N.Y. Times Crossword – Wednesday, August 9, 2017

By: Adam G. Perl
Theme: Times when a high poker hand is beaten by a lower poker hand
Difficulty (0-10):  2
Time: 12:47

Let’s start with the theme. The theme was based on taking poker hand terminology and using those terms and applying them non-poker situations while using phrasing that indicates a lower poker hand beating a higher poker hand. All-in-all, it was a pretty weak theme. There were three theme clues:

17AWhere a queen can beat a king

39AWhere an ace can beat a pair

61AWhere two pair beats three of a kind

I pretty much cruised through about the first three-quarters of this puzzle but got bogged down by the infrequently-seen full 15-square answer in 7DGive 100%. In fact, I solved so many of the Down (I started with Down today) clues that many of my across words were filled-in or mostly filled-in without me ever looking at their clues. For me, the key to solving the puzzle was getting the answer to 47AOnetime English poet laureate Henry James _____. It might shock you to know that I am not an expert on English poet laureates neither present nor past. However, I had already solved for the P and the E, so it was a matter of guessing the middle letter. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was POE, but I was thinking that there is no way there’s no way they’re using this clue to get to Poe since there are so many consistently used raven-related clues. Eventually, I settled on the last couple of words of 7D being You Can, making our mystery laureate Henry James PYE. In his honor, I was going to post a poem of Pye’s but it turns out that he is quite the Chatty Cathy and his poems are rather long-winded. So, instead of Pye, I give you cool, refreshing key lime pie, for a hot summer day/
[ultimate-recipe id=”934″ template=”default”]

The Thing I Learned

In trying to think of a word to describe today’s theme, I went looking for a single word to describe the situation where a word has multiple meanings at once, like double entendre but without the risque nature. In doing this, I came across a few new words, none of which quite filled the bill, but were new and interesting nonetheless.

polysemy – a condition in which a single word, phrase, or concept has more than one meaning or connotation.

paronomasia – the use of a word in different senses or the use of words similar in sound to achieve a specific effect, as humor or a dual meaning; punning.

homograph – a word of the same written form as another but of different meaning and usually origin, whether pronounced the same way or not, as bear “to carry; support” and bear “animal” or lead “to conduct” and lead “metal.”.

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