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Puzzle Solution #12: Mystery Meat?


The wrong car at the wrong timeAs promised, the solution to my puzzle sits just below the spoiler space on this page. As if you need it.

Haven’t seen my puzzle yet? Don’t pass up the chance to feel the sense of accomplishment solving one of my puzzles can provide! Maybe you just haven’t managed to get much done at work today. Here is your chance to rectify that. Just drive your browser to Don’t Eat That and sink your teeth into it.

Spoiler space

Groucho Marx

Here is a short musical interlude for your listening pleasure:


 

The solution

(Image courtesy XwordInfo.com.)
Puzzle solution.
This is a word-playful puzzle and a cousin to two of my earlier efforts, Sometimes Wise and Meet in the Middle. These punny puzzles–when done well–are my favorites. “Done well” is a very subjective measure here. When the constructor and the solver are on the same wavelength, they are a lot of fun. I can only hope that some of my audience shares or is able to indulge my sense of humor.

Disney Princess JasmineThe theme answers in this puzzle certainly require indulgence. TATER TAUGHT? GINGER BRED? Silly enough to be funny? (One email correspondent was complimentary but wrote that he does not believe anyone pronounces “taught” to rhyme with “tot.” He pronounces “taught” to rhyme with “tort,” as in, I guess, “my teacher tort me a lesson.” I am still not sure he isn’t pulling my leg. He is from Boston, though, so maybe not.)

I made an effort to avoid obscure vocabulary. One word on the grid, ZEK, may be unfamiliar to many. It is a staple for Scrabble geeks and, for some at least, from the writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Not all answers are words, though. My grid required too many three-letter answers. As a consequence I was unable to avoid some hoary old crosswordese, ugly initialisms, and abbreviations. I would have liked to avoid EMO, IRT, the “on scoreboards” answers and a few others. Who would remember the name of Thor Heyerdahl’s small boat the Ra I if not for crosswords? Everyone remembers the Kon-Tiki, but few of us remember the two papyrus crafts named after the Egyptian god Ra, the Ra I and the Ra II. Not me.[1]

I am pleased to note that George Barany is hosting a copy of my puzzle on his George Barany & Friends website. I appreciate the input I received on a beta copy of my puzzle from members of his group of crossword mavens. (He thanks them by name on his site.)

Notes

  1. I notice this morning that Wikipedia calls Heyerdahl’s first papyrus craft the Ra, not the Ra I. Still, Will Shortz has used the answer RAI at least 10 times clued as “Thor Heyerdahl’s craft” or similar. [^]


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