ROUEN (clued here as "Hundred Years' War siege site") is famous as the location of the demise of The Maid of Orleans but it will always remind me of my favorite inadvertent joke. Years ago, I was visiting a friend (or as we say in puzzledom, un ami) in Paris and Rouen came up in conversation. "Oh yes," said my friend, "that's the town where Joan of Arc finally met her match."
Kevin G. Der is the Sarah Palin of Crosswords, having burst into the major leagues last month with two outstanding accomplishments in three days: a record breaker and a paper bender. His Friday, September 5 puzzle (answers) isn't as ground breaking but it's a very fine themeless challenge.
I especially like that he debuts both CREDULOUS and CRAZY TALK, almost symmetrically placed. I'm also amused that if you happen to use the most popular search engine to help you solve crosswords, you didn't even need to type the clue to figure out the "phrase on a Google search button." I think Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have to pay Clint "Dirty Harry" Eastwood a royalty every time they display it.
Let's talk about that "noted shopper scolder," MR. WHIPPLE. According to this L.A.Times obit, the character created by actor Dick Wilson was one of the most recognizable faces in the history of American advertising. He uttered his catch phrase "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" in more than 500 commercials and apparently loved to share in interviews that the first of those was filmed in, yes, Flushing N.Y.
WOOD NYMPH also debuts today but instead of some mythological clue, it refers to the butterfly seen above. An "explosive time in history" is the ATOMIC AGE. It's too bad that "atomic" makes people think about bombs but I understand the connection. GMAIL isn't really an "AOL alternative" because one is simply an email service and the other started as an ISP and evolved into a web portal that happens to have email as well, but that one's ok too.
I could go on and on but I'd better be PUTTING TO SLEEP this post in case I'm "boring the pants off you."
To answer some questions from yesterday, I'm not done yet but yes this blog is wrapping up soon. That doesn't mean I'm done blogging, though. I'd say more but a very special guest star will explain it all when the time comes. Here's a puzzle for you. I bet you can't guess who the special guest will be. And here's the clue. In retrospect, it will seem like the perfect and obvious choice. No, it's neither Kevin Der nor Sarah Palin.
XWord Info is too much fun for me to abandon but it will undergo some changes as well, and work on that will be keeping me busy for awhile.