05.12.10 — Surprise

Surprise by Timoléon Marie Lobrichon, 1891

The first mechanical or wind-up toys were made back in Grecian times - but the art was revived by watch makers and clock makers during the 1400s. Early in the 1500s, a German clockmaker named Claus made a box for a local prince whose son was about to celebrate his fifth birthday. A simple wooden box with metal edges and a handle, and with a turn of the crank produced a simple tune and out popped a 'Jack,' a Devil, a comical version with a leering smile. Other nobles took note of the child's toy and the idea spread. Technology by the 1700s meant that it was a 'common toy' or novelty often in use for all ages. It was around this time that the image of a devil in a box became cartoon fodder for rogue politicians and other public figures held to ridicule. Wikipedia 


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Puzzle by Pete Muller, edited by Will Shortz

JACK IN THE BOXES (41A. Some surprises … and what you’ll find in the shaded and/or circled areas of this puzzle), e.g., Jack NICHOLSON, Jack HORNER, Jack WEBB, Jack PAAR, Jack LONDON and Jack NICKLAUS contained in clockwise coils in “boxed” areas of the puzzle constitute the interrelated group of this well-wound Wednesday crossword. Boing-g-g!

Other — ASTERISK (42D. What a record may have), DISPROVE (9D. Confute), EVIL TWIN (26A. Person on your bad side?), NOT TODAY (43D. “Another time, perhaps”), OUT-STARE (12D. Defeated in a don’t-blink contest), SONATINA (58A. Short piano piece).

Seven-letter — ANEMONE (33A. Flower of the buttercup family), DEEP FAT (56A. Doughnuts are fried in it), ESTELLE (49A. Woman in Sartre’s “No Exit”), RICOTTA (29A. Cannoli ingredient).

Six — ANACIN, CHOPIN (3D. “Fantaisie” composer), IN LOVE (2D. Smitten), LOW END (51D. Subwoofer’s zone), MOHELS (34D. Bris parties), e.g., mohels are parties at the bris — a bris itself is no party no matter any way you slice it, NETTLE (28. Irritate), the clue rhymes with its number, NOSHED (1D. Took the cake, perhaps), O’KEEFE (37D. Michael of “Caddyshack”), OP CITS (24A. Some footnotes, for short), REEBOK (60A. Shoe brand named for an antelope), 6D. 1915 Literature Nobelist ROMAIN Rolland, SABOTS (50D. Cousins of clogs), SIRIUS (53D. Bright spot in Canis Major), SNO-CAT (54D. Back-country winter transport), TACKLE (55D. Take on).

Five — ASUP, BEENE, BERYL, ERECT, EXPAT, ITSTO, KNICK, LYNCH, MENSA, MOSHE (45A. Israel‘s Dayan), NICHE, ODILE (6A. Tchaikovsky‘s black swan), ONHER, ORRIN, PASTE, PERPS, RHODA, SLOPE (18A. Boarding place?), SWAMI, SYNOD, TALON, USUAL.

Short stuff — AAA, ALL and AOL, ASST, CSA, DENY, EBB, EST, EXP, HEP and HOP, HRE, IOWE, JOSE, KILN, LOO (67D. Head of Buckingham Palace?), MED, NOM, NSA, OLE, ORNO, PAIR, PRY, RASP, ROC, STAB, TOV, TOYS (30D. Santa's sleighful), TUBB, WBA and WEB, YAKS (73A. Goes on and on).


Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at

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Scott said...

As I have mentioned previously, your blog is great and I appreciate you daily efforts and updates. I thought you might make mention of the unusual 16x15 grid size. Thanks.

DONALD said...


The extra space across was probably to accommodate centering of the 14-letter JACK-IN-THE-BOX.


Ellie said...

I don't think a mohel is a party in any sense. A mohel is a man trained to perform ritual circumcision.