I can’t sleep, so I’m writing this post from bed. I know I haven’t done a crossword post in a while, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been doing the puzzles. I’ve been doing the Monday puzzle for two dozen weeks in a row, and the Tuesday streak for half that. I ran out of time a few months ago because I’d forgotten about it until well into remote board games with my friends and couldn’t break away.
This puzzle had a typography theme:
18A No later than + 19A Tightly packed: UN(TIL|DE)NSE ~
24A Gray in the face + 25A Prodigies, informally: AS(HY|PHEN)OMS –
51A Homes with wheels + 53A “Toy Story” boy: C(AMPERS|AND)Y &
61A Something to make in an emergency? + 62A having low odds of success: H(ASTE|RISK)Y *
Two things I find interesting to point out in this puzzle.
The first is the history of ampersand. While this is a good detailed history from the OED, the summary is that the symbol is a combined et, the name ampersand is a screwed-up version of and [referring to &] per se and. So & is itself and. It also used to be the 27th letter, so there’s that, too.
To go one step further along these lines, I went to the Getty Villa with my family back in February, and I saw “&c.” in some old writings. That turned out to be an even shorter version of et cetera. It makes sense: etc.=et+c, and et=&, so et cetera=etc.=&c.
The other thing worth mentioning is 52D Sewing machine inventor Howe: ELIAS.
Our government explains Elias Howe’s invention in an adorable, dated site likely geared toward children. I know it’s not intended to educate Trump because his name doesn’t appear every so often.
Essentially, Elias Howe made a sewing machine, but it kinda sucked. Isaac Singer and Allen Wilson made it good. Nobody’s heard of Elias Howe, but everyone knows Singer sewing machines