Sunday, July 26, 2015

NYT 9:28 (Amy) 
LAT 8:05 (Andy) 
Reagle 12:50 (Sam) 
Hex/Hook 9:23 (pannonica) 
CS 18:19 (Ade) 

Three announcements:

  • Lollapuzzoola 8 is on 8/8 (my parents engraved their anniversary date inside their wedding bands—that “8-8-64” may have been my first exposure to square number math) in NYC. Visit for registration and more details. I’ve signed up for the At-Home Division for $10, cheap! Extra bonus: Ben Tausig’s putting together a booklet of sample puzzles from a zillion (give or take a few) indie vendors, so in-person Lolla attendees will have lots of puzzles to take home.
  • Victor Barocas has a Kickstarter for Ada Cross, Crossword Detective.” Backers will get eight stories (in 48 installments) and 40 crosswords with meta answers. Illustrations by Across and Down’s Hayley Gold! Looks like a lot of fun. In under a week, Victor’s already more than half way to the pledge goal.
  • I will be taking a few weeks off from Diary of a Crossword Fiend, starting Wednesday. Scheduled for a kidney transplant next Thursday! Thanks in advance to everyone on Team Fiend—they’ll be covering all the usual puzzles while I’m recuperating.

Ellen Leuschner and Jeff Chen’s New York Times crossword, “No Escape”

NY Times crossword solution, 7 26 15, "No Escape"

NY Times crossword solution, 7 26 15, “No Escape”

You can’t escape from a black hole, and there’s one at the center of this puzzle. The 12 answers that end at the black hole all end with an unseen “hole,” and the ones to the right and underside of the black hole run backwards so they still end with “hole.” There’s LOOP, MOUSE, and POT; backwards PIE, HIDEY, and BORE; backwards PORT, BLACK, and RAT; and NAIL, IN THE, and PIN. In addition, there are four long themers:

  • 21a. [Novella that served as the basis for “Apocalypse Now”], HEART OF DARKNESS.
  • 112a. [Tightrope walker’s concern], CENTER OF GRAVITY.
  • 14d. [Avoidance maneuver], DISAPPEARING ACT.
  • 42d. [1987 Michael Douglas/Glenn Close blockbuster], FATAL ATTRACTION.

The long theme answers are a good bunch—nothing acutely astronomical. The mid-range to long interstitial fill is good too—KRAKENS and LEANN RIMES, NEW HAVEN and an EASY FIX, EPISODE I and a MEAT PIE, HATE MAIL and GROUPIE, etc.

Five nice clues:

  • 23d. [What L.A. is represented in twice], NBA.
  • 1a. [Drug charge?], COPAY. This triggered me to look up copays for the meds they’ll prescribe after my transplant. Everything is in the $3 to $30 monthly copay range, except for the $4,000 med that says “not covered.” Hmm. Following up on that!
  • 43a. [Idol worshiper?], GROUPIE, nice; 47a. [Idol worship], BAALISM, blah.
  • 93a. [50 or more people?], AARP.
  • 13d. [Change places], COIN PURSES. Clue reads more like a verb phrase than a noun. Tricky!

The Scowl-o-Meter bits were few and far between—OHMAGE, -ANE, NACRE, ARETES, OH ME, CIERA. Given the size of the grid, a handful of blah answers are easier to look past. Heck, plenty of 15×15 puzzles have more than six entries I don’t like.

4.5 stars from me.

Merl Reagle’s syndicated Sunday crossword, “The Constance of Consonants”–Sam Donaldson’s review

The Constancy of Consonants 2 (solution)

The Constancy of Consonants 2 (solution)

This week’s puzzle begins with a note from Merl: “If you saw the headline ‘Fiend Found!’ you might notice that, between the two words, only the vowels change — the consonants stay put. Okay, if you were me you’d notice it. Anyway, this puzzle contains more of the same (with Y’s counting as vowels).” Well, I can’t describe the theme any more succinctly, so let’s take a look at the theme entries:

  • [Lotto fever?] is MONEY MANIA.
  • The PLUTO PLATE, not to be confused with the pu-pu platter, might be a [Disneyland keepsake?].
  • [Like flooded roads?], some pathways are POSSIBLY PASSABLE.
  • The [NRA issue facing voters?] is a BULLET BALLOT.
  • The [Group that looks out for lost sea birds?] is the PETREL PATROL. Thank you, crosswords, for allowing me to plunk down PETREL when I don’t even know what one looks like.
  • You’ll see this one again in the countdown of tough answers: [What some subathing Brits might be paying today if the currency had never changed?] is FARTHINGS / FOR THONGS. Didn’t have to change many vowels there, did we?
  • The [Extreme reaction to certain cars?] is HOT-ROD HATRED. Probably my third favorite theme entry in this puzzle.
  • RUGRAT REGRET, my second favorite, is [Second thoughts about not having kids?].
  • My favorite of the batch is PATRICK’S PET ROCKS, the [Irish store that specializes in gag gifts?].
  • Merl gets personal with this next one: [My reaction to a frustrating day?], I SING A SONG. Of sixpence, perhaps.
  • Finally, we get something of a bonus conclusion with the [Slogan for a cat food commercial?], TROUT TREAT / TRY IT. Not only is this the only three-parter in the set, the last part (TRY IT) sits at 130-Across and there’s no theme entry symmetrically opposite at 1-Across. It breaks the conventions, but I liked it.

The title suggests this is a sequel. Perhaps you remember the original. I do not, but I can barely remember the themes from puzzles I solved three weeks ago, much less those from three years back. But this is a solid theme that merits a sequel. Is a trilogy in the works? Come back in 2018 for the answer!

I only had two long-lasting missteps, with DST for the [Clock-change abbr.] instead of the more regionally specific EDT and GAINED instead of GET FAT for [Put on the pounds]. My answer was more genteel, I suppose, but I had the wrong tense.

From the “Why were these clued as suffixes when they didn’t have to be?” file come [Henri add-on] for ETTA (especially when JAMES is in the grid at 1-Down!) and [Ethyl addition] for ENE. I’ll concede the latter is no big deal, for it’s not like ENE the directional abbreviation is head-and-shoulders above ENE the suffix. But that first one still has me, as the texters say, smh.

Let’s get to this week’s countdown of the hardest entries in the grid. We’re proud to announce this gimmick now has a sponsor: the British game show Countdown!. So here, then, is the Countdown countdown:

  • 5. We’ve already discussed JAMES at 1-Down, but here it’s clued as [The Amazing Randi], the famous psychic skeptic (say that three times fast).
  • 4. TATIANA is the [“Eugene Onegin” heroine]. My knowledge of this novel is Onegin-off again.
  • 3. SIR SPEEDY is a [Big name in copying] with which I am completely unfamiliar. Wikipedia says it has 600 locations in 13 countries. Alas, I’m red-faced to see two locations within a few miles of my home. Oh well.
  • 2. ELISSA is the [Actress Landi of early films]. Wikipedia has the scoop: “She played the heroine in Cecil B. De Mille’s The Sign of the Cross (1932), but was overshadowed by Claudette Colbert who played the flashier role of Poppea. She was paired successfully with some of the major leading men, such as David Manners, Charles Farrell, Warner Baxter, and Ronald Colman in romantic dramas such as Body and Soul (1931) before appearing in the box office hit The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) with Robert Donat.”
  • 1. As promised, we come back to FARTHINGS. My dictionary says a farthing is “a former monetary unit and coin of the U.K., withdrawn in 1961, equal to a quarter of an old penny.” I thought maybe the answer had SOU or HA’PENNY, but FARTHING was the furthest thing from my mind.

Favorite entry = GYRATED, clued as an [Danced wildly]. Favorite clue = [Water under the bridge] for MOAT.

Melanie Miller’s Los Angeles Times crossword, “Close Encounters”—Andy’s review

LAT Puzzle 7.26.15, "Close Encounters," by Melanie Miller

LAT Puzzle 7.26.15, “Close Encounters,” by Melanie Miller

ETs have invaded the theme answers in this puzzle, wreaking hilarity wherever they go. Themers:

  • 24a, CHILD-PROOF LOCKET [Pendand impervious to little hands?]. Child-proof lock.
  • 37a, PICKETS A FIGHT [Demonstrates anti-boxing sentiment?]. Picks a fight.
  • 57a, APPLE JACKETS [iPod holders?]. Apple Jacks.
  • 79a, SOCKET PUPPET [Pinocchio plug-in?]. Sock puppet, presumably, but I had a ton of issues with this theme answer. First of all, why choose a phrase that already has -ET in it? Not particularly elegant to have both words ending in -ET and only one is non-native to the base phrase. Also, a Pinocchio plug-in would be a PUPPET SOCKET, no? [Marionette you can plug into?] would be a SOCKET PUPPET, IMHO.
  • 98a, STRIPED BASSET [Cross between a hound and a zebra?]. Striped bass.
  • 114a, SLEEP IN THE BUFFET [Nod off during cocktail hour?]. Sleep in the buff. Many of the theme entries were very solid, but this one legitimately made me laugh.
  • 3d, MARKET TWAIN [Promote “Pudd’nhead Wilson”?]. Mark Twain.
  • 71d, BALLET OF WAX [Tussaud’s tribute to the Bolshoi?]. Ball of wax. I didn’t love that the “ET” in this one makes a different sound [eh] than the others, but certainly not a dealbreaker.

Seven solid theme entries, and one I wasn’t crazy about. Theme is pretty standard, and mostly well executed. Pretty solid non-theme fill: FELL FOR, PARABLES, OIL PUMP, MR. SULU, ANACONDA (disappointingly not clued as the Nicki Minaj song/video), EURAIL, OFF WE GO, ERASURE (sadly not the band), and RC COLA were the highlights. Nothing particularly scowl-inducing — maybe LITH., maybe NARCO or, like, DEBAR if I’m being picky. Melanie, this is solid stuff.

Until next time!

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

CRooked •7/26/15 • "Twitterfeed" • Cox, Rathvon • hex/hook, bg • solution

CRooked • 7/26/15 • “Twitterfeed” • Cox, Rathvon • hex/hook, bg • solution

Avifaunal puns, that is all.

  • 22a. [Dealer in big birds?] STORKBROKER (stockbroker).
  • 27a. [Bird fancier’s theme song?] I LOVE PARROTS (“I Love Paris”).
  • 43a. [Picture of a small bird?] WRENDERING (rendering).
  • 62a. [Prime time for songbirds] THRUSH HOUR (rush hour).
  • 69a. [Songbird in a snapshot?] PHOTO FINCH (photo finish).
  • 86a. [Test on a black and orange singer?] ORIOLE EXAM (oral exam).
  • 103a. [Bird that’s no phony?] THE REAL MACAW (the real McCoy).
  • 113a. [“I don’t want to talk about that bird”] NO CORMORANT (no comment).
  • 21d. [Tape or CD of birdsong?] VIREO RECORDING (video recording).
  • 42d. [Venerated hawk?] GRAND OLD OSPREY (Grand Ole Opry).

43-across and 113-across are unlike the others in that they require implicit understanding of the original to make sense per the clue.

While I’m happy to confess that I enjoy puns, I have high standards, and one-dimensional examples—even if there are a bunch of them linked by common theme—are not much to my liking.

You know what else is a little annoying? When fill with theme affinity shows up in other parts of the grid. Such as 116a [To be, in Paris] ÊTRE. Or 8d [Arctic seabird] AUK.


Conversely, I see little incursion when it comes to something like 16d [Work on a turkey] BASTE.

Toughest spot for me was the center, the crossing of 65d [Opera’s Lehmann] LILLI and 65a [Adherent of Tibetan Buddhism] LAMAIST. Didn’t help that I’d had 67d [Elton John’s longtime label] as RCA instead of MCA.

76d/83d [Get-up-and-go] VIM / PEP.

77a [Of some pond life] ALGAL, 106d [Frog hub] POND.

Mostly clean fill. But nothing particularly exciting, either there or in the cluing.

54a [Italian “Behold!”] ECCO, 76a [French “There you have it!”] VOILÀ.

And there you have it.

Randolph Ross’s Sunday Challenge CrosSynergy crossword —Ade’s write-up  

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 07.26.15

CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge crossword solution, 07.26.15

Good day, everyone! Hope all is well, and also hope that, with all of the crosswords out there in offer on this Sunday, that you got a chance to do this Sunday Challenge, brought to us by Mr. Randolph Ross. Again, a fair to easy Challenge for those looking for a real skull-crushing experience.

That isn’t to say that it wasn’t fun or entertaining to solve, because, in my opinion, it definitely was. Someone must be a big fan of horse racing, with both SARATOGA (29A: [Summer horse racing venue]) and BARBARO in the grid (12D: [Derby winner between Giacomo and Street Sense]). I would have made ‘Barbaro” the subject in the “sports…smarter” section, but hearing about a horse being tabbed as the next great superhorse, only to have his leg shatter at the beginning of The Preakness and eventually having to be put down, would be too depressing.

Geez, how do you segue from that? Well, we focus on some other good fill, and I particularly liked OZONE HOLE (31D: [Bad opening for environmentalists]). It also was the entry that opened things up, as EL NORTE fell immediately after that (55A: [The United States, to Mexicans]). After a couple of double takes, I now know that cicadas CHIRR (25D: [Cicada sound]). Initially put in ‘chirp,’ which I didn’t think was right yet couldn’t come up with anything better. Also, the “p” in chirp would definitely not allow EGO TRIPS to work, though I knew that entry must have been just that (37A: [Vanity affairs]).

“Sports will make you smarter” moment of the day: ORLANDO (35D: [Magic place])– If you’re thinking the Magic Kingdom and Disneyworld, that’s cool. But this likely refers to the ORLANDO Magic basketball team, a member of the National Basketball Association since its inaugural season in 1989. Only six seasons into its existence, the Magic were playing in the NBA Finals, led by dominant big man (and crossword regular) Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. Orlando ended up being swept by the Houston Rockets, and the Magic lost in their only other NBA Finals appearance, in 2009 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Have a great rest of your Sunday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Take care!


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33 Responses to Sunday, July 26, 2015

  1. Erik says:

    Great puzzle! Clever, well executed, with some lovely clues.

    I do have one complaint – or one pair of complaints – which I am reluctant to voice, because I really did enjoy the puzzle, but here goes.

    “Darn!” (108D) and DARNIT (87A)? MEATPIE (49D) and PIEHOLE (or [ELOH]EIP) (62A)?

    This isn’t the first time I’ve run into this sort of repetition in the Times in the last couple of months. It throws off my solve when I assume that words in the clues can’t appear in the grid, and when nouns are repeated within longer answers. But I don’t know; am I just being persnickety?

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      You’re not being persnickety, but you should let go of that expectation when solving the NYT puzzles to avoid frustrating yourself. The clue/different answer issue, Will has repeatedly said is not a concern for him. Fill duplications are taken into consideration, but certainly many small words elude flagging during the editorial process.

      Here, where the EIP is backwards, Crossword Compiler wasn’t going to flag the PIE duplication. I wonder if Ellen and Jeff noticed they had two helpings of PIE?

      • Joel says:

        Speaking just from my role as Will’s assistant, we would normally try to remove (or ask the constructor to remove) something like the PIE duplication. Honestly, this slipped by both of us when reviewing the puzzle (maybe because, as Amy points out, the PIE is entered backwards). If my memory serves, Frank Longo pointed the dupe out at the test solving stage, but that area was killer to revise with all the theme material crossing through, so not much could be done without some major overhaul.

        Fill and cluing dupes like those you point out are often tricky to judge. In the end, the big question is: how likely is the dupe to spoil someone’s experience of a clue/answer pairing? If a clue contains a word that appears as an answer on the opposite side of the grid, 99% of solvers won’t notice or care. Likewise, in the case of fill duplications, a nothing word like UP or THE appearing twice in the same grid seems unlikely to rankle. It’s when you get into more prominent words that it becomes an issue, like in the case of a recent puzzle we rejected that had both ASEXUAL and SEX SHOP. PIE probably falls into this category.

        Anyway, all of this is a long-winded way of saying you’re not being persnickety. We do notice and think about these things, and often it just comes down to a judgment call.

  2. Christopher Smith says:

    NYT: Sorry but I thought this was poor. The theme & its fills were great. I had some trouble getting the backwards thing (& I’m not completely sure why it was just south & east), which is fair play. But plenty of pain in the fill. ENID & EPPIE are both here & they brought their young American cousin MENA. ENID is crossing NACRE, ARAPAHO & a poorly clued DONORS (considering that CHERUBIM is elsewhere in the fill) in a diabolical SW. (Did I mention ORAN? Because that happened too.) May be alone in this but I was pretty fed up by the time it was over.

    Amy, best wishes with your transplant. My real life is in pharmaceuticals & I’m currently involved with transplant treatments. Some great strides have been made in the past decade & there’s every reason to believe you’ll be back here before you know it.

    • pannonica says:

      The conceit is that the massive black hole’s gravity is pulling all the (theme) entries into it. Those to the ‘north’ and ‘west’ are already travelling in that direction, whereas the others are inverted as they’re sucked in.

      • Avg Solvr says:

        Why would they invert?

      • Gary R says:

        I interpreted it slightly differently – all the theme answers are trying (unsuccessfully) to escape the gravitational pull of the black hole, so the “heads” of all the words are pointing away from the hole while the “tails” are being sucked in.

        Amy – best wishes for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery!

        • Christopher Smith says:

          OK apparently there are two kinds of black holes, rotating & static, so the idea would be that the squares on one side are turning backwards because it’s a static black hole, since a rotating one would turn with them. Maybe. Not completely clear on how it works. But makes more sense now.

  3. Alex B. says:

    Best wishes with your transplant indeed!

  4. Avg Solvr says:

    Nice NYT theme though the backward words seem a bit off. Best wishes, Fiend.

  5. Brad says:

    I could also weigh in on the keywords-duplicated-in-grid-and-clues issue. (Has T. Campbell done an article on this expectation and how far it dates back? It would be interesting.) Since acceptance is an incremental process with me – theme query greenlighted, final slate of theme entries tweaked and finalized, fill also negotiated and OKed, etc – it’s rare that duplicate grid fill gets by me and isn’t taken care of by the constructor (if the revision requires a lot of backtracking) or by me (if an easy fix screams out). I do ask for changes on most dupes – even of prepositions and pronouns, unless that means sort of firebombing a grid that’s in good shape otherwise.

    As to not duplicating any substantive words between the set of clues and the grid fill (or I’ll go even farther and say not duplicating substantive words in two *clues*), Frank Longo does (matchless) fact-checking and proofing for me, too, and this issue is one of our most common. I have changed many, many clues to skirt duping even two clues that involve something like “GIVE.” The CrosSynergy peer editing process also covers this as exhaustively as possible. It’s inevitable that some will elude editorial notice. More frequently, if you see two clues that dupe each other (faintly) or a clue that dupes grid fill, they were indeed flagged but the editor decided that one or more good, fresh cluing angles deserved to be left in peace.

    I understand not using “Giraffe” twice in one clue set. And DARN in the grid and in a clue is probably something I would have doctored if I had noticed it. But where is the line? I’m ambivalent about duping becoming an automatic ding against a puzzle. I like clues being extremely literate and detail-oriented, and avoiding dupes helps in that effort. But policing dupes has suddenly consumed a LOT of editorial time and attention. I love Joel’s point about making every effort not to put solvers’ enjoyment at risk. But on the other hand, as Amy says, I do think solvers need to relinquish some degree of gotcha-ism about dupes, if only not to bum THEMSELVES out when solving.

    • Brad says:

      And I should be sensitive that it goes beyond gotcha-ism – that solvers can assume an answer CANT be X because that root word was already in the grid once or appeared in a clue you’ve already dealt with…..I do feel safe in saying that editors are doing what they can to minimize those experiences for you but may not be as strict as you imagine.

  6. Adam N. says:

    Merl Reagle’s theme reminds me an awful lot of Peter Broda’s Indie 500 puzzle from this year. It even his the same “PATRICKS PETROCKS” theme answer:

    • merlbaby says:

      adam — gee, did not know peter did a theme like this one, although sam is right — this is a sequel to a puzzle i did three years ago with the same theme idea. several obvious differences, of course, but the main one on my part was that i would not allow any vowels from the first words to be in the second words. thus, i could not use most of peter’s examples (such as HOSTAGE HAS TO GO, which repeats the A and the O). PATRICK’S PET ROCKS is the only one that works in his as well as mine. (what gave me the idea back in 2012 was seeing the expression CENTRAL CONTROL. from there i thought of VERMONT VARMINT — a moose, obviously — and i was off and running.) –merl

      • bananarchy says:

        And likewise, I was not aware of Merl’s original puzzle when I constructed mine.

        At any rate, very cool to see how another constructor (and a master to boot) approaches and fleshes out the same germ of an idea. I feel privileged! While Merl made no vowel repeats a priority (particularly impressive is the TR–T triplet at the end, which is euryvocalic), I prioritized having as many multi-word phrases as possible (in the longer theme answers, at least), at the expense of repeated vowels. Naturally, though, I made sure that each individual vowel was changed to a different one at its position.

        But of course the biggest difference is the presentation of the theme answers: standard entries in Merl’s and double-duty consonants in mine. While Merl says that his idea came from a sharp wordplay observation in the wild, mine came from brainstorming about variations on the vowelless format that would lend themselves to a tricky Thursday-type grid/theme (I’ve made a number of vowellesses and, while a pure vowelless would be cruel at a tourney, I wanted to do something along those lines for my puzzle). PATRICKS/PETROCKS is a case of convergent evolution.

        Anyway, so cool of you to weigh in, Merl, and thanks for the fun puzzle as always!


        • merlbaby says:

          guess i’ll mention two more things, since sam didn’t touch on them. i don’t expect most people to ever notice these and they’re not essential to appreciating the puzzle, but whenever possible i do a kind of structural order to the theme answers. in this case, the upper theme answers start out pretty real — MONEY MANIA gets a lot of regular hits on google, you really can buy a PLUTO PLATE at disneyland, and roads after a flood are POSSIBLY PASSABLE. but starting at the center themer, the answers become a) more fanciful, and b) three words instead of two — HOT ROD HATRED, RUG RAT REGRET, etc. then I SING A SONG is four words and TROUT TREAT, TRY IT is four words but in a different way, and contains all of the vowels once. this type of progression is not possible in most puzzles i do, but when it looks possible, i always try to do it. sam also mentioned that TRY IT has no symmetrical partner in the upper left at 1 across, but it did when i started. it’s JEWEL now but it started out as VOWEL. after not liking any of the resulting fill possibilities and, more importantly, not seeing how to write the instructions without using the word ”vowel,” i opted to pull VOWEL out altogether and just have a fill answer there and to go with TRY IT as a unpaired finale (which sam does acknowledge as being a ok option, despite its sore-thumb appearance).

          anyway, more than you want to know, but that’s why the puzzle is the way it is. (btw, why i didn’t connect ETTA and JAMES is beyond me, but i will do so when the puzzle comes out in book form.) –MR

          • Norm says:

            FARTHINGS FOR THONGS cracked me up. That was worth 5 stars all by itself.

          • TammyB says:

            Ditto 5 stars for “Farthings for Thongs!”

            Merl, it’s a treat to be able to tell you personally how much I look forward to your puzzles every week.


          • pannonica says:

            I liked UPSIDE next to RAISED (optimist/Braille) in the southwest.

      • Adam N. says:

        First of all, I can’t believe you responded to that. This is so cool.

        Second of all, thanks for the explanation, it really clears things up. Love the theme anyways.

  7. David L says:

    Clever idea, and I liked the reversals on the other sides of the hole. The DARN repetition was a little surprising but I didn’t even notice the double serving of PIE, one forwards and the other backwards.

    BAALISM is not really a thing, is it? And one of my pet peeves is the use of bogus latinate plurals for English words — in this case, IAMBI. MW11 gives iambus as an alternative to iamb, but pluralizes them as iambuses and iambs. Some online dictionaries offer IAMBI but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    OHMAGE is unattractive but I’ve heard people use it. OHME is surely more antiquated and pearl-clutching than OHMY.

    Good luck with the surgery. I know someone who had a kidney transplant some years ago, and he was a whole better afterwards than before!

  8. Vic says:

    Amy, good luck — hope you are back online soon!

  9. Michael says:

    Amy, best of luck with surgery and take care of yourself! Also, your kidney donor is a beautiful unselfish person.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      Thanks! My husband is donating to a stranger in our paired-exchange chain, and a different stranger is donating to me. There are three or four beautiful unselfish people in this chain! Wish I could take my husband’s kidney since I know its provenance, but am grateful for the stranger’s kidney too.

  10. Da veB says:

    I’ve finished the grid of Patrick Berry’s much lauded “Middle of the Road” cryptic. However I’m stuck on how to finish it. There is no solution that I can find. Can anybody that has solved it in its entirety offer a hint? I’d be much obliged !

    • Jan says:

      Are you still looking for a hint? Did you see some instructions in the box in the grid? If you need a better hint, send me a private message through Facebook.
      Jan O’Sullivan

  11. Tim K says:

    Best wishes and good health, see you back soon!

  12. Martin from C. says:


    Good luck, and a speedy recovery to you.

    Martin from C.

  13. Martin from C. says:

    NY Times:

    Five stars from me.

  14. mickey says:


    I had no idea. Please accept my sincere best wishes for a complete recovery. Feel better soon.


  15. Steve J says:

    Amy, best of luck with the surgery and recovery!

  16. CY Hollander says:

    Best wishes for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery, Amy.

  17. Sandysolver says:

    Amy: Not much of a commenter and a bit spotty as a blog reader lately, so just now hearing of your transplant. Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

Comments are closed.