Archive for the Least Bitchy Category

PULLET (06-12-2011)

Posted in Least Bitchy on June 12, 2011 by ericandabbie

Ladies and Gentleman –

Scratch that.  You’re reading THIS blog.  In that case…

Slackers and Loafers –

In my life, I have made mistakes.  I have let love slip away, and I have cowardly stood down when I knew I should stand up.  When they came for the Catholics, I didn’t speak up because I’m getting a little sick of Abbie and Dylan and, to be perfectly honest, Benedict.  But, I have never before stood with my head bowed in such disgrace as I do now, for failing to post a blog this past week.  Abbie had family in town and a business trip and she entrusted me (if you still don’t know, this is Eric) with the blog.  I wish I knew what General Rommel said to Hitler after D-Day.  I would use those words now to apologize for the shame I have brought on myself, my family, and my people (Jews and Gays… a double whammy) by not posting last week.  I know not how I will make it up to you, but I hope that you will be satisfied with this small entry:

Last week, we didn’t do good.  Mary was here, which was fun.  Maddy and Will were not helpful, and we were recovering from our BEER AND SKITTLES high the week before (did I say high?  I meant tummy-acheL).  The puzzle was written by a Jew‼  That is all.

Moving right along..

WE DID IT‼  We sat in the same seats we sat in two weeks ago, lightning struck twice in the same place (and it’s totally to blame for the fact that we broke two porcelain Starbucks mugs in our excitement today… our b), and we have a second framed puzzle for the mantle (to go with the Purple Glaze ceramic dragon, obviously).

The theme was (Abbie votes “ehh” and Eric votes “yucky-poo”) not great.  It’s things you pull: in an expression like ONE’S LEG, literally like a GUN TRIGGER, or via a mesmerizing machine like SALT WATER TAFFY.  No trick, no pun, we got half the clues and were still like “Dammit!  What are we missing?”  Turns out, nothing.  We are not celebrating with BEER AND SKITTLES today because when you win once in a while, it’s fun.  But when you win all the time, it just causes indigestion.  From now on, we are using the phrase “BLOG AND NAP” to describe the joy of winning.  GET PUMPED!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 9A: Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Tale of ____ Saltan” (TSAR)  Eric likes this spelling better.
  • 28A: Stickers? (SYRINGES).  It’s just clever, cuz they, you know, stick you.  Also, the Titty Towers.
  • 30A: ___ Day, May 1 celebration in Hawaii (LEI).  Pronounced “Lay Day”, and you presumably understand now why it’s a highlightJ
  • 49A: Something that’s drawn (BATH)  It’s clever cuz it’s true.  Although, really, who takes baths these days?  Why are they wasting so much water?  Do they want the world to end?  How much you wanna bet Will Shortz takes baths… gah!
  • 99A: Loughlin of “Full House” (LORI).  Eric was excited about “Full House” in sort of a general way.  Abbie was specifically
    excited that she got to run through the whole damn family-tree of the Tanner household (+ Kimmy and Steve).  FUN FACT: Steve was the voice of Aladdin in, um, Beauty and the Beast, we think.  No.  A different Disney film.  “Like seriously, Steve is like my dream man.  It’d be like Steve, Aladdin, and Jimmy Stewart.” –Abbie  (Note that two of them are not real and the other one is dead.  Dianne, definitely pin your grandchild hopes on the other two.)  (See below for what Abbie’s dream fantasy land might look like.)
  • 40D: Trolley sound (CLANG)  Technically, the trolley goes “clang clang clang”, but we accept.  It most certainly does not go “ding ding ding”, which would be the bell.
  • 66D: Ain’t fixed? (IS NOT)  “Well, he ain’t… I mean, he IS NOT”  Oh, Will Shortz!  You silly grammar Nazi, you!
  • 110D: Old NASA landers (LEMS) Whoot, whoot!

WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES

  • 14D: Old Church of England foe (_ _ _ IST).  Obviously the answer is CHRIST.  Henry VIII wanted to divorce and behead his wives. Jesus didn’t, so Henry declared war on Christ.  As far as we know, the jury is still out on who won.  PS – The answer was actually PAPIST.
  • 46A: Rest spot (COT).  You get no rest on cots.  That shit is uuuuuuuuuncomfortable.  You’re totes better off on the floor.
  • 47A: Place for a pickup? (NAPE).  At first, ericandabbie were trying to turn each other on by tickling the back of the other’s neck (which was met by some curiously excited stares at our gay Starbucks).  Abbie has since figured out that the clue must refer to how mama dogs carry their babies by the NAPE.  I mean, we guess that’s what it is.  Stupid though.
  • 107D: S.C. Johnson brand (RAID).  What isn’t an SC Johnson brand?  Basically the clue was “four-letter word (not THE four letter word, just A four letter word… or maybe THE, not sure if SC Johnson has managed to trademark that yet…)”
  • Roy.  We believe that Will Shortz used his demonic powers (where is Buffy when you need her!?) to direct Roy to the table next

    We didn't manage to snap a pic of Roy but we're pretty sure this is what he looks like. Do you know this man?

    to us.  He generously asked an old man reading a newspaper whether he could share the table to work (which was weird since there were empty tables), then he began peppering this poor guy with questions and talking about a play that he wrote or directed, or, whatever.  Then  he reaches over to the next table and starts talking to that guy about the books he’s reading.  He stopped a woman to ask if she bedazzled her own jeans or bought them that way.  And then, horror of horrors, when we were discussing 104A: Killjoy (SOURPUSS) he leaned over and asked us, “What’s sourpuss?”  Eric stared at the puzzle and pretended to concentrate.  Abbie, not being a huge bitch, said “It’s an answer.”  And he snootily replied, “Well, I know that!”  And we’re not so sure that he did know that!  Anyway, after two more minutes of trying to get rid of him, he found someone else to bother.  She maced him.  Not really, but we think that would have been a fitting end.  We’re going to go ahead and blame Roy for our wrecking two ceramic mugs, too.

Guess it’s time for a nap,

ericandabbie

You’ll Get Through This (05-29-2011)

Posted in Least Bitchy on May 29, 2011 by ericandabbie

For all of our loyal, long-time readers who have been with us, since, like February, thank you.  For all of our Roman fetishists who have been disappointed, week-in and week-out, by our lack of see-thru togas, we’re sorry.  For those of you who make USS Wasp the most popular search term in our  blog every week for the past like six months, it’s a ship guys, Google-Image it and move on.  But mostly, for those of  you who check every Sunday to see if it’s a beer and skittles week, which, for the record, means you need a life… THIS ONE’S FOR YOU!

WE DID IT!!! Shout-outs to Jon and John for coming up big down the stretch and getting the final five spaces to complete this puzzle. Also, for sharing beer-and-skittles despite being, in the case of Jon without the 'h', not technically 21. Thanks Berryhill!

That’s right, kids!  ericandabbie did what we said we would do on February 20, 2011.  We keep our promises.  We wrote then:

Eric and Abbie here. For the first time since January we have puzzled together at our beloved Starbucks. Two mistakes. Still not perfect. God dammit. We are sooooooo close.  One day… one day… when we get it all, by the way, there will be a party at Eric’s place with, you guessed it, beer. And skittles. Beer and skittles. FUN!

Today, at long last, we combined a one-pound bag of skittles with two pitchers of Dos Equis, and we are still feeling the effects.  Speaking of effects, the coloring on the skin of the skittles dissolves into the beer making the head turn all sorts of fun, vomit-like colors (with chunks included), while the skittles become super-chewy, pale whispers of their former selves.  Dear Science: You’re welcome for this groundbreaking research.  We must admit, though this blog is about correcting Will Shortz, he was spot on.  Beer and Skittles is, as he prophesized on January 9, 2011 in 108D, FUN.

But you know what was even more fun?  This puzzle!  The puzzle is laid out as a house that looks kind of like Clue.  There are sixteen “rooms” in the house, which are each connected by one DOOR.  Here’s the catch: the DOOR is part of the answer to a clue.  So, for example, a four-letter word for 146A: Chrysler 300, eg. followed by a five letter word for 147A: Chair toted on poles is actually a full ten-space answer (FOUR DOOR SEDAN), with DOOR being the block between the two words.  Each room has two doors (an entry and an exit), creating a complete maze wrapping through the puzzle.  If the maze is completed successfully the quote “Every wall is a door” is spelled out, which was said by Emerson.  We’re not blown-away that the quote is in there, but it definitely helped us out at the end.  Yeah.

If only the Conservatory had a trapdoor to the Kitchen, we would have gotten this puzzle in no time!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Us.  ‘Nuf Said!
  • 1A: Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon, eg. (QUAKERS).  We didn’t know that.  We’ve had two quakers, one Catholic, one black, and still no Jews.  Given the amount of covert anti-Semitism seeping out of the NY Times puzzle it’s no surprise that we’re still waiting for a Jew [see all of our posts].

    I am rich. Kill me now. - RL Stine

  • 66A: Author R.L. ___ (STINE).  Oh, man!  How great were all 165 Goosebumps books?  Question: Did you think that R.L. Stine was the penname of a group of people publishing the Goosebumps series, á la Carolyn Keene of Nancy Drew fame?  You’re wrong.  This son-of-a-gun has written over 300 books in the last 22 years!  As you can tell from this picture, he’s extremely satisfied with his life choices.
  • 67A: Hot (SEXY).  Writing this clue may havebeen the most aroused Will Shortz got all week! (Though we can tell that he is often quite excited while being the PuzzleMaster on NPR.)
  • 104A: Creator of Genesis (SEGA).  We initially had YHWH, but, Sega is a waaaay better answer (sorry G-d).
  • 13D: Musician Brian (ENO) BRIAN, WE’VE MISSED YOU SO.
  • 91D: Its winner beats the loser with a stick (POOL) Super clever clue. Pool might actually be interesting to watch if folks really beat each other with their cues; then, and only then, would it warrant the ESPN2 playtime it gets.
  • 121A: Rice pad (DORM).  Get it!?  Probably not, since Rice is not that well known outside of Houston.  But, from our perspective, HEY-OH!

WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES

  • 121A: Rice pad (DORM).  Dammit, Will!  They’re called “colleges,” and they’re way better than dorms.  HFH!
  • 137D: Capital of Zaire? (ZEE).  Again?  We get it. It has a capital ‘z’.  In case anyone didn’t know how to spell Zaire with a capital ‘z’, it’s written in the clue.  Stop doing these!
  • 93D: Bygone missile with a tribal name (NAVAHO). Really?  You chose a peace-loving people as the name for a missile, and then also misspelled it?  We don’t even know which is more insulting.  You took their land, isn’t that enough for you?
  • 77A: Light reflector (PRISM) Correction: prisms refract light.  Mirrors reflect light.  To be fair, in the case of refraction, you always get a small percentage of reflected light.  But, overall, the effect of a prism is refracted, dispersed light, not reflected light.  Even Pink Floyd knew that, and they did a lot of drugs.
  • 111A: Moolah (KALE).  Interestingly, the first definition of kale, before even the definition of kale as, you know, kale, is an “informal term for money.”  Who knew?  Well, now we do, and you do tobecause we Googled it.  See how that works USS Wasp folks?

On a sentimental note, I (Eric) would like to thank Abbie for making me do this puzzle every Sunday.  I would not have taken the time out of my work life to spend time with you, and it has been the best part of my year.  The fact that we completed the puzzle on the last Sunday before graduation is a sign that the gods want me to work less and spend more time with my friends.
I love you, Eric.

I (Abbie) read that and said “awwww!” I would like to thank Eric for teaching me everything I know about crosswords (THERE ARE SO MANY GRAMMAR RULES TO FOLLOW, GUYS) and indulging me by actually spending a lot of time writing this stupid blog with me every single week after we made some jokes about doing one and I took thosejokes too seriously. It’s been loads of fun and a super chock-a-block way to force you away from your schoolwork.
LICKSPITTLE, Abbie.

We (ericandabbie) would also like to salute John for his tireless efforts to help with the puzzle almost every week.  Though he is a wretched failure at life, and we wish he would just go away, the blog wouldn’t be the same without him.  Thank you for not suing us for libel and still speaking to us on Monday.
You suck, ericandabbie.

Hellz yeah we got it framed at Walgreen's for less than the cost of the NYTimes. What about it?

ericandabbie

Included Herewit (05-15-2011)

Posted in Least Bitchy on May 15, 2011 by ericandabbie
This week’s blog is brought to you by 42A: Hit show with New Directions singers (GLEE).  Question: Has anyone jumped off a building in an attempt to defy gravity?  Was Wicked and/or Glee sued for this attempt?  We don’t know, but we bet the answer is yes.  People these days are, well, stupid.  In other news, BenJed was in town this weekend and he brought his expertise to the puzzle, which resulted in us STILL NOT GETTING BEER AND SKITTLES.  DAMMIT BENJED!  It’s okay though.  We believe that BenJed did everything he possibly could, but, what with John being there too, there’s only so much you can do.  Two wrong today.  In conclusion: BenJed is great.  John sucks.

 

Speaking of sucking, Cathy Allis wrote a pretty good puzzle and ruined it with a TERRIBLE theme.  Today’s theme was to drop the “th” sound and convert it to a “t” sound like Cousin Vinny (remember that movie!?  Neither do we) thereby creating a terrible pun as in 24A: Salt Lake City athlete’s dear hawk mascot? (SWEET BIRD OF UTE) which is a pun on Sweet Bird of Youth, a play by Tennessee Williams that you’ve never heard of.  (Fun Fact: Tennessee Williams choked to death on the cap of a bottle of eye drops he used.  Sorry.  Did we say ‘fun?’)  So, let the festivities begin…

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 74A: Baseball : Oriole ∷ Football : _____ (RAVEN).  Did you know that the Baltimore Ravens were named after Edgar Allan Poe’s poem?  No, not Lenore.  It’s named after The Raven.  It’s true.  They’re the only pro sports organization named after a poem.  In keeping with their roots, they only play intellectual juggernauts like Ray Lewis (please don’t kill us).
  • 120A: Org. in a big race of years past (NASA).  Fuck Russia.
  • 1A: Jewish grandma (BUBBE).  A puzzle with both NASA and Jews in it!  Cathy Allis is a rockstar!
  • 98A: What we may be? (ROYAL).  As in the “royal we!”  Very clever clue!  (Note to Dianne: Your daughter does not know what the “royal we” is.  We have obviously failed her.)
  • 94A: Wordy (PROLIX).  Not a highlight for obvious reasons (we got this one wrong).  It’s a highlight because according to dictionary.com, prolix derives from pro-liqui, which means “for liquor”, and, by extension, “given to speaking or writing at great or tedious length.”  Now that’s a word.

WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES

  • 52A: Train part where sorting was once done (MAIL CAR).  Too soon.  Ultimately this clue had nothing to do with the Holocaust, but for a second there we were like AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
     
  • 119A: Many a Bush military advisor (NEOCON).  Based on _ E _ _ _ _ we put in YESMAN.  Even though it turned out not to be the right answer, we have now associated the New York Times with calling all of Bush’s Cabinet “yesmen” on the Internet.  Dear Glenn Beck: you’re welcome.
  • 38D: Interjection of disinterest (MEH).  Really?  Meh?  That’s the word you came up?
  • 84A: Former SoCal N.F.L. team (L.A. RAMS).  Only a mistake because we looked back at it halfway through the puzzle and went: Shit!  Something is wrong in the middle!  What the hell is a laram?

    Are we crazy? Or is that not a crater?

  • 40D: Home of Punchbowl Crater (OAHU).  Apparently Hawaiians are easily confused between craters and not craters. 
     

     

     

The moral of the story is that Beer and Skittles is still on hold.  But we can almost taste it.  We’re going to dump a bag of skittles in a pitcher of beer and then drink / chew on it.  It doesn’t sound delicious, but apparently it’s fun.
ericandabbie

Look on the Bright Side! (05-01-2011)

Posted in Least Bitchy on May 1, 2011 by ericandabbie

One wrong.  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.  To eric’s credit, he got it right.  But, to abbie’s credit, eric wasn’t sure.  Also, we had a guest performer who rocked it out until she voted with abbie and ruined the whole fucking puzzle.  Thanks, Karen! 

 

Great puzzle!  Really, really super.  Xan Vongsathorn really used his Asian-Scandinavian (Scandiasian) might to put this juggernaut together.  Cute theme—wasn’t totally obvious, but abbie really rocked figuring out the theme.  Lots of good clues: clever puns, well-placed question marks, non-obscure trivia (fuck you, Paula), and general merriment had by all.  We completed the puzzle in record time (we didn’t even eat our Fruit and Cheese plate… which has never happened before).  Karen’s presence is ultimately a net zero for her brilliant showing on the puzzle and total destruction of our Beer & Skittles party.  We can feel it though.  We’re having a Mother’s Day Beer & Skittles party.  Dianne and Claire, you’re invited.

 HIGHLIGHTS

  • 17A: One who may be removed (COUSIN).  Does anyone know how that system works?  Eric’s mom’s mom’s dad has a youger sister whose daughter has a son.  How is Eric related to said son?
  • 22A: Most awful thing you could imagine (WORST NIGHTMARE COME TRUE).  For a while there, we were just guessing worst nightmares.  Eric was afraid of being up a tree.  Abbie was more worried about suffocating in a tub of shrimp.  Your turn audience!
  • 25A: One with a deadly tongue (ANTEATER)  Karen got this one.  Really, she just guessed.  Anteaters use their tongues to kill ants.  Abbie uses her foot.  She’s just one small step away from being a basilisk.
  • 72A: Pluto, to Saturn (SON)  Abbie was focused on planets cuz she’s a nerd, and thus missed a Roman mythology clue… her other forte!  Great misdirection, Xan!  (That was the Asian side.  Crafty Asians!)
  • 78A: Doctor whose patients never pay the bills (VET)  Cuz animals don’t have money!  So silly!
  • 96A: Burger King vis-à-vis McDonalds, fittingly (ARCH RIVAL) Ha!
  • 14D: Almost every puppy has one (LITTER MATE).  Karen was pushing for a tail.  Seriously, she spent like two solid minutes trying to name puppies that are born without tails.  It was very sad.  Karen, quote, I’m gonna find them!  Then you’ll be sorry!
  • 30D: #2 or #3, say (LOSER) In this week’s edition of Eric doesn’t believe Abbie until ¾ of the way through the puzzle when half the crosses are there, Abbie suggested this literally two minutes into the puzzle.  It was probably the third-to-last clue we actually filled in.  Fuck you, John.  I mean, Eric, but still, hey John!  Miss you!
  • 41D: Kiss, in 34D (SNOG).  We should probably specify that 34D was LONDON.  We knew this from Hogwarts (Eric), Bridget Jones’s Diary (Abbie), and lots and lots of royal wedding coverage (Karen / 2 billion people).
  • 43D: Mohawked muscleman (MR. T)  Those are three great letters!  How is he not in every puzzle!?  Thinking of three great letters, where has Brian Eno been?  Is he alive still?  God we hope so.
  • 113D: Nickelodeon dog (REN)  Given our collective 90s upbringing, we should have gotten this sooner.  But, in our defense, did you know that he was a dog?  We’re not sure that he has a tail, which, I guess, proves Karen’s point.  What was Stimpy then?  And, what kind of a name is Stimpy

WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKE

  • 26A: Rapscallion (IMP)  Waste of a great word.
  • 32A: Declaration upon checking oneself into rehab (I NEED HELP).  We think this is Xan’s secret cry for help.  Scandinavians are proud folk.  They won’t come out directly and say it.  But if anyone reading this is close to Xan, please check-in on him today.  It crosses really close to WORST NIGHTMARE COME TRUE.  I mean, this screams of desperation.
  • 3D: Surprise birthday parties often involve them (RUSES) Is it technically a ruse if you flat out lie to your friend.  (“Yeah, no, you definitely, uh, need to go get a haircut at 5:00.”)  Clarification: For those of you wondering the difference, Abbie has distinguished them as follows.  Ruse: a lie in which the person being lied to receives cake at the end. 
  • 4D: Wirehair of the silver screen (ASTA).  While doing some research, this quickly became a highlight (thanks Wikipedia!).  We are now proud to inform you that Skippy the Wire-Hair Fox Terrier (aka. Asta the Pooch) appeared in a 1934 classic, The Thin Man.  Turns out, he was credited with eight roles.  Wikipedia however has done some serious sleuthing and we are now excited to reveal that those bastards in Hollywood have shorted Asta the Pooch of three other Oscar-calibur title-roles.  AND, Skippy is uncredited in his one soundtrack, which is called (we are making none of this up) “Irish Washerwoman.”  Further, Skippy earned $250 a week by placing his paw on a contract.  His trainer–an actual human!–got only $60.  (Remember, all of this is true!  We checked Wikipedia!)  That funny business about the vet earlier… SKIPPY COULD PAY‼  Thank you Xan for introducing us to one of Hollywood’s most overlooked and undercredited stars of the Golden Age of Cinema.  The end (of this bullet point).
  • 74D: Big Apple media inits. (NYT)  We already bought your fucking paper.  You don’t need to pimp yourself, too.
  • 101D: Specks of dust (MOTES)  The one we got wrong.  Correction, the one that ericandabbie disagreed on and Karen fucked us over with.  To be fair, what is a “mote”?

We have nothing significant to add.  Good puzzle.  Go Skippy!  Next week: B&S.
ericandabbie