TUESDAY PUZZLE — The old word nerd joke goes like this:
Q: “Why do the French have only one egg for breakfast?”
A: “Because one egg is an OEUF” (which sort of sounds like “enough”).
That has amused me for as long as I can remember, at least from the age where I was old enough (an OEUF?) to understand that OEUF means “egg” in French.
But that’s not why Peter Gordon has called you all here today. He’s here to show off a neat word thing he found.
Let’s check it out.
I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know if I said that each of the states in this country has its very own motto. These mottos boldly represent what a given state stands for, and occasionally what it will not stand for (I’m looking at you, New Hampshire).
Apparently, however, there are states that use a single, decisive word as their motto. As state philosophies go, you really can’t boil it down any further than that. It also saves time compared to those other states, who just go on and on about things like liberty and agriculture. Or Hawaii, whose motto, “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono,” translates to “Playing vowel-related pranks on tourists since 1959.” [No, it doesn’t! It means “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” — Ed.]
So I think we can all conclude from this that the states that have single word mottos are, very broadly, more efficient than those that do not. Please feel free to list your objections in the comments.
Anyway, Mr. Gordon noticed that some of the states use single word mottos, and that those words can be part of fairly common phrases. In this case, they are all the first word in the phrase, and the clue helps solvers out by listing the state to which it belongs in brackets.
For example [Finally! — Ed.], at 21A, the answer to the clue “International competition for countries that boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics [Texas]” is FRIENDSHIP GAMES, and “Friendship” is Texas’s state motto.
There are three other mottos for you to find, and let’s all count our blessings that Mr. Gordon didn’t try to include Hawaii in his theme.
66A. This is like a foreign language clue, except that it’s in British English. A “Vehicle with 18 tyres, maybe” is a LORRY, which, according to the Resident South African, I still don’t pronounce correctly even after nine years of living together. A LORRY is the British term for a truck, and “tyre” is the British spelling for “tire.”
3D. “If you dare wear short shorts, NAIR for short shorts.” And I will leave the rest up to your imagination.
9D. Fun fact: There are 102 incidences of the entry ROTI in the New York Times Crossword, but only eight of them refer to the Indian flatbread. As four-letter Indian flatbreads go, we actually see NAAN quite a bit more. It has been in the puzzle 39 times.
22D. My childhood! I loved “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” when I was young.
My suggested title for when it’s collected in a book: “Eureka Moment.”
The Tipping Point
Almost finished solving but need a bit more help? We’ve got you covered.
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