U-shaped bone above larynx / SUN 4-26-15 / Racoonlike animal / Worrier's farewell / Mother of Levi Judah / Relative of Cerulean / Viola's love in Twelfth night / WWII Dambusters for short / Franz's partner in old SNL sketches
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Which is Wish" — Wacky "ch"-to-"sh" sound changes:
- LAST DISH EFFORT (23A: Valiant attempt to finish off a seven-course meal?)
- LAWN SHARES (30A: What an investor in golf courses might buy?)
- SHEEP THRILLS (36A: Grazing in a meadow and jumping fences, for two?)
- YOU BETTER WASH OUT (48A: "Be sure to lose!"?)
- MIX AND MASH (64A: Two blender settings?)
- KARATE SHOP (68A: Dojo Mart, e.g.?)
- MUSH TO MY SURPRISE (82A: What I unexpectedly had for breakfast?)
- MARSH MADNESS (92A: Swamp fever?)
- POKER SHIPS (100A: Floating casinos?)
- SHEAF INSPECTOR (112A: Reviewer of the paperwork?)
The hyoid bone (lingual bone) (//; Latin os hyoideum) is a horseshoe-shaped bonesituated in the anterior midline of the neck between the chin and the thyroid cartilage. At rest, it lies at the level of the base of the mandible in the front and the third cervical vertebra (C3) behind.Unlike other bones, the hyoid is only distantly articulated to other bones by muscles or ligaments. The hyoid is anchored by muscles from the anterior, posterior and inferior directions, and aids in tongue movement and swallowing. The hyoid bone provides attachment to the muscles of the floor of the mouth and the tongue above, the larynx below, and the epiglottis and pharynx behind.
• • •
SHEEP THRILLS (the incongruity here is great … if you've ever been around sheep, the idea that anything "thrills" them is pretty hilarious), and a big one for the big winner of the day: MUSH, TO MY SURPRISE. That's the kind of bizarre, nutso answer that can make an easy, straightforward puzzle tolerable and even enjoyable to solvers who generally like their puzzles tougher. In general, I kept wanting the theme clues to Go Bigger, Bolder, Weirder. You could've done more gruesome stuff with MARSH MADNESS than simply 92A: Swamp fever? (though as two-word clues go, that's a good one).
Only struggle for me today was in and around HYOID, which I either didn't know or forgot. Vague cluing on KEYCASES (45D: Ring alternatives), as well as my not really knowing what KEYCASES are (except, you know, by retrospective inference), made that center area rocky, at least for a bit. I misspelled SAGAL, as per usual, and I took some time to solve the KEA / LOA issue (side note: the KEA / LOA issue is my least favorite cluing conundrum of all time … write in "A" in third position and check crosses … zzzz). Oh, also had to work a bit for 49D: Worrier's farewell (BE SAFE), both because I couldn't understand the connection between the two words in the clue, and because I had UTEP for UTES (61A: Pac-12 team) (not a fun hole to fall into), and therefore had BEPA-- sitting there. Note: UTEP is in Conference USA … maybe I'll remember that next time. I put in ILSA for INGA (76D: "Young Frankenstein" character) and MASS (?) for MENU (67D: Preprandial reading), but otherwise, no trouble. I burned the whole SE half of the puzzle to the ground so fast I thought I might've beat my Sunday record. No. Not close. But still easy.
P.S. What is up with the title? Is that … what is that? Usually there's some play on words or joke or something. I see the CH-to-SH change, but that phrase is meaningless and without clear referent. [Note: yes, of course, the base phrase is "which is which," and it's changed to "which is wish," but that is not clever. That is simply an arrow pointing right at the theme—not suggesting or hinting at the theme. Pointing. Directly. It's also nonsense. Grammatically impossible. Gibberish. But maybe the title is part of the puzzle's overall orientation toward easiness.]
P.P.S. SHE'S DANISH … missed opportunity right there.
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