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Author Topic: In a jam with the November 13 crossword  (Read 1262 times)


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In a jam with the November 13 crossword
« on: November 13, 2016, 02:52:16 PM »
In 2013, Alan Arbesfeld created a puzzle titled "Crunch Time" which contained three-letter abbreviations for the days of the week, each abbreviation crammed into a single square. For example, STEWEDPRUNES crossed BOWEDOUT, with WED in a single square. In 2014, he created a puzzle that included words spelled backwards, e.g., PMUHWHALE represented "humpback whale" and YGGIPRIDE represented "piggyback ride." In 2015, his "Twist Ending" crossword included phrases in which the last two letters were reversed, e.g., AQUARTERTOTOW ("Cheap roadside assistance?"). Arbesfeld's crossword today is not nearly as clever. However, the title and six clues are clever. Titled "Jam Session," the grid includes six rows of words jammed together:


Pearl Jam is a Seattle rock band whose hits include Daughter, Jeremy, Better Man, Last Kiss and I Got Id. Space Jam is a 1996 Warner Bros. film which combined live action with animation and featured basketball legend Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang. Raspberry jam is made from -- obviously -- raspberries. But "a sound of contempt made by protruding the tongue between the lips and expelling air forcibly to produce a vibration" is also called a raspberry. Merriam-Webster says the latter usage of the word derives from "raspberry tart" as a rhyming slang for "fart." The derisive spluttering sound is also known as a Bronx cheer.

"'50s-'60s country singer McDonald" is SKEETS. The Arkansas-born Enos "Skeets" McDonald had a number-one country hit in December 1952 with Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes. In early 1953, Perry Como's version of the song went to number one on the pop chart.

"Braves. but not Indians, briefly" is NLERS. I have never seen or heard "NL'er" (National Leaguer) or AL'er (American Leaguer) anywhere except crossword puzzles. "Get off" is DETRAIN. I seldom hear anyone use the word "deplane" and I have never heard anyone use the word "detrain." When people get off a bus, do they say they "debussed"? Yeah, see how silly that sounds?

"Scissors need" is PAIR. Does that word imply that each half is a "scissor"? Technically, yes. "Scissor" comes from the Latin cisorium ("cutting instrument"), which derives from caedere ("to cut"). Some people call the cutting implement a scissors while others say a pair of scissors. The word "pair" is used because the implement is made of two similar halves. That is the same reason we refer to a "pair" of pants, a "pair" of pliers or a "pair" of binoculars. The Stack Exchange website has a discussion regarding "scissors" vs. "pair of scissors":

I'm done. Time for me to cut out.


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