Antipiracy org. / WED 10-21-15 / Maxim by Publilius Syrus / Cipher creator's need / Between periods equipment / 10-year-old Oscar winner for Paper Moon
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (just 'cause quotes are kind of hard to suss out)
THEME: quote / word ladder
- "LET A FOOL / HOLD HIS TONGUE / AND HE WILL PASS / FOR A SAGE" (17A: ... a maxim by Publilius Syrus, hinted at by the series of circled letters)
- FOOL / TOOL / TOLL / TALL / TALE / SALE / SANE / SAGE
fl. 85–43 BC), was a Latin writer of sententiae. He was a Syrian who was brought as a slave to Italy, but by his wit and talent he won the favour of his master, who freed and educated him. Publilius' name, due to early medieval palatalization of 'l' between two 'i's, is often presented by manuscripts (and some printed editions) in corrupt form as 'Publius'. // His mimes, in which he acted himself, had a great success in the provincial towns of Italy and at the games given by Caesar in 46 BC. Publilius was perhaps even more famous as an improviser, and received from Caesar himself the prize in a contest in which he vanquished all his competitors, including the celebrated Decimus Laberius. // All that remains of his corpus is a collection of Sententiae, a series of moral maxims in iambic and trochaic verse. This collection must have been made at a very early date, since it was known to Aulus Gellius in the 2nd century AD. Each maxim consists of a single verse, and the verses are arranged in alphabetical order according to their initial letters. In the course of time the collection was interpolated with sentences drawn from other writers, especially from apocryphal writings of Seneca the Younger; the number of genuine verses is about 700. They include many pithy sayings, such as the famous "iudex damnatur ubi nocens absolvitur" ("The judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted") adopted as its motto by the Edinburgh Review. (wikipedia)
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SEX SELLS (40D: Advertising truism) and ZAMBONI (29D: Between-periods equipment) are decent. But ADREM? EWW. And ADIN and OOP and OHOH etc. It's pretty rough. And, again, tiring. A walk in the park, but not a terribly nice park. A kind of run-down park. Here's what I remember about this grid (and I *just* solved it): "Ugh, quote puzzle." "Circles? ... I guess I'll just figure out what those do later." "ZAMBONI! Cool." "TOW BAR ... and ... no ... no ... hmm ... OK, it's SKI TOW (?) (8D: Winter lift) ... moving on." And finally "RIAA!?!?! (51D: Antipiracy org.) ... Wow, that is not an abbreviation I am ever likely to remember. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say 'I'm really glad I know who TIA Carrere is'" (58A: Carrere of "Wayne's World"). And that was that. Oh, wait, sorry. I left out one other happy moment: seeing Art Spiegelman's "MAUS" (26D: First graphic novel to win a Pulitzer (1992)). If this puzzle leads even one person to seek out and read "MAUS," it will have been worth it. Phenomenal stuff. "In the Shadow of No Towers," also great. And for a career retrospective, I recommend "Co-Mix." Spiegelman attended the university where I teach, which is completely coincidental to my fandom, but a fact nonetheless.
I was too early for the whole (sad) SAT PREP phenomenon (46D: Extracurricular study for many a high school jr.), so that section of the grid was toughest for me. I'm sure SAT PREP existed, in some form, in the late '80s, but my SAT PREP was me and a book (made of paper!) of old tests. And I went through the whole book over the course of, I don't know, several months, probably. And then I took the actual test. Once. In the spring of 1986. And that was that. Raised my score a ton (from the PSAT), which is yet more evidence that the SAT is a joke. I practiced taking a test, and thus got a lot better at taking a test. I doubt I got any smarter or better prepared for college. This is all to say that I didn't get SAT PREP until the last letter, the "T" in TIA. Man, that woman did a lot of work today. Thank you, TIA.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Mary Lou Guizzo had another puzzle published recently (solo!)—it's yesterday's WSJ puzzle, "Following Orders." Nicer solving experience all around. Delightful.
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