Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back to School

It's back to school time and I was just doing a crossword puzzle with a very school like title - Math Class. Not all puzzles have titles but if they do they can give you an extra clue to some of the longer answers.

In crosswords with titles the longest answers will be connected by a common theme. If the puzzle has a title, then you have a big hint about what the theme is. That information can help you find the answers to those clues.

Here are a few of the themed clues for the puzzle titled Math Class. Besides the clues, now you know the answer will be a math word.

20 across Figure bound by straight sides

32 across 4, to 16, e.g.

59 across Geometeric shape

Universal Crossword, Math Class, by Mary Genary, edited by Timothy Parker

Friday, August 29, 2008

Clever Clue

53 down John on the piano
(Universal Crossword, Quite an Arrangement, by Luther Vakes, edited by Timothy Parker)

Today's tricky clue is looking for the name of a performer who plays the piano. That seems pretty clear. The tricky part is that John isn't necessarily a first name! Try it both ways to see if that helps you find the answer.

John _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ John

Thursday, August 28, 2008

AND and OR

Sometimes a clue will have two names separated by AND or OR. Which word separates them is important.

For example - Both of these clues show two last names and are looking for the first name that is shared by both people. But one answer is singular and one answer is plural. OR is singular and AND is plural.

48 down Novak or Hunter
(Kappa The Original Easy Crosswords Double Issue, volume 73, puzzle #1)

42 across Mesdames Tussaud and Antoinette
(Universal Crossword, Body Language, by Mason Lorry, edited by Timothy Parker)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crosswordese - Jai Alai

Jai Alai - What is it, how do you say it, and why do I need to know it?

Good Questions my crossword friend and I'm going to tell you.

First, It's a sport played on a 3 sided court. A player wears a scooped shaped basket on one hand and they use it to throw a ball against a wall as hard as they can. The other player must catch the ball and throw it back against the wall as quick as they can. It all happens very fast. That is why Jai Alai is often called the fastest sport. The basket they wear on their hands is called a cesta.

Second, It's pronounced like Hi Lie.

And third, you need to know it because it appears often in crossword puzzles!

Here are some ways that Jai Alai has appeared in real puzzles

20 across Jai ____ (so-called world's fastest sport)
(Universal Crossword, Vice Squad, by Louis Henley, edited by Timothy Parker)

9 down Game with a cesta: Jai _____
(Universal Crossword, Body Conscious, by Lane Kafti, edited by Timothy Parker)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Crosswordese - sailor talk

We've talked about poetry words in past posts but there is another form of crosswordese that comes up from time to time - sailor words.

Here's an example -

47 down "Sure!", asea
(Dell Puzzle Lovers Easy Crosswords, August 2008, Puzzle #6 )

It's like a foreign language clue, you get a hint so you know which language to use. Here the hint is asea. So, we know it's the "language" people use at sea. Know what the answer is? Check the drop box to see if you are right.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Clever Clue

Here's a fun crossword clue with a ? What does the ? mean? It means the clue is going to use a little word play or have a twist to the answer. When you see a ? think of alternate meanings of the words in the clue, puns and other ways that the words can be played with. Good Luck!

47 across big kid?
(Dell Puzzle Lovers Easy Crosswords, August 2008, Puzzle #2 )

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympic Links

Well, the summer Olympics are coming to an end and we must say goodbye or zai jian, to China. The next summer Olympics will be held in London, England.

In London, the British enjoy crosswords too but they prefer Cryptic Crosswords. They look very similar with a list of clues and a grid with black and white squares but the clues are more like individual word puzzles. I really don't know that much about Cryptic Crosswords so I thought I'd find some handy links so we can learn together.

wikipedia - definitions and how-to guide - links to puzzles - online cryptic crosswords as well as American style puzzles and many more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympic Crossword Clue

14 across Runner's event
(Dell Puzzle Lovers Easy Crosswords, August 2008, Puzzle # 12)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Crosswordese

I've featured this answer twice before but this answer comes up often so it is worth repeating. If you get it quickly good for you. It is now one of your no-brainer answers you can fill in without giving much thought. If not thats ok too. I didn't get it right away for this clue, it's pretty tricky. It's a plural so you know what that means. (the last letter is S!)

8 down Pointless weapons
(Universal Crossword, Women's Wear, by Ammie Cooper, edited by Timothy Parker)

For more clues for this answer check out these posts

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympics History Crossword Clue

1 down '84 Olympics boycotter
(Universal Crossword, Women's Wear, by Ammie Cooper, edited by Timothy Parker)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Clues

34 across Its symbol is five rings
(New York Times, 9-14-94, by Harvey Estes, edited by Will Shortz)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic Roman Numerals

Okay, I confess... Today's clue isn't really a clue from a crossword puzzle but it could be.

1 across Number of the Beijing Olympics

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Clever Clues

34 across Slow boat's destination?
(Universal Crossword, Quite an Arrangement, by Luther Vakes, edited by Timothy Parker)

This clue comes from an idiom people use to describe something that takes a long time to arrive. If you've got the time it's one way to get to the Olympics.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Clue

33 down The Stars and ____, U.S. flag
(Dell Puzzle Lovers Easy Crosswords, August 2008, Puzzle #4 )

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has seen the US flag lifted into the air from the gold medal platform more than any other Olympian. Go USA! Go Michael Phelps!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Clues

54 across Soccer Coup
(Dell Puzzle Lovers Easy Crosswords, August 2008, Puzzle #4 )

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Puzzle Person

23 across Boxer Muhammad
(Dell Puzzle Lovers Easy Crosswords, August 2008, Puzzle #6)

Our Puzzle Person for today won the gold medal for boxing in 1960 at the Rome Olympics. At the time he was known as Cassius Clay. You can read more about him from my post on May 13, 2008.

pictures source Library of Congress

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic Crossword Clues

Sometimes you just don't know the answer to a clue. You read the clue over and over again but you just can't figure it out. Don't give up, try something different. Instead of focusing on the clue, try looking at the answer. Don't even think about the clue. Just look at the word. Look at the combination of letters. Does it look like any word you know?

It's kinda like doing the puzzle in reverse. Give it a try. I'll give you the answer first, starting with 1 letter. Each clue will give you another letter. See if you can guess the word before the final letter is revealed. The last box is the clue.

The Olympic connection - the answer is a place where events are held. That's a pretty big hint!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Clues

Here's a clue about another Olympic sport - Fencing.

15 across Blade for fencing
(Universal Crossword, Come Around, by Clyde Cranepool, edited by Timothy Parker)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Clues Continue

I stayed up late last night to watch the the Men's 4x100 meter relay race. It was quite an exciting race. The US team came from behind to win over France by a fraction of a second.

11 down What stroke do swimmers usually use in a freestyle race?: 2 words
(Trivial Pursuit for Kids Crosswords, by Trip Payne, Sterling Publishing, page 67)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Clever Clue

Today's crossword clue is related to the Olympic hosts - China.

48 across Leaves in hot water
(New York Times, Nov18, 2007, by Patrick Berry, edited by Will Shortz)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Clue word

The Olympics have several of these! Remember "for short" means the answer is an abbreviation.

18 across Game official, for short
(Penny Press, Easy Crossword Express, vol. 117)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Clever Clue

In honor of the Beijing Olympics, all the clues for the next 2 weeks will be related to the summer games in some way. Keep that in mind when you see today's clue. (hint, hint it might be sports related.)

28 across Serves well done
(Universal Crossword, Nonstop Fun, by Luther Valkes, edited by Timothy Parker)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Crossword Clue Words

55 down Art follower
(Universal Crossword, Proper Setting, By Dennis Halmet, edited by Timothy Parker)

Yesterday we learned that the clue word opener meant were looking for something to go in front of the clue word. Today we are looking for something to go after the clue word. So, in this clue follower does not mean someone who is interested in art but rather a word that follows the word art.

Picture it this way in your mind Art ____.

This is a hard clue unless you are an art follower or happen to live in Miami where this style is common in the architecture.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Crossword Clue words

15 across Chute opening
(Universal Crossword, Nonstop Fun, by Luther Valkes, edited by Timothy Parker)

Crossword Constructors love it when they can trick you and Mr. Valkes certainly got me with this clue. I couldn't think of a 4 letter word that meant a chute opening up in mid free fall. I forgot that opening is one of those special clue words that constructors use. It doesn't mean a chute opening up, it means an opening (or prefix) for the word chute.

Do you know a 4 letter prefix for the word chute? Check your answer above.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Clever clue

28 across underground worker
(Universal Crossword, Grin and ... , by Mike Tomkins, edited by Timothy Parker)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Roman Numerals

32 down Caesar's 8
(Kappa The Original Easy Crosswords Double Issue, volume 73, puzzle #2)

3 ways you know the answer is a Roman Numeral
1. The clue is asking for a number. Unless it's a special themed puzzle, crosswords can only include numbers written out or in Roman numerals.

2. Caesar would have written Roman numerals during his life time. (Back in the Roman days!)

3. The title of this post is Roman Numerals!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Puzzle Person - OLGA Korbut

In less than a week, the summer Olympics will get started in Beijing, China. I'm sooooooo excited I thought I would start the party early with an Olympic Puzzle Person.

OLGA Korbut is a gymnast who competed for the Soviet Union. (She is from Belarus.) She won 4 Gold medals and 2 Silver medals in the Olympics in 1972 and 1976. You can read more about her and see tons of pictures at her official website

Clues with OLGA for the answer look like this -
48 across Korbut of gymnastics
(Kappa The Original Easy Crosswords Double Issue, volume 73)

26 down Gymnast Korbut
(New York Times, February 19, 2008, by Victor Fleming, edited by Will Shortz)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A clue on clues

20 across Alien aircraft (abbr.)
18 across alien's ride (abbr.)
(Kappa The Original Easy Crosswords Double Issue, vol. 73)

abbr. is an abbreviation for........ abbreviation. If you see abbr. after a clue you know that the answer will be an abbreviation.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Christmas in August

Happy August, everyone!

Here's a clue from a puzzle I did recently. I thought it was a fun clue to figure out. Give it a try.

9 across Gift on the eighth day
(Universal Crossword, In-Flight Entertainment, by Alice Walker, edited by Timothy Parker)