12.22.08 -- Hop To It!

Monday, December 22, 2008
Puzzle by Lynn Lempel, edited by Will Shortz
HOP TO IT (38A. “Get going!,” and a hint for the starts of 17-, 24-, 51- and 62-Across), along with RABBIT RUN (17A. First in a John Updike novel series), CRICKET PLAYER (24A. Batsman at a wicket, say), KANGAROO COURT (51A. Holder of an unfair trial) and TOADSTOOL (62A. Umbrellalike fungus) are the interrelated entries of this Monday back-to-work short-work-week crossword.
ALAS (“Oh, woe!“), MOB SCENES (3D. Crowded, frenzied gatherings) are usually expected this time of year, one’s METTLE (28A. Spunk) could be tested in the NASTY (33A. Gross) GUSTO (42A. Zest) of the Holiday season. Enough of that and on to today’s puzzle which slips us SPITTOONS (34A. Receptacles for tobacco chewers) as the remaining long entry -- spittoons?, good grief!
Other mid-size entries include BOOTEE (48D. Little foot warmer); EGRETS (49A. Long-necked waders); HERB TEA (45D. Chamomile product); PUBERTY (4D. Middle school stage, commonly); RAW DATA (10D. Numbers yet to be crunched); SENATE (8D. House mate?) and something to think of while shopping -- TAG SALE (43D. Household downsizing event)!
Five-letter entries -- ALINE (52D. Skirt with a flare); ANNOY (11D. Vex) along with the rhyming HANOI (16A. Site of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum); KAPUT (51D. Done for); MOUSE (12D. Computer attachment); NATCH (53D. “But of course!”); ODORS (54D. Signs of decay); OLSEN (20A. Twin Mary-Kate or Ashley); OWNUP (19A. Confess to); PIPER (13D. Peter the pepper picker); PITAS (60A. Breads with pockets); PLUME (7D. Large feather); TBONE (57A. Hearty steak); TEHEE (68A. Giggly laugh); TRAMP (9A. Vagrant); UNCLE (65A. Theodore Roosevelt, to Eleanor).
Short stuff -- AIR (6D. Balloon filler) with TNT (5D. Grenade filler), ALOU, AMP, ARAB, ARC, ASEA, CLEO, COD, DAN, DENY, DOG, DOSE, ELAL, ELM, ELSA, EMIT, ENDS, ERMA, ESPN, HIPS, HORA, IAGO, INIT, KELP, LINT, MAR, MENU, MTS, NILE, NODE, ONE, OPEC, PIE, RPM, RUTS, SEE, SPA, TAPS and TIPS, TARO, TEMP (1D. Sidewalk Santa worker, e.g.), THO, and YES (3D. “Right on!”).
Cricket Jumping Contest -- Crickets have wings, but most crickets do not fly. Instead, to get around they use their very strong hind legs to jump. Crickets are very good jumpers!
Materials -- Crickets, large dark colored paper, corn starch, plastic bag, ruler or tape measure.
What to Do -- 1. Place the paper on the floor. 2. Measure the length of a cricket from the tip of its head to the end of its abdomen. Record this length. 3. Place a small amount of cornstarch (~ 1 tablespoon) in the plastic bag. Carefully place the cricket in the bag and shake it gently to cover the cricket in cornstarch. 4. Take the cricket from the bag, place it in the center of the paper, and watch it jump. 5. The cornstarch will leave a mark on the paper where the cricket begins and ends its jumps. Measure how far the cricket jumped. 6. Gently return the cricket to the cage. 7. Measure and record a student’s height from head to toe. 8. Ask the student to jump as far as he or she can. Measure and record the distance. 9. Calculate the ratio of jump length to body length for the cricket and for the student. Compare the results.
Questions -- 1. Who jumped further, the student or the cricket? 2. Who had the better jump length to body length ratio? 3. If the cricket was the same size as the students and still had the same jump length to body length ratio, how far would it jump?
Source --
Glen Needham, Associate Professor of Entomology, The Ohio State University.
Hop to it!
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Xword search information: Across: 5. Bugler’s bedtime tune; 14. Felipe or Moises of baseball; 15. Sahara irrigator; 21. Deface; 23. Info on a pill bottle; 29. Give forth; 30. Turn down; 31. Tree popular in street names; 37. “The loneliest number,” in a Three Dog Night song); 41. Little Jack Horner’s dessert; 44. Hydrotherapy provider; 45. Places for holsters; 46. Bedouin, e.g.; 56. Fish-sticks fish; 66. Humorist Bombeck; 67. Extremities; 69. Channel for football and basketball games; 70. Out with the fleet. Down: 1. Root used for poi; 2. Carrier to Tel Aviv; 9. However, briefly; 18. “What’s ___ for me?”; 22. Meas. of engine speed; 25. Queenly role for Liz; 26. Large brown algae; 27. Bits of fluff; 28. Restaurant posting; 30. One enrolled in obedience school; 32. Washington and McKinley: Abbr.; 35. A large part of a waitress’s income; 38. Israeli dance; 39. Grp. In which many of the leaders wear robes; 40. Othello’s undoer; 47. Rocket trajectory; 50. Boring routines; 59. Designer Schiaparelli; 61. Visit; 63. Unit of electricity; 64. Vice president Quayle.

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