Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Search Warrant - April 2015

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


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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!


  1. Toroidal Ninas? Definitely something a programmer (or a friend of Vlad) might think up. Count them like nobody’s watching!

  2. Egregious typo in the May puzzle!

  3. Yes, we saw the typo too. Amazing that got through.

    1. Rully! Will need to take a close look today cuz I haven't spotted it yet. Write up for May goes live tomorrow :)

    2. I just found the obvious, giant typo. O mang. This is bad, you guys! Commentary to follow.