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Author Topic: Reflecting on the August 26 crossword  (Read 1488 times)


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Reflecting on the August 26 crossword
« on: August 26, 2017, 03:53:26 PM »
Mike Buckley's crosswords have been appearing in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times since August 2009. In today's crossword, Buckley clues REDRUM as "Shining example of mirror writing?" Spelled backwards, REDRUM is MURDER -- but that is not an example of mirror writing. It is an example of a word which makes another word when spelled backwards.

Mirror writing is a style of writing in which each letter, word and sentence is in reverse direction. When reflected in a mirror, it appears normal. The most common example is the word AMBULANCE, which appears in reverse on the front of ambulances. When motorists look in the rear-view mirror and see the emergency vehicle approaching, they will see the word correctly and yield the right of way. (If they aren't fooling around with cell phones and music players, they might actually hear the siren!) Here is a short demonstration of mirror writing:

Three clues were clever: "Current quantity" for AMPERE, "Split hairs?" for PART, and "One who's often over a barrel" for COOPER. "Band member with a vihuela" is MARIACHI. Mariachi bands originated in western Mexico and typically include acoustic guitar, trumpets, violins, vihuelas and guitarrónes (large bass guitars). The members usually wear fancy uniforms with sombreros and bolero coats and perform (for money) while roaming from place to place. The vihuela is a large guitar with five strings, often doubled. The G, D and A strings are tuned an octave higher than normal in order to produce a higher pitch. A handmade vihuela can be seen at

The crossword also includes MAEWEST and portions of one of her famous lines: "It's better to be LOOKEDOVER than OVERLOOKED." Mary Jane "Mae" West (1893-1980) was a movie star and playwright well known for her risqué humor. Among her other famous lines: "Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before" and "When I'm good, I'm very very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better." Here is the trailer for My Little Chickadee (1940), the only film to star Mae West and W.C. Fields together:

In the movie, Fields kisses her hand and exclaims, "What symmetrical digits!" That is all for today. You've now heard.....the West of the story. (My apologies to the late Paul Harvey for that horrible pun.)


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