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Author Topic: Mental floss: The May 1 crossword  (Read 2084 times)


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Mental floss: The May 1 crossword
« on: May 01, 2016, 05:36:37 PM »
Kathleen Fay O'Brien came up with a very clever theme for today's Los Angeles Times crossword. The title is "Floss" -- which is to be read as "F loss." Each theme answer is a familiar phrase with an F eliminated and the spelling changed:

Hooting, mostly? OWLLANGUAGE (Fowl language)
Saying 'Break a leg,' say? STAGERITE (Stage fright)
Plumbing school basic? WRENCHLESSON (French lesson)
Astronomers' monthly reading? ORBSMAGAZINE (Forbes magazine)
Supply at the thermometer factory? READYMERCURY (Freddie Mercury)
Perfect apartment deal? GOLDONLEASE (Golden Fleece)
Beet-flavored drink? ROOTCOCKTAIL (Fruit cocktail)
Traditional wisdom about hustlers? DANCELORE (Dance floor)
Song about a yellow ribbon? OAKBALLAD (Folk ballad)

Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of Queen, whose hits included Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions, Another One Bites The Dust and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Mercury, who was born Farrokh Bulsana in Zanzibar, died of AIDS in 1991.

In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of a golden-haired winged ram and is a symbol of authority and kingship. In the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, which dates from around 300 BC, the fleece is sought by Jason so he can rightfully assume the throne of Iolcus, a city in Thessaly, Greece.

The "folk ballad" is Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree, written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown. The song was based on a folk tale about a Union prisoner of war returning home from a Confederate POW camp in Georgia. In the song, a returning soldier had asked his girlfriend to tie a yellow ribbon around an oak tree in front of her house if she still wanted him. The soldier, riding in a bus, is amazed to see one hundred ribbons around the tree. In 1973, the song became a number-one pop hit for Tony Orlando & Dawn and a top-ten country hit for Johnny Carver. Levine and Brown also wrote two other big hits for Tony Orlando & Dawn, Knock Three Times and Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose.

"Ipanema greeting" is OLA, which is not used in English. "Scottish hillside" is BRAE, which is not used in English. "Every, in an Rx" is OMN, which is likely not used by anyone except for a few physicians and therefore should never ever appear in a crossword. "Omn" is half of "Omn. hor.", which is an abbreviation of the Latin omni hora, "every hour." Using six letters and two periods in place of an eight-letter term isn't really abbreviating it. (And how about using the nine-syllable "WWW" as an abbreviation for the three-syllable term "World Wide Web"?)

The clue "10001 letters" at first made no sense -- but the answer is NYNY. The clue refers to the ZIP code of a 0.62-square-mile area of southeast New York. ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) codes were introduced by the United States Postal Service in 1963. For an explanation of what all those numbers mean, go to


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