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Author Topic: The July 18 crossword is a piece of cake  (Read 1574 times)


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The July 18 crossword is a piece of cake
« on: July 18, 2017, 07:02:19 PM »
Howard Barkin's crosswords have been appearing in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times since 2013. He is good at not only creating puzzles but also at solving them. In 2016, he dethroned six-time winner Dan Feyer at the 39th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut. His crossword today includes PIECEOFCAKE ("Simple thing to do") and four two-word answers that end with a type of cake:

Indian spiced drink: CHAITEA
Pre-Euro Dublin currency: IRISH POUND
Moon's alleged makeup: GREENCHEESE

Pound cake is so named because it can be made with a pound of flour, a pound of butter, a pound of eggs and a pound of sugar. Sponge cake is also made with flour, sugar, butter and eggs and has "a firm yet well-aerated structure, similar to a sea sponge." Never having eaten a sea sponge, I will accept the dictionary's definition. A tea cake is a light pastry containing dried fruit and usually served toasted and buttered. Drinking tea with them is not mandatory.

Cheesecake, obviously, contains cheese. As for the puzzle clue, no sensible logical person has ever really believed the moon is made of green cheese. The fanciful notion came from a medieval fable about a fox being chased by a ravenous wolf. The fox convinced the wolf that the reflection of the moon on a nearby pond is a huge block of cheese. The wolf drinks all the water in the pond in an effort to get the "cheese" and his body bursts.

The expression "piece of cake" refers to an easily accomplished task and probably came from the fact that cakes taste good and are easy to eat. The first known use of the term is a line in Primrose Path, a 1935 book of poetry by Ogden Nash: "Her picture's in the papers now and life's a piece of cake." (Nash's poems were illustrated by Otto Soglow, who was best known for his 1934-75 comic strip The Little King.)

"Spanish 'a'" is UNA, which is not used in English. "Spanish girls" is MUCHACHAS, which is not used in English. "Beginning of el año" is ENERO, which is not used in English. "Thing, to Tomás" is COSA, which is not used in English. I wonder if people who create Spanish-language crosswords include a few English words in each one, the way English-language crosswords usually have a few Spanish words. "Wildly cheering" is AROAR.....again. "Aroar," like "asea," is a word I have never seen or heard other than in crossword puzzles.

If today's cake theme has made anyone hungry, Country Living magazine offers 61 easy-to-make recipes:

That's all for today. Time for me to take a walk -- or should I say "cakewalk"? (No, probably not.)


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