Friday, January 21, 2022, Jeffrey Wechsler

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Physics is fun; it's not "gravity"!

Puzzling thoughts:

C-Moe here reviewing a Friday physics farce constructed by Jeffrey Wechsler. Wechsler, who has more LA TIMES Friday crossword puzzles than you could shake a stick at, provides us with his OWN schtick with a quintet of fun and farcical physics-related phrases that have you groaning and giggling, all at the same time. First and foremost, let me start by saying that I never took Physics in either HS or College. The bulk of my Physics lexicon came through watching every episode of The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon. So please take my comments in today's recap with a grain of NaCl

And unlike the cartoon above, if you want to defy gravity (check out the non-physics definition) in today's puzzle you have to look "across" to find them. As in the following examples:

16-Across. Atomic physicist's favorite cookie?: FIG NEUTRON. So as this was the first of the five, I wondered, could this be so simple as FIG NEWTON? I mean, NEWTON is a physicist - albeit not an atomic physicist ... well, NEWTONS fit but the clue wasn't plural so that one stayed unsolved for awhile ...

22-Across. Atomic physicist's favorite Golden Age movie star?: QUARK GABLE. I actually "got" this as I was completing 22-Down (He directed Samuel in "Pulp Fiction"); the Q in QUENTIN helped me to correctly spell the word QUARK. Not sure how my phonics and physics got mixed up, but whatever ...

35-Across. Atomic physicist's favorite side dish?: BOSON BAKED BEANS. Well, now the "theme" has started to form for me as I was literally jumping all over the grid trying to get a few footholds. If memory serves I finished the puzzle on the far left coast ...

44-Across. Atomic physicist's favorite wall builder?: STONE MESON. Of the five, this one was the closest to being a homophone. The word "MESON" can be pronounced by any of these five sounds, according to Webster's: me-ˌzän, me-ˌsän, mā-zän, mā-ˌsän, mē-ˌzän, or mē-ˌsän ...

55-Across. Atomic physicist's favorite spy novelist?: ION FLEMING. Maybe the easiest of the five for me to figure out. You?

So there you have it; five funny physics phrases - atomic physics phrases - with no unifier other than the five "key" words are terms used in atomic physics:

NEUTRON - an uncharged elementary particle that has a mass nearly equal to that of the proton and is present in all known atomic nuclei except the hydrogen nucleus. "The conditions inside a neutron star are not powerful enough to create elements heavier than iron; only the collision of two neutron stars can do so." — Priyamvada Natarajan, The New York Review of Books, 15 June 2021

QUARK - any of several elementary particles that are postulated to come in pairs (as in the up and down varieties) of similar mass with one member having a charge of +²/₃ and the other a charge of −¹/₃ and are held to make up hadrons

The MESON field is characterized by a constant X = μ/h of the dimensions of a reciprocal length, μ being the meson mass, and as X -> 0 the theory of this paper goes over continuously into the theory of the preceding paper for the motion of a spinning particle in a Maxwell field. FUN FACT: "A MESON could consist of a red and an antired QUARK" - Elizabeth Fernandez, Forbes, 19 Sep. 2021

BOSON - a particle (such as a photon or meson) whose spin quantum number is zero or an integral number. "The BOSON is at the heart of physicists’ understanding of the universe, responsible for the mass in the atoms that make up galaxies, planets and people." — Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 8 Oct. 2013

ION - an atom or group of atoms that carries a positive or negative electric charge as a result of having lost or gained one or more electrons; a charged subatomic particle (such as a free electron). "Since 1991, the cost of lithium-ION batteries has fallen by 97 percent, and analysts expect that price to keep dropping in the coming decades." — Matt Reynolds, Wired, 4 Jan. 2022

Wait a second, Moe, you said that Physics is fun. All those definitions and examples has made me yawn

OK. Then how about a fun video to liven things back up? This is worth 6 minutes of your time, trust me

1. Like Jack Sprat, one would expect: SLIM. Fun fact about the word SLIM: did you know that Jack Sprat had a brother named Jim? The evidence is shown below:

When waiting to make his transaction
At convenience store; the distraction
Of seeing SLIM Jim
Brought on a strong whim
He had a "need-jerky" reaction

5. Role in a Gershwin opera: BESS. BESS, only because PORGY wouldn't fit

9. Fellow: CHAP.

13. Her musical career started at age 16 at the Cotton Club: LENA HORNE. More facts about her

15. Pre-euro currency: LIRA. Lots of great info about the LIRA - both current and historic - is found here

17. "__ a girl who sang the blues": Don McLean lyric: I MET. A lyric from the hit song "American Pie". It appears toward the end of the song just before the final refrain:

"I met a girl who sang the blues,
and I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
where I'd heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn't play

And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died

And they were singin' bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

They were singin' bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
And singin' This'll be the day that I die"

Source: Musixmatch

18. Musicologist's term: OPUS. OPUS - from the Latin, meaning 'work'; used to reference a musician's composition, e.g.

19. Deity with an eponymous day: THOR. Thursday, "THOR's day," gets its English name after the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder, strength and protection

20. Gaping mouths: MAWS. MAW can also mean 'stomach'. And could this be a CSO to Misty? Our erstwhile Pennsylvania Dutch resident who most certainly remembers this traditional dish

21. Uncommon sense: ESP. ExtraSensory Perception

25. U.N. Security Council permanent member: RUS. From Wikipedia: "The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (also known as the Permanent Five, Big Five, or P5) are the five sovereign states to whom the UN Charter of 1945 grants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council: China, France, RUSsia, the United Kingdom, and the United States

26. Poetic adverb: EER. Or a suffix (as in auctionEER) denoting a person engaged in an activity; or as an acronym for Energy Efficiency Rating

27. Say further: ADD. Moe-ku:

"Two plus two doesn't
Equal three; It's four, dummy!"
If I might just ADD ...

29. Word after look or sound: ALIKE. I started with ALIVE before the perps

32. Wafer brand: NILLA. The boring truth about this eponymous cookie

34. "__ awake?": YOU. Margaret and I usually add the words 'for the day' after we ask one another, "YOU awake?"

38. Consume: USE. Wechsler had to USE a lot of 3-word entries in order to have 5 longish themers. Oops - wrong USE of the word USE as it was clued today!!

39. Lion __: TAMER. 'KING' wouldn't fit

40. Mounted, as gems: INSET. Not familiar with this term; all I could find for a definition of INSET (courtesy of RhymeZone dot com) was this:

noun: a small picture inserted within the bounds or a larger one
noun: a piece of material inset to strengthen or enlarge a garment
noun: an artifact that is inserted or is to be inserted
verb: set or place in

41. Rightmost bowling pin: TEN. A CSO to Boomer; I'm sure that he can tell us all about the number of times a TEN pin leave prevented him from stringing another strike ... these guys make picking up a corner pin spare look easy

42. Wrath: IRE. One of 19 3-letter words in today's puzzle

43. Not leave alone: NAG. "Alright, Moe, quit NAGging Jeffrey about all of the 3-letter's, OK?"

48. Beret relative: TAM. Beret: French; TAM: Scottish

51. Move a bit: STIR. What usually happens after our conversation in 34-Across

52. Superior cousin?: ERIE. HURON, MICHIGAN, and ONTARIO are the other cousins

53. Takes charge of: OWNS. I OWNS today's recap

54. Filled food: PITA. This was not as easy to 'fill' as the clue might suggest

57. Painter Nolde: EMIL. I had no clue; all perps. This is one of his works:

58. As initially evident: ON ITS FACE. A crossword introduction today! No trace of this entry having been used before. So, what does this expression mean? Well, our resident attorneys may disagree, but Wikipedia uses this explanation: "Res ipsa loquitur".

Prima facie is often confused with res ipsa loquitur ('the thing speaks for itself', or literally 'the thing itself speaks'), the common law doctrine that when the facts make it self-evident that negligence or other responsibility lies with a party, it is not necessary to provide extraneous details, since any reasonable person would immediately find the facts of the case.

The difference between the two is that prima facie is a term meaning there is enough evidence for there to be a case to answer, while Res ipsa loquitur means that the facts are so obvious a party does not need to explain any more. For example: "There is a prima facie case that the defendant is liable. They controlled the pump. The pump was left on and flooded the plaintiff's house. The plaintiff was away and had left the house in the control of the defendant. Res ipsa loquitur."

In Canadian tort law, this doctrine has been subsumed by general negligence law

59. Cozy places: DENS. Was this guy the first 39-Across?

60. Comprehends: SEES. What I finally did as today's puzzle solved

61. Cretaceous giant: T-REX. The dinosaurs of the last 10 million years of the Cretaceous Period in North America are some of the best known in the world. They include tyrannosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus, diverse small theropods, ankylosaurs, bone-headed pachycephalosaurs, horned and frilled ceratopsians such as Triceratops, and “duckbilled” hadrosaurs. As copied from nps dot gov

1. Lingerie items: SLIPS. BRAS, PANTIES, NIGHTIES, et al, didn't fit. Does yours fit like this? The image said this was a "plus size" ... ladies??

2. Assistance, with "a": LEG UP. And a similar clue that fits the following image: (24-Down. Versatile mount: ARABIAN.

Any equestrians out there?

3. Accommodating places: INNS. BNBS fit, but INNS made more sense

4. W.C.'s "My Little Chickadee" co-star: MAE. As in MAE West, who played the role of Flower Belle Lee in "My Little Chickadee"

5. '80s South African president: BOTHA. Pieter Willem BOTHA

6. Misstep: ERROR. Know misteak hear

7. Coral reef visitor: SNORKELER. Picture is worth a thousand words

8. Snowe of ME, once: SEN. SENator Olympia Jean Snowe is an American businesswoman and politician who was a United States Senator from Maine from 1995 to 2013

9. Begin a flight: CLIMB. One of the most exhilarating CLIMB's I have ever done is The Sydney Australia Harbor Bridge Climb. The toughest part of it I found was CLIMBing straight up four vertical ladders; each with about 30 steps or so. The operators of the CLIMB don't allow you to bring personal cameras or cellphones, so any pictures taken are by your guide. I have some pic's somewhere on a CD I think, but it was in 2008 when I did this

10. Region from the Sanskrit for "snow abode": HIMALAYAS. The word HIMALAYAS shows up more often (in crossword puzzles) than I thought. Was used 3 times last year by the NY Times Xword Puzzle

11. "Anything else?": ARE WE DONE?. Nope, we are not done; 25 more clues/words to recap

12. Light touches: PATS. A CSO to WC as our resident PAT'S fan (New England PATriotS)

14. Many Rwandans: HUTUS. Rwandan history. HUTUS and Tutsis have the same language; the same religion; the same culture. They have lived intermingled for centuries on the same land, in the most densely populated part of sub-Saharan Africa. Learning moment for MOE

16. Other side: FOE. MOE is not your FOE

23. Do a vet's job: GELD. No images! You'll just have to use your imagination

25. "Notorious" studio: RKO. Radio-Keith-Orpheum Studios operated from the late 1920's until it dissolved in 1959. Other notable films produced there include "Citizen Kane", "King Kong", "It's a Wonderful Life"

Irish Miss: this trailer is just for you, kiddo!!

28. Roomba target: DUST. For the cat lovers out there:

29. Lie next to: ABUT.

30. Falls behind: LOSES TIME. Kinda like after the autumnal equinox when Daylight Savings Time ends. We 'fall' behind and LOSE(S)TIME when we set our clocks back an hour

31. Possible "Finish your tax return yet?" reply: I SENT IT IN. 'I SENT IT IN' is another phrase/entry having its debut in a major crossword puzzle. But I am curious whether anyone actually "SENDS IT (their tax return) IN" anymore? That would imply mailing it. Sorry, but I have filed electronically for a decade or more

32. "Got any examples at all?": NAME ME ONE. Well lookie here! Another debut phrase. For as many 3-letter entries, JW redeemed himself by coming up with some fresh fill to fit into some otherwise, unfillable spots. As a fledgling constructor I have yet to figure out how and where and when to use them

33. Dick was his veep: IKE. Richard Nixon - Dwight Eisenhower's Vice President. Nicknames. IKE and DICK.

I don't think the US had another Dick in the White House until Cheney arrived in 2000 as Dubya's veep

36. __ minimum: BARE.

37. U.K. part: ENG. ENGland

43. Holiday songs: NOELS. I think I have finally rid my brain of all the Christmas songs, so they are no longer spinning in my head. "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" was the last NOEL to leave

45. Tests without papers: ORALS. What Doctoral students take more than any other academic group*

46. Orange Muppet: ERNIE. He's the only one I see who's orange; front row, center

47. Goes (through) carefully: SIFTS. Something the old prospectors from the 1840's and 1850's became skilled at when panning for gold

48. Safer way to think: TWICE. My first thought about 'TWICE' is a TWICE-baked potato. My second thought about the actual clue is how Santa's 'making a list and checking it TWICE...'

49. Wing: ANNEX. If the Thesaurusaurus says so, it's so

50. Umami source: MSG. MonoSodium Glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate, is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. MSG is found naturally in some foods including tomatoes and cheese. Here's what WebMD has to say about it

51. Broke the law, in a way: SPED. Moe recently had his first SPEDding ticket in well over a decade; maybe longer. They've gotten expensive

53. Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan __: OMAR. "No politics, Moe." "Wait a minute, you just took a shot at the Dicks in the White House. How about fairness to both sides?" OK, just this once . . . but PLEASE don't open this link if you prefer not to know what's in it

55. Apple product: IOS. Apple Computer's "Operating System. I have an iPhone and an Apple Watch. When I went to sync my watch with my phone, Apple required me to download the latest iOS (15.2) so they could communicate. Compared to iOS 14, the 15 version was horrible, IMO. Too many changes. Maybe the "kids" like it, but not this curmudgeon

56. Young newt: EFT. ARE WE DONE? Yes. See you in two weeks. Moe has left the building


The grid:


Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy 74th birthday to our sweet Janice (Madame DeFarge), who's always been very caring and loving to me and many others on our blog.
Left to Right: Abejo, WikWak, Madame DeFarge  and TTP (July 19, 2018)
2) Our blog turns 14 years old today. So lucky to have such an incredible my blogging team, who work so hard to make each blog post educating and interesting!

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