Archive for April, 2011

Use It or Lose It (4-24-11)

Posted in Least Bitchy on April 25, 2011 by ericandabbie

A day late AGAIN. Blame it on the a-a-a-a-alcohol (Abbie’s excuse: it was her birthday weekend! Eric’s: it was…Easter? Jews can take shots on Easter, right?) But, despite (or maybe because of?) our varying states of sobriety, we did really well this week! Still no beer and skittles for us but only three letters wrong – definitely an improvement on our poor showings recently. The three letters we missed were literally the last three letters we put in the puzzle. We had absolutely no idea what any of the words were so John and ericandabbie each got to choose a letter at random to put in; all of us were wrong. Still,  a really solid Sunday evening effort. Let’s get to the specifics.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The authors of this puzzle: Caleb Madison and J.A.S.A. Crossword Class. Ericandabbie were all like “WTF is J.A.S.A. and who takes crossword classes?? Ericandabbie’s talent is completely free of any sort of learned skill!” So we looked it up and this is actually really awesome: Caleb Madison is an 18 year old who teaches a class on crosswords at the Jewish Associations of Services for the Aged. So basically he teaches old people how to be just like

    Some people might have a hard time making fun of the crosswording skills of such kindly-looking folks. ericandabbie are not those people.

    ericandabbie. You go, Caleb Madison! We like thinking about a group of old Jewish people arguing over the clues and which words to use and stuff. This isn’t going to stop us from making fun of y’all later but we’ll still give y’all some mad HIGHLIGHTS props.

  • 92A “Understood, man” (I DIG) Abbie was really upset that the answer wasn’t WORD but I DIG was still pretty cute and now that we have this vision of 18yr old Caleb trying to explain this joke to the old Jews, we like it even better.
  • 121A “Ball boy?” (DESI) This took us forever to get but, man, is that a great clue or what?
  • 123A “Homey’s rep” (STREET CRED) Again with the 18yr old convincing the old folks that “No really guys, this is great. All the kids will dig it.” Ericandabbie disagree with the spelling of Homey but otherwise, a super  beer and skittles clue.
  • 3D “One who sees everything in black and white?” (BIGOT) We enjoy awkward-turtle clues.
  • 7D “Art, nowadays” (ARE) Fabulous. Old English clues like “long ago, to a poet” and stuff can get really old (this puzzle had 3 of them – OPE, ERE, SEEST) but this was a really good use of Shakespearean syntax in a misdirection clue. We art amused.
  • 42D “Sibyl, for one” (ORACLE) Reading the Aeneid twice in English and once in Latin helps Abbie in real life like, maybe once every six months. Watching some movie about a woman named Sibyl with multiple personalities did not help Eric in this instance.
  • 108D “Sash go with” (TIARA) Abbie wore both of these at some point this weekend.
  • The theme: “Use It or Lose It” Popular phrases that can mean something else if you add or take away the word “it.” For example: 63A “Preacher’s lies?” (PULPIT FICTION), 33A “Spill a Cuban drink?” (LOSE ONES MOJITO), and 94A “Hairdresser’s first do?” (LEARNER SPERM….we mean LEARNERS PERM). Not hideously gimmicky and we laughed a few times. Good theme.
  • John’s clutchness. We promised him a shoutout after he showed up about an hour into the puzzle and delivered a much needed second wind. John, we usually rag on you quite a bit because, hey, we can and what the fuck are you gonna do about it get your own blog and then we’ll see what’s up but you rocked this puzzle. Good job, buddy.

OLD JEWISH PEOPLE’S MISTAKES

  • 15A “Gds.” (MDSE) What? Google’s confused too. We’ve gathered it’s something to do with distribution or factories but for the life of us can’t figure out what either of these groups of letters mean and Abbie’s work requires her to be pretttttty good with acronyms so we call BS on this. You see what we did there? Figure out that acronym, old people.
  • 53A “Noblewoman” (PEERESS) Quite possibly the last thing we ever would have guessed. We had baroness, countess, heiress, and even lioness in our heads and would have been totally lost on PEER if not for the crosses. Yuck we just don’t like this word.
  • 112A “Pizza topping” (SALAMI) Who puts salami on their pizza? That’s not kosher, Jewish folks!
  • 11D “Stores after cremation” (INURNS) Is this really a word? Like, y’all couldn’t clue that for the answer IN URNS? Like, who actually uses this world? “Grandma got inurned today.” Can’t blame the old folks for having death on the mind but y’all can do better than that.

Really not too much to bitch about this week – solid puzzle overall. Some easy fill, some tough but all doable, and a cute theme. What more could you want from a Sunday puzzle? Paula Gamache should take notes.

ericandabbie, out

End of the Line (4-17-11)

Posted in Bitchy on April 18, 2011 by ericandabbie
Good evening, fellow crosswordophiles. We’re afraid this post was written with heavy hearts as we once again had a really poor week even though we enjoyed the theme immensely. Perhaps we can blame it on the hangovers we were dealing with as a result of a birthday blowout honoring John AND Abbie who were born within two weeks of each other. The night can accurately be summed up with these two photos of John in a sombrero and Eric’s shattered phone.

Birthday sombrero!

Birthday fail.

Obviously, we were not quite on our best crosswording game today.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • MITCH HEDBERG FOR THE WIN!! Ok so the theme this week was to finish the line of some comedic phrase. We enjoyed most of the phrases and thought, while not terribly inventive, it was a fun theme. But clearly the absolute best was 23A “‘I used to do drugs.               ‘ : Mitch Hedberg” (I STILL DO BUT I USED TO TOO). Officially the best crossword clue/answer ever. We would have also accepted “An escalator can never break” (IT CAN ONLY BECOME STAIRS).
  • 120A “‘I have the heart of a small boy. It           ‘: Stephen King” (IS IN A GLASS JAR ON MY DESK) Second best theme answer today. Nooooo idea where Abbie had heard this before but she managed to pull the gist of it out of some deep part of her brain where differential equations and the dates of Millard Fillmore’s presidency also reside.
  • 56A “Biblical name meaning ‘hairy'” (ESAU) We had a nice discussion about how sick nasty it is that Jacob could only pass for his brother by wearing a full out animal hide. Like, seriously, Esau. If you lived nowadays, you’d be on some episode of ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’ during a segment about “Wolfmen”
  • 112A “Saint’s place” (SUPERDOME) Super cute clue. Props to Eric for picking that one up really quickly.
  • 124A “Classic role-playing game for short” (D AND D) Abbie once dated a guy who played a lot of D and D and I guess owned one of those 12-sided die and spoke elfish or something. She did not get this answer though (and she’s really happy about that); Abbie is incapable of understanding any game more complicated than Clue Jr. Seriously, what’s up with Monopoly, y’all? That shit’s hard.
  • 12D “1960s doo-wop group with an automotive name, with ‘the'” (EDSELS) We ONLY knew this b/c we bitched about the Edsel flop in an earlier blog post. These bitchy posts are really helping our game! Psh, and who said complaining doesn’t get you anywhere?!
WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES
  • 4A Solzhenitsyn subject (GULAG) We’re sorry, was any part of that clue/answer in English? What the hell?? Hmm google tells us that Solzfaosghy8isyn is an author and the gulahjgag is some government thing. So I guess we’re just bad at literature/history/Russia; we can live with that.
  • 37D “Squirt, eg” (EMIT) Ummmm gross. There have to be a billion better ways to clue EMIT that don’t use the word “squirt.”
  • 96D “Garage Opener” (HARD G) Ughhhhh we HATE these clues and no matter how much we hate and bitch about them, we never ever remember them when they pop up again. We’ll start punishing ourselves with pushups or something the next time we miss this clue; corporal punishment is always the best way to rectify bad habits.
  • 94D “Doesn’t cut” (ATTENDS) Looked at that answer for a long while. Still don’t get it. (Fast forward 4 hours): OHHHHHHHHH like if you don’t CUT CLASS you ATTEND IT. Yeah ok, we’ll take blame for that one.
  • 117D “What you might do after retiring” (DOZE) What? Like, you retire and then just sleep forever? Or, like, you stop sleeping through the night and start taking frequent cat naps instead? PLAY BINGO is a much better and more accurate answer.
Alright kids, we’ve had a rough/fabulous weekend and we hope y’all have too. Expect a late post next week as Abbie will trekking back to Htown from her epic birthday bash in Nawlins.
hearts and stars,
ericandabbie

All-Pro (04-10-2011)

Posted in Most Bitchy on April 10, 2011 by ericandabbie
 After discussion, we have decided to post a picture of this week’s puzzle.  The reason it required a discussion will be obvious if we tell you that we did not change pens halfway through.  Rather, anything in black was a fail on our part.  (Check out the SE corner!  Yikes!)  Eric voted to hide a picture and pretend that we are better than we actually are.  Abbie ASSERTED (112A: “Declared”) that we respect you, our loyal readers, too much to lie.  (Except for whichever one of you found us via the search term “effing pigs” earlier today.  We have no respect for your shenanigans.)

 

The theme was Latin (WHAT-WHAT!).  But it was so poorly done as to be almost Punic, or Gallic, take your pick.  The name “All-Pro” refers to the Latin word “pro” meaning “for” (kinda-sorta… William Whitaker gives it nine definitions… Romans were all about efficiency.)  Anyhow, you add the word “for” into somewhat common phrases to get a new one.  (eg. 23A: “Skip Thanksgiving leftovers?” FORGO COLD TURKEY).  Could have been cuter, but it’s not a terrible theme.  What really screwed us was the fill, which required an encyclopedic knowledge base of obscure trivia that our charm and charisma cannot, alas, fake. 

HIGLIGHTS

  • 1D: “’Back to the Future’ family name” (MCFLY).  Good name.  Good franchise.  Christopher Lloyd has not been nearly as exploited as he should have been since then.  Doc Brown!
  • 7D: “Sled dog with a statue in New York’s Central Park” (BALTO).  Good film!  Really underrated Disney film.  Also, Eric’s been there, he has pictures with Balto (his bro was really into it).
  • 10D: “Chart-topper for Ke$ha” (TIK TOK).  Wake up in the morning feeling like P-Diddy cuz he’s prolly not good at crosswords either.  Or something like that…

 Note that there were three highlights.  Not a good day for ericandabbie.

 WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES

  • 99A: “Fairy” (ELF)  Do you know what a fairy is?  Follow-up question: Do you know what an elf is?  Fairies are like REALLY tiny.  Elves are at least midget-sized.  Fairies cannot make toys, and elves can’t make you fall in love in the forest.  Also, Will Ferrell did not make a movie called “Fairy” because that would be gay.  (PS – Elves don’t make gay jokes.  They are super accepting.  Fairies on the other hand… BITCHES)
  • Shit we didn’t know.
    • 52A: “Abbr. on a cover letter” (ENC)
    • 37A: “Chacon of the 1960s Mets” (ELIO)
    • 114A: “Maurice of Nixon’s cabinet” (STANS)
    • 91D: “’La Môme ____’ (‘The Little Sparrow’) (PIAF)
    • 17D: “Place in a Carlo Levi memoir” (EBOLI)
    • 29A: “Singer Sumac” (YMA)

      Even Google doesn't know what's what!

    • 24D: “Western tribe” (OTOE)
    • 9D: “Abbr. following op. and loc.” (CIT)
    • 4D: “Scottish poet James known as the Ettrick Shepard” (HOGG)
    • 14D: “Old Ottoman governor” (BEY)
    • 75A: “Burial site of early Scottish kings” (IONA)
    • 102A: “Steven who co-wrote ‘Freakonomics’” (LEVITT)
    • 113A: “Dammed river in North Carolina” (PEEDEE)
    • 25A: “Early spring bloomers” (CROCI)
    • 93D: “Sword lilies, for short” (GLADS)
    • 70A: “Italian sportswear name” (ELLESSE)
    • 26A: “Operagoer’s accessory” (LORGNETTE)
    • 64D: “Bravura” (ECLAT)

 C’mon.  If once we see the answer we’re still like “WTF!  Didn’t know that!” then it’s too hard.  ericandabbie are a combined pretty smart cookie.  What the fuck are croci?  Who calls ‘gladiolas’ GLADS?  Where is Eboli?  Is it related to Ebola?  Has this hurt tourism?  Why is Carlo Levi going to a place called Eboli?   Does he have a death wish?  Does Maurice Stans feel terrible that Kissinger is the only Nixon cabinet member we care about?  Or that “Kazakh and Kyrgyz” would be a better clue for his name?  Does Yma Sumac even pronounce his first name?  Or does he just cough and say ‘hi’?  Do the Otoens know that they suck and should have joined forces with the Hopi a long time ago? 

PS – Dear North Carolina.  Classy name!  We are glad to have learned about your river.  We bet that sign gets vandalized a lot.  But thank you for your commitment to pee-pee and Crocodile Dun-dee at the same time.

  • 89D: “Like a hair shirt” (COARSE).  Granted, if there were a shirt made of hair, we imagine it would be coarse.  That said… who has a shirt made of hair?  Why are they
    This is a hair shirt. Looks coarse, huh!?

    not helping cancer patients instead of wearing that shirt?

  • 72D: “’_____ dignus’ (Latin motto)” (ESTO).  Isn’t anything in a Latin a motto for something at this point?  That’s not that helpful.  To be fair, had it been clue more specifically as “Motto of the Columbian squires”, we still would have been clueless.  For those of you wondering, the Columbian squires are the youth division of the Knights of Columbus.  Which is clever, though, again, the clue sucks.
  • 57D: “Baloney and then some” (UTTER ROT).  Oscar Meyer is pissed, and so are we!  His bologna has a first name, and it is not “Utter”. 
  • 42D: “Balloonhead” (ASS).  An example of how bad the puzzle was.  We got this one, but who the hell uses the term “balloonhead”.  There are soooooooo many better synonyms for ASS (many of which we use frequently).  What a waste?  (Like golf.)
  • 43A: “Hopelessly lost” (ALL AT SEA).  Like every cruise ship.  “Oh my God.  Guys!  We’re all at sea.  Like, every single one of us.  We are ALL AT SEA.  This is a disaster.”  Seriously, what the hell?

Sorry, y’all.  Bad week.  We’ll try to do better next time,
ericandabbie

PS – Tomorrow is John’s birthday!  Yay!  Eric will be taking him out for a night at a Norteñas club.  ¡Olé!

Triple Bonds (04-03-2011)

Posted in Least Bitchy on April 3, 2011 by ericandabbie

Finally, a puzzle about Chemistry!  Oh, shit.  JK.  It’s just three words that shouldn’t really go together.  Although, a CAT FOOD FIGHT would be hot.  This puzzle was pretty easy, and we only made three mistakes.  Beer and skittles party is still TBA.  But, seriously, it will be on a Sunday.  Soon.  There was some fun fill which almost made-up for the stupidness of the theme.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad hour, so, you know, no regrets.  That said, obviously, we have some bitching to do.  Let’s get to it…

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 22D: “Ashkenazi, for one” (JEW).  Yes!  It’s a Jew!  Abbie just pointed that it ends in “nazi”.  Wow.  Buzzkill.  I can’t believe the anti-Semitism in this puzzle.  Un-fucking-believable‼
  • 90A: “Style of chicken” (SZECHWAN).  How often does Szechwan make it into a puzzle?  We don’t know, but it’s a great word.  We don’t agree with the spelling (we eat a lot of bad Chinese… i.e. Eric is a Jew) but thankfully we got the ‘w’ from Brian’s knowledge of obscure and non-useful trivia.  See below for more of Brian kicking ass and taking names.
  • 21A: “‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ Band” (BON JOVI).  OOOOOOOOOOH.  WE’RE HALFWAY THE-ERE. OOOOO-OOOOOOOOH.  LIVIN’ ON A PRA-AYER.  Also, this is Eric’s favorite song on Rock Band 2.  He gets gold stars every time.
  • 26A: “Neo, for one” (ANAGRAM).  OMG!  Cuz he’s the ONE!  Who knew!?  (The eavesdropping Starbucks employee who go really mad at us for not knowing.)
  • 38D: “Reciprocal Fibonacci Constant” (PSI).  So, way back before the blog, ericandabbie were discussing the Golden Ratio (it was in a puzzle).  Abbie thought it was pi over two (which, to be fair, it sort of is).  But, it actually has its own number.  The guy at the table next to us was eavesdropping and happened to be a math professor, and he told us the answer was PSI.  Fast-forward to April 3rd, BOOM!  Roasted!
  • 127A: “They might be crossed” (SWORDS).  In 2006, John (Hey John!) and Eric did a treasure hunt challenge in Washington, D.C. and the final clue revolved around crossed swords.  Good memories!  Also, one of the clues was centered on eating a coconut-flavored fortune cookie.  That was fun day, John.  Wow.
  • 40D: “Suffix with drunk” (ARD).  Abbie wanted “ee”, but we accept.
  • 89D: “‘___ Bangs’ (Ricky Martin hit)” (SHE).  Not his best song (Livin’ La Vida Loca), and William Hung kind of ruined it, but still.  Ricky Martin.
  • 5D: “Cross-country skiing” (LANG LAUF).  Brian saved the day.  Raise your hand if you knew that answer.  Exactly.  B did.  He showed up late, got LANG LAUF, and then pretty much chilled while ericandabbie finished things up.  He’s not Kobe, but he’s a solid sixth man off the bench.

WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES

  • 5D: “Cross-country skiing” (LANG LAUF).  What the fuck!?  That’s not a word.  Jesus.
  • 14D: “Bean” (CONK)  Actual conversation that JUST happened…

Abbie: No.  It sucks.  Cuz you can get conked in the head…
Eric: OMG!  That’s it!
Abbie: Oh.  Bean is a verb!
ericandabbie: It’s still stupid though.

  • 114A: “Hooded jackets” (ANORAKS).  They’re called ‘hoodies’.  (Note: We googled it.   It’s real.  But it’s probably for colder places, so that’s super unfair.  What is this?  Written in New York?)
  • 58A: “Idiots” (YOYOS).  Really?  You wasted a great answer on that clue?  Yo-yos are fantastic and could be clued fantastically.  You suck.  We had (_O_OS) and were pumped for BOZOS.  Just disappointing.
  • 102A: “Hero” (HOAGY).  Great answer.  Great clue.  Terrible spelling.  It has an “i-e” (because that’s how you spell awesomely… suck it Abby with a ‘y’).  Wikipedia opens its sub-section of submarine sandwiches with the HOAGIE spelling.  Ipso facto, done. 

Not one of our bitchier posts.  Pretty solid.  Good to see Brian.  Way to go Butler!  You’re hot Brad Stevens.  Shaka Smart is a tool.  And Kemba Walker is great.  Pumped for tomorrow night‼  (Abbie’s not.  Basketball is lame.  Only five months until Ohio State is back in action minus five players and one sweater vest.  Our year, Bucks!)

ericandabbie, Continuing the Quest for Beer and Skittles!