Monday, March 29, 2021

Monday, March 29, 2021, Lynn Lempel

Ah, the vagaries of the English language and its spelling oddities. Some of you may have heard of George Bernard Shaw's alternative spelling for the word "fish," namely "ghoti." "Gh" as in "enough," "o" as in "women," and "ti" as in "tradition." 

It's also a deep mine to delve in for our beloved crossword constructors. Today, Ms. Lempel, who is a past master at creating beautiful smooth early week puzzles, has used TOBEORNOTTOBE as a way to nod at the difficulties of recalling whether a B is doubled in a word or not. Her examples of either direction are the last word of the first two theme answers and the first word of the last two - a nice bit of symmetry there.

At first, to be honest, though, I wondered whether it should have been "three B" for BRERRABBIT and PEBBLEBEACH. But I'm not one to pick nits here. The trick still works. And of course, I'm all in favor of the TREBLECLEF. What various mnemonics did people have for that E-G-B-D-F sequence? I recall "Every good boy deserves fudge." The ALTO and the ENTRACTE right next door fit into the musical allusions.

In other areas, I don't really take a THINMINT, myself. I'm much more partial to Samoas. It's that time of year, so we've already demolished the one box we allowed ourselves. Honestly, our next door neighbor Girl Scout is now 15 or 16, so I'm not sure how much longer it's going to go on for anyway. There's simply no way in the world to obtain Girl Scout cookies without a neighbor, right?

Fun words today include APLOMB, BELGIANS, and SCAMPI. And in the good clue section, there's 6D: Try, try again? (REHEAR), referring to court rooms. But cleverly it crosses RUGBY, where one is always trying for a try.

Here's hoping your APR is not too full of CPAS.

- Colum


  1. The last time I made a BLT eas so long ago, I don't even remember whether I toasted it.

    Favorite answer? I think I'll go with EGRETS. And that's despite my bird ID app trying to tell me there isn't really a good way to make a clear distinction between an egret or a heron (or however they put it - I'm sure they are saying quite sensible about birds even if occasionally inconvenient about words).

  2. What, no Cece today?

    Fun theme. Interesting to clue APLOMB with "Self-assurance." I mean, I guess it's right. I just don't think I've ever considered a definition of APLOMB before. It's only ever "____ did it with APLOMB," and you kind of have a sense of what it means. To me, it's a little more than just "self-assurance." Like maybe, skill, success, and panache even.

    No clear distinction between an egret and a heron? You might as well say the same about robins and cardinals! Sheesh. Time for a new app!

  3. EGRETS and herons are strikingly different. Interesting theme. Sue and I enjoy fLTs quite often, and in fact are due for some next weekend, I believe, but our last BLTs were long ago now. We toast them. Speaking of TOBEORNOTTOBE, I recently (on 3/23/2021) enjoyed the 1961 made-for-German-TV production of "Hamlet," which can be found by searching in YouTube for "MST3K 1009," the ninth show of the tenth season, so this puzzle is TIMELY for me. Make sure that you choose a version that is at least 92 minutes long, as that's the whole show.

  4. Oh, and yes: "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge" is the one that I learned.

  5. Heyz I'm just repeating what I read on places like Wikipedia: "Egrets /ˈiːɡrət/ are herons that have white or buff plumage, develop fine plumes (usually milky white) during the breeding season. Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons and have the same build." I'm a plant enthusiast myself amd less so birds, so my own knowledge on this topic is pretty limited.