Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Stereo Components - April 2016

April 2016 | Stereo Components | Harper's puzzle solution

Good morning, Dear Readers! It's springtime in Chicago, praise goddess.

The Theme!

Component clues are homophones for halves of the entered answer. Homophonic left and right, as opposed to mono. Not bad.
  • c) Just average (4)
    FAIR (double syn.)
  • e) Is obliged to go west, where there are no limits (4)
    gO WESt where there are no limits =  OWES
  • FAIR OWES => PHAROAHS (1 across)
Beyonce | King Tut National Geographic cover | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • k) Henry upset soldier getting a girl more stoned (6)
    (Henry = H) (upset (soldier = GI) = IG) getting (a girl = HER) = HIGHER
  • a) Place for 34 across that's unlit, having no opening (3)
    (unlit = DARK) having no opening = ARK
    34A is ARK
    HIGHER ARK => HIERARCH (8 across)
  • l) It's braided by Jews around the foyer—that's so nice! (7)
    (around = C) the (foyer = HALL) (that's so nice = AH) = CHALLAH
  • b) Distraction that's necessary to find a zero (4)
    finD A ZEro = DAZE
  • CHALLAH DAZE => HOLIDAYS (26 across)
Took a looooorng time to figure out where the C-AH came from but it's “around” as in like “circa.” K fine.
  • i) Funny book company gets some sound equipment (5)
    (company = CO) gets some (sound equipment = MIC) = COMIC
  • g) Father Nelson's circle that is catching some sleep? (5)
    (circle = O) (that is = I.E.) catching some (sleep = ZZ) = OZZIE
  • COMIC OZZIE => KAMIKAZE (27 across)
Ozzie + Harriet | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • j) Act let out in stock (6)
    ACT LET * anagram = CATTLE
  • h) Composer who sounds lean (5)
    sounds (lean = LIST) = LISZT
  • CATTLE LISZT => CATALYST (40 across)
  • d) View unfinished pine (4)
    (view = SIGHT) unfinished = SIGH
  • f) Gets rid of breakfast cereal, by the sound of it (5)
    (breakfast cereal = KIX) by the sound of it = KICKS
  • SIGH KICKS => PSYCHICS (41 across)
PINE => SIGH is a little erm dubious to us.

And that wazzat for the theme. Medium temperature. A Goldilocks theme.


  • 14A) A German in East European borders (4)
    IN (East European = EE) borders = EINE
Nice! Reminds us of our favorite clue to introduce newcomers to What Iz a Cryptic Clue Pls Explain. We cite the following:
  • Capital city in a former Eastern European country (4)
    in a (former Eastern European country = CZECHOSLOVAKIA) = OSLO
and then people usually look at us like we're big jerks and why would anyone want to do such a nasty jerk thing like solve a cryptic crossword puzzle. So maybe we should think of a more easily digested go-to cryptic example clue. A real Ritz™ cracker of a clue. Salty buttery simple carbohydrates, melts on the tongue. Dear Readers: do you, too, have trouble explaining this cryptic business?
  • 16A) Racy hex signs reinterpreted, as a rule, for bishops (7)
    RACY HEX reinterpreted = EXARCHY
Anagram with a fun narrative! V nice!
  • 18A) Primp—the odds are, it's a spot for gambling (3)
    PrImP the odds are = PIP
Dots on the cards. Which we think are maybe used in card counting? Card counting is on our list of things that would be cool to sit down and learn, like learning the Rubik's cube.
card pips | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 20A) What helps make pole a pole vault (4)
    poLE A Pole = LEAP
A daring word spanner!
  • 25A) Total confusion surrounding China's first famous author (6)
    TOTAL confusion surrounding (China's first = C) = ALCOTT
Woot! Appreciate “author” without gender qualification. Feminist Harper's Cryptic Clues. Little Women | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 28A) Contorted coitions with equal tension for both participants (8)
Enjoyed, even though COITIONS was very clear anagram fodder and whatda heck is ISOTONIC?
1. Of equal tension.

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ok, literally exactly “equal tension” V COOL.
  • 30A) Is The Apartment noir? Curiously, it's a decreasing factor! (8)
    (the apartment = FLAT) (NOIR curiously = IRON) = FLATIRON
OHhhhhhhh gorsh it's “decreasing” as in “de-creasing” as in “remove the wrinkles” oh crimey this one is excellent and diabolical! Mwa!
old flat iron | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 34A) To cheer for five good books (5)
    TO (cheer = RAH) = TORAH
Nice. Happy Purim to our Jewish brothers and sisters!
  • 37A) Doxies struggling with hair bleaches, etc. (6)
    DOXIES struggling = OXIDES
Re: the hair reference, was that a shout out to Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues?? Always love a reference to doxies.
doxies | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
See also: DOXIES in Harry Potter or DOXIES as in “prostitutes.”
  • 38A) Fulfills requirements for rawness (7)
    RAWNESS * anagram = ANSWERS
Nice anagrama!
  • 3D) Editor edited tonight also (11)
Glorious supra-nice anagrama!
  • 4D) Crustier weird guys who signed up (8)
Keep 'em coming! More anagrams!!
  • 7D) Terrific screenplay with an overwritten character (11)
    (Terrific = SUPER) (screenplay = SCRIPT) = SUPERSCRIPT
This was a NICE charades clue!
  • 8D) Appropriate greeting for President Kennedy (6)
    (greeting = HI) for (President Kennedy = JACK) = HIJACK
“Appropriate” slant rhyming with “instigate” as in a fancy word for “stealing” but like a genteel stealing committed by a rich person. We originally had SEANCE as our answer.
fhqwhgads | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
I asked my friend Joe / I asked my friend Jake / they said it was fhqwhgads
view on utube
  • 12D) Material for comic's opening: hints— listen to it (6)
    (comic's opening = C) (HINTS listen to it = HINTZ) = CHINTZ
Speaking of comics, we've been doing stand‑up comedy. It is by far the most challenging art form we have ever attempted. When the joke doesn't land it's like, “welllll catch up with you in the next life, scuse me while i pilot my starship directly into the sun …” But instead you have to stay strong and tell another joke. It requires such discipline. We hate it (we're falling in love with it).
  • 13D) With needle, takes drugs, inhaling half‑score in long lines (11)
    With (needle = HYPO) (takes drugs = USES) inhaling (half score = TEN) = HYPOTENUSES
One of our favorite Key & Peele sketches:

  • 22D) …who's having no opening article front and back—that's high praise (7)
    (WHO'S having no opening = HOS) ((article = AN) front and back = ANNA) = HOSANNA
Meet you all the way!

Rosanna by Toto | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 23D) Rigging a jury, an occurence leading to a year (7)
    Rigging A JURY AN = JANUARY
  • 24D) Endowments coming from old money (7)
    TALENTS (double syn.)
  • 31D) Nine in bed getting up—really unpleasant (5)
    (Nine = IX) in ((bed = COT) getting up = TOC) = TOXIC
The Toxic Avenger | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 35D) High‑calorie seconds in bridal dinner: icing, chocolate (4)
    seconds in bRidal dInner iCing cHocolate = RICH
Do it, bridesy! Have seconds on dessert! It's your day!
Bridesmaids | img courtesy © Universal Pictures | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues


  • 19A) Chores that can produce some toning (6)
    CHORES that can produce = OCHRES
“toning” in the sense of color tone. Blmeah.
  • 21A) Field nurse's study (6)
    (Field = LEA) (nurse's = RN'S) = LEARNS
We just had this in October. Not quite exactly the same, but very very close and basically exactly the same actually:
  • October 2015
    3) Field nurses and cons
    (Field = LEA) + (nurses = RNS) = LEARNS
Carla in Scrubs | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 39A) Pediatric disorder in the offing, for daddy! (9)
“for daddy” whoa. What was for daddy? Murder was for daddy. Kinda intense, but then also kinda funny :)
Oedipus Rex | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 5D) Feller involved in forestry, according to a Times banner (2,4)
    A (Times = X) (banner = HEAD) = AXHEAD
Sure. We guess.
  • 6D) At heart, it's honest money (4)
    hONESt = ONES
  • 10D) Pitch from a debaucher (4)
“rake” meaning “slant”? Never hearda.
  • 11D) Asian spirits living in barracks (6) bARRACKs = ARRACK
We saw “Asian spirits” and tried to force ONI into it, cuz we've got onsen and natural hot springs onda brain. Then we tried working SAKE, cuz obv. Right? Gotta be SAKE. But, nah. Arrack invasion.
arrack | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 15D) Racing fans, silly, mad to get in with rising star …(9)
    SILLY mad to get in with (rising STAR = RATS) = RALLYISTS
A “rallyist”?
Korean rallyist | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 29D) Oiler disabled in a bay (5)
    OILER disabled = ORIEL
Never hearda “oriel” to mean “bay window.” Hrmph.
oriel | bay window | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 33D) Patsy given a ring in corny drama (4)
    (Patsy = SAP) given a (ring = O) = SOAP
Haha that's rather judgmental! Casting aspersions on our stories!

Our father's orthopedic surgery partner once told us a story about growing up on the mean streets of Providence, Rhode Island and how cops would call showing their badges “flashing their potsy.” Doesn't that sound like a lie? This partner is a good surgeon, but not a good truth teller. Upon Googly searching just now, “potsy” qua “badge” shows up in The Tenth Commandment by Lawrence Sanders:
flash your potsy | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
See for yourself on Googly books

… but perhaps not elsewhere? Inconclusive.

The Tacky

  • 1A) Initially Philadelphia police hid a reevaluation relating too much to children (11)
    (Initially Philadelphia = P) POLICE HID A reevaluation = PEDOPHILIAC
Ugh. Outside the news, the Harper's puzzle is by far the place where we most frequently encounter reference to pedophilia. Weird, right?
Dennis Hastert | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues

Comments are fuel for more blogging.


  1. I like you. I like this. Half the time I (no all the time) struggle through the puzzle but the thought of reading the tackies with the royal we is like a light at the end of a dirty, dirty tunnel (full of pedos).

    1. "reading the tackies" YASSS!! Thank you for Dear Reading!
      i/we like YOU!

  2. Got my print copy in the mail today and saw the winner for this puzzle. No way.

    But if yes way, it really elevates the stock of your two-time winner status.

    1. hahahaha NO WAY!!! WOZ UP NOW

      Steve, if you're out there Dear Reading, much love! And congratulations :)

      And thanks /you/ for reaching out, Brother Eric Lawrence. The May 2016 writeup coming this Saturday.

    2. Alas, it was not meant to be


    3. “I’m about [Apple co-founder Wozniak]’s age and I do nothing. Actually I do what I want. My week consists of five Saturdays and two Sundays.”


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