So maybe because it’s MLK Day and you have the time off, for once, you’ve decided to try Brendan Emmet Quigley’s Monday puzzle. Always themeless, nearly always labeled “Hard.”
Today’s is no exception.
With Quigley we can expect:
1. Some clues that are much easier for people familiar with current pop culture. These words are sometimes “logical” enough in their own way, that you can sometimes figure out all or part of the answer by a reasonable guess about what it might be. Unless you’re a champion solver (in which case, you surely don’t need my hints!), I’d strongly suggest using the Pencil mode in Across Lite or an object commonly known as a pencil in the “analog” or “real” world. (Isn’t amazing, to anyone over forty, that we now hear normal wristwatches described as being “analog” wristwatches, as opposed to digital watches. Analog? What is it analogous to??? But I digress.)
2. Names of people you never heard of and whose names can’t be spelled by those who have heard of them. Whether it’s to top hip hop star, rock icon, actor, sports figure, part in a movie, award winner, etc., etc., Quigley will always have one that you don’t know and can’t really “guess.” (Today’s, for me, was Wu-Tang Clan member. Hint: an odd name; the last three letters of which suggest aspirations to the Highest Power.
3. Words or phrases you often hear spoken, but rarely see written down. (8-Across Cold drink bought at gas stations). Hint: Perhaps more associated with 7-Elenvens.
So Use pencil. Move one if you have no idea who someone is. Wonder about it if you think you might be able to guess part of the answer.
1-Across is a perfect case of that last idea. Portmanteau is a word all puzzlers have to learn how to use in a sentence. In this case, defining portmanteau isn’t giving away the answer, you still have to figure that out. (And now that I’ve got the answer, I’m still going to have to look up exactly why it is.) A portmanteau was originally kind of all purpose suitcase (You’ll note I’ m not shuffling you off to Wikipedia as if you were a hyperactive puppy!) that “gentlemen” and “ladies” used to carry various and sundry things that felt they needed while away from their home for an extended period. It had drawers in it and so might contain an unlikely combination of the things, from clothes, say, to a cherished toy from childhood. And so the portmanteau as it is used today: a single word that merges the letters of two other words to form a combination that makes logical sense. So what would have to combine to get a “larger than-average mobile device”? So if you didn’t know this current jargon, once you’ve solved it, you do.
Commuter Rail terminus: Well, it’s not GRAND CENTRAL STATION ! (for a moment I tried: BIG CITY, but that didn’t pan out. The suburbs won’t fit. Where the heck could you being going? It’s a less familiar word for it, but it’s in this same category.
They keep bugs out: This time, note the lack of a question mark. This is just simple and literally what these things do.
48-Across; Ah, yes, did I forget to mention that BEQ, as he’s called by all his close friends, likes to throw in a movie with a famous star that you’ve never heard of or vice versa. Big hint: Two words. First word: Little word.
It’s good in Latin class: Yeh, da Romans. Well, the Italians still same da same ting.
French Game with a 32-card deck: Not ECARTE, apparently. Hmm. It’s a portmanteau describing a “proper” outdoor game, in this case played by mathematicians.