N.Y. Times Crossword – Thursday, August 10, 2017

By: John E. Bennett and Jeff Chen
Theme: Whatever it takes
Difficulty (0-10):  2
Time: 24:11

This was very easy for a Thursday puzzle. The theme and its clues were quite simplistic. I had a hint it was going to be that way when I was able to cruise through the top half even getting the 15-letter 17A Whatever it takes (which, of course, is the puzzle theme). The answer being ONEWAYORANOTHER.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBZvGmSoxmQ” align=”center” maxwidth=”500″ /]

The clues to the theme (their answers contained within squared circles) were barely any challenge; 39ASymbol of Christianity (FISH) and 34ASymbol of gentleness (LAMB) initially made me think that a biblical theme might be in order. However, the payoff clue 55AWhatever it takes … as hinted at in the arrangements of black squares around the circled letters showed that the answers themselves were not the clue, but that the adjacent black squares, that were shaped as mispositioned Ls, were. So, for a fish, an L looks a like like a hook and for a lamb, an L-shaped device calls to mind a shepherd’s crook.

fish hook or fishhook is a device for catching fish either by impaling them in the mouth or, more rarely, by snagging the body of the fish. Fish hooks have been employed for centuries by fishermen to catch fresh and saltwater fish. In 2005, the fish hook was chosen by Forbes as one of the top twenty tools in the history of man. (Wikipedia)The shepherd’s crook is an important albeit primitive device used by shepherds. Sheep can feed on rough pasture which is unsuitable for cattle or agriculture, including mountainous terrain. Seasonal herding along mountainous routes gave rise to what are now known as drovers’ roads. A strong, multi-purpose stick can be used for balance, examining dangerous undergrowth and for defense against attack by predators. (Wikipedia)

So, “whatever it takes” turns out to be BYHOOKORBYCROOK. Too easy. Besides the easiness, one problem I had with this puzzle was 44ASound of a metallic impact. I think that everyone on earth would think CLANK or CLANG. CLONK would have been the last guess on my list.

The Thing I Learned

The pouf or pouffe also “toque” (literally a thick cushion) is a hairstyle and a hairstyling support deriving from 18th century France. It was made popular by the Queen of FranceMarie Antoinette (1755–1793), when she wore it in June 1775 at the coronation of her husband Louis XVI, triggering a wave of young French women to wear their hair in the same manner. (Wikipedia)

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