Monday, February 25, 2019

Crosswords as Trivia Games

SUMMARY: If I can't do dog agility, I gotta do something

I do a lot of crossword puzzles. (Well, not compared to some people.) Average 2 a day. To get through puzzles, you need not only a good vocabulary but also the ability to free associate, recognize puns, trust your instincts, and know a lot of stuff.

Note for fun: There's a whole world of vocabulary that seems to pop up almost entirely in crossword puzzles, so it helps to have done many many of them; they're almost conventions that one could memorize! For example, "mine entry" or "cave access" is almost always ADIT. "Kimono sash" or "Japanese accessory" would be OBI. Definitions that include "front" or "end" or "back" or "finish", especially with a question mark, often refer to the word itself, not its meaning (e.g., "Road's end?" is STER).  "Oreo" is a favorite word, used in so many ways, e.g., "sandwich treat" or "crumbled ice cream topping" or "favorite snack"...  

In this Sunday's New York Times crossword, just in the numbers 1 through 25 (both across and down, out of 124 numbers), here's some of what I figured out without any letters, or only one, already filled in. I'd classify 8 as trivia, 4 as essentially vocabulary, 1 that could be placed into either category (specialized knowledge), 1 as foreign language. (Answers are at the bottom)

How many can you get?
  • Parabolas, essentially (4 letters)
  • Trophy winner (5 letters, last is P)
  • He planned for a rainy day (4 letters)
  • Sled dog with a statue in Central Park (5 letters)
  • Jewish month before Nisan (4 letters, 2nd is D)
  • Result of a foul on a long basketball shot (15 letters, 1st letter T)
  • Band leader Shaw (5 letters)
  • Architect Mies van der ____ (4 letters)
  • Poi plants (5 letters)
  • Printemps follower (3 letters)
  • Yamaha competitor (8 letters, 2nd letter A)
  • "The Marvelous Mrs. ___ (award-winning Amazon series) (6 letters)
  • A sharps (6 letters)
  • Aer Lingus destination (4 letters)
Some I didn't get until I had more than 2 letters. Here's some of what I knew so far when I started this post; can you do better than I did with just this info?:
  • Start of Euripides signature (7 letters, starts EP)
  • Does, as an animated character (6 letters, last 2 ES)
  • Chaiken who co-created "The L Word" (5 letters, 1st 2 IL)
  • Source of a deferment in the 1960s draft (4 letters, 1st 2 RO)
  • Big fan (6 letters, 3rd letter O)
  • Tim ____, frequent collaborator with Adam Sandler (7 letters,1st letters H _ R)
  • Ancient Greek State with Athens (6 letters, 1st letters A _ T)

Scroll for answers
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  • ARCS
  • CHAMP
  • NOAH
  • BALTO
  • ADAR
  • THREE FREE THROWS
  • ARTIE
  • ROHE
  • TAROS
  • ETE
  • KAWASAKI
  • MAIZEL
  • B FLATS
  • EIRE (OR ERIN, needed to see a letter other than E to know which)
2nd group, some of which I needed many more letters...
  • Epsilon
  • Voices
  • Ilene  (Never heard of her or The L Word--the risk of trivia!)
  • ROTC
  • Adorer
  • Herlihy (Never heard of him)
  • Attica

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