Sunday, December 5, 2021

Monday, December 6, 2021, Emily Rourke

Remember mail? When's the last time you received a hand-written letter? Nevermind "writing in script," the LOSTART is letter-writing. Even by the time the revealer, YOUVEGOTMAIL, came out some 23 years ago, email had started to overtake posted letters. But oh, I remember well the thrill of seeing familiar handwriting on an envelope... sigh. Read it once quickly right away, then read it again later, more slowly... those were the days.

I like the nostalgic theme. We get plenty of bills and packages, and yes, we really do still get the occasional letter. And soon will be a little flurry of holiday greeting cards. So that's something to look forward to.

The blue ones always made me gag.

There are a few OKSURE type entries - I'm looking at you SORORAL - and I suppose Sam Ezersky is happy to see NATANT in the grid, since it helps to validate his Spelling Bee word list. (When will he accept "luff?") The entry LIGHTER (Something waved at concerts prior to the age of cellphones) adds to the nostalgic feel of the whole thing.

The most interesting clue for me today was "Pearls and peridots" for GEMS. When I think of GEMS I mostly think of minerals, but pearls are one of the few organic gems. Others are jet (from wood), coral, and amber (see: SAP). Reading about pearls led me to the story, from Pliny the Elder, that Cleopatra once bet Marc Antony that she could serve the most expensive dinner of all time. He took the bet, she removed the pearl from one of her earrings, crushed it to a powder, poured it into her wine and drank it. Pliny estimated the value of the two pearl earrings at 60 million sestertii, or roughly 28 million in today's dollars. She offered the other to Marc Antony to drink, and he conceded the bet. I'm not sure what she won, but still, kind of a fun story.

- Horace


  1. Cool Cleopatra story! And a very cool puzzle, I thought. Nice theme finds, and I appreciated the fill.

  2. Growing up sailing, "luff" was a very familiar word. And it seems to be in most of the dictionaries on so I don't know what the issue is there.

    When I saw "bible" and "brother" my mind immediately went to "esau" but the crosses quickly got me to ABEL.