Sunday, April 19, 2015

One entry in the grid will give you a boner!


This week Frank Longo offers up a Premier Crossword titled "Unspoken Beverage of Choice", and there's a riddle involved. I like to try to solve the parts of the riddle as I work down the grid and then guess the answer before I fill in the crosswords. Today I was only partially successful as a couple of the parts of the riddle eluded me and I almost made a major blunder when I filled in the answer. When the grid is complete we have this:

23a - WHEN PEOPLE WHO ARE PROS
33a - AT PLAYING CHARADES
53a - GO OUT TOGETHER FOR
64a - COCKTAILS
77a - WHY DOES EVERYBODY
93a - ORDER THE SAME THING?

106a - GREAT MIMES DRINK ALIKE!

I started to write in "ALL MIMES think ALIKE" because I didn't have the COCKTAILS filled in, and I thought the pun was substituting "mimes" for "minds". Happily I stopped to check the crosswords in time to discover that there were two words in the phrase that had been replaced, not just one. Of course, I could have avoided the confusion merely by paying closer to the title which clearly stated that a beverage was involved, but why would I do that? I am left with one burning question, though - how does a mime order a cocktail, anyway?

There were a couple of entries in the non-theme fill that had me scratching my head, but the crosswords came to my rescue. I GO POGO (8d)  was a complete unknown to me but I learned this after I finished the puzzle: (from wiki) "The phrase "I Go Pogo," originally a parody of Dwight D. Eisenhower's iconic campaign slogan "I Like Ike," appeared on giveaway promotional lapel pins featuring Pogo, and was also used by Kelly as a book title."  That's really cool because IKE also makes an appearance (66d - 34th prez) - intentional, I wonder?  FALA (88a - Roosevelt's terrier) gave me a scary moment because I not only did not know the dog's name, I was also unsure if the "Biblical kingdom" (81d) was ELAM or ELoN, so that was a lucky guess.

I like anagrams so it always tickles me to find them in the grid. Today we have "Famed flood figure" NOAH (22a) rearranging to become "Sodium hydroxide, chemically" NAOH (39a). Other possibilities that didn't appear include SORTA/astro, HADES/shade, CAT/act, PSIS/sips, POSH/shop and probably more, There are several entries that spell words backwards as well as forwards, like  sot, reed, male, teem, peek, pans, and the always popular DNA. See - it's not just a crossword, it's a whole variety of word games.

I spent a while trying to understand how BOSNIA was "Partner of Herzegovina" (5d) and when I looked it up I learned this: (wiki again) "Bosnia and Herzegovina ... sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina, abbreviated BiH, and in short often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for 20 kilometres (12 miles) of coastline on the Adriatic Sea surrounding the city of Neum. In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, bookended by hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip of the country has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography." So there's your geography lesson for today.

I still think MurKIER is a better answer to "More clouded" than MILKIER (90d).

LATE EDIT: Today's NY Times crossword (syndicated) by Jeff Chen had this clue/answer at 43d: Tombstone lawman > EARP. Now where have I seen that exact combination before? Oh, right - 104 across in this puzzle - synchronicity!

Who's "Blind Willy McTell" (4d), you ask? I'm glad you did and I'll leave you with this by way of reply:




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