Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Search Warrant - April 2015

April 2015 | Search Warrant | Harper's Cryptic puzzle solution


Take a look at the sidebar, Dear Readers! You will noticeth:
  1. Get Posts by Email frustrated with our erratic “we'll do it when we do it” update schedule? Loathe RSS for no good reason? FRET NOT  Now you can receive posts by email!
  2. emotions our chapbook of poetry and stories is now available electronically. If you like what you read here and are curious about how we present as poet avatar, and/or if you wish there was some way to financially support this blog (writer) in recognition of such glorious free content pumped your way every month WELL just clicky linky: ericaricardo.com/emotions   BOOM

The Puzzle!

In real time as we draft this, Blockhead's invocation plays throughout the coffeeshop. Oh fhuck yes. You're invited to click PLAY and feel the epic while reading further.

The Theme!

Slowly revealed by inference, hrrrrm what were New Yorkers looking for … maybe Son of Sam? Hm, wassit gonna be and ooh! Some New York esoterica! Some New Yorker esoterica!
In 1943, Hirschfeld married one of Europe's most famous actresses, Dolly Haas. They were married for more than 50 years, and in addition, they produced a daughter, Nina. Hirschfeld is known for hiding Nina's name in most of the drawings he produced after her birth. The name would appear in a sleeve, in a hairdo, or somewhere in the background. As Margo Feiden described it, Hirschfeld engaged in the “harmless insanity,” as he called it, of hiding her name [Nina] at least once in each of his drawings. The number of NINAs concealed is shown by an Arabic numeral to the right of his signature. Generally, if no number is to be found, either NINA appears once or the drawing was executed before she was born.

Source: Wipidya

Hirschfeld's Nina | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues Below was our puzzle at the end of solving. We counted twelve NINA UPDATE we counted twelve cuz we had an error on 29A. We had UNLET instead of INLET. Like, “the room is almost rented ... it is currently unlet.” Yah. Well. Changing the U to I yields the final NINA.
erica's solution | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Also, because we are prone to be annoyed by this puzzle and have a hair trigger threshold for such, it annoyed us that turn-corners and toroidal* solutions were excluded out of hand. C'mong!! We're ready, coach! Give us the juice!!
* edge-wrapping, like a Pac-man board


  • 14A) Soup: a blessing, but it gets you finally sick in the stomach (8)
    (a blessing = BOON) gets (you finally = U) + (sick in the stomach = ILL) = BOUILLON
BOON as in Boondox? #idlehope
Boondocks on Trent Lott and black media | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 15A) Reduce feather dimensions? (8)
    (feather = DOWN) + (dimensions = SIZE) = DOWNSIZE
Nice and lean and tight!! Like jeans on a fashionable young man. Heuristic in development with Sweet V: hipster fashion favors showing off the shoes. Witness:
Hipsters show off their shoes | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
This lumbersexual definitely knows!
Lumbersexual hipster shows off his boots | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
By our reasoning then, only the dude on the right is a “hipster.” The other three are just dudes who try.
Hipster on the right | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 19A) Producer of gore? (4)
    GORE * anagram = OGRE
These punny ones. Sortof ourobourostically eating itself, and the definition isn't “Producer” it's “Producer of gore.” We have often come out against such clues, because we believe in Rule of Rules. But there are no rules, really. In life. That's what Kirk and the Kobayashi-Maru teach us.
Kirk argues that the test itself is a cheat, since the program is unwinnable, and thus cheating is the only solution. Spock counters that the point of the test is not to win, but to face fear and accept the possibility of death, like Kirk's father did.

Source: Wupyudduh

Captain James T. Kirk | I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 20A) Moving along in dissemination of bread? (7)
    ALONG IN * anagram = LOANING
Anagrama! And using “along in” as anagram fodder: ooh! Natural language in our cryptic clues! Much love.
  • 22A) Urge to do without a Saturn, for example (3)
    (Urge = GOAD) without A = GOD
Nice. Saturn, Father Time. We want a Saturn (car). Wait, no. We want a Subaru Outback. Yah! We want a 1998 green or black Subaru Outback. We want a vintage Vermont lesbian car. YES
Gay Subaru | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 27A) Sending someone up to break palomino? No good! (10)
    anagram * (PALOMINO + (no good = NG)) = LAMPOONING
NICE anagrama!
  • 33A) Find I am limitless in this country! (5)
    Find I am = INDIA
Yah! Spiritual growth! Jessi-pie lived in India for a while. When she came back, she said her first shower was amazing. “Am I a princess?” she said.
  • 35A) Writer in heading west acquires name (3)
    (in heading west = NI) + (name = N) = NIN
YESSS. Writer. Not “female writer.” Richard E Maltby Jr and cohort have heard the cries of Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues!!!
Anaïs Nin | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 39A) Fanny packs, female (3)
    Fanny = ANN
Broad City | fanny pack | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Dwayne Johnson | The Rock | fannypack | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 43A) Right at the end, model mails jackets I like (7)
    (MAILS I * anagram) + (Right = R) at the end = SIMILAR
We've been working on becoming more fashionable. For the last five years or so we've worn a fairly uncompromised uniform of all black, especially featuring the GAP pure body v-neck black t-shirt. Much as we dislike brands and brand awareness and brand loyalty (witness how freely we dilute the brand of this blog!! buy our poetry!! watch our web series!!) mang do we love that shirt.

But it's time to expand. So we've been reading fashion blogs. Tucking our pants into our shoes. Being hip/p/st/er. Yes.
Quann Sisters | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 47A) TV character who puts an end to children? (3)
    end to CHILDREN = REN
Ren Hoek | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Ren Hoek
  • 3D) Artist, not deceased, comparatively amateurish (5)
    (Artist = DRAWER) not (deceased = D) = RAWER
Nice! Too bad that there's not a nicer word in English for “the type of artist who draws.” “Draftsman”? “Draftsperson”?
Kerby | Moleskine Doodles | Cheetah
See more here

Also, if you're in Chicago, please do yourself a favor and see Improvised Shakespeare at iO. It's exactly what it sounds like: an improvised Shakespeare play with more or less era-appropriate language and rhyming. But wait: listen to this! No, listen to THIS: Patrick Stewart has sneaked into the cast when he's in town. Doesn't that immediately make you feel expansive and magical? Patrick Stewart, freely and generously using his Patrick Stewart powers for make benefit all.
Patrick Stewart in Improvised Shakespeare | image courtesy Time Out Chicago | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Image courtesy Time Out Chicago

this paragraph explains the reason we brought up Improvised Shakespeare
We saw the show last month, and at one point they portrayed a band practicing a coronation song. “Ok time to do the song ... ” and the song went:
Get hard as hell!
You're gonna like it!
We sing that coronation song ... a lot.
  • 5D) I scrutinize stars in bad sitcoms, owning not one record (11)
    (SITCOMS + (not one = 0 = O) + (record = LOG)) * anagram = COSMOLOGIST
Love a big bossa mostly-anagrama!
  • 6D) Pop sound turned up, if superior to sounds from the bedroom (4)
    (if superior = FI) + (sounds from the bedroom = ZZ) = FIZZ
Nice narrative fake-out there. Sounds from the bedroom? Get your mind out of the sex-gutter! Sleep sounds, you perv!
  • 11D) Growth showing the significance of ABCFG? (4)
    ABCFG = no D E = NODE
AhhhHHHhhhhhh!! This one is the. best. Rebus, baby!!
Rebus, baby | Swingers | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 18D) Tarzan, in essence, is marked by comedy (8)
    Tarzan in essence = ZANINESS
YES. Witness the fitness below! ... What? Brendan Fraser is George of the Jungle, not Tarzan? What? Speak up, we can't hear you! ... Huh, they went away. More Tarzan for us, spose!
Brendan Fraser as George of the Jungle | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 21D) Game for ninnies, organized to get a bit of peace (8)
    (NINNIES + (big of peace = P)) * anagram = NINEPINS
Ninepins are like: you read it in Rip Van Winkle and then never hear of it again. See illustration below. As we recall from our 4th grade reading of the story, this is the part when Rip has just fallen asleep, or just woken up, but he's having a stressful time with these ninepin guys and thinking, “I've really gone and fouked up now!”
Ninepins | Rip van Winkle | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 22D) Part of a fat jazzed-up line: “Put a ring on it” (5)
    (LINE + put a (ring = O) on it) * anagram = OLEIN
Remember Olestra/Olean? It was going to be the solution to American obesity by replacing the fat in potato chips with ... chemicals. Which bodies love. But then Olean gave everyone spastic diarrhea. They still put Olestra/Olean in foods, they just don't proudly trumpet the brand name anymore.

re: put a ring on it Here's a video of Joe Jonas in a unitard dancing and lip-syncing to All the Single Ladies:
  • 26D) Miss L. unnaturally takes back reverses
    Miss L. unnaturally * takes back = ANNULS
Nice. We wrote in our notes that this should be in the “Lowlights” section but fruck that! Funck that! Highlight, brothers and sisters!
  • 32D) Woven yarn that keeps one wet (5)
    YARN that keeps (one = I) = RAINY
Nice and natural.
  • 36D) Man out of line? (4)
    LINE * anagram = NEIL
What's up, young Neil Gaiman? What, is up?
Young Neil Gaiman | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 37D) “____, say it isn't so!”: exhortation to Romney to drop out (4)
    (exhortation to Romney = oh, Mitt) * homophone = OMIT
Field day for our sister blog, Bleeding Heart Liberal Harper's Cryptic Clues!

sidenote Back when we lived in Boston, we worked at a sandwich shop for a year called the Oxford Spa (shout out to Heather Donut!) (shout out to Jessi-Pie who just got married!). “Spa” is old school Boston slang for “deli.” One of the sandwiches there was called the “O MITT” for then-governor Mitt Romney. It was bacon, lettuce, tomato, turkey, and thousand island dressing on white bread. “Because he's a pig and a turkey at the same time,” Boss E explained.

additional sidenote because we're thinking about The Spa now BUH we are sick and tired of hearing paranoid talk about how waitstaff “spit in the food.” It comes up maybe once a year from so-called friends and peers, and even once a year is often enough to yield our sick and tired feels. We've only ever heard it from people who have never worked in food service. Comes across as some frustrating classist bullshit. The fantasy that people who work on their feet are barbarians with no adult coping mechanisms. The fantasy that there's a stranger's saliva in your food cuz you're kinky, and into that. Every fear is a fantasy. Remember.


  • 3A) It's a one-off—period! (4)
    A ONE * anagram = AEON
Moo. May another aeon pass before we see AEON/EON ageon.
Aeon Flux cosplay | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 16A) Until destroyed, partly part of a piñata (5)
    Until destroyed = TILDE
Too mucha gimme giveaway. Diacritic shining like a beacon. Be a beacon [in his sad and lonely life]. Fact: we were on OK Cupid briefly in 2009, and our screen name was “be a beacon.” And then in theory if someone caught the reference to Sneakers that person would be our soulmate. But within 12 hours we'd had an annoying email exchange with a dude (who didn't even ASK about “be a beacon”!!!) and we quit. Still stand by that decision. How can a thinking modern person not have seen Sneakers? How could we like someone who doesn't already like the things we like, in the same way that we like them? That's how “soulmates” work, right??
  • 30A) Little buffalo wings of American opera (4)
    wings of (American opera) = ANOA
Anoa it not. Uncommon? Oh yah.
Anoa, also known as midget buffalo and sapiutan, are a subgenus of Bubalus comprising two species native to Indonesia: the mountain anoa (Bubalus quarlesi) and the lowland anoa (Bubalus depressicornis). Both live in undisturbed rainforest, and are essentially miniature water buffalo.

Source: Wipidja

Anoa | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 42A) Seismic onset due three times at Pompeii? (3)
    due three times at Pompeii = (due at Pompeii = 2) three times = 6 (at Pompeii, also) = SEI
Nonsense. Lots of heavy breathing on the Italian language. Yielding? SEI. Sei what???
  • 45A) Nobody move! Butt off! Both hands up! (4)
    (Nobody = NO ONE) butt off = NOON
“Both hands” like da clock. Murr. “Butt off” wha? As an indicator, ok fine. But as ... like, a colloquialism? “Hey dude, couldja butt off??” Never heardit. Why not “back off,” a real phrase. Much better, oui?
  • 49A) last night it came from vestry—EEE! (9)
    VESTRY EEE * anagram = YESTEREVE
Nothin' 'gainst YESTEREVE. But uy, that EEE is such a giveaway as anagram fodder.
  • 1D) Big bomb: corrupt N.Y. prodigal son finally gets taken in for slippery behavior (12)
    ((Big bomb = H) + NY PRODIGAL + (son finally = N)) * anagram = HYDROPLANING
No. Rully thought “Big bomb” = “hydro” for a while, which: no. Instead it's “Big bomb” = “H[-bomb]” which is equally: no. Our reasoning possibly shaky on this one? Feel free to correct in the comments (correctional facility).
  • 2D) It provides music for a Lipoderm spot (4)
    Lipoderm = IPOD
Meh. Two brand awarenesses in one clue. Boo.
duckpod | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 8D) Collective action, turning gray-brown? (7)
    DUNNING (double synonym)
What is? Never hearda.
1.to make repeated and insistent demands upon, especially for the payment of a debt.

1. a brownish-grey colour

Source: Dictionary.com

  • 20D) Sign fronting Little Egypt's offering (3)
    Little Egypt's offering = LEO
Frequent zodiac attack from ol' Leo.
  • 28D) Something hot and under pressure with a key addition is the making of Paganini (6)
    with (A (key = G)) is PAGANINI = PANINI
Buh, not sure how to explain the answer logic on this one. Pretty sure that's how it goes, tho.
  • 39D) Article is for many showing one way to get through Switzerland (4)
    (Article = A) + (is for many = ARE) = AARE
AARE you kidding me? THIS old man river again? “‘is’ for many” like “‘is’ but plural” and buh.

Not helped by another puzzle usual suspect,
  • 4D) Gun very nearly seen in holdup (3)
    (VERY nearly = VER) * holdup = REV
We do not revere Reverend REV. Revery disappointed to see him.

The Tacky!

Two this month.
  • 7D) Crazy Spanish female's place? Not half! (4)
    (place = LOCATION) * half = LOCA
Sexist/racist? Sexist/racist enough. For those on a hair-trigger like ourself? Yes. Enough. “Crazy Spanish female.” Good grief. Our mom bought a dozen Brazilian chickens last spring. “And they're crazy,” she said. “It's that Latin in their blood.”

  • 12D) Deacon diddled with classroom helper, producing stories (8)
    (DEACON + (classroom helper = TA)) * anagram = ANECDOTA
Is this one any more real and intense than 47A, invoking child murder? You know, yes. There's irony to 47A. Molestation endemic in the Catholic church and institutional suppression thereof? That's real. No irony there.

Comments lead to love! And love leads to love!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tetris - March 2015

March 2015 | Crestfallen | Harper's Cryptic puzzle solution

Hello Dear Readers! UGH we are having the darndest time motivating to get Tacky Harper's up but UGH just gonna do it! You are reading the “Just Gonna Do It” edition of this blog. We created this chore for ourself. O strange psykology! What hath ye wrought?? Now we make this face:
Blog o'Clockapron | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
First ... a change. We hate change, and changing. Sometimes a change still manages to slip through the cracks of our tightly constructed life. The change is: this blog is now blog.tackyharperscrypticclues.com

We made the change at Blogger's suggestion and with an easy purchase via Google Domains. Ok but then so visitors to tackyharperscrypticclues.blogspot.com are now greeted with the following alarming message, as if we've taken insecure criminal action to expose Dear Readers to harm:

“You're about to be redirected

The blog that used to be here is now at http://blog.tackyharperscrypticclues.com/

Do you wish to be redirected?

This blog is not hosted by Blogger and has not been checked for spam, viruses and other forms of malware.

Buh. We believe that actually this blog is still hosted by Blogger. If hosted elsewhere ... well, we certainly did not take action to migrate or redirect or anything. If it's not Blogger we would much appreciate knowing who is hosting.

The Puzzle!

Flew through this one over a bus ride to Logan Square for a slam poetry thing. Nothing particularly tacky this month. Nothing particularly challenging this month. Smoothly barreled through it, like a power drill through cheese. Cheese particulates everywhere.

The Theme

Tetris! Exciting theme title, less exciting payoff. Twas sweet and kind of Maltby to make the funky fallen letters checked, but most times there was little or no ambiguity about what the new word could be.
  • 33D) CAN > CANT (haha v nice)
  • 14D) ITCHES > AITCHES (uhhhhhh fine)
  • 7D) KIN > KILN
  • 26D) LAST > LEAST
  • 25D) TURKEY > TURNKEY (nice)
See what we mean? Mosta these, once having solvied the clue there was just no question on the transform for the fill. Like: STAMPED? What's that gonna become? STAMPLED? SHTAMPED?

And then keyword CRESTFALLEN appeared after figuring out maybe four of the downs. The downs were a little more exciting, since they were of ambiguous length. But, like we says, not that exciting.

“Tetris-style” was a real stretch in that: most of the fun of Tetris is in the rotation transformations, the left-right translations, and fitting pieces together. “Connect Four” more like. Or “Plinko.”
Plinko | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues


  • 10A) University I entered in Northwest, transferring with the lowest credits (11)
    (University = U) + I + NORTHWEST = UNWORTHIEST
Big bombossa anagrama! Shoutout to Northwestern wut wut! Transfer with the highest credits!!
  • 14A) Make invalid remove article from yearbook (5)
    remove (article = A) from (yearbook = ANNUAL) = ANNUL
Yah!! Charmed by reference to old-timey word for yearbook. What did she write to you in the annual???
Winona Ryder's yearbook photo
  • 20A) Places quotes in speech (5)
    (quotes = CITES) * homophone = SITES
Nice and sweet! Clean and tight!
  • 23A) Famous dog with no tail in 200-years-old work? (7)
    (Famous dog = LASSIE) with no tail = LASSI) in (200 = CC) = CLASSIC
Classie lassie :)
Classy from Adventure Island for Gameboy
  • 27A) A bit of necking get you to sleep with someone, finally (4)
    (sleep = NAP) + (someone, finally = E) = NAPE
Yah! Sexy :)
  • 30A) Far less popular recording star, mimic is brought in (7)
    (popular recording star = CHER) + (mimic = APE) is brought in = CHEAPER
What up to our girl Cher!!
Cher | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 35A) Sums for a driller (4)
    A + (driller = DDS) = ADDS
DDS! Son, be a dentist. Gets to the heart of dentistry. Drilln. Pain. Dollars and cents / just clap your hents / clap your hents
Hannibal Buress plays a dentist on Broad City | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
This month's Nerd Hot Guy: Hannibal Burress. Mwa!
Hannibal Buress | "Are you comfortable with Alanis Morisette's definition of irony?" | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 40A) All trysting is immoral in a surprising way (11)
Nice. We just read 50 Shades of Grey. Had a great time. To the haters, well: it's Twilight erotic fan fiction. If you don't like Twilight, and you don't fan fiction, and you don't like erotica, you're prolly not gonna like 50 Shades of Grey. Easy math. You don't get the Fields medal for saying 50 Shades is bad writing, or secretly suspecting you might like it but alienating yourself from your own enjoyment and not even giving it a try.

True fact: we didn't even find 50 Shades outstandingly bad writing! But then on Sweet V's reco this week we started reading Foucault's Pendulum, and we're loving it, and woops. Yup ok, this is the good writing. We were perhaps unnecessarily contrarian in our forgiveness of 50 Shades's writing.
Fifty Shades Darker with post it: "Mom - please stop reading this in the family room I don't watch porn next to you. Love, your son" | Tacky Harper's Crytpic Clues
  • 2D) Calls for being a saltine cracker?
    SALTINE * anagram = ENTAILS
Nice! Dissolves easy into simple sugars. Yum num.
  • 4D) Vocally adds one's name at bank functions
    (adds one's name at bank = COSIGNS) * homophone = COSINES
You know this is the one we love most! Shout out to Dear Readers who watched MTV in the '90s!!
I know my Calculus | You + Me = US | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 6D) Reader's opening tune, in a way
    TUNE * anagram = UTNE
What's up to the Utne Reader. Hell yes. Shout out to Liberal Print Media Super Babe Nina Utne:
Nina Utne | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 9D) It's really not nice housing the French and their manners
    (It's really not nice housing = STY) + (the French = LES) = STYLES
Couldn't parse the logic on this one, until remembering that the French have a plural “the.” Flashback to our mom, on the plane to Paris last fall, glancing up at the French stewardess, sotto voce to us: “watch out for Frenchitude.”
Erica and Mom in Paris | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues

  • 14D) Results of a rash of questionable ethics?
    ETHICS * anagram = ITCHES
Nice and natural language. Love!
  • 18D) Just rug strewn with filth
    (RUG + FILTH) * anagram = RIGHTFUL
Shoutout to Heather Donut who loves all the coolest things! Like British teenagers playing dubstep on satellite radio, announcing each track as “totally filfy.” Filfy!
  • 20D) Something found in pillows and also footwear
    pillows and also = SANDALS
Some inventive wordspanners this month!
  • 22D) Doing what's necessary to refuse Democrat: impugn in motion
    ((Democrat = D) + IMPUGN) anagram = DUMPING
“refuse” like trash refuse, like rhyming with “nephews.” Very nice.
  • 25D) Sexual excitement in animals turns up opener for poultry
    ((Sexual excitement in animals = RUT) turns up = TUR) + (opener = KEY) = TURKEY
Yah! Get sexy!
Michelle Obama with turnip (turn up) | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 28D) Look at the books of Rimbaud, italicized, with parts expurgated
    Rimbaud, italicized = AUDIT
Verr nise.
  • 35D) Cooler in May
    Cooler = May = CAN
Relies on can/may equivalency. We remember watching Avalon when we were prolly no older than little Elijah Wood:

It doesn't show it in that clip, but guess what happens later? Little Elijah pees his pants because the teacher won't let him go to the toilet until he figures out that the magical passphrase is “may I go to the toilet” instead of “can I go to the toilet.” Prolly cuz Elijah did the Harper's cryptic and believed it.

Gratifyingly, later in the movie the teacher is chastised by the principal and Elijah Wood's dad. The teacher is like, “‘can’ and ‘may’! When will the boy learn the difference between ‘can’ and ‘ma—” and the principal and dad are like, in unison, “LADY YOU ARE SO FUCKED UP.”

So. Maybe we should relax about can/may equivalency.


  • 1A) “This is regarding our covering copy of a letter.” “Come again?” (7)
    (This is regarding = RE) + OUR covering (copy of a letter = CC) = REOCCUR
CC as in carbon copy. What's up print mediaaaaa! But boo on RE- words. RE- words offer low rewards.
carbon copy | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 7A) Sir Kay brought back name for man with many gifts (4)
    SIR + (Kay = K) brought back = KRIS
Kris Kringle. K fine. Sir Kay shows up again in the puzz:
  • 37A) Chance upon the return of Sir Kay (4)
    return of SIR + (Kay = K) = RISK
which is like the same flucking thing as 7A with the reversal on SIR and KAY for K so buh, whatevs! Whatevs.
Sir Kay | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 13A) A river that flows from letter to come (6)
    A RIVER * anagram = ARRIVE
You know hows we feel about the single letter translation anagrams. Moooooooo.
  • 15A) Vegas leader's notes? (3)
    Vegas leader = notes = LAS
LA like do re mi fa so. Rull easy. Too easy.
  • 32A) The first character exits from reality plays (4)
    The first character exits from (reality = FACTS) = ACTS
Oooh yah so “reality” = “facts” is dubious to us. Loose like can/may.
  • 36A) Passage of mine, not quiet or stern (3)
    (Passage of mine = SHAFT) not (quiet = SH) = AFT
Shaft | Richard Roundtree | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
We basically like it, but there was a LOT of this same trick of “guess the synonym, take off a letter.” Witness 32A above. Witness:
  • 7D) Not quite charitable folks
    Not quite (charitable = KIND) = KIN
And witness:
  • 26D) Bee leaves wild party at the end
    (Bee = B) leaves (wild party = BLAST) = LAST
Annnnnnnnnd witness:
  • 31D) Dress covering a pointy thing not all the way
    A + (pointy thing = PRONG) not all the way = APRON
Witness to the witless. Also apron = dress? Murr.
Per Dear Reader Joe beloe, dress covering = apron. Some people wear aprons over their dresses, we guesses? Instead of over their naked bodies?
Will Cook for Sex apron | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 39A) I'm on television series Con Game (5)
    I'm on television = MONTE
Cutting “series” and using “television‘s” woulda made it tighter. Thought for a sec this clue was a reference to Montel Williams.
Montel Williams playing three card monte | Tacky Harper's Crytpic Clues

Nothing motivates blogging like a COMMENT!! Say hello. Whatevs, no bigs. It'll feel good :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

To Have and To Hold - February 2015

February 2015 | Harper's Cryptic puzzle solution

The Theme

Slowly pieced together the fill in 1A and speculated with Sweet V what the Valentine's related theme might be. “Gag me anytime?” “Something about Bagend?”

Enough fill in place and the theme was revealed: “bag and baggage.” Means “all one's possessions.” Unclued entries are types of bags, often hecka obscure. Also: material goods mean everything, eh? Eep. Twas a rough Valentine's day for Richard E Maltby Jr?
  • 5D) DUFFEL
Gladstone wwutt?
Joey Gladstone | Full House | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Bill Haverchuck | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Also there were like 80 bajillion anagrams this month. So, obviously we had a wonderful time :)


  • 11A) Pay back nuts—I remember nuts (13)
You wanna get nuts? | Michael Keaton in Batman | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 27A) Bums: a liquid asset (5)
    ASSET * anagram = SEATS
Sweet V, on seeing this, said, “non-sexual butt jokes? What is this??”
  • 29A) Melons, or lemons, can help you get sober (6)
    MELONS or LEMONS * anagram = SOLEMN
Ah, the wisdom of the Third Anagram!!
  • 31A) Doctor told to get dope (4)
    TOLD * anagram = DOLT
Nice psych-out with the frequent homophone indicator qua anagrind. Nice clean narrative. Doc! My pain is unmanaged here, doc! Get me summadat dope dope! Mwa! So nice!
Dr House | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 34A) Optional road trips involving sincerity (13)
Mmmmmmmm big anagramas!!
  • 2D)Hero with an ease that's cleverly disguised (6)
    AN EASE * anagram = AENEAS
Aeneas! So nice (neas)!!
Aeneas | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 3D) Gee, it's those contemptible Brits (4)
    (Gee = G) + ITS = GITS
“stupid git” burned into our brainpan from The Argument Sketch in Monty Python.
The Argument Sketch | Monty Python | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 4D) Service offered anytime, but unexpectedly (7)
    ANYTIME * anagram = AMENITY
“service offered anytime” ... in our margin notes, we wrote “oral sex??”
  • 7D) Large organ that comes with Capt. von Trapp (5)
    LarGE ORGan = GEORG
In our notes, this conversation with Sweet V:

“I bet it's ‘DICK’.”
“Has to have five letters.”
Maria and Georg | The Sound of Music | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 10D) You might be put out by it, but there is another way to put it (5)
    THERE * anagram = ETHER
Ether! Shoutout to æther! And reminded of a conversation with our brother Chris two Thanksgivings ago about chloroform and grappling hooks that show up in movies—you know, that type of standard movie bad guy material. Must be from the Bad Guy Store.
  • 13D) Damaged slicer remains (6)
    SLICER * anagram = RELICS
“Damaged slicer remains” is so nice and tight!
Narsil | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 23D) Bring up name made in discipline involving exercises and pain (5)
    (name = N) in (discipline involving exercises = YOGA) * bring up = AGONY
Nice! The agony of yoga! Sweet V frequently complains that most yoga classes are designed for female flexibility, and thus discourage male attendance. We must to admit: we were blind to female normative exercise design!
Yoga | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 25D) Ringer, Round One, given a Nick name? (6)
    (Ringer = BELL) round (One = I) given A = BELIAL
Belial is a term occurring in the Hebrew Bible which later became personified as the Devil in Jewish and Christian texts.

Source: Wikipeeds

Nick names. Very nice. Consulted V's personal lexicon of names synonymous for the Dark One, but none fit the existing fill at the time of BE--A-. Thus, then assumed it was a famous/celebrity Nick (“Nick Bettay?”) Belial | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 28D) Old piece from fitted coat worn by Siamese, perhaps (7)
    COAT + (Siamese, perhaps = CAT) TOCCATA
Music. REALLY thought this would be a reference to one of
  1. old menswear
  2. Chang/Eng
  3. Thailand
  4. cat outfits
Chang and Eng | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Cat wearing a sweater | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 30D) One not moving in the mainstream route tavels around Long Island (7)
    ROUTE travels around (Long Island = LI) = OUTLIER
RULLY thought there'd be an LIRR reference here!
LIRR | Long Island Railroad Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 33D) Import daunts producer, possibly (6)
    DAUNTS * anagram = DATSUN
Datsun! Sweet V landed this one. Not called out in the instructs as uncommon, tho? Mmmmmmmmmmm uh. Not common to we!

Also, for years swore we heard Nedry saying “Datsun” instead of “Dodgson.” We've got Dodgson out here! | Wayne Knight as Dennis Nedry from Jurassic Park | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 38D) Stone making cameo appearances in Sony X-Men series (4)
    Sony X-Men = ONYX
X-Men! Nice psych-out with reference to Sony's X-Men. btw, glad to hear that Sony is letting Spider-man enter the Marvel Comics Universe of film. Altho, we're also discouraged about what the franchise superhero blockbuster culture is doing to the spec screenplay market. But what gunna do ¯\(°_o)/¯

Here's some vintage X-men #nostalgia


  • 12A) Corrupt NE frontier agent that stops some progress (10)
Not an uncommon obscuro? Uh. I'm interferon with that logic. Definition:
interferon /in•ter•fer•on/
any of a family of glycoproteins, production of which can be stimulated by viral infection, by intracellular parasites, by protozoa, and by bacteria and bacterial endotoxins, that exert antiviral activity and have immunoregulatory functions; they also inhibit the growth of nonviral intracellular parasites.

Source: The Free Dictionary

  • 15A) Probation officer gets me fruit (4)
    (Probation officer = PO) gets ME = POME
Pome? What is? Just, like, an apple? Murr.
Pome | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 17A) Start to do good in a lab, perhaps ... (3)
    do good = DOG
What's with the all the perhapses this month? Buh. Here's a cute doggy:
Labrador puppy wearing a lab coat | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 20A) Flooring participant in a timeless deed (4)
    (deed = TITLE) * timeless = TILE
UhhHHHhhhhhh it should be ILE by that logic. T-less! No T! We insisted to Sweet V for several hours that it must be PILE (somehow) as in carpeting, because it COULD NOT be TILE, as TILE has a T. It is not T-less. Then we got the crossing T from AMENITY in 4D and were thus forced to admit that the puzzle's answer was TILE. “Ai dreptate,” we said to Sweet V in his mother tongue. “You were right.”

Speaking of piles, here is a poem written by one of our former bosses. We were hired to that job formally as a marketing associate, and informally as a “second assistant” to the boss. Most of our intuition about the life of the Puzzle Minion is based on our experience working with this particular boss, who fancied himself a poet. Here is a memorable line from one of his poems:
My pee is in that pile
When I think of you, I smile


  • 37A) Drunken sot, in general, appearing ina Chinese restaurant (3)
    SOT * anagram = TSO
Tso, General. We meet again.
General Tso  | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
It should come as no surprise, and yet it still comes as a little surprise:
The dish is named after General Tso Tsung-tang, or Zuo Zongtang, a Qing dynasty general and statesman, although there is no recorded connection to him. The real roots of the dish lie in the post-1949 exodus of chefs to the United States.

Source: Wikipedya

  • 40A) Lady's man, for example, backs bid to avoid a suit (4)
    ((for example = EG) backs = GE) + (avoid a suit ... ?= NT ) = GENT
Is this a bridge reference? Dear Readers are invited to elaborate logic in the ccccccomments.
  • 14D) Accommodating beef served around South America (11)
    (beef = COMPLAINT) around (South America = SA) = COMPLAISANT
Variant spelling that went unmentioned in the puzzle instructs. How unaccommodating.
  • 29D) Marble slab with writing on it, so they say (7)
    = STELE
Stele. Fancy seeing you here in a puzzle all the time every day (never stop) (can't stop won't stop).
The monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues Is pronounced like “Steely Dan” yess?
1970s Steely Dan | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues

The Tacky!

  • 24A) A female reporter with competence (4)
    A + (female reporter = BLY) = ABLY
Nellie Bly | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues Nellie Bly! Remembered from our feminist playing cards growing up!! A sample of this American badass:
But the piece that was to make Bly’s name was her exposé of the insane asylum on New York's Blackwell's Island. Pretending to be Cuban, Bly was committed there and found that most women in the asylum were in fact not insane but immigrants who could not communicate with their jailers or single women without a place in society. Bly stayed there for 10 days and described the horrible treatment and conditions of the place. ‘Suddenly I got, one after the other, three buckets of water over my head—ice cold water, too—into my eyes, my ears, my nose and my mouth. I think I experienced some of the sensations of a drowning person as they dragged me, gasping, shivering and quaking, from the tub. For once did I look insane, as they put me, dripping wet, into a short canton flannel slip, labeled across the extreme end in large black letters, ‘Lunatic Asylum, B.I.H. 6.’”

Source: The Daily Beast

Referencing Queen Bly makes up (partially) for yeddanother male-normative clue. Ugh, side rant, in the NYTimes crossword the other week there was GUYLINER which, o my gorn no one cares about your precious fragile masculinity, men wearing eyeliner! Here! Let us now legitimize a bogus word to keep your penis safe. It's not eyeliner, it's guyliner. They're not dolls, they're GI Joes. It's not gay if you like it. You're safe now. Which is to say: this gender normativity shit works both ways and sucks every time.

Back to Bly, the “female” reporter, who would never ever ever in a million skillion years occur to a cryptic doer without that all-important “female” hint. Because why would one of the great muckrackers of US history ever be top of mind. Being as she is in a special and discrete category of reporter. You know. As a female.

Wouldn't it be cool to at least live in a world where the cryptic clues said like “male CEO” and “male president” and things like that? Clues from a free world (cool world).
sign stencilled in spraypaint: 'The Feminists are Taking Over' | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues

Comment (yes).