MGWCC #265

crossword 3:19
meta -0:30 or so 

hello there and welcome to episode #265 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Found in Translation”. this was billed as a “week 2” puzzle, perhaps a welcome change of pace after the harder-than-usual week 2 and incredibly difficult week 3 this month. the theme spells out a trivia question: WHAT PART OF THE BODY IS A PALINDROME BOTH IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH? this didn’t take me long to figure out—it’s the eye, or ojo. even before i finished enough of the grid to suss out the “spanish” part, i already started to suspect that that’s what was going on. still, it’s a pretty cool find, and i don’t think there’s any particularly close etymological relation between the two words. our eye is derived from dutch and germanic roots; the spanish word is derived from latin oculus, the same word that gives us “ocular” and its kin.

some bits from the fill gave me pause:

  • {Cultural rival of NY, NY} LACA, to be parsed as “LA, CA”, i.e. los angeles, california. hoo boy, this seems made-up.
  • {Tax form phrase} LINE B. mighty arbitrary.
  • {Pioneering peer-to-peer site} KAZAA. not so long ago, this seemed like fresh fill; in 2013, it seems terrifically dated.

but mostly, the fill was fine. i enjoyed both LINNER and its clue {Afternoon meal, supposedly} because it’s an interesting, unusual word that people know but nobody actually uses. OH YES I AM feels very in-the-language to me, and is clued perfectly as {“No you’re not!” retort}. stretching this out to 8 letters makes it somehow a plus, whereas i do get tired of entries like AM NOT and ARE SO. i also enjoyed the other 8-letter fill answers: ORANGINA, FIRST AID, and ON THE SLY. the latter is especially fun because it’s an adverb that ends with -LY, but it’s not one word. (it’s also an anagram of HONESTLY, which is honestly pretty irrelevant.)

well, this was a nice easy capper to an unusually tough month at MGWCC. what’d you think?

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8 Responses to MGWCC #265

  1. Paul Coulter says:

    Mierde! I was so close with boob/teta. (muttering) Oho, Gaffney, tengo mi ojo en usted. But seriously, I appreciated the break after getting my supposedly sharp mind flattened all last weekend. Busily launching a new summer course, I was dreading an even tougher challenge than last week’s coloratura tour de force. I find it very hard to concentrate on my “day job” when there’s an unsolved meta swinging its ever descending blade above me.

    Not sure how many among our group enjoy occasional forays into cryptic territory, but here’s another corker from Paul in the Guardian. I’ll return with the solution in an hour or so:
    What’s testable in a crash? (4,4)

  2. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    I’m no linguist, but, as I noted in my submission to Matt, the word for “eye” in Czech and Polish is “oko,” so I suspect there may be some ancient Indo-European root word thing going on.

  3. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    @Paul – frng oryg?

  4. Debbie says:

    Had HURTLES and HONESTLY in 27D and 39D much longer than I’d like to admit…I hardly think your comment re: the anagrams was irrelevant (I found it rather interesting!)

  5. spongeamy says:

    Seat belt

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