Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Tasty Synonym Roll

This week Frank Longo offers up a Premier Crossword titled, "Discard Pile" and as that could mean any number of things in terms of what the theme might be I decided to just jump in and see where the puzzle took me. It didn't take long to have a few theme answers in place (with a mis-step or two along the way) and realize that they all began with words that describe verbs that basically mean "put in a discard pile".  Frank was kind enough to confirm this observation with his clue for the answer set smack in the middle of the grid:

67a - Phrase with synonyms starting this puzzle's eight longest Across answers: THROW AWAY

And what would those synonyms be, you ask? Well I'm glad you did because here they are:

23a - PITCH AND PUTT (Small-scale golf variety)
35a - TRASH TALKER (Insult-hurling sort)
44a - CHUCK WAGON  (Food cart's counterpart on a ranch)
57a - DUMP THE PUCK (Execute a long slap shot, maybe)
75a - JUNK SCIENCE (Expert witnesses' unproven theories, say)
89a - TOSS ACROSS (Beanbag tic-tac-toe game)
98a - DITCH DIGGER (Worker in the trenches?)
114a-SCRAP OF PAPER (Bit from a shredder)

So there you have it, eight perfectly good synonyms for "throw away", in American slang anyway.  Who knew we had so many different terms meaning "to put on the discard pile", and each one has, I think, it's own particular application given the situation. I love our language.

I'll add a couple of editorial comments that have nothing to do with the puzzle other than it reminded me of things that irk me.  One is "God is ON OUR side" (61d) - it seems to me that much of the warfare throughout history and occurring today has its roots in this belief, and it needs to stop. Your god, whoever that may be, does not want you killing your fellow man so really, just cut it out!  The other is JUNK SCIENCE, which is just another name for making stuff up to prove a point contrary to facts established by real science. Biblical strict-constructionist "theories" and special-interest funded "reports" that fly in the face of universally accepted scientific facts are pure bunk that should not be given serious consideration and most certainly should not be taught in our public schools. "In the age of information, ignorance is a choice" - don't be ignorant!

Here's the "Sound-swapping reverend" (34d) to see you off until next week:

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