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Author Topic: The shipshape February 14 crossword  (Read 1238 times)


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The shipshape February 14 crossword
« on: February 14, 2017, 04:46:58 PM »
Mark McClain is a 70-year-old retiree who lives in Salem, Virginia. After a lifetime of solving crosswords, he began creating his own puzzles in December 2013. Ten months later, he got one published in the Los Angeles Times. Since that time, McClain's puzzles have appeared regularly in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Newsday, Wall Street Journal and other publications, including his local newspaper The Roanoke Times. His puzzle today includes BOATTRAILER ("Lakeside launching aid"). Three phrases end with circled letters -- "trailing," get it? -- which spell different types of boats:

New York City zoo locale: CENTRALPARK
Crude early version of a work of art: ROUGHSKETCH
Computer programming glitch: ENDLESSLOOP

We're all familiar with Noah's ark from Genesis chapters 6-9. A ketch is a sailboat with two masts. The forward mast (the mainmast) is larger than the mast behind it (the mizzenmast; "mizzen" comes from a Latin word meaning "middle"). The word "ketch" dates from 1649 and is an alteration of "catch," which came from the Middle English cache. Historically, a  sloop was a small sailing warship with two or three masts. In the 1700s and 1800s, such warships had as many as 18 guns or cannons on the deck and were known as "sloops of war." In modern times, a sloop is simply a sailboat with one mast. "Sloop" comes from the Dutch sloepe, which derived from the French chaloupe.

"A, in Aachen" is EIN, which is not used in English. "Summer in Haiti" is ETE, which is not used in English. "Padre's brother" is TIO, which is not used in English. "To be, in Barcelona" is ESTAR, which is not used in English. "Italian playhouse:" is TEATRO, which is not used in English.

"Blind as ____" is ABAT. Certain species of bats can see much better at night than during the day. However, no bats are blind. The earliest known reference to bats having poor eyesight comes from Metaphysics, a collection of writings by Greek philosopher Aristotélēs (384-322 BC), whose name is usually anglicized to Aristotle: "For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all." A 2013 Popular Science article explains how bats see and how they use echolocation to find prey:

The "blind as a bat" expression would make more sense if it were expanded to say "blind as a home-plate umpire when a player is at bat." I doubt such a lengthy expression would ever catch on, though. Forget about it.


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