Bruce Haight began constructing crossword puzzles five years ago. Many of them involved what he calls "stunts." One puzzle had no E's, one had no three- or four-letter words, one used only nine different letters, one used each letter of the alphabet at least four times.....but, unfortunately, the "stunts" required the use of a lot of questionable entries. Haight submitted 38 crosswords to the New York Times
before puzzle editor Will Shortz finally accepted one in 2015. Haight's puzzle today is titled "Hand Jive."
"Pay attention, man!" is DIGIT. In today's crossword, "Dig it" is to be read as "digit." The word comes from the Latin digitus
("finger; toe") which derives from the Greek deiknynai
("to show"). A digit is a finger, a toe, or one of the numbers 1 through 9. A zero is usually considered to be a digit as well. Each theme answer ends with a type of finger:
"C'mon, loosen up!" LIVEALITTLE
Place for lefts and rights: BOXINGRING
Market measure: STOCKINDEX
General principle: RULEOFTHUMB
"Thumb" comes from the Latin tumēre
("to swell"). The origin of the phrase "rule of thumb" is unknown. It refers to an oft-used, albeit inaccurate, method of measuring distance or alignment and involves extending an arm and holding the thumb in one's line of vision. The first known appearance of "rule of thumb" in print is a 1685 book titled Heaven On Earth
, which quotes a sermon given by James Durham: "Many professed Christians are like foolish builders, who build by guess and by rule of thumb and not by Square and Rule." Obviously, using one's thumb and guessing at a measurement is not any kind of a "rule." It's the opposite
of a rule -- but the phrase somehow entered our vocabulary.
The little finger is often called a pinky or pinkie. The word comes from the 19th-century Dutch pinkje
, which means "little finger" and is the diminutive form of pinke
("pink"). In the United States, a wedding ring is traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. The custom derives from an ancient (and mistaken) belief that a long vein connected that finger to the heart. The vein was called, in Latin, vena amoris
("vein of love"). A Wikipedia page explains the wedding-ring customs in various countries:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_finger
"Far out!" is NEAT. So today's crossword includes "Neat" and "Far out" and "Dig it." I know this is 2017 but those three phrases are more befitting 1967. I suppose, then, we could say the puzzle itself is boss, fab, gear and groovy. Right on!