Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Puzzle by Robert Zimmerman, edited by Will Shortz
Homophones of EASY, KEWPIE, SEEDY, ICY, ESSAY with the letters EZ, QP, CD, IC, SA are contained in the inter-related entries EZONTHEEYES (17A Good-looking, briefly); QPDOLLS (39A Oh-so-cute carnival prizes, briefly); CDCHARACTER (64A Risky person to do business with, briefly); ICSTREETS (11D Winter hazards, briefly); and SACONTEST (32D Student writing competition, briefly).
Homophones, or phononyms, once popular only in childrens' diversions, have become particularly common since the advent of vanity license plates for automobiles. They are now also commonly used, often one or two phononyms at a time, in Internet chat sessions and mobile telephone text messaging sessions because they allow a long word or phrase to be condensed into relatively few typed characters. "What did the old lady say when she looked into the barrel?" The answer -- "OICURMT." One of my favorites was on the license plate of a Rolls-Royce -- "RUNVUS"
Joining these inter-related letter-plus-word entry whatevers are a few more loose letters -- CPA, ENE, HMS, NCAA, USA, SPCA, C-Shaped gadget (1A CLAMP); E-file preparer, briefly (16A); Cable network owned by NBC (38A); H.O.V. lane user (30D BUS) -- flung throughout the grid like a roll of dice.
As to the word for these words, I’m sure there will be disagreement -- you know, “a TITLE (29A Dom or earl) (or titles) are not NOUNS (70A Some are proper)”, that sort of thing -- LITANIES (59A Prayer wheel inscriptions) are often AIRED (67A Made public) in the SYNOD (71A Church assembly) of the KEEN (35A Sharp as a tack) crossword DOER (51D Active sort) -- they are sure to RESENT (10D Take umbrage at) and SULK (22D Be a sourpuss) and chide their MINIONS (4D Flunkies) with “THINE (68A Possessive pronoun in an old hymn) SIN (19A Part of a confession) is ANARCHY (47D Possible result of a natural disaster) and OVERKILL (9D It’s too much) with an ADO (54A Bustle); as such, it is a FUNGUS (52A Dry rot, e.g.)!”
Enough! It’s all as eld as OLDEN (48A Of yore) Medieval studies of the FLESH (52D Crayola color changed to “peach”) at the HANDS (13D Deck crew) of an ASHEN (54D Ghostly pale) LATIN (56D Like most South Americans) MAIDEN (25D Fair one?) in a PRESIDIO (40D Fortress of old) -- however, should you disagree, do take LEAVE (15A Break from service) to spin a SPIEL (12D Hawker’s line) and my STENO (57D Note taker) will provide an ERRATA (61A “Oops” list).
Non-phonetic, near-identical twins of BASSO (30A Low man) and TASSO (46A “Jerusalem Delivered” poet) balance nicely in this puzzle so variegatedly vegetated or FORESTED (21A Like a woodland) with the likes of ARMOR (6A Breastplate, e.g.); RADII (14A Spokes, essentially); KNURLS (26A Thumbscrew ridges); CRÈME fraiche (1D); PITS (5D Places to refuel); UINTA Mountains, home of King’s Peak (53D); REEFS (7D Marine hazards); and ADS (65D Online revenue sources).
People who ADORN (3D Deck out) this puzzled EDEN (50A Fall setting) are few, including but MARISA (20A Oscar winner Tomei); ERNO (23A Inventor Rubik); an IDOL (33A Taylor Hicks, e.g.) (I’ve never heard of him before…honest!); LAZAR (2D Agent Swifty); and DUNCAN (49D Victim of Macbeth).
The RATS (62D Mafiosi who “flip”) of the ship on this sea of words have OARED (58D Propelled a shell) us to this end with nothing left but ASP and ISH, EOS and ECRU, DOE and TOE, ALE and ALGA, ENE and NEO, STE and STS, HAT, BUS, MAYO, COQ, and HAHA (18D “That’s a laugh!”).
Farewell -- the hour has TOLLED (Rang out)!
For today's cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.
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