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williamweigand
12-14-2004, 11:39 AM
I was able to complete the puzzle itself with no problem, but it includes - as its title implies - "A Christmas Challenge".

This is how it's presented in a note by the puzzle's creator Merl Reagle:

"What connection do this puzzle's eight long theme answers have with Christmas, and which two are not quite consistent with the other six?"

The answers are:

Barbara Eden

Clara Barton

Penelope Cruz

Rosa Parks

Ana Alicia

Maria Shriver

Faye Dunaway

Monica Seles

If you need any more information, let me know.

JohnBckWLD
12-14-2004, 12:03 PM
My 1st hunch was their initials spelled out some kind of Holiday message, but
BE
CB
PC
RP
AA
MS
FD
MS
Doesn't spell out anything exciting.

My 2nd hunch, seeing that crossword puzzles usually don't come with titles from their author probably means the newspaper editors mistitled it

twickster
12-14-2004, 12:12 PM
My first guess was people born on Christmas Day, since Clara Barton was -- but Barbara Eden, Penelope Cruz, and Faye Dunaway weren't, so that's no good.

twickster
12-14-2004, 12:15 PM
BTW, though editors can (and often do) change the constructor's suggested title for a puzzle, Merl (a 700-pound gorilla in the puzzle biz) names his own.

JSexton
12-14-2004, 12:21 PM
Could you post the clues that led to those 8 women? There may be a hint of the author's thinking there.

Trunk
12-14-2004, 12:27 PM
I was wondering if you could map things that they're known for onto reindeer names.

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen

But, I'm not having an easy time of it and most of them are stretching. And, what's a "donder" anyway? What would "Rosa Parks" be?

But, maybe it's something Christmassy that comes in 8s.

Something from another carol?

bup
12-14-2004, 12:38 PM
On "How to Marry a Millionaire," did Barbara Eden have a job?

bup
12-14-2004, 12:48 PM
Nevermind - she was a model.

I ask because the only thing I see, per Trunk's clue, is various meanings of
MAID (8 maids a-milking).
Clara Barton and Faye Dunaway never married; Rosa Parks was a housekeeper. The others I can't make 'fit' though, unless there are other meanings of 'maid' I'm forgetting. A weak thing is that Barbara Eden's character was at least worried about becoming an old maid.

shamrock227
12-14-2004, 12:50 PM
Rosa Parks and Monica Seles are the only two that are not Actresses/TV Personalities. How that fits in with a Christmas theme, I have not a clue...

shamrock227
12-14-2004, 12:55 PM
Of course, had I previewed, I would have seen bup's post - which makes a whole lot more sense than mine.

Nothing to see here.. move along...

zut
12-14-2004, 01:15 PM
I ask because the only thing I see, per Trunk's clue, is various meanings of...Ah. I think you're onto something:

Penelope Cruz played a maid in Non ti muovere (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0330702/). Monica Seles was in a Got Milk ad.

OK, that's weak, but the "consistancy" part could be that six are "maids" and the other two are "a-milking."

pulykamell
12-14-2004, 01:45 PM
Ah. I think you're onto something:




I'm not familiar with Merl Reagle's puzzles, but the guesses here about maids and reindeer seem rather like a great stretch. Are the clues normally this abstract?
I'm guessing it must be something more obvious or more clever, possibly a groaner of some sort.

williamweigand
12-14-2004, 02:21 PM
Could you post the clues that led to those 8 women? There may be a hint of the author's thinking there.

All clues "Across"

23. Tucson-born TV star
33. Nurse born on Christmas
43. Co-star of Captain Corelli's Mandolin
63. She inspired a boycott
72. Falcon Crest actress
92. Eraser star's wife
101. Barfly co-star
117. Two-time U.S. Open winner

Zyada
12-14-2004, 02:34 PM
The only thing I see is a certain trend to biblically themed names:

Barbara <i>Eden</i>
<i>Maria</i> Shriver
Penelope <i>Cruz</i> (Cruz being Spanish for cross)

And to stretch it a wee bit farther
<i>Faye</i> Dunaway (Fe, pronounced Faye, means holy in Spanish)

However, that leaves these names which I can't even wedge into that idea.
Clara Barton
Rosa Parks
Ana Alicia
Monica Seles

kaylasdad99
12-14-2004, 04:54 PM
They all have a city in California for a name, when you precede them with the word "Santa".

kaylasdad99
12-14-2004, 04:56 PM
Faye Dunaway is odd because you have to monkey with the spelliing. Penelope Cruz is odd because it's her last name.

Actually, they're both odd because thay aren't in California.

kaylasdad99
12-14-2004, 04:58 PM
And props are due to Zyada for furnishing the crucial clue.

twickster
12-14-2004, 05:12 PM
kaylasdad99 -- you rock!

nivlac
12-14-2004, 05:24 PM
Faye Dunaway is odd because you have to monkey with the spelliing. Penelope Cruz is odd because it's her last name.

Actually, they're both odd because thay aren't in California.
Santa Cruz is about 75 miles south of San Francisco. There is a city called Santa Fe Springs in California. But Faye Dunaway and Penelope Cruz are definitely the odd-balls on the list. Great solution by kaylasdad99!

kaylasdad99
12-14-2004, 05:29 PM
Thanks much.

And a big :smack: to myself for not remembering that Santa Cruz is in California.

Zyada
12-14-2004, 05:50 PM
*basks in reflected glory*

williamweigand
12-14-2004, 07:07 PM
Thank you so much kaylahsdad99. If I were wearing a hat, I'd definitely take it off to you!

williamweigand
12-14-2004, 07:09 PM
Oops!...And I apologize for misspelling your username!

MovieMogul
12-14-2004, 07:18 PM
I'm not familiar with Merl Reagle's puzzles, but the guesses here about maids and reindeer seem rather like a great stretch. Are the clues normally this abstract?Actually, sometimes they're a lot worse (meaning harder, but also fiendishly clever).

I remember one of his crosswords that was water-themed, and it turns out the main support clues (the larger-length ones) all had an H-O-O letter combination that you were supposed to conflate into one square (H2O, get it?).

I don't get the Sunday paper anymore, but I remember really liking his puzzles.