Monday, May 29, 2023

Monday, May 29, 2023, Katie Hale and Zachary David Levy

Today's theme celebrates the flexibility of the English language. The endings of all five theme answers sound just the same even though each is spelled in a different way.


Fun! The first one is from the Greek, the second from Old Norse, apparently, and the last three are all from French, but it hardly matters where they are from, because once they get here, we pronounce them the way we want. Right?

UMA Thurman

But then, look at BETE (____ noire (bane)). Why don't we pronounce that like "beet" or with two syllables? Because it's still French? (And did Bette Davis' first name have one syllable or two? (The answer is two.)) Now contrast with NENE. Now with CEDE. Now FETE.

And do you pronounce DEI with one syllable, with two, or as a diphthong? Sure, it's easy to TOSS them off as foreign words, but is any word truly foreign if we use it on a regular basis? When will we be able to get rid of the word foreign? Or use it only for non-terrestrial things? Perhaps that's a rant for another day...

So what else...  LAYTOWASTE (Completely destroy) is fun. As is SPOOFS. Nice to see TOM in the grid. :) And BEMUSE (Perplex) - is that theme-adjacent? 

I approve of this theme, and this puzzle.

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this most excellent rant. We all need more of this sort of thing in our lives. Also I enjoyed the puzzle.