Thursday, May 19, 2016

Exhibt* (for Exhibit*)

OMG, you're probably getting really sick of me TMIing about crossword puzzles all the time, but I have to say one more thing: I just finished the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle—correctly, completely, and completely unassisted—on the very same day I got it, no less—and for the very first time ever! And in spite of such wonderfully confounding clues as "'Conger eel? Au contraire!'" (THATSAMORAY) and "Repeatedly cried, 'Land ho!' with no land in sight, maybe?" (AGGRAVATEDASALT). Even the puzzle's theme seemed to reflect my own superlative results: "EXHIBIT A." The other day a coworker advised me that doing a lot of crossword puzzles makes a person ... good at doing crossword puzzles. I suppose that's true, if a tad deflating. You do tend to pick up lots of tiny, vowel-laden, Scrabble-friendly words; some of the trivia occasionally sticks with you; and working out the answers most likely does help support one's cognitive functions. Nevertheless, I think my esteemed colleague may be on to something. Crossword puzzles are pretty much their own reward. Exhibit A? The pleased-as-punch countenance of your dear old typo blogger! You know, I almost wrote "proud as punch" there, until I remembered that it was "proud as a peacock." I'm not exactly sure what "pleased as punch" could even mean (albeit the Kool-Aid Man always looked pretty happy!), but much like any punch-drunk, pun-dunked peacock, I'm proudly exhibiting my assets. (Seeing as how I can't seem to leave a single clue unsolved these days, though, I just looked it up. It turns out that it's a reference to the old "Punch and Judy" puppet shows, which would also suggest that the word Punch in this context should be capitalized, although apparently that's optional. Another variation on this phrase, it appears, was my initial inclination: "proud as punch.") Our typo for the day was found 53 times in OhioLINK, and scored "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(NBC peacock logo, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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