Monday, November 16, 2015

Crazy Quilt - November 2015

November 2015 | Crazy Quilt | Harper's puzzle solution

The Theme!

What's up, crazy quilt. Not our fave theme. Much frustration and torment, and for what? A sweet honeycomb like Hex Signs? Retro fun like Tetris? A satisfying art piece like Vicious Circles? Nay. Just a giant interlochen mess.

Dunno about you Dear Readers, but mid‑solve, with a gridful of unsalvageably incorrect guesses, we had to do a compleat reboot and start fresh. Trés aggravating.


  • 9D) Turned up as a trap—it's a setup (9)
    UP AS A TRAP * anagram = APPARATUS
Lovely anagrama!
  • 14A) Practice seeing about CNN layouts in action (11)
Mwa! Giant anagrama! Lova lova!
  • 15A) Terrify, old‑style, at a distance, taking ecstasy (5)
    (at a distance = AFAR) taking (ecstasy = E) = AFEAR
Love this. Even if “afear” is ohso close to “m'lady.” Absolutely in love with “old‑style” to mean “anachronistic.” Fantastic!
  • 16A) Well‑grounded company man (6)
    (company = CO) (man = GENT) = COGENT
Thought for a sec that “company man” = “cog” which, yes, a thousand times yes! It's a little different from that
(or is it).
  • 19A) Josephine, e.g.—temptress having no time for us at all? (7)
    TEMPTRESS having no time = EMPRESS
Nice! These clues where you shake out a letter to be left with a new word are like the trick when you whip the tablecloth off and the table remains perfectly set. Mm! Satisfying!
  • 22A) A hanging could be silent—listen (6)
    SILENT * anagram = LISTEN * anagram = TINSEL
Yas! The wisdom of the third anagram! Always love these.
  • 30A) From other lines, some characters show warmth and caring (12)
Glorious anagrama! Per Wise Tyler, woops, nottanagram. A daring spanner! Tho the qualities of “motherliness” are kindof like the qualities of “avuncular.” Depends on the mother, depends on the uncle. Like “big brother.”
  • 31A) Resort reaches limits in the flood (5)
    (Resort = SPA) reaches (limits in THE = TE) = SPATE
Classic. Nice narrative, freshness in the indicators. One thing Chicago is missing: a spa and bathhouse like the Imperial Day Spa on Geary in San Francisco. Dear Readers, we have legit considered visiting SF again just to spend another day there soaking and steaming.
  • 32A) Train tied up in late morning (6)
    (Train = EL) (tied up = EVEN) = ELEVEN
Yes! Our favorite scene in The Fugitive is when Tommy Lee Jones's team is listening to Dr Kimble's call, and Johnny Lee Davenport [correctly] identifies the sound of the elevated train. Watching as a kid, we didn't think of The Fugitive as a particularly Chicago movie, but as an adult it's constant Chicago specificity:f from the St Patrick's Day parade, to the El, to the Polish neighborhood where Dr Kimble lays low (Pullman).

“Don't ever argue with the big dog. Big dog's always right.”
  • 33A) Frontless undergarments? Plant kisses here! (4)
    Frontless (undergarments = SLIPS) = LIPS
Hello hello hell‑oooooh! What's up, oral sex. What is up. Nice to see an “undergarments” that's not BRA, btw.
  • 1D) Tony's girl given almost stylish band (8)
    (Tony's girl = MARIA) given almost (stylish = CHIC) = MARIACHI
Thisiz aight.
  • 2D) A field sport, private, has, without starting, serious defenses (9)
    A (field sport = POLO) (private = GI) (HAS without starting = AS) = APOLOGIAS
Did you know polo comes from the East? As does chess. The cultural claim on both yet another spoil of imperialism. Nearly stuck this in lowlights for all the commas in the clue. That's an excessive number of commas, non? Here's our rewrite:
  • Justification for a Greek god (not Latin) near vaginas without truck (9)
softly, sing‑song: “Nailed it.”
  • 5D) Dolly gets run down after getting let off outside (7)
    RUN (down = D) getting LET off outside = TRUNDLE
Nice! Harooooooo Dolly!
  • 6D) Form of herpes, something that's going around (6)
    HERPES * anagram = SPHERE
MMmm! Wonderful! Now this is what we're talking about! Like a regular sentence you might read in a magazine, no obvious puzzle words, no low‑hanging anagrind or indicators. Smooth and clean, like the sphere in the movie Sphere.
smooth and clean | the sphere, in the movie 'Sphere' | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
The most implausible part of the movie Sphere was that Sharon Stone married Dustin Hoffman. No but like for real not kidding.
Cast of 'Sphere' | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Image courtesy Warner Bros. c/o IMDb

  • 7D) Mud rafts, surprisingly stable (4,4)
    MUD RAFTS * anagram = STUD FARM
Surprise! It's the grotesque field of animal husbandry! Eep. Stud farms. But another lovely clean clue. Excellent.
  • 8D) Causes smells, as the saying goes (6)
    (smells = REEKS) * homophone = WREAKS
Such a nice run of clues here in the downs! Speaking of Reeks, can we talk about Game of Thrones for a second? Let's talk. We are hardcore true believers in that TV show. We lack the receptor for enjoying the books. It's not personal, it's just a genetic thing. The same way we lack the Gilmore Girls receptor. Anyway tho, we've just about hettit with all this killing people off without advancing the main storyline of Just What the Fock Is Happening in Westeros.

They've just about burnt through our goodwill as a viewer. And we're a Neon Genesis Evangelion fan. Not just fan: evangelist. So what we're saying is, our tolerance for mystery: is high. Our patience with killing off important cool characters while the lamest weakest assholes continue to live: is great. But Game of Thrones is pushing us to our limit.
Young Starks
Maybe that's the point of the show. To teach indifference to that which you once loved. To nurture nihilism (goth enlightenment).
  • 12) Outlaws in favor of writers? (10)
    (in favor of = PRO) (writers = SCRIBES) = PROSCRIBES
  • 14D) Put in uniform tuition, connected to university medicine (8)
    (tuition = COST) connected to (university = U) (medicine = MED) = COSTUMED
Yass! A uniform is a costume!
  • 23D) Perfection, to some, is catch‑up (3)
    (catch = NET) up = TEN
Excellent! Tight, brief, natural language.
  • 25D) Loose change, in pun (5)
    change IN PUN = UNPIN
We're in a Rage Phase against super simple anagrams, but this one! Delightful! The fake‑out indicator with “pun” as anagrind. The brevity. The use of “loose” as “loose the dogs of war.” Excellent.
  • 29A) A Christmas Carol is a book with no heart (4)
    (book = NOVEL) with no heart = NOEL
Kinda sicka Noël in the puzzle but the language here! So natural. Trippingly off the tongue. Have you seen the trailer for the new Coën brothers movie? We bring it up because, click and you'll see. We are excite:


  • 10A) Republican one flips over: white Anglo‑Saxon Protestant! What a cutup! (6)
    (Republican = R) (one = I) ((white Anglo‑Saxon Protestant = WASP) flips over = PSAW) = RIPSAW
Whoa. Yowza. Spelling out every single part of White Anglo‑Saxon Protestant. Yikes.

For those Dear Readers who are also Max Funsters, besides Notorious Marcel, one of our favorite parts of Jordan and Jesse Go! is when Jesse unpacks common acronyms. Electronic Bay. Information Phone. But the best, the best, the best best best of these is Extreme Box, for XBox.
young Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn | Jordan, Jesse, Go!
  • 11A) Footloose or shod, showing an island as the Greeks write it (6)
    OR SHOD * anagram = RODHOS
Six words for you: what, the fuck, is this, shit. RODHOS? This clue is an Olympic discus thrown directly into the Mediterranean.

Pop quiz: name the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World! We've memorized them at least once a year every year for the last 20 years. We forget some or all almost immediately. Let's try now!! Has the cycle been broken?? Can we at last remember??? Wonder no longer!
  1. The Colossus of Rhodes, in Greece
  2. The Lighthouse of Alexandria, in Egypt
  3. The Great Pyramid, also Egypt
  4. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in Iraq*
    *if they even existed … Our memory is that the existence of the Gardens is in dispute.
  5. The statue of Zeus, in (Greece?)
  6. The statue of Artemis of Ephesus with all the boobs on it, don't remember where
  7. something in Turkey
How'd we do! (looks it up on Wikipedia)

We missed the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, built by the Persians, indeed in Turkey. Artemis is a temple, not a statue, and her thing is in Turkey, not Greece. Overall not bad!

Here is the many‑breasted Artemis of Ephesus. Those might not be breasts. They might be eggs. Or bull testicles. You can look at this statue and see whatever you want to see here, and learn something about yourself.
Artemis of Ephesus | the many-breasted | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • Badly built pound, with ridiculously underlit exterior (3‑6)
    (pound = L) with ridiculously UNDERLIT exterior = ILL‑TURNED
Sure. “pound” as in pound sterling, pound currency. Bri'ish quid. £  Why commonly abbreved to L? Why the L not?
  • 17A) Happening under pressure, strike leads to unexpected hiatus (7)
    (strike = S) leads to (anagram * HIATUS) = SHAITSU
What a dum anagram. SHIATUS => SHIATSU
  • Unnatural mania for where babies come from (5)
    MANIA * anagram = AMNIA
Like “the amniotic sac.” Aight. Assumed a Jungian “anima” for a while. Our margin notes show a frowny face, altho truly, we're not sure how we feel. We enjoy the clue narrative, of course. Sex maniacs.
  • 28A) Rude, oafish, smallish type comes first—or last (6)
    (RUDE * anagram) + (smallish type = EN) comes first = ENDURE
Yah uh “smallish type” = “EN” reads a bit thin. Like as in the slightly long hyphen for use in telephone numbers? Meh.
  • 34A) Historic French lover couldn't have been seedier—or could she! (7)
    SEEDIER * anagram = DESIREE
Meh. Why not equal puzzle cluing devoted to slutty men. Who even is this French historical DESIREE who is she even? The only French lady lovers we know are Héloïse and Joséphine …
Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary (8 November 1777 – 17 December 1860), was Queen of Sweden and Norway as the consort of King Charles XIV John, a former French General and founder of the House of Bernadotte, and one-time fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Source: Wikipeed

  • 4D) Burr and others, a Reagan in like surroundings (6)
    A (Reagan = RON) in (like = AS) surroundings = AARONS
We have two brothers: Tommy and Chris. Here is a joke that makes Chris chuckle, but Tommy literally can't roll his eyes hard enough:

“I was expecting Chris, but I only see one Chri here.”

“I was expecting Thomas, so why do I only see one Thoma?”

That joke is not very good; that joke is way better than AARONS. What's up tho to my brothers and sisters lovin BROADWAY SMASH HIT HAMMMMMMILTONNNNN!!
  • 18D) Something's underfoot—but only in leading (6)
    (but only = SOLE) IN leading = INSOLE
Meh. Do you feel the restraint in not pulling “in” = “cool” equivalency?
  • 20D) Traveling U.S. mile for oat meal? (6)
    US MILE * anagram = MUESLI
Puzzle cereal of champions.
  • 21D) The old‑fashioned S.A.T.'s—funny, you get a rise out of them (6)
    (THE old‑fashioned = YE) SATS * anagram = YEASTS
Meh. Old‑fashioned and musty … like this clue!!
  • 26D) People with reservations losing million in minutes (4)
    MINUTES losing ((million = M) IN) = UTES
Starting now and every month going forward, every time the puzzle ute‑ilizes UTES, Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues will make a small donation to the American Indian Education Fund. Such is the unearned benefit the puzzle reaps from the names of those who could use a decent scholarship.

The Tacky

Aw jyah, bro‑dogs! The offender this month is none other than Richard E Maltby Jr's all‑time special magic favoritest clue**:
**as indicated in the footer of this very puzzle
  • 1A) The definitive manifestation of the human comedy is a crime (12)
    (The definitive manifestation of the human = MANS) + (comedy = LAUGHTER) = MANSLAUGHTER
This was one of the last clues we solved, as well. One of the guesses in our margin notes: MURDER MASTER

Couple things. First thing. Where's that S in MANS comin from. Don't answer that. We weren't asking a question. We were pointing out how we know good and gorrang well that the S isn't coming from anywhere.

Second thing. Boo to male normativity. Fact: we all started out female in utero. Then some of us were virilized. Thus, the protean manifestation of the human is woman—an argument supported by scientific fact. In the distance, you can hear the sound of our woman's laughter.

“Uh, but ‘man’ = ‘human’ has been accepted usage for thousands of years, so whatever,” you might say to us. You might follow it up with, “also I hate change, and also I feel terror at even minor discomfort, so rather than alter any anachronistic or logically void but familiar behaviors, I will instead deny any problem associated with such behaviors, and deny the premise underlying such problem, and attack those who would invite me to do otherwise.”

And to that, we say, “wutever.” To that, we say, “adapt or die.”

Per Dear Reader Unknown WOOPS this is “definitive” as in “defined” as in “edges” or “boundary” or w/e so we take it back, this is not yet another irritating WOMANifestation of male normativity and we were mm perhaps judgWOMANtal in deeming it thus.

So … nothing tacky this month? Nothing tacky this month.

Leave a comment. Unlike Spinoza's god, we always comment back.


  1. The MOTHERLINESS clue is a hidden word, not an anagram. The clue is saying "characters of froM OTHER LINES Some."

  2. Yo, the S in MANS is coming from the fact that "MANifestation of the huMAN" starts and ends with man. The "definitions" of that phrase are two mans (men?). Thought the clue was OK, nothing special.

    1. O like "definitions" as in "edges."

      Ok yah that does make it better. Thanks for the tip, Dear Reader :)

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