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Author Topic: A message about the January 3 crossword  (Read 1517 times)


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A message about the January 3 crossword
« on: January 03, 2016, 03:12:32 PM »
The title of today's crossword by C.C. Burnikel, "Online Chat," pretty much gives the theme away. "GroupMe exchanges, briefly" is IMS and the eight longest answers are phrases with the initials I and M, including ICEMACHINE, IRONMAIDEN, INNERMONGOLIA and IDINAMENZEL (not "Adele Dazeem," as John Travolta called her at the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony).

IM means "Instant Message" or "Instant Messaging." The technology that allows computer users to send messages back and forth was developed in the mid-1970s and first used on PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), a private instructional network established in 1960 at the University of Illinois. The PLATO system allowed students at UI and other universities to learn Latin, chemistry and other subjects via computer. Instant Messaging technology was popularized in 1996 by the Israeli-based company ICQ (pronounced "I seek you"). At its peak, ICQ was used by more than 100,000,000 people worldwide. ICQ is now owned by the Russian Internet company GroupMe is a mobile group messaging app developed in 2010 and now owned by Microsoft.

And don't worry---none of the above information will be on the final exam. :)

Today's puzzle includes a higher-than-usual number of individual black squares -- 19 -- and a higher-than-usual number of foreign words: AMIE, ELREY ("The king of Spain?"), ESA, HAJJ, IDEE, MONTE, MUSEE, NIE ("Never, to Nietzsche"), ORO and SENAT ("Haiti governing group"). A cute clue was "Spot check?" for LEASH. A disgusting answer was POOP, for "Skinny." Both words are slang for "inside information" (among other things) but this section of the grid could easily have been reworked so COOP, HOOP, LOOP or BOOP (as in "Betty Boop") could have been used instead of POOP. Gak!


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