10.02.07 -- Puzzles and Quizzes

Illustration from "My Grandmother’s Patchwork Quilt"
Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Click here for LARGE PRINT.

Puzzle by Oliver Hill, edited by Will Shortz
Four inter-related entries are the feature of today’s crossword -- MINDYOURPSANDQS (60A “Behave!” … and a hint to this puzzle’s theme); PERSONALITYQUIZ (17A Cosmopolitan staple); PROQUARTERBACK (26A N.F.L. star); and PATCHWORKQUILT (47A Colorful bed cover).

“Mind your P’s and Q’s” is a puzzling and quirky idiom; references give various origins:
* Advice to a child learning its letters to be careful not to mix up the handwritten lower-case letters p and q.
* Similar advice to a printer’s apprentice, for whom the backward-facing metal type letters would be especially confusing.
* Jocular, or perhaps deadly serious, advice to a barman not to confuse the letters p and q on the tally slate, on which the letters stood for the pints and quarts consumed “on tick” by the patrons.
* An abbreviation of mind your please’s and thank-you’s.
* Instructions from a French dancing master to be sure to perform the dance figures pieds and queues accurately.
* An admonishment to seamen not to soil their navy pea-jackets with their tarred queues, that is, their pigtails.
In fact, there are many more -- see HERE, HERE, and HERE!

As puzzles and quizzes go, this crossword is a friendly one, albeit with a forbidding DARKAGE (37A Period of human benightedness) intersected by TOKYO (29D Site of the first Asian Olympics) resulting in a bold “K” in the center of the grid, think Samauri.

Non-pair parings: SAMIAM (1A “Do you like green eggs and ham?” speaker) and WENTSOLO (14A Broke from the band, maybe); SQUEAL (16D Sound at a greased pig contest) and OOZY (12D Like mud); EVENUP (66A Tie, as a score) and ATODDS (43D In disagreement); EMISSARY (65A Representative) and TYPEB (15D Easygoing); and today’s only people in the puzzle, AGEE (2D Author James): LANA (34A Actress Turner); and the KAISER (50D Onetime German leader).

There certainly is a fair amount of medium-use fill, happenstance and otherwise -- ACHE, ADO, ALA, AFAR, ALIT, ANT, ATWT, AURA, AVE, AWLS, COY, EEE, ENE, EDNA, EQUI, ESPN, ESQS, IFS, INS, IQS, ISLA, INIT, KIX, LEI, MERE, MMES, NET, OAK, OLES, OOZY, ORO, ORYX, OVI, PET, PLEA, PROG, ROWS, RSVP, SET, SEE, SPEE, SERA, SAPS, SASH, SUED, TAO, TOUT, TIME, and URI.

I’m leaving out, for no particular reason, PUTTY (21A It can be silly); LAPSE (32A Slip); SHREW (45A Relative of a mole); MTIDA (53A Highest peak of Crete); RETAIN (69A Keep); MANILA (6D Port seized by Adm. Dewey, 1898); RANUP (27D Incurred, as charges); OPERA (28D La Traviata,” e.g.); CAPRI (30D Kind of pants); KNEEL (31D Prepare to propose); and CLAYS (48D Pottery materials).

October is Black History Month -- so here’s a little history for one of today’s entries, PROQUARTERBACK.


For today's cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle solution above is by the author of this blog and does not guarantee accuracy. If you find errors or omissions, you are more than welcome to make note of same in the Comments section of this post -- any corrections found necessary will be executed promptly upon verification.
Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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Anonymous said...

Other crossword blogs made note that today's crossword is a debut by Oliver Hill, 17, who is a high school senior from Will Shortz’s hometown of Pleasantville, N.Y. and lives around the corner from Will Shortz, and drops off his puzzles in person!
While finding it remarkable that he was just seventeen years old, they were rather tough on the kid -- age discrimination! Did you also know that bit of information? If so, why no mention?

I like your blog.

DONALD said...

I don't really care much for the "inside" information from what I call the "Puzzle Police", but that is cool.

On the other hand, why should it matter -- age, that is.

Thanks for your comment, always welcome!