
PLAYBILLS (47A: *Handouts to theatergoers), DOUBLE PLAY and DOUBLE BILLS 
BACKDATE (53A: *Make retroactive), DOUBLE BACK and DOUBLE DATE.

Other — COAT ROOMS (3D. Where forgotten umbrellas may accumulate); DRAGONS (46D. Chinese New Year decorations); GOLDEN BOY (38D. Person who can do no wrong); NEGEV (12D. More than half of Israel); NOOGIE (15A. Knuckle to the head); SPOOKY 34D. Like a haunted house); ZEBRA (7A. Parent of a zorse or a zonkey).

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07.28.15 — AEIOU

1453 A.E.I.O.U., Wahlspruch Kaiser Friedrichs III. 
an der Grazer Burg 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Puzzle by Caleb Emmons / Edited by Will Shortz

In this Tuesday crossword, the across rows contain a group of one vowel each, e.g., A, E, I, O and U, and they descend in AEIOU order, repeated three times.

Of interest — FRESHETS (50A. Sudden floods); KLUTZ (63A. Unlikely juggler); PHILIP III (54A. King who led Spain into the Thirty Years’ War); POLTROON (20A. Utter coward); TIGHT-KNIT (18A. Close, as a community); THE CREEPS (32A. Shudder-inducing feeling).

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07.27.05 — Palindromes


Monday, July 27, 2015

Puzzle by D. Scott Nichols and Zhouqin Burnikel
Edited by Will Shortz

PALINDROMES (60A. What the ends of the answers to all the starred clues are), along with SELES, ONO, TENET and HANNAH, constitutes the main feature of this Monday crossword:

MONICA SELES (17A. *Youngest French Open champion)
YOKO ONO (39A. *”Double Fantasy” singer)
GEORGE TENET (11D. *C.I.A.’s second-longest-serving director)
DARYL HANNAH (24D. *”Splash” star)

Other — ALIMONY (4D. Payment to an ex); Desi ARNAZ of “I Love Lucy”; AVEENO (18D. Big name in skin care); BALSA (42A. Wood for model airplanes); ERROL Flynn who played Robin Hood; GRANOLA (45D. Crunchy breakfast bowlful); HIPPO (46A. Zoo heavyweight, informally); Pepé LE PEW, amorous cartoon skunk; NAME (32A. Peter, Paul or Mary); NIMROD (21A. Doofus);  Nick NOLTE of “48 Hrs.”

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07.26.15 — No Escape


Simulated view of a black hole in front of the Large Magellanic Cloud. The ratio between the black hole Schwarzschild radius and the observer distance to it is 1:9. Of note is the gravitational lensing effect known as an Einstein ring, which produces a set of two fairly bright and large but highly distorted images of the Cloud as compared to its actual angular size. ~ Wikipedia 

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

“No Escape” — Puzzle by Ellen Leuschner and Jeff Chen
Edited by Will Shortz

A central group of nine black squares representing ‘HOLE” with the adjacent entries of LOOP, MOUSE, POT, PIE, HIDEY, BORE, PORT, BLACK, RAT, PIN, IN THE and NAIL,  along with CENTER OF GRAVITY (112A. Tightrope walker’s concern), DISAPPEARING ACT (14D. Avoidance maneuver), FATAL ATTRACTION (42D. 1987 Michael Douglas/Glenn Close blockbuster), and HEART OF DARKNESS (21A. Novella that served as the basis for “Apocalypse Now“), constitutes the main feature of this attractive Sunday crossword.

Other — AARP (93A. 50 or more people?); BAALISM and GROUPIE (47A AND 43A. Idol worshiper?); CHERUBIM (10D. Pair of figures in Raphael‘s “Sistine Madonna“); COIN PURSES (13D. Change places); COPAY (1A. Drug charge?); EASY FIX (90D. Simple solution); EPISODE I (29A. “The Phantom Menace“ in the “Star Wars“ series); HATE MAIL (74A. Some written rants); KRAKENS (89D. Mythical monsters); LAPDOGS (51D. Toy poodles, e.g.); LEANN RIMES (70D. Singer with the 1997 3x platinum single “How Do I Live“); MEAT PIE (49D. Savory dish with a crust); OHMAGE (16A. Conductor’s resistance); STYX (121A. River with a “dreadful shore,” in Shakespeare).

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