If you’re looking for reputable charities to donate to on behalf of the Haitian earthquake survivors, here are three that come highly recommended:
- Red Cross
- Doctors Without Borders
- Partners in Health (PIH)
- Americans for UNFPA (obstetrics, protection of women)
I urge you to be as generous as you can be.
Cathy Allis’s New York Times crossword, “Subtleties”
The “subtle Ts” in the theme are the initial Ts in words that follow a final T in the preceding word. Here, Cathy has jettisoned the first T in the final word in each of nine phrases, and clued the resulting goofy phrases accordingly:
- 23A. GOD’S HONEST RUTH (truth) is [Dr. Westheimer telling it like it is?].
- 31A. [All you need to brew a lot of coffee?] is the RIGHT URN ONLY (turn). Maybe a little awkward/stilted, as you wouldn’t say “he just needs to find the right woman only.” The “only” is extraneous.
- 49A. Eww! TOILET RAINING (training) is the [Result of a plumbing disaster in the apartment above?]. This is just one of several answers that evoke breakfast-test violations. We also have a SEWER/[Waste line], INNARDS/[Viscera], and the two exterminator clues for SPRAYER and PEST.
- 65A. The base phrase here is unfamiliar to me. The Book of Lost Tales is apparently a Tolkien reference. THE BOOK OF LOST ALES is a [Tome that makes a pub owner feel nostalgic?].
- 84A. [Where to find a best-selling CD?] is ON THE FAST RACK (track).
- 99A. [Something kids might very well tune out?] is THE PARENT RAP (The Parent Trap). (Note: Not the same sort of rap referenced in [Rapper’s retinue]/POSSE.)
- 112A. [Advice to Tin Man costume designers?] is DON’T RUST ANYONE (trust).
- 19D. WAR AGAINST ERROR (terror) is clued as a [Debugger’s mission?]. I’d rather think of it as a mission for the EDS./[Mag. team] who edit and PROOFREAD/[Scan for slips]. War against error? Absolutely my line of work. It’s surprisingly violent, slashing “whiches” and replacing them with “thats.”
- 40D. SOFT ISSUE INJURY (tissue) might be [Damage to a paperback edition?]. If you collect vintage paperbacks, check out Rex Parker’s Pop Sensation blog.
Tight theme structure, and overall a smooth puzzle with solid fill. The weirdest entry for me is the ROOF RAT at 92D, an [Attic scurrier]. That’s a thing? Should I be glad not to have an attic? Dictionary explains that it’s another term for black rat, which is most common in the tropics and is a host for the flea that transmits the plague. Yeesh.
Here’s a handful of favorite clues:
- 80A. [1977 Sex Pistols song…or the first record label] clues EMI. Always a nice touch to work the Pistols into the crossword.
- 49D. TREE goes super-current in pop culture: [__ of Souls, Na’vi temple in “Avatar”].
- 52D. NORSE is the [Language from which “sky” and “egg” are derived].
- 90A. A [Cabbage batch?] is a WAD of money, slangily.
- 78D. [Its crown is in your head] clues a TOOTH.
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s Boston Globe crossword, “Crossings”
Remember that NYT Sunday puzzle last week, “Cross Words”? Emily and Henry use the same theme idea here: two-word phrases that intersect in their shared middle letter. There’s more consistency here, as all nine phrases have 7/7 letter counts. (Last week’s had 7/7, 5/5, and 7/9 answers.)
The theme answers here are a good bit livelier. We get three people’s full names (ORNETTE COLEMAN, LILLIAN HELLMAN, and GIACOMO PUCCINI), one literary character (the ANCIENT MARINER), two concrete objects (WASHING MACHINE, CHANNEL CHANGER), and three less concrete nouns (the FEDERAL RESERVE, a NATURAL IMPULSE, and CENTRAL HEATING).
I grumbled last week that placement of the 18 theme words must’ve constrained the fill, because there were oddball entries like STUM and ERODENT. But look! The Globe puzzle has fill that’s really remarkably smooth. Not a ton of zing to it, no—just plenty of ordinary, familiar sorts of fill. So maybe this sort of criss-cross theme offers more flexibility in fill than I suspected.
A nice touch: The answer in the very middle is CENTRAL HEATING. Apt for January, no?
Merl Reagle’s syndicated/Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, “Just Add Sugar”
The suffix that denotes a sugar is -ose, and Merl adds a little sugar to eight phrases to alter their meaning:
- 23A. [Amount of supplement you should take?] is VITAMIN DOSE. If you’re deficient in vitamin D, they say a good dose is 1,000 or 2,000 IU a day.
- 33A. [Literary character who thinks his life is meaningless—except for the bullfighting parts?] may make you think of Hemingway, but it’s T.S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock who turns into JOSE ALFRED PRUFROCK. I might’ve gone with paella and sangria rather than bullfighting. Ick, bullfighting.
- 47A. This one is my favorite: Ms. Magazine becomes MOSES MAGAZINE, or a [Periodical that Charlton Heston used to read religiously?].
- 63A. This one’s delightfully goofball: THE FOUR-HOSE CLUB is clued as an [Org. for teens who don’t want to be farmers per se but do enjoy watering?].
- 78A. SKI NOSE (skin) AND BONES (that’s Dr. McCoy) is a description of the hypothetical [Publicity still from Bob Hope’s only appearance on “Star Trek”].
- 93A. “The three R’s” become THE THREE ROSES, a [TV show featuring Charlie, Pete, and Axl that never caught on?]. I wonder if Charlie and Axl have met.
- 104A. [Documentary about pillows and comforters?] is GOOSEDOWN IN HISTORY.
- 122A. [What Bullwinkle says when he jumps?] is GERONIMOOSE.
The two toughest clues for me:
- 9D. [Composer Lateef] is named YUSEF. Jazz: Here’s his “African Song” (1971). You know what instrument he plays? The tenor sax and flute primarily, but also the oboe and bassoon, not to mention the bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, arghul, sarewa, and koto. (I give thanks to Wikipedia for the knowledge.)
- 71A. [Italian poet Cavalcanti] is named GUIDO.
- 91A. IN-JOKE is clued weirdly as [Clique wit?], but it’s a great entry.
- 15D. [Obama, slangily] is THE PREZ.
Don Gagliardo’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Hybrids”
In this theme, hybrid vehicles are made by joining two car/minivan/SUV models and cluing the resulting two-word phrases based on their non-automotive meanings. As an aid to solving, the car makes are included in the clues. There are a zillion phrases that could be made from car names (e.g., a RABBIT FOCUS could be clued as a carrot; a FUSION RENEGADE could be a nuclear physicist on the loose), but none of the theme entries are clunkers or lemons that need to be taken to the junkyard, so they’re a solid fleet.
- 23A. [Chutzpah? (Chevy/Saturn)] is CAVALIER OUTLOOK.
- 29A. [Duffer’s trip through Scotland? (Volkswagen/Honda)] is GOLF ODYSSEY.
- 36A. [Memorable forest caretaker? (Ford/Acura)] is RANGER LEGEND. This could also have been clued as, say, hockey player Mark Messier.
- 50A. [Speeding, e.g.? (Chevy/Ford)] is CITATION FOCUS.
- 69A. [The feel of Manhattan? (Honda/Saturn)] is CIVIC AURA. I started with CIVIC VIBE, but the Vibe is a Pontiac, isn’t it?
- 87A. [Columbus gone wild? (Nissan/Ford)] is ROGUE EXPLORER. I only know what the Rogue is because of an awkward and heavy-handed product placement in Heroes. “Dad, you got me a Rogue!” As if high-school cheerleaders were clamoring for the Nissan Rogue by name. Pshaw!
- 100A. [Beethoven’s 32 for piano, say? (Hyundai/Subaru)] is SONATA LEGACY.
- 108A. [Feature of the queen’s English? (Buick/Hyundai)] is REGAL ACCENT.
- 117A. In [Nice plot? (Buick/Oldsmobile)], that’s Nice, France, not lowercase “nice”: RIVIERA INTRIGUE. Prime example: To Catch a Thief.
A handful of clues/answers cry for attention:
- 3D. GIVE AND GO is a [Basketball maneuver] I’ve never heard of.
- 97A. [Tender cockerel] clues CAPON. Cockerel means “a young domestic cock.” Doggerel, however, does not mean “pet puppy.” Go figure.
- 84D. [Shoots for dinner] are ASPARAGUS. Can a botanist tell me if “shoots” is an accurate descriptor of asparagus spears?
- 62A. Is AB TONER a specific thing or a general sort of term? It’s a [Bit of exercise room equipment].
- 90D. [Asphalt layer, perhaps] is a ROAD BASE. The road part was easy, but I needed the crossings to finish the answer.
- 75D. I have done so many crosswords over the years that [19th century soprano ___ Patti] was a gimme: ADELINA.
- 74A. PAY CASH is clued [Choose paper over plastic?]. If you make a one-key-over typo on the Y, you get tennis player PAT CASH.
- 10D. [Italian soccer great Rossi] is named PAOLO. Never heard of him. Wikipedia tells me that in Italy’s 1982 World Cup victory, he was awarded both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball. These are honors I’ve never heard of.
Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily’s Washington Post/CrosSynergy “Sunday Challenge”
I don’t understand the appeal of making a 64-worder with pained fill. To show that you can? But if the fill doesn’t sparkle, what makes the low word count worthwhile? Sure, there’s some decent fill here, particularly the 15s, but there’s so much “meh” to offset it. First, the good stuff:
- 17A. TOTAL ABSTINENCE is the [“There’s no such thing as safe sex” policy].
- 19A. ANONYMOUS DONORS are clued [They don’t want to be known for their gifts].
- 49A. RESISTING ARREST is a phrase loaded with ordinary, blah letters, but it’s a solid term to be sure. [Unwilling to be carted off, in a way] clues it.
- 56A. [Richard Harris film of 1970] is A MAN CALLED HORSE.
- 27A. I needed lots of crossings for Barry MANILOW because the clue, [Las Vegas Hilton headliner], gave me no help. I’m not up on my Vegas shows.
- 8D. I had my first SATSUMA at puzzler Katje Sabin’s house before Christmas. Sweet, mild, delicious. It’s a [Seedless mandarin orange] that’s apparently hard to come by in Chicago stores. It’s also the fragrance of my favorite Body Shop soap.
Alas, the grid felt compromised with fill like this:
- Odd jobs: 41D: CLASSER/[One who categorizes]; 8A: SALTERS/[Chefs, at times]; 15A: TENONER/[Joiner of wood, in a way]. I’m not sure why 23A: [Madame Defarge, often] is a KNITTER, but KNITTER is a common enough noun that it doesn’t qualify as an “odd job.”
- Slangy weirdness: 45A: OKE is [All right, slangily]? Who says “oke”? “Okey-doke,” sure, but “oke”? Dictionary lists OKE as an alternate spelling of “oka,” the Egyptian and former Turkish unit of weight and volume.
- Unfortunate plurals: 42D: EASTERS/[Spring holidays]; 55D: RONS/[Paul and Howard]; 28D: ANDYS/[Richter and Rooney].
- Not-famous place name: 1A: ALAMOSA/[City that grew up around the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad]. Population 8,682.
- Lame verbs: 38D: ENSILED/[Stored, on the farm]; 58A: REINTER/[Put into the earth again].
- Incomplete prefix: 54D: RHIN-/[Nasal prefix]. Yes, it’s been in crosswords before, but it’s clunky. The combining form’s really rhino-, no, even if the O gets lopped off in words like “rhinitis”?
- Partials: A LID, A-DEE, TO BAT.
- Variants/foreign: British ARBOURS/7D: [Shady spots, in Sheffield]; French SUR/18D: [On, in French place names]; Latin DEO/34A: [___ volente].
It’s accepted to use a few such words to pave the way for greater heights in crossword fill (pardon the metaphor mixing), but when you add in the abbreviations, you get two dozen “meh” answers. Too many!
I have evoked the Patrick Berry guideline before: If you’re not Patrick Berry, tread very, very carefully in making low-word-count puzzles. The fill’s got to be smooth for the construction feat to be truly worthwhile for the solver looking to be entertained. (Sigh.)
Just back from making an online donation at Partners In Health. There’s an excellent book about one of its founders, Paul Farmer, by journalist Tracy Kidder. Highly recommended.
About the puzzle, I think RIGHT TURN ONLY refers to a traffic sign. There are many such. I finished the Saturday puzzle after I solved this one, which was a breeze.
A roof rat is simply a Norwegian rat (the common species) that, instead of inhabiting sewers (sewer rat) finds its way into attics or crawl spaces to make its nest. One usually becomes aware of same while lying in bed at night and hearing it scamper. I once had a handyman who had trapped one in my crawl space humorously describe it as a mouse. When I said that it was one helluva mouse, he said it was a “California mouse”.
I think we should get that Pest Control puzzle constructor back and get rid of the FLY ANT, NSYNC and RAT infesting this one.
I assumed “roof rat” was slang for “squirrel”.
I had some in my crawl space a few years ago and man did they love running around in the morning.
Gotta love a theme that references both God and toilets.
A terrific puzzle, IMO. Note the central vertical word, PROOFREAD– which, I’d say, is pretty clearly thematic.
I really enjoyed this puzzle – I think I’m a big fan of punny themes like this. Never heard of “roof rat” (Rugrats, yes) but I agree with TS – it sounds like slang for “squirrel”. Also never heard of “Fast Rack”, but it’s very much like “Speedrack” which I understood to be the area behind the bar where all the house-brands are kept in easy reach for mixing cheap drinks.
The infestation parts of this puzzle reminded me of a call I heard on “Car Talk” where a 15-year old girl accidentally dropped a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach in her mother’s BMW. Turned out to be a pregnant one … (Sound’s “made-up”, but it’s a funny story in a scary sort of way).
When I was living in California (since it was mentioned), we had an invasion of rats once, and both the City and the exterminators referred to Norwegian and Roof rats as if they were different kinds. Something to do with the length of their tails. “Ughbrr” is a close approximation to my shudder remembering that episode.
Great, enjoyable puzzle especially compared to last week’s. The subtleties also applied (I think) to more than one possible meaning to some of the words. As to the various vermin, I didn’t get “antsy” about any of them.
Have donated to Red Cross for Haiti. It is so sad that Haiti suffers from so many disasters — the worst of which is their perpetual poverty and lack of good, sincere leadership. I hope things will improve for their people.
Terrific puzzle by Cathy Allis. I wonder if “Striptease” was considered as an alternate title. It’s actually more accurately descriptive, as well as arguably more amusing. My favorite entry was ‘war against error’; ‘right urn’ struck me as a bit of a stretch. If you wanted to make a lot of coffee, I would think you would use both the right and the left urn.
Appropos of Ms. Allis, and our discussion yesterday of gender based pronouns–it always struck me as surprising that so many modern women are so acquiescent about changing their names upon marriage. It’s not legally required, but I wouldn’t think people would want to. The unpleasant implication of control and ownership seems to me much more objectionable than what I called a “grammatical convention.” I wouldn’t want to suddenly change my name in the middle of my life. And I wouldn’t have wanted Michele to change hers. I would have found it disconcerting to know her by a name different from the one I was used to, even if it was my name.
wow, Bruce, I agree with you completely but would never have the nerve to bring it up. People are really touchy on this subject.
Thank you for the list of charities, Amy. I want to put in an additional word for PIH. They are on the ground and up and running. And I second Evad’s recommendation of the Tracy Kidder book.
I drive a Saturn AURA, but today is the first time I’ve ever seen it clued as the car.
I’ve also seen Barry MANILOW at the Las Vegas Hilton.
But enough about me.
RIght on, Bruce. I was never a fan of my last name (which people got woefully mangled no matter how clearly I spelled it out—and seriously, with “Z as in zebra,” how can you interpret that as a D or V?) and changed it when I got married—but now I wish I’d kept my name.
I have been led to believe that if you make a donation to Haiti by credit card, the company will skim 3% off the top as a transaction fee, which, I am also led to believe, considerably exceeds their actual costs for the transaction. (*Of course* it exceeds their costs. That’s how their business works.) But one might hope that they would forgo their profit in this sort of instance. (A futile hope, no doubt.) I’m not sure how one would bring effective concerted action to try to bring this about, but people might want to keep it in mind.
This is from yesterday’s news:
National BusinessCredit card fees waived on donations to Haiti; Credit-card companies in both Canada and the U.S. have agreed to either forgo or donate their usual processing fees
Saturday, January 16th, 2010 | 5:41 am
Canwest News Service
Amid growing criticism they were profiting from the disaster in Haiti, credit-card companies in Canada and the United States have opted to forgo or donate their usual processing fee for donations made to Haitian relief efforts.
Normally, card companies like Visa, American Express and MasterCard charge a fee of about two or three per cent of a transaction’s value to the recipient of the funds.
With millions of dollars worth of donations made on credit cards, they stood to make a bundle from the earthquake in Haiti.
That didn’t sit well with people like Glenn Thibeault, consumer-protection critic in Ottawa for the NDP, who said “no one should profit from those who are suffering through a natural disaster.”
Now the companies have come around.
“We want to help contributions go as far as possible,” said Jennifer Reed, vice-president of communications and government relations for MasterCard Canada, the first of the Canadian card companies to waive the fee for donations made to the Canadian Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF Canada and World Vision.
American Express said its rebate to designated charities was retroactive to Jan. 12 and would continue through Feb. 28.
Visa announced it would donate all revenue generated from charitable contributions attributable to the crisis through the end of February, and waive transaction fees on credit-card donations to a specific group of organizations providing aid in Haiti. The Canadian charities on its list are Canadian Red Cross, CARE Canada, Save The Children Canada, UNICEF Canada and World Vision.
Throughout Canada, the wave of corporate support for the relief effort continued to snowball Friday.
Air Miles is letting members donate their reward miles to the Canadian Red Cross. Each 200 Air Miles will translate into a $25 contribution to the charity.
Sears Canada is giving points on its credit cards for donations to aid agencies made with the cards.
Tour operator Sunwing is making free seating available, to a value of $50,000, for humanitarian and rescue workers on its flights between Montreal and Haiti.
Canadian Tire will send tents, sleeping bags, flashlights and batteries to Haiti, and sell additional merchandise for the aid effort at cost.
Shoppers Drug Mart is contributing $100,000 worth of water, first-aid and personal-care products.
Many other corporations have stepped forward with cash, including Ikea Canada ($50,000), Intact Financial Corp. ($50,000) and TMX Group ($20,000).
Home Hardware Stores is donating $50,000 to the Mennonite Central Committee in memory of Yvonne Martin, the nurse from Elmira, Ont., who died in Haiti minutes after arriving for her fourth mission as a medical volunteer.
© 2009 Kelowna.com. All Rights Reserved.
the problem is that the following things are all desirable but mutually exclusive:
1. having the same name you’ve always had
2. having the same name as everybody in your immediate family
3. having a name of manageable length
if you don’t think #2 is important, you haven’t heard the horror stories about mothers not being able to see their injured children in the hospital because horrible stuck-in-the-dark-ages hospital bureaucrats wanted proof of relationship for visitors who didn’t have the same last name as patients. anyway, giving everybody in the family all of the possible surnames accomplishes 1 and 2 but obviously fails 3 in the long run (especially when two people with hyphenated surnames marry each other; what then?).
for me personally, #2 is most important and #1 is least important, so i was willing to change my name upon marriage, even though it goes against social norms. my preferred solution, actually, was for both caroline (née troy) and myself to adopt the portmanteau surname “trahk.” it turns out this was never going to fly even though i was quite serious about it. anyway, what i did not count on was my parents going absolutely apeshit when i casually let slip that i might change my name. i probably should have thought about this, but i foolishly failed to consider the fact that they were raised in a totally different culture, one in which changing your name is tantamount to renouncing your heritage. long story short, i kept my name, and because caroline also valued #2 above #1, now we’re all named pahk. i guess that’s okay.
not sure what any of this has to do with crosswords, but i enjoy cathy’s puzzles whether she’s named millhauser, allis, or anything else.
Just for the record, even though my four children have my husband’s name and I do not, I have never, ever, not once had a single problem or inconvenience. I have gotten them passports, flown on airplanes with them, taken them to the emergency room, visited them in the hospital and dealt politely and pleasantly with innumerable functionaries without incident. Our vet, however, insists on the dogs having my last name in his computer because I’m the one who usually brings them in. Go figure.
I have a friend who grew up with the name Hubelbank and married a gal with the name Early. They opted to, both, take the name Early-Hubelbank, and their two daughters have that same name.
The oldest daughter is now 14- or 15-years-old and I’m curious to see — having grown up in that circumstance — just what she’d opt for when she gets married. Especially if she marries a man with a similarly hyphenated name.
Maybe we should just go back to the old ways when people didn’t have surnames.
“Nice to meet you. I am Spork, son of Mimsy and Smog.”
Or, to when people took the name of their profession.
“Will Puzzlemaster, I believe you know my ol’ pal Amy Blogger.”
Great NY Times and Reagle this week.
But I gotta ask — how does [Good situation for a server] = ADIN?
Joe…In tennis, the Server’s score is announced first…if the score is Ad In, he is up one point. (Advantage in the server court).
My wife and I went to court to have here name changed back to her maiden name after a few years of marriage It was easy and worked well for us.
I followed a family tradition of retaining your maiden name as your new middle name, hence the Cooper Morton. The marriage license register put a hyphen which I had to have them take out. It works well in our family. As I guess it does for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The right urn is the correct urn; the fast track is what you are on before life slows down to a crawl. I changed my name just two minutes before feminism hit. It has four letters and people can’t spell it. Go figure.
All right, I give up. I live in California and it is Sunday Jan. 17 and I have just completed the LA Times crossword, but it’s not the one listed here. Where is it? On another day? Today’s is by Sylvia Burstyn and called “Novel Endings.”
It’s bad enough that the NY Times puzzles I get are about a month or so behind and I have to scroll and scroll to find them, but at least they are here. Please tell me what’s going on!
Good for you, Sara, but all it takes is one dumb functionary to cause all kinds of problems. In our case, the principal of our children’s middle school refused to allow my wife to pick up our son for a doctors appointment. Since I worked more than an hour away from home, the problem was compounded when she demanded a letter from me to be on file at school. The upshot was that my son missed his appointment – no big deal but it could have been. It turns out that the Principal saw this as a feminist issue tlhat she was against for political reasons.
All it takes . . .
joan, it turns out that the LAT syndicated sunday puzzle (the one that is blogged here) is not the same as the one run in the actual sunday LAT. for a (brief) writeup of the puzzle you did, try LA crossword confidential.
Ugh what an awful CS Sunday puzzle. Surprised it even was published to be honest. Pained fill is an understatement Janie. Otherwise, a nice assortment of Sunday puzzles. Funny to see the same theme, albeit it in different publications, but I preferred the BG to last week’s NYT puzzle.
actually, those were all amy’s observations, latka — but my thoughts go along the same lines…
Easy enough puzzle, and perhaps indeed it was the ease of entering clues that kept me from confronting theme entries and getting the theme until later than my usual. RIGHT TURN ONLY sure looks familiar to me, and I’ve never even had a car. However, must admit that when I was done the Avatar and Tolkein references had me scratching my head, and I’d just as soon not have one in a theme entry. (Thanks to all for explaining ROOF RAT, which I took on faith without verifying exists.)
I’m 55, so not exactly young, but still it was just given back when I was young that people of progressive politics wouldn’t have a wife change her name. It’s beyond comprehension to me that this would be an issue today. Sorry, Joon, but that’s way off base. I’m also from a family with immigrant roots still in memory, and while we didn’t change our name, the commonness of that is also something I thought was accepted 100 years ago, and an institution as regulated or public as a hospital that frowned on this would be in for a serious class-action suit with serious damages. Please.
Or how about divorce and remarriage? Isn’t the statistic on that something like 4 in 10, for goodness sake? (For the record, my mother remarried and changed her name accordingly when I was 8, but mostly gave her name as her professional name, which was an anglicization of her birth name from her German father. I also had a stepfather, naturally, with yet another name, and a stepmother from age 11.) Parents generally have visitation rights after their children are grown and remarried as well. Marriage of grown women is, I hear tell, not uncommon.
joon, thank yo so much, I’m new to all this.