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Author Topic: The alarming October 9 crossword  (Read 2102 times)


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The alarming October 9 crossword
« on: October 09, 2017, 05:17:23 PM »
Every Sunday for many years, Janice Luttrell enjoyed watching her father solve the Chicago Tribune crossword puzzle. He died when she was 18 but she never lost her love for crosswords. She eventually began creating her own puzzles. In Luttrell's crossword today, "Hot chili designation" is FOURALARM.

There is a common misconception that a "four-alarm fire" is a fire to which four fire trucks or four fire stations have responded. Actually, fires are designated "one-alarm" through "five-alarm" depending on their size and intensity. The fire alarm call box was invented in 1852. The bright red call boxes soon appeared on thousands of street corners and used a telegraph system for communication among local fire departments during a fire. Two rings meant "send another water truck." Four rings meant "send more fire trucks and firefighters." A history of the call box is at

"Four-alarm chili," then, is simply chili which is very hot. And ALARM can be added to the first word of each of four answers to form a new phrase:

Pre-talkies movie: SILENTFILM
Time-out for a cigarette: SMOKEBREAK
Unwise act that could be dangerous: FALSEMOVE
Dashboard music provider: CARSTEREO

"Abysmal grades" is EFS. No, an abysmal grade is an F. No teacher or professor has ever graded an essay with "ef." Each letter of the English alphabet serves as its own spelling: "A" is spelled A, "B" is spelled B, et cetera. Crossword creators like to add extra letters in order to fill a grid. That is why we see, for example, "D" spelled as "dee," "V" spelled as "vee," M" spelled as "em".....and "F" spelled as "ef."

"Turkish travel shelters" are IMARETS. The word dates from the early 17th century and comes from the Arabic imārah, which means "building" and stems from amara ("He built").

"Southpaws" is LEFTIES. "Southpaw" dates from 1850 and originally referred to a left-handed baseball pitcher. Most batters then were right-handed and baseball diamonds were arranged so batters in afternoon games would face the east and not be looking into the afternoon sun. A left-handed pitcher facing west would have his pitching arm toward the south side of the diamond. Yes, ballplayers have hands, not paws, but "southpaw" became the term. It now applies to any left-handed person.

That's all for today. If anyone asks about me, just say that I've LEFT.



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