Archive for May, 2009

Puzzle #4 Trivia: Who Are These People?

May 30, 2009

We’re changing it up from the Wordplay this week.  This week it is straight up trivia time.  Do you know who the thirteen people below are, and can you figure out what they all have in common?  Happy puzzling!

  1. Joseph Gallo
  2. Catherine Susan Genovese
  3. Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Piero Filberto Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla
  4. Jeffrey Ross Hyman
  5. Irwin Alan Kniberg
  6. Malcolm Little
  7. Jason William Mizell
  8. William Sydney Porter
  9. John Simon Ritchie
  10. Arthur Leonard Rosenberg
  11. Nancy Laura Spungen
  12. Stanford White
  13. Thomas Lanier Williams

Answers to Puzzle #3: Manhattan Sights

May 25, 2009

Sorry for the late post today.  I hope everyone else is enjoying the great weather for Memorial Day.  Here are the answers for Friday’s puzzle, and if you don’t know what I am talking about, well here’s the puzzle.


Puzzle #3 Wordplay: Manhattan Sights

May 22, 2009

New York’s most famous borough is in the spotlight this week.  The following clues will all lead you to an answer that is a famous place on the island bought for beads.   Each clue is a mini-word puzzle.  Look for anagrams, hidden words, and all kinds of word shenanigans.   Once again I will list the number of letters in each word of the answer in parenthesis after each clue to help focus your search.  If you like this puzzle, try Puzzle #1 and Puzzle #2.  Happy Puzzling!

  1. Charlie Chalin signature character (3,4)
  2. Finally done with last tee (5)
  3. This Pheline’z got ya’ tongue (5)
  4. I call it: The Stir Close mix’d (3, 9)
  5. Past President anchoring the Knicks (7, 6)
  6. Dweeb past prez flipped over rows of veggies (7, 6, 6)
  7. A thousand diatribes to Michael Bloomberg (6,4)
  8. Maroon Record Emporium (6,4,5)
  9. Say goodnight punchline cracked up in Spanish hands (6, 7)

Neighborhood Joints

May 19, 2009

I really did get on a roll with the neighborhoods puzzle, but it did take me awhile to finish it.  This is mostly because I wanted to include the Queens neighborhood of Richmond Hill.  I had the first part of the clue, Staten Island’s original borough name of Richmond, but wordplay for “Hill” did not come so easily.  Even when I settled on using the name of a noteworthy Hill, I was not comfortable with the choices.  I weighed the options of Benny Hill, Anita Hill and Laryn Hill.  I went with Lauryn as I felt she was more relevant right now then the other two Hills, even with Lauryn Hill being out of the spotlight for a couple of years now (a veritable eternity in pop music).  I was happy enough with the dual clues for Richmond Hill, and called it a day for this puzzle.

So why Richmond Hill?  Well, this happens to be the neighborhood that my mother grew up in.  More than two score of years ago a young lady from Richmond Hill fell for a young gentleman from the suburbs of New Jersey.  They got married and started a family in suburban New Jersey.  How’d that work out?  They’ll be celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary this fall, thank you very much.  I sometimes think about how when my parents came together how they had to marry more than themselves, but also two different upbringings (city, suburb) with different paces to life, landmarks etc.  Well, it turned out that they had one landmark in common.  Jahn’s.

Jahn’s was an ice cream palor/restaurant/diner that started out in the Bronx and expanded to about thirty locations in the outer boroughs and North Jersey.  The history of the Richmond Hill Jahn’s can be found here and a profile of the last remaining Jahn’s in the New York Times is here.

I grew up going to the Jahn’s in my home town in New Jersey, and I can attest that the sundaes were awesome, and my sister remembers that our Jahn’s made a great burger to boot.  The first memory of my life that I can conjure up in my mind is a Jahn’s hot fudge sundae with chocolate ice cream (which I sadly can not eat anymore…).  I have been told that this was my second birthday, and I was pretty wide-eyed when I was given an ice cream sundae.

I would like to think that Jahn’s provided a common experience that both my parents and the newly minted sets of in-laws could use to help bride two family’s from two different states.  The two family’s ended up meshing very well, and the shared experience of Jahn’s got passed down to my sister and I.  This is the true value of the neighborhood joint.  These are the places where common bonds are formed, and a bunch of people who just happen to live together become a community.

A great fear of the “developmentation” of New York is that these neighborhood hangouts and eating establishments are going the way of the dodo, swamped by a wave of TGI Friday’s and KFC’s.  I have found that in many neighborhoods, these places still exist.  No matter how much land is given over to the big chains, people still need places to go and feel like they are part of something local, and not a number three places to the right of a decimal point on the P & L of a multi-national corporation.

This isn’t to say the local joint isn’t being pushed by the big boys and other outside forces.  The Jahn’s in my home town closed down many years ago to make way for a Rite Aid, and the Richmond Hill Jahn’s fell to cultural changes of that neighborhood.  Many neighborhood joints and Ma and Pa chains go by the wayside because Ma and Pa retire, and no one wants to or has the talent to maintain such places.

The very fragile nature of these places makes them special, and they also serve as guideposts and historical markers for the changing fabrics of neighborhoods.  Support your neighborhood joint!  You’ll at least have great memories to share.

I leave the blog  Queens Crap to have the latest word on the closing of the Richmond Hill Jahn’s.   Be sure to check out the comments.

Answers to Puzzle #2: Neighborhoods

May 18, 2009

If you have not done the puzzle yet, go here first.

This week’s answers will not include any photos.  This lack of photographic embellishment is brought to you by a sinus infection.  Sinus Infection, now with 50% more phlegm!  Incidentally, phlegm is a great word to use for the game hangman.  Six letters, no repeated letters, and nobody sees the “l” coming after a “ph”.  I drove some poor soul crazy using this word in hangman.  He swore that I had spelled something wrong the entire game, and when he discovered what the word was, he just swore. (more…)

Puzzle#2 Wordplay: Neighborhoods

May 15, 2009

New York City is a city of neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods are often as much defined by ethnicity or class as street boundaries.   Some neighborhoods have become enclaves for particular ethnic groups, such as Chinatown or Little Italy.  Other neighborhoods are constantly being redefined by their residential make up, such as Park Slope, Brooklyn.  New York City is a quilt of neighborhoods whose pattern is always changing.  These changes produce both the wonderful kinetic energy of the city, and the tensions of “new” versus “old”, rich versus poor, and progress versus history.

There are also many neighborhood names that are awesome for wordplay!  Again, the clues are all in the form of wordplay, each one their own mini-puzzle.  I have fifteen (I got on a role) neighborhoods represented in today’s puzzle.  Three from each of the five boroughs.  I have provided the borough for each one at the end of every clue, so I am not totally heartless.

Don’t for get to check out the first Puzzling New York City entry here, and tips on solving these kind of word puzzles here.


  1. “S” if taken too literally. (Bk)
  2. _______?  Nope, she came of her own accord! (Nyuk Nyuk) (Q)
  3. Shoo!  Fly away! (M)
  4. Gay bride danced around. (Bk)
  5. Mood within the tribe?  Cautious… (M)
  6. Termite Townhouse?  (M)
  7. Tori’s in with Asa. (Q)
  8. Firstly, don’t upset my brother, OK? (Bk)
  9. New Country’s mortal enemy. (S.I.)
  10. Staten Island, formally known as, Lauryn. (Q)
  11. Headless beast and Chet (formally) (Bx)
  12. Best neighb to whack a dragon? (S.I.)
  13. Archie and the gang’s home?  Kinda. (Bx)
  14. Car maker and over actor respectively. (Bx)
  15. Donnie “Cowpad” Brostroop III

Puzzle on!  Answers Monday.

Reflections of a Neophyte Puzzler

May 12, 2009

I have to admit that I had a blast creating the puzzle that launched this blog.  I like the goofy anagrams that sprinkled through the puzzle.  For example,  “played the PR kazoo” is not a good anagram puzzle-wise.  I mean the letters of “zoo” are not rearranged at all, and an experienced puzzler more than likely had no trouble getting “park” from PRKA.  I just love the phrase, played the PR kazoo.  Hell, I want to work that phrase into everyday life:

“Brittany just had another meltdown.  Whelp Bob, it looks like we have to play the ol’ PR kazoo for this one.”

I don’t even care that I am not sure exactly what that would mean.

All in all I am happy with the wordplay, and I am also surprisingly OK with some of the half-assed unfinished parts of the post.  I wanted to post my own pictures of all nine sights, but only got seven.  I wanted to have a really juicy tidbit about NYC in this post, but I only have the beginning of one.  I guess this should bother me more than it does, but really… not so much.

No one wants to hear about time constraints, and kids, and illness etc.  I am supposed to be the obsessed blogger who frets over every last detail, and is crushed by the tiniest of flaws.  I have found that by doing this blog, I just am not that guy.  I had fun doing this.  I want people to have fun solving puzzles, and as long as the puzzle is good, and on time then I am happy.

I guess every blogger wants to have a professional looking operation up and running from day one, and I am just more interested in the process.  I truly enjoyed going around Brooklyn to photograph the sights for this puzzle.  I saw new things, and reaquainted myself with some old favorites.  I passed by the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden while getting shots of Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Museum, and it felt good to watch some many people enjoy a lovely blue sky day at the Gardens.  It was also a trip to see folks dress up as there favorite anime characters, ’cause well it is a Japanese theme festival so why the hell not.

I also realize that I should have taken photos of these anime devotees as a perfect example of cool stuff in NYC.  I am still new at this, and did not.  I hope to grow in my creativity with this blog as I get more comfortable with new (to me) technologies, and getting more comfortable with just getting out and experiencing this great city again.  I’ve been inside myself for a while and I’d like to get back out and poke around a bit.

And so, this imperfect blogger has one more puzzle for you.  Do you know what this is?

JFK Memorial

This is the JFK Memorial at Grand Army Plaza.  There is a small problem with it.  It has no bust of JFK anymore!  I found this out when researching another puzzle that will be ready in the not too distant future.  So what happened to Jack?  The Wall Street Journal Reported on this in November of 2008.  It is all about aesthetics and cash, or the current lack thereof.  Isn’t that the  story about all public art?  Now, this is where I had hoped to delve a little deeper in this story, but I have not found any updates.  I know a guy who might know I guy, so I will dig a bit to get more info in the fate of JFK’s bust in the future.

BTW, Brooklyn is the only borough to have both a JFK and RFK memorial.  Bobby’s bust is in front of the court houses at borough hall.  This is more than a touch ironic since Robert Kennedy unveiled his brother’s memorial in 1965.

See everyone Friday for the next puzzle!

Answers to Puzzle #1: Brooklyn Sights

May 12, 2009

Here are the answers to this week’s, and my first puzzle! If you have not seen the puzzle, go here to play.  I’ll wait..

Let’s see how you did:


Greetings! Puzzle #1: Brooklyn Sights

May 8, 2009

Welcome to Puzzling New York City!  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you will enjoy the offerings now and in the weeks to come.  I enjoy a good puzzle, especially word puzzles, and I am also hopelessly smitten with New York City, so I figured I would combine these two loves and see what happens.  Here’s how its going to work.  I will be posting every Friday, Monday and Tuesday to start.  Every Friday will be a new puzzle whose theme and answers will be inspired by the Big Apple.  I will post the answers to the puzzle on Monday, so you can waste a perfectly good weekend on a puzzle.  Tuesday’s post will involve the interesting things I have learned about NYC through researching and creating these puzzles.  I hope to find out more about this great city I call home, and I would love to find and pass on little nuggets of information or  hidden gems within the Five Boroughs.

Now Friday’s posts will mostly be word puzzles, but I will also post trivia, scavenger hunts and other brain teasers, so if you are not a fan of crosswords or anagrams, check back from time to time.  You may find something to your liking.  Monday’s answers will give some insight to the creation of the puzzle as well, unless everyone finds that dead boring.  If I have too much material for a Tuesday post, I will post other days as well that week, and I will alert y’all accordingly.

The most important thing that I want to accomplish with this blog is that you, the puzzlers, enjoy the puzzles.  Crazy, right?  Well, while I am quite proud of the puzzles I have ready and raring to go, this is not about me trying to show you guys how clever I am.  It is about creating enjoyable challenges, so feedback is more than greatly appreciated.  I may like a certain type of word puzzle that everyone who finds this blog loathes, and I would want to know that and adjust my approach accordingly.  One word of warning, however (cue ominous music)…  I will try to post challenging puzzles.  I like to stretch my brain around difficult wordplay.  I do not like the term “dumbed down”, but I am trying to appeal to real puzzleheads here, so there will be some intricate wordplay involved.

Now having said that, I will probably will have my first puzzle solved in ten minutes by everyone who stumbles across it.

This is the first step for me as a puzzlemaker and a blogger, and I have ideas for some wild things in the future, but it all has to start somewhere, and for me somewhere is here.

When beginning things of this nature, it is customary to thank those who have helped me get to the starting line.  Thanks to Pookie, Snookie, Eleanor for blogging guidance.  Thanks to Scott Turner at Superba Graphics for the wicked cool banner and logo.   Thanks to Mom, Dad, Sis, my wife Liz and our boy Max.  Your love is the real deal.

And now, without any further ado:

They say write about what you know.  Well, I have lived in Brooklyn for over fifteen years now, and I am proud to call Kings county home.  The answer to each clue of this puzzle is a well known Brooklyn sight.  Each clue is a mini-puzzle in itself,  much in the style of cryptic crossword puzzle clues.  Here is an excellent explanation and solving tips for cryptic crosswords. I have kept the tradition of putting the number of letters in each word of the answer in parenthesis next to each clue, but, and this is a big but, I have broken with the tradition of having half of the cryptic clue be a literal definition of the answer.  Why?  This is a themed puzzle, and each clue would have some variation of “Brooklyn sight or…”.   Boring!  So the clues are all wordplay.  Happy solving!

  1. Emeril exclamation and an invisible rabbit  (3, 6)
  2. Young up and comer plays PR kazoo (8, 4, 3)
  3. This old house is built around sour notes (3, 5, 5)
  4. Red now reversed last prez dog order (6, 5)
  5. Third year student’s love cheesecake? (7)
  6. A thousand black knights and a playa who steps it up a notch in the fourth (5, 4, 5)
  7. The Big Apple presents Julius Caesar’s water and Capt. Morgan’s laced with iodine (3, 4, 8 )
  8. Lyn’s mumu booker is in disarray. (8, 6)