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Author Topic: Risky business: The September 11 crossword  (Read 1688 times)


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Risky business: The September 11 crossword
« on: September 11, 2016, 04:25:13 PM »
On March 25, 2015, the Sunday crossword by Warren Stabler was titled "Prism." That word was meant to be read as "PR is M" because the theme answers were phrases in which the letters PR were replaced with an M. Two examples: MIMENUMBERS ("Songs without words") and MICEINCREASE ("House cat's challenge?"). Stabler has revisited that concept today. The puzzle's title is "Risk Factor" and that first word is to be interpreted as "R is K" because the theme answers are phrases in which an R is changed to a K. Among them:

Battle of vampire slayers? STAKINGCONTEST
Band of vipers' rhythm section? SNAKEDRUMS
Malt shop accountant's calculation? EARNINGSPERSHAKE
Soda jerk's course of study? COKECURRICULUM

"Mom, dad, sibs, etc." is FAM, which is awkward. "Like a soufflé" is EGGY, which is awkward. "__ plaisir!" is AVEC, which is not used in English. "H.S. VIPs" is APS, which I assume stands for "Assistant Principals." "Gets incensed" is SEESRED. During the Middle Ages, bullfighting became common in parts of Europe. A man on horseback and armed with a lance would battle a bull in a closed arena. In the 1720s, men began battling the bull while on foot. I believe the technical term for these men is "nuts." Anyway, the expression "see red" comes from the red cape waved by bullfighters in taunting the bull to charge. However, bulls can not see in color. They are attracted by the waving of the cape. The color makes no difference.

"Geographical symbol of middle America" is PEORIA. In his 1890 novel Five Hundred Dollars, Horatio Alger Jr. wrote about a troupe of actors who on several occasions announced, "We shall be playing in Peoria." In the days of vaudeville and burlesque, that phrase was altered to "Will it play in Peoria?" In other words, a performance may be successful in the big cities but will it appeal to the more conservative audiences of the typical midwestern small town? To "play in Peoria" now means "to be acceptable to average constituents or consumers" and can refer to a performance, a product or an event.

"Hickok's last hand, so it's said" is ACESUP. According to legend, Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed while holding two aces and two eights in a card game in 1876. A hand with those cards came to be known as a "dead man's hand." However, there is no evidence to confirm that Hickok was holding aces and eights. In fact, several other combinations of cards have also been referred to as a "dead man's hand." The Straight Dope author and columnist Cecil Adams debunks the legend at

Shot and killed while playing cards. Obviously, bullfighting is not the only deadly sport.


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