08.28.10 — Cutting Edge

argues for simplicity over complexity, credited to William of Occam, the 14th century philosopher.

Crop circles: It's more reasonable to conclude that humans, rather than aliens, made crop circles, largely because the alien theory is too complicated and makes too many unproved assumptions.

If You Hear Hoofbeats, Think Horses, Not Zebras: A phrase used by doctors to explain how to diagnose multiple symptoms... go with the obvious. If a patient has five symptoms, it's one malady, not five.

Solar System: Copernicus used Occam's thinking to explain that the Sun -- not the Earth -- was the center of the solar system, which made heavenly observations more easy to explain and eliminated many convoluted 17th century theories.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Puzzle by Xan Vongsathorn, edited by Will Shortz

Across — 1. MISO soup; 5. One O’CAT (kid’s game); 9. Floor support?, YEAS; 13. Former Israeli P.M. EHUD Olmert; 14. Beast on Botswana’s coat of arms, ZEBRA; 16. Running gear component, AXLE; 17. One might perform behind bars, GO-GO DANCER; 19. The wind unwinds it, KITE; 20. They let people off, SPARERS; 21. Gentleman’s partner?, SCHOLAR; 23. Really smell like, REEK OF; 25. Hangs, HOVERS; 26. Cutting edge of science?, OCCAM’S RAZOR, that of William of Ockam; 29. Grabs and runs, say, LOOTS; 30. Words before “You’re on!”, WANNA BET; 35. Out of town, GONE; 35. Avoids, DUCKS; 38. Style of Duchamp’s “Fountain”, DADA; 39. Light limiter, APERTURE; 41. It’s often remotely controlled, TV SET; 42. Bits, SMITHEREENS; 45. Literary character who’s “always good-tempered” and “not very clever”, MR TOAD; 49. They’re good at breaking things, TAMERS; 50. Twitter, CHIRRUP; 52. Danger for small watercraft, LEE TIDE; 55. Drop without warning, JILT; 56. Kind of line symbolizing a cultural boundary, MASON-DIXON; 58. Able to see through, ON TO; 59. Arab, maybe, STEED; 60. Historic town on the Vire, ST LO; 61. Rigging handler, briefly, BOS’N; 62. Fresh lines?, SASS; 63. They can be piercing, EYES.

Down — 1. Drive units, briefly, MEGS; 2. Chain with many links, IHOP; 3. Alternative to a cup, SUGAR CONE; 4. Product associated with the annual Rotten Sneakers Contest, ODOR EATER; 5. Range near Wal-Mart’s headquarters, OZARKS; 6. Pixelate, say CENSOR; 7 Epitome of simplicity, ABC; 8. Cube root of veintisiete, TRES; 9. Comedian YAKOV Smirnoff; 10. What some traitors end up in, EXILE; 11. Stopping point for a train?, ALTAR; 12. Ball-bearing types?, SEERS; 15. Ancient Athenian magistrates, ARCHONS; 18. Thinks, DEEMS; 22. Feature of Africa … and some of its denizens, HORN; 24. Angel player of the 1970s, FAWCETT; 26. Bond girl Kurylenko, OLGA; 27. Shut (up), COOP; 28. Drummer ZAK Starkey; 31. Throw out pitches?, ADVERTISE; 32. Number system used by the Babylonians, BASE SIXTY, that’s just sexagesimal; 33. An old couple fell in it, EDEN; 34. Some lasting art, in slang, TATS; 36. Yo-yos, DUM DUMS; 37. It’s between Bern and Graubünden, URI; 40. Bolshevik foe, TSAR; 41. Unable to escape, in a way, TREED; 43. Features in many Fra Angelico paintings, HALOES; 44. Fixes, EMENDS; 45. Not the most stimulating work, MCJOB; 46. Record label named after an animal, RHINO; 47. Has a list, TILTS; 48. “The Ruffian on the Stair” playwright, ORTON; 51. Three-time grid champs of the 2000s, PATS; 54. 1980 TV spinoff, ENOS; 57. Source of rays, SEA.


Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at

THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.

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