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Author Topic: Playing around with the July 17 crossword  (Read 1440 times)


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Playing around with the July 17 crossword
« on: July 17, 2016, 03:54:47 PM »
Matt McKinley likes to create crosswords in which the theme answers have one or two letters added, one or two letters transposed, or one or two letters changed. His crossword today is titled "Crescendo." A crescendo is a gradual increase in the loudness of a piece of music. The word comes from the Italian crescere, "to grow." In each theme answer, a P sound is changed to an F sound. In music, P (Italian piano) means "soft" and F (Italian forte) means "loud." Solvers without a knowledge of musical terms probably will not be able to understand how the title of today's puzzle relates to the theme answers:

Taciturn circus entertainers? QUIETFLEAS
Brilliant bit of deception? LUMINOUSFEINT
Gradually doze during a long meeting? FADEBYTHEHOUR
Charlie's Angels actress on her sloop? FARRAHSAILING
Award ceremony side dish? NOBELFRIES
Panel judging phobic reactions? JURYOFONESFEARS
Charge in an Everglades water taxi? ALLIGATORFARE

"Alligator fare" is changed from "alligator pear," which is actually an avocado. It is called "alligator pear" because of its shape.

In the 1929 Marx Brothers movie The Cocoanuts, Groucho's character is trying to convince Mrs. Potter (Margaret Dumont) to buy land in Florida: "Take its fruit. Take the alligator pear. Take all the alligator pears and keep 'em -- see if I care. Do you know how alligator pears are made?" "I haven't the slightest idea." "There you are. That's because you've never been an alligator, and don't let it happen again. Do you know that it sometimes requires years to bring the pear and the alligator together? They don't like each other. Do you know how many alligator pears are sent out of this state every year and told not to come back?"

Today's crossword taught me the Chinese word BEI.  The clue was: "In Chinese, the 'north' part of China's 'northern capital.'"  Beijing literally means "north capital." In Chinese, it is written 北京. The northern Chinese city grew from a 10th century BC  settlement known as Jicheng. The name Beijing was established in 1958, although many non-Chinese still use the former name Peking.

"Like a brioche" is EGGY, which is indeed a word -- but not a good word. "Toledo title" is SRA, "Brest 'but'" is MAIS, and "Roberto's residence" is CASA, none of which are used in English. "Supergirl's symbol" is ESS. No it isn't -- her symbol is an S. I detest the use of "spelled-out letters" in crosswords. Each letter of the alphabet is already spelled out -- with a single letter. Many crosswords use CEE or DEE as, respectively, "average grade on a test" and "below-average grade on a test." Teachers will grade a test with a big red C or D, never "Cee" or "Dee." Never. And Supergirl and Superman wear a red-and-yellow emblem with an S, not an "Ess." Here is an illustrated history of the emblem:

Okay, that's it for me. Up, up and awaaaayyyyy.....


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