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

We made the change at Blogger's suggestion and with an easy purchase via Google Domains. Ok but then so visitors to 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

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

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