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Author Topic: The ex-rated December 23 crossword  (Read 1345 times)


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The ex-rated December 23 crossword
« on: December 23, 2016, 04:41:09 PM »
Today's crossword by David Alfred Bywaters is only his second published puzzle. His first appeared on December 13 and included phrases which ended with a law-related term, such as BASKETCASES and THREEPIECESUITS. "They sometimes intrude at weddings and also in this puzzle's theme" is EXES. Each theme answer is altered by the addition of EX:

Illicit buzzing in the hive? BEESEXTING
Slipshod building addition? RAGGEDYANNEX 
Too much shooting at the table? EXCESSPOOL
Aerosol product that will help you fit in in Houston? SPRAYONTEXAN
Beginning of a very thorough biography? FETALEXPOSITION

The main ingredient of those spray-on tan products is dihydroxyacetone, a chemical derived from sugar. It reacts with amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a pigment called melanoidin. The tan color usually lasts three to seven days. Getting a tan from a spray can is safer than getting a tan by extended exposures to sunlight -- as long as you don't mind being coated with dihydroxyacetone.

"French honey" is AMIE, which is not used in English. "Mazatlán-to-Chihuahua dirección" is NORTE, which is not used in English. "Voulez-vous coucher __ moi?" is AVEC, which is not used in English. (The phrase means "Would you lie with me" and was part of the chorus of Patti LaBelle's 1974 number-one hit Lady Marmalade.) 

"Monthly pmts. reducer" is REFI -- one of many shortened words which I detest:  relo, fridge, celeb, vocab, info, intro, abs, delts, pecs, quads, ute, quints, sarge, mo (for "moment"), sec (for "second"), peeps (for "people") -- and yes, even the theme of today's puzzle, "exes." Is it really that difficult to use complete words?

"Clickbait site, as of Sep. 2016" is OED. On a website, a "clickbait" is a link or a graphic which is often paid for by an advertiser and which supposedly lures the reader to click on it in order to view more content. I fail to see how the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary involves clickbait. Anyway, the OED was first published in 1884 and now contains more than 600,000 words. The third complete updating of the OED is underway. The project is expected to be completed in 2037 at an expense of £34,000,000. If you're a crossword puzzle constructor and you want to fill your grid with uncommon words instead of the much-overused  ALE, APE, ARENA, ASEA, ERA, IRA, IRE, LEI, OBOE, OREO, SPA and UKE, here is where to find them:


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