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Author Topic: Hm, it's the May 21 crossword  (Read 1234 times)


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Hm, it's the May 21 crossword
« on: May 21, 2017, 04:34:38 PM »
Why do we say "Holy Moly"? What the heck is "moly" and what is so holy about it? The expression, usually spelled "Holy Moley," dates from around 1890 and is believed to be a variation of "Holy Moses" or possibly "Holy Molly," which is a variation of "Holy Mary," a reference to the mother of Jesus. "Holy Moley" was frequently uttered by Captain America in 1940s comic books. And "Holy Moly" is the title of today's crossword by Agnes Davidson and C.C. Burnikel. Nine familiar phrases are altered by changing an H to an M:

Ace accountant: TAXMAVEN
North Pole yoga need? SANTAMAT
Drama written in code? MORSEPLAY
Check for doneness? FEELTHEMEAT
President's daily delivery: MAILTOTHECHIEF
Burrower servicing borrowers? MONEYBADGER
Cat's tail, maybe? MOUSEDETECTIVE
Iditarod trainee? MUSHPUPPY
Spy with a sweet tooth? DONUTMOLE

Actually, the center portion that is removed from a doughnut is -- duh! -- a doughnut center. It is not a "doughnut hole." A doughnut hole is -- duh! -- a hole in a doughnut. A doughnut is "a small fried cake of sweetened dough, typically in the shape of a ball or ring." The word dates from the late 1700s. The variant spelling of "donut" is a 20th-century Americanism.

The MORSEPLAY answer is a reference to Morse Code, a system of transmitting letters and numbers via an electrical telegraph. It is named for Samuel F.B. Morse, co-inventor of the telegraph, which was first used in 1844. Each letter and number was coded as a unique combination of short and long electrical signals or pulses, popularly known as "dots" and "dashes." Morse's system has since been replaced by the International Morse Code:

"Court figure" is SUER. Yes, that can be so -- but I would not want to be referred to as a "suer."

"Secretly kept in the message loop, for short" is BCCED, for "blind carbon copied." Pellegrino Turri, an Italian inventor, created carbon paper in 1801. A sheet of carbon paper could be placed between two sheets of paper and whatever was typed or written on the top sheet of paper would also be transferred onto the bottom sheet. Even though carbon paper has seldom been used since the 1970s, copies of e-mails sent via computer are referred to as CC (carbon copy) or, if the recipients are unable to see each other's names, a BCC (blind carbon copy). The terms persist even though they no longer have any relevance -- similar to how we continue to say we "dial" a phone number when we're actually pressing buttons.

Holy Moley, I've finished the discussion of today's puzzle! Now I think I'll go get a doughnut.


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