Sunday, July 27, 2014

NYT 11:22 (Amy) 
Reagle 7:59 (Amy) 
Hex/Hook untimed (pannonica) 
LAT 7:15 (Amy) 
WaPo 12:45 (1 error) (Gareth) 
CS 22:16 (Ade) 

Randolph Ross’s New York Times crossword, “What’s My Line?”

NY Times crossword solution, 7 27 14 "What's My Line?"

NY Times crossword solution, 7 27 14 “What’s My Line?”

Phrases that end with “line” are used to clue spoken phrases that relate to the pre-“line” word:

  • 22a. [Telephone line], SORRY, WRONG NUMBER.
  • 30a. [Cruise line], SHOW ME THE MONEY. Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire.
  • 52a. [Story line], ONCE UPON A TIME.
  • 77a. [Finish line], THAT’S ALL, FOLKS.
  • 101a. [Fault line], IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME.
  • 111a. [Laugh line], TAKE MY WIFE—PLEASE.
  • 14d. [Help line], I’LL GET IT.
  • 15d. [Date line], MAY I SEE YOU AGAIN? This one feels markedly less “yes, that’s a thing” than all the others.
  • 39d. [Power line], MIGHT MAKES RIGHT.
  • 84d. [Subway line], EAT FRESH. Commercial slogan for Subway.

I would like the theme better if there were another layer of unity. The first four theme answers are a movie title, a movie catchphrase, a TV show, and a cartoon catchphrase. And then there’s a trite breakup line, a Jack Benny punch line, a random comment, a weird thing that isn’t a familiar stand-alone phrase, an old saying, and an advertising slogan. If all 10 were from entertainment rather than just five of the 10 …

The puzzle took me as long as last week’s puzzle by Eric Berlin did, and I didn’t use the hint in that one. This week’s puzzle is hard not because the theme is tricky, but because the fill is rough. HATLO FEHR STEEVE FARFEL? Over 30 proper nouns? Crosswordese like AGUE and [FDR’s Scottie] FALA? SESAMES, which is hard to find in that plural form in the wild?

64d. [PC component] clues CRT. Really? How about [PC component rendered obsolete by flat-screen monitors]? Please, if any of you have an PC that’s so old, you have a fat cathode ray tube monitor, send me a photo of it.

Here are the clues for my “Really?” answers:

  • 20a. [Jimmy ___, “They’ll Do It Every Time” cartoonist], HATLO. I wanted to see his cartoons so I Googled the cartoonist. Good lord! He died 51 years ago. When your pop culture references are too old for a great many middle-aged people to know them…
  • 57a. [Longtime baseball union exec Donald], FEHR. I’ve never known anyone else with this surname, nor Hatlo. At least Fehr is more contemporary.
  • 95d. [Work on the docks], STEEVE. Dictionary says it’s “archaic.” Oh, is that why I didn’t know the word? Stevedore is related but doesn’t have that double E.
  • 99a. [Small pellets of noodle dough in Jewish cuisine], FARFEL. Nope, don’t know it.

I feel 65a: RIPPED OFF ([Pinched]) that there wasn’t more fun in this puzzle. The theme was dry, the fill more so. CHAFF. WOES. ALIENATED. OH, WELL.  2.5 stars from me.

Merl Reagle’s syndicated Sunday crossword, “Twain’s Twins”

Merl Reagle's Sunday crossword solution, 7 27 14 "Twain's Twins"

Merl Reagle’s Sunday crossword solution, 7 27 14 “Twain’s Twins”

This week’s theme is words and phrases with hidden HUCKs (Huckleberry Finn) and TOMs (Tom Sawyer). Every answer of 7 to 12 letters save two (PARK ROW and I’M AWARE) contains a HUCK, a TOM, or (in the case of 122a) both. The puzzle mostly plays like an unthemed crossword if you pay no mind to the theme, and you can certainly solve all the straightforwardly clued answers without grasping the them—but it goes faster if you know there’s got to be a HUCK or TOM in each long answer. I’ve circled the first letter of each HUCK and TOM in case you played post-solve word search but couldn’t find all 21.

The themers are HUCKSTER, CHUCKLED, ATOMIC ENERGY, CUSTOMER, SAO TOME, AUTOMATON, ROCK BOTTOM, CHUCKWALLA (56a. [Type of iguana]—this one was tough), POTOMAC, SHUCKS CORN, character acter JOHN SCHUCK (so not-really-famous that his Wikipedia article doesn’t display his career in a Filmography chart; I was three when M*A*S*H came out so [He played the Painless Pole in “M*A*S*H,” the movie] was not helpful to me), PANTOMINE, ANATOMY, MAN-TO-MAN, CHUCK A TOMATO (arbitrary, not “in the language,” but Merl is enchanted by things like “ooh, this phrase includes two Twain characters”), “AW, SHUCKS,” HUCKABEE, WOODCHUCKS, the central Down STOMP, and CHUCK IT ALL.

There was very little in this puzzle that delighted me. In general, the fill felt heavy with words and names I know mainly from crosswords (LEM, LAC…).

Five more things:

  • 43d. [Couper, in English], TO CUT. Couper is a French verb. Verb answers starting with TO are quite uncommon in crosswords, except for “TO BE…”
  • 87d. [Classic anagram of “Christianity,” “___ that I sin”], I CRY. New to me.
  • 69d. [Old newspaper district of N.Y.C.], PARK ROW. New to me.
  • 74d. [Tessie or Milo], O’SHEA. Hey! Two people I know only from crosswords in a single clue.
  • 34a. [Abbr. with a ring to it]. MRS. Not all married women wear a ring.

Three stars from me.

Ed Sessa’s syndicated Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword, “Double Talk”

Sunday LA Times crossword solution, 7 27 14 "Double Talk"

Sunday LA Times crossword solution, 7 27 14 “Double Talk”

Hey! This theme is essentially the flip side of the NYT’s theme, and I found this angle so much more fun to solve. Made-up quotes are used to clue familiar phrases that connote certain sets of words, literally:

  • 23a. [“Uh-oh, there’s a ball and glass shards under the window”?], BREAKING NEWS. As in news about stuff being broken.
  • 45a. [“Give 20% for great service”?], TIPPING POINT. As in a helpful pointer. “POINT” feels a little bit off, though. Not a wordy thing.
  • 61a. [“You shoulda seen the one that got away”?], FISHING LINE. Stereotypical un-fact-checkable boast from someone who’s just gone fishing. The NYT’s theme used other “___ line” phrases to clue phrases that might be spoken.
  • 70a. [“The children were angels and in bed by eight”?], SITTING BULL. Lakota leader’s name doubles as a babysitter’s B.S. (More likely, the sitter let the kids stay up watching TV till 9:30.)
  • 86a. [“Hooray, you’re up!”?], ROUSING CHEER. Love this one!
  • 112a. [“Here’s a good way to use your comb”?], PARTING WORDS.
  • 17d. [“Who’s ahead?”?], LEADING QUESTION. “Who’s in the lead?”
  • 43d. [“A daily jog is good for you”?], RUNNING ARGUMENT.

Now, SITTING BULL one is more off than the TIPPING POINT entry. Yes, bull can mean “words said in bullshitting  fashion,” but not in the SITTING BULL context. And FISHING LINE is also off-base here. NEWS, CHEER, WORDS, QUESTION, and ARGUMENT are all wordy things in their phrases, so the theme’s not that consistent. However, the theme also was not annoying, and that counts for a lot.

Five more things:

  • 99a. [Mason], STONEMAN. I come from a long line of bricklayers/stonemasons, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen STONEMAN before. Bleh.
  • 37a. [Rhone feeder], SAONE/64a. [Composer Camille Saint-__], SAENS. When you’ve got SA{vowel}N{letter}, you really hope the answer is the common SAINT rather than either of these.
  • 42d. [People people], GLITTERATI. Good word, good clue (people in People magazine).
  • 93d. [“__ Viejo”: Carlos Fuentes novel], GRINGO. Old White Anglo Man! Not a title I have encountered before, I don’t think. You can read more about Fuentes here.
  • 50d. [Political family spanning three centuries], TAFTS. I knew only of William Howard Taft; didn’t know he came from political people. The Wikipedia article is a tad disorganized, but it does have the delight of introducing us to a man named Bezaleel Taft, Jr.

3.66 stars from me.

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon’s CRooked crossword, “Brouhaha” — pannonica’s write-up

CRooked • 7/27/14 • "Brouhaha" • Cox, Rathvon • solution

CRooked • 7/27/14 • “Brouhaha” • Cox, Rathvon • solution

Words and phrases containing HA twice, though unlike as in the title they don’t appear consecutively.

Before proceeding with the customary list, a factette: Minnehaha is often claimed to mean “laughing water” but that’s incorrect and possibly a conflation with the onomatopoeic English. Another reference.

  • 23a. [Dairy blend worth a couple of laughs?] HALF AND HALF.
  • 25a. [Twice funny chance?] HAPHAZARD.
  • 42a. [Laugh-filled Chinese port?] SHANGHAI.
  • 45a. [Patriot who’s a riot?] NATHAN HALE. “I only regret that I have but one knee to slap for my country.” Oh, and look who’s crossing at 35d [Allen of Vermont], fellow patriot ETHAN!
  • 63a. [Risible doodad?] WHATCHAMACALLIT.
  • 85a. [Laughing Buddha?] SIDDHARTHA. Because no way BUDAI was going to fit.
  • 88a. [Funny construction guys?] HARD HATS.
  • 106a. [Comical greeting?] HANDSHAKE.
  • 108a. [Chucklesome Hindu epic?] MAHABHARATA. Another subcontinental entry.

Sadrac en el Horno de Robert SiverbergRather than eschew non-theme appearances of HA, which probably would have compromised much of the fill and made for a dreary occasion, it seems as though Cox and Rathvon have taken an opposite tack and embraced additional HAs (but critically no further HA-HAs). I say “an” rather than “the” because the diametrically opposite tactic would be to load in as many HAs as possible, and that would make for a funny-not-in-a-good-way crossword.

39a [Young Henry V] HAL, 52a [Persian for “king”] SHAH, 1d [Big dry patch] SAHARA (see also 20a [Big wet spot] OCEAN), 16d [People taking too much interest] LOANSHARKS (great clue!), 33d [Turkish chief] AGHA, 34d [Does some fly-catching] SHAGS, 35d ETHAN, 37d [Cuisine with curries] THAI, 55d [“Mean Girls” star] LOHAN, 65d [Break into the world] HATCH, 83d [Furnace withstander] SHADRACH (Hebrew name: HANANIAH), and fittingly 106d [Hardy follower] HAR.

Elsewhere, there are some chewy longish entries: VALKYRIE, NEHEMIAH, BABUSHKA, BANDSTANDS, EXASPERATE, TELECASTER.

Other bits:


  • 38a [Play to __ ] A TIE; 87d [Suit to __ ] A TEE (but see also, 44d [Wardrobe item for a NASA pilot] G-SUIT).
  • 102a [Shaggy dos] MANES followed by 103a [Do some fleecing] SHEAR, with the nearby 118a [Drops locks] SHEDS. 100d [Verboten] TABOO followed by 101d [Oberhausen “Oh!”] ACH.
  • 56a [Let out of a sty] UNPEN.
  • 19a [White poplar] ABELE. Did not know this. Nor have I seen RHODO for rhododendron (117a); has PHILO been advanced for philodendron?
  • Nice to see some old jazz. 9a [Jazz vibist Red] NORVO (born Kenneth Norville). Not to be confused with trumpist Fats NAVARRO. Or country musician NARVEL Felts.

Fine, enjoyable crossword.

Lynn Lempel’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy's Sunday Challenge solution, 07.27.14

CrosSynergy’s Sunday Challenge solution, 07.27.14

Happy Sunday, everyone!

My favorite day of the week, in terms of solving the CrosSynergy puzzles, is here, and today’s puzzle by Ms. Lynn Lempel was definitely a challenge! I think most, if not all, of the puzzles I’ve ever done of Lynn’s have been in the Monday/Tuesday range in terms of difficulty, but she definitely ratcheted up the intensity for this one, and one that I enjoyed.

Loads of great fill, especially at the very top with DUMB DOWN (1A: [Simplify and then some]) and DOCENT (1D: [Museum volunteer, perhaps]). As I always say, great fill at the start is going to set the tone for what should be a good puzzle. And speaking of museums, I was just at the Natural Museum of the American Indian near Battery Park in Manhattan, and I definitely suggest heading there if you have some time off while in NYC. Rest of the northwest gave me no trouble, especially when getting WISECRACKED off of only seeing the first letter (7D: [Remarked facetiously]). Don’t know why, but CUGAT just looks great to me in a crossword grid…what a cool name, and an equally cool musician (22A: [Bandleader Xavier who led the Waldorf-Astoria’s orchestra for 16 years]). There was a pretty devilish crossing in the middle of the grid, and that is what caused me the most trouble, with KARNAK (37A: [Temple complex near Luxor]) and INO intersecting (35D: [Mythical queen of Thebes who raised her nephew Dionysus]). I usually do great with African geography and locations, but Karnak just wasn’t coming to me, although I had heard it a few times before. Finally, when I got TACK (28D: [Sharp fastener]), and the last “K” was in place to go along with the first “K,” from WISECRACKED, I was in business. Very slick clue for APP STORE, and I’ve been visiting that store on my laptop a good number of times in the last few days (31D: [Source of info for those on the go]). One of the best fills for me, even though I’m not a seafood eater, was BIBBED, as I now imagine a group of people wearing bibs and ready to chow down (9A: [Ready for a lobsterfest]). One of these days, I’ll try lobster. But today is not that day!!

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: TDS (25A: [Cowboy accomplishments, briefly])– “Cowboy” refers to a member of the National Football League team, the Dallas Cowboys. And for all of the touchdowns that the Dallas Cowboys have scored in their history, this one might be the most unbelievable. In the 1982 regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings, Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett scored on a 99-yard touchdown run, the longest play in Cowboys history and the longest run/play in NFL history. (Just so you know, no one play can exceed 99 yards in length, since an NFL regulation football field is 100 yards, not counting the end zones.) While scoring from their own 1-yard line is fascinating enough, what makes the play more unbelievable is that the Cowboys were HANDICAPPED on the play, as they had only 10 men on the field at the beginning of the play, one shy of the 11 men that you are allowed to have on the field. Ron Springs, the fullback (the person who would have lined up with Dorsett behind the quarterback and would have been his lead blocker), mistakenly was on the sidelines when the play started. Here’s the video of the play…

Thank you so much once again for the time, and make sure to enjoy the rest of your weekend! Oh, and Lollapuzzoola 7 is just 13 days away! If you’re around the Upper East Side in a couple of Saturdays, please stop by and participate. It’s such a fun experience, whether you’re a competitor or a volunteer (volunteers are always welcome..and needed), and it’s easily one of my favorite times of the year. Stop by, say hello, and be a part of a great day in Manhattan! I’ll be there, and trust me, I won’t bite…I think.

Take care!


Byron Walden’s Washington Post Post Puzzler, “The Post Puzzler No. 225” – Gareth’s Review

The Post Puzzler No. 225

The Post Puzzler No. 225

This puzzle is crazy Scrabbly (1.96 average, 2 Q’s, 3 J’s, K’s, X’s and Z’s) though it lacks an F, V or Y. It is also chock-full of fresh, interesting answers – a really astonishing feat of construction! The two aspects’ interaction is important. Byron Walden isn’t just using Scrabbly letters for Scrabbly letters’ sake, but instead because they occur in fun answers.

Favourite answers (and there are lots!)

    • [Orbit City mom], JANEJETSON
    • [Four-time Emmy-winning role for Allison Janney], CJCREGG. I’d never heard of it, but actually it seems to be, as the clue indicates, a pretty major TV role (from the West Wing I’m informed) and it looks great in the grid too! This was actually the source of my error as I had GREGG.
    • [Kurdistan, for example], QUASISTATE. Quasi is one of the funner-to-say prefixes!
    • [Hip-hop from the early 1980s], OLDSKOOL – It looks so silly in the grid! Plus it makes me think of the toymaker Playskool!
    • [“No way!”], ZEROCHANCE. I’m not sure why, but it seems to be subtly different to NOCHANCE.
    • [Features that sometimes identify players], SEXQUIZZES.
    • [Superstition admonition], DONTJINXIT. That took some puzzling out!
    • [Spinning concern], BADPR. Tricksy little entry! With BADP? in place I assumed an error!
    • [Seal the deal, perhaps], SHAKEONIT

Favourite clues:

    • [Roger’s cousin?], ISEE. Beautiful use of a name in the aid of misdirection!
    • [Pinto charger of horror lit], CUJO. I’m not sure why, but the phrasing amused.
    • [Primary weapons], ATTACKADS
    • [Main ingredient in the Moroccan dish pastilla], SQUAB. Mmm, baby pigeons!

There were two answers I was less sold on: the ON of HELLBENTON seems slightly superfluous. DCXL is a random Roman numeral, but at least it’s a crazy one!

4.5 Stars. My mistake was perhaps a slightly unfair cross, but it’s hard to mark too much down on an otherwise great puzzle!

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43 Responses to Sunday, July 27, 2014

  1. Jim Hale says:

    I also disliked the puzzle. Obscure uninteresting stuff that made it hard and annoying. A 2 for me.

  2. Brucenm says:

    Loved the puzzle. Challenging and entertaining, with fresh, original, unhackneyed cluing.

  3. LARRY WALKER says:

    When I printed out in its Across Lite format, many of the clues included possessive or shortened (e.g. “they’ll) words, but, instead of merely showing an apostrophe, the construction: “& apos; s (or ll)” is inserted.
    Does anyone know why this is so? Is it peculiar to the Across Lite format?
    It took me a long time to figure out that this had nothing to do with the puzzle’s solution.
    The quotes were ok.
    Hadn’t seen Jimmy Hatlo’s name in decades, but remembered it from my long ago youth.

    • Brucenm says:

      My Across Lite printout had the same weird anomaly. First time it has ever happened, though.

    • Gary R says:

      I’ve seen this before in AcrossLite and also other applications – e.g., it happens sometimes when I copy text from a web page into a MSWord document.

      I Googled the problem once and, as I recall, it has something to do with the use of a non-standard HTML code (& apos;) for an apostrophe, that isn’t always recognized by the application program.

      • Norm says:

        I’ve seen the problem the other way round as well. Word “smart quotes” do not always translate, so copying/paste from Word into another application can lead to this kind of gibberish.

      • Nothing non-standard about it: “'” is the normal HTML entity for encoding apostrophes (which usually don’t need to be encoded but sometimes do). The problem is, the AcrossLite .puz format has nothing to do with HTML in any way, shape or form.

        Someone from the NYT goofed up when converting the puzzle to .puz format and either forgot to decode the HTML entities or did some weird copy+paste from the HTML source, most likely.

  4. HH says:

    “…a Jack Benny punch line,…”

    Am I the only one here old enough to know this isn’t Jack Benny but Henny Youngman?

    • Brucenm says:

      I noticed that too. That line is almost a Henny Youngman theme song — the first thing one associates with him.

    • Matt says:

      No, me too.

    • Gary R says:

      No, but Amy’s young enough not to have had much exposure to Youngman. And probably an easy mistake to make, given that Benny was famous for that drawn-out Pleease! with his hand on his chin.

    • sbmanion says:

      I wonder if Rodney Dangerfield ever said the same thing. His shtick often revolved around his wife.

      I liked the relative difficulty of the puzzle.


    • JFC says:


      Amy’s only showing her youth and inexperience. But I am curious, of all the comics in all the world, how she came up with that one. Maybe she confused Benny with Johnny Carson, who patterned his style after Benny and had a TV show called Do You Trust Your Wife? Maybe she was giving a nod to someone from the Chicago area (Waukegan)? If she had just Googled it, she would have come up with Henny Youngman and a bunch of porno sites.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I get the ancient *enny comics confused. Neither one was part of my childhood.

      • HH says:

        I admit, it’s an easy mistake to make, and a common one, given that both comics were known for bad violin playing.

  5. Grandisleguy says:

    A bunch of whiners! Sure, Jimmy Hatlo died a while ago – so what? So did Robert Donat and the Marx brothers. Stop whimpering and applaud the cleverness of the theme.

  6. Tom says:

    I would like to add one more quibble, and that is that stock and broth (1D) are not the same thing.

  7. max says:

    no tip of the Hatlo hat for this one.

  8. Tracy B says:

    I think of 30-Across as a Gooding, Jr. line in a Cruise film. That being said, I enjoyed the relative difficulty of this Sunday quite a bit. Sesames made me go ‘hmm’ as well. I had SPREADS there at first.

  9. Christopher Smith says:

    Totally behind Amy on this (aside from the Jack Benny thing). The theme was half-baked & the fills were atrocious. And unless someone is offering to pay for my subscription, I’m not “whining.”

  10. SAM SZUREK says:

    It’s not Jack Benny, it’s Henny Youngman. Yeah, mid-20th century references.

  11. golfballman says:

    I said it when Elena Kagan was first appointed to the Supreme Court, goodbye Elena Verdugo. In all that time since I have not seen a Verdugo clue.

  12. pannonica says:

    Fun LAT. Skimmed through some of the answers and somehow thought that SITTING BULL with its angels reference was something like a papal bull, a decree. Ha-ha.

    STONEMAN would have been better clued as the Union General of the Civil War, George Stoneman. His name even features in the lyrics of a well-known song.

  13. Dave S. says:

    At age 63, (yes, I’m old), I remember Smokey Stover and a tip of the Hatlo Hat in the Sunday comics. I also ate farfel, and Donald Fehr was in the news throughout the steroid eras as well as baseball strikes. I always enjoy Randolph Ross puzzles, and his references are indeed old. I often don’t know all the references, particularly music, in more modern constructors like BEQ, but I enjoy them just as well, and learn stuff rather than criticize. Surprised by so much criticism of the clues and answers.

  14. Paul Coulter says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Lynn Lempel’s CS puzzle. It was super smooth and full of fresh entries, my favorite themeless of the year so far. I might be a little biased, though, since it gave me my first 3 minute themeless puzzle ever. Maybe I was just on Lynn’s wavelength today.

  15. Jeffrey K says:

    STONEMAN would have been best clued as the Expos pitcher Bill who threw two no-hitters.

  16. Linda says:

    Farfel with onions and mushrooms! As it happens, I am also old enough to remember the Hatlo cartoons in one of the Buffalo papers when I was a kid, although not with the same amount of nostalgia as farfel.

  17. Art Shapiro says:

    Unlike our illustrious hostess, I found this to be a delightful puzzle, with both Hatlo and Fehr immediate first-pass gimmes. They’ll Do It Every Time was a fantastic comic; it always appealed to one’s sense of cynicism. Do I vaguely recall that after he died, someone took it over but it was never the same; it eventually ceased productions?

    There have been so few baseball commissioners that the names should be in folks’ ken. A far cry from these wretched Hollywood names that keep appearing in the puzzles.

    An well-earned four stars in my book.


    • Gary R says:

      But of course, Donald Fehr wasn’t baseball commissioner – he was the head of the players’ association.

  18. sbmanion says:

    I think I could really help some of you stellar trivia experts as the few things that stump you are often gimmes for me.

    Does anyone else remember LITTLE IODINE. I read comic books that featured her in the ’50s and am almost positive they were a HATLO creation.

    I always chuckle at the utter lack of knowledge about sports of otherwise exceptionally bright cruciverbalists. As the head of the MLBPA (players’ association), Donald FEHR was the central figure (and villain) in the steroids era. He started as general counsel for the great MARVIN MILLER, the best labor negotiator in history in any arena, who precisely because of his brilliance, has been excluded from the Hall of Fame. Fehr was a staunch advocate for the players. The hypocrisy of baseball is off the charts.

    FARFEL for me is not the food, but the dog in the old N-E-S-T-L-E-S commercials.


  19. CY Hollander says:

    DONAT/LALO/AGITA was a very rough patch for a guy (me) who didn’t know any of them. Ended up guessing DANET. Have a hard time seeing a way I could have made more educated guesses. There was other fill I didn’t know (e.g. HATLO, TROCHE), which made this puzzle a fair bit harder, but that was the only place where I really had no way (as far as I see) to solve it, given my knowledge.

    • CY Hollander says:

      Oh, and “Alternative to texted” (14A) is just an awful clue. An alternative is a THING that takes the place of another thing. Verbs don’t have “alternatives”; nouns do. “Texting” is a noun; “texted” is not. You might have an alternative to the word “texted”, but that alternative would not be “IMed”, since that means something else.

      • pannonica says:

        ‘Texted’ may be a verb syntactically, but it is also simply a word, and in a sense all words are nouns, au fond. Say I’m writing a sentence, and I use the word ‘texted’, then reconsider, and use an alternative: ‘IMed’. Perhaps you’ve touched on this in your final sentence, but it’s difficult to tell.

        Not sure why you discount ‘IMed’ as meaning “something else” than ‘texted’. There are shades of meaning and they aren’t interchangeable, but one can be a viable alternative for the other.

        • jfponeill says:

          For that matter, adjectives, adverbs, gerunds, and even prepositions have alternatives. BTW isn’t the additional layer of unity that Amy seeks implicit in “What’s my line?” Not only does the phrase refer to a spoken “line,” but, as the 1950s-60s show of the same name suggests, to things that are outdated. And IMed is a word I often use instead of texted although it is a bit outdated, like myself I suppose

          • pannonica says:

            Seems she was seeking more unity in terms of the rough categories referenced by the themers. Generally themes like this are more pleasing to most solvers when everything is consistent or there’s broad variety rather than unbalanced, partial variety.

          • CY Hollander says:

            For that matter, adjectives, adverbs, … and even prepositions have alternatives.

            If you mean regarded as words, (e.g. an alternative to “to” in a given phrase), see my reply to pannonica.

            And IMed is a word I often use instead of texted although it is a bit outdated, like myself I suppose

            Not outdated, but imprecise. The term “instant message” is meant to exclude other forms of communication (including text messaging) that are not instant.

        • CY Hollander says:

          I meant to address your suggestion with my final sentence; sorry if that was unclear. “Texted” and “IMed” refer to similar, but distinct and non-overlapping things: “text” (= “text message”) refers to SMS messages, sent to/from cell phones, using the cellular network, whereas “IM” refers to message sent over the internet via an app. here’s a dictionary source, in case you want one.

          Thus, “IMed” is not an alternative to “texted”: if the act described is “texting”, it is not IMing, and vice versa.

          • Amy Reynaldo says:

            You’re really just wrong here, CY Hollander. If I want to get in touch with a friend, I can text her on my phone, I can chat/message/IM her via Facebook or Gchat, I can write an email, I can FaceTime her, I can Skype her, or I can call her on the phone. All of these are alternatives. Alternative ≠ synonym. Please check a dictionary for “alternative” and you’ll see that the term relates to options, possibilities, and not synonyms.

          • CY Hollander says:

            There are two separate issues here, Amy, which you seem to be confusing. One way to interpret the clue—your way—is that it refers to alternatives to the act of texting. As you say, there are many alternatives to that act; the problem is that texted doesn’t denote the act itself but that someone performed it in the past. Just think of how you’d say it in a sentence. “I IM’ed her as an alternative to texting her”? Sure. “I IM’ed her as an alternative to texted her”? Surely not. The past-tense verb “texted” simply does not fit in this context.

            The other possible interpretation of the clue—the one pannonica suggested—is that “texted” here means ‘[the word] “texted”‘; that is, the word “IMed” can serve as an alternative for the word “texted” in some sentences. That’s what my post about synonyms was refuting. Since the words are not synonymous, they are not equivalent possibilities in a sentence. “She texted me” and “She IMed me” make two different statements.

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