Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday's New York Times puzzle solved: January 16, 2018

My time: 8:28.


David Steinberg pays tribute to FOUR LETTER WORDS by printing six of them in the New York Times crossword puzzle!  Ha ha, not actual vulgarities, but words literally made out of only four letters each: SASSAFRAS, SENESCENCE, LOLLIPOP, NONSENSE, TATTLETALE, and RECHERCHÉ.

"Pharmaceutical giant that makes Valium" is ROCHE.  It was founded in Switzerland and is the third-largest pharma company in the world.  They've also paid over half a billion dollars in fines for price fixing, the greedy bastards, and indirectly caused the death of a whistleblower's wife.

Casey STENGEL, right fielder and manager of the Yankees, I have heard of.  However, I didn't know his nickname was "The Old Perfessor," Pogoesque spelling and all --- which is fantastic.   Apparently he was a garrulous story teller.

OTTO I, Holy Roman Emperor 962-973, is best known for reducing the power of the dukes in the kingdom and for beating back the Magyars, ending the threat of Hungarian invasion.  He also conquered Italy and arts flourished under his reign.  What a great guy!

ASCOT is a British racecourse in Berkshire, south of Windsor.  One of its best known races is the Gold Cup.  The most prestigious race is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, run in July.

We've heard of tiddlywinks, but did we know that the "winks" of the name are flat DISCS that are flipped into the goal pot?  Also that one strategy in tiddlywinks is "squopping," which is shooting your winks on top of your opponents' winks to block them?  No, we didn't, probably.

Less familiar to me was PESETA, the currency of Spain from 1869 to 2002.  Some of them were minted in a Spanish flower shape.

TETRIS was influenced by pentominoes, which we in the education biz know.  But I also learned that each pentomino fills the Conway criterion, which means it can tile a plane with no overlaps.

Being no frat bro, I needed crossfill to get that Hs in fraternity names are ETAS.  Interestingly, in Ancient Greek, eta represented a /h/ sound, but by the time of classical Greek it had morphed into an /ē/ sound.  Capital eta is written as H, but lower case eta looks more like a lowercase n with one long leg.

And that's it.  FINITO.  ADIOS.

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