Cross(word) flags

Seems as though when one is anticipating having a new child, there are new-born babies everywhere. Looking to buy a new car? The very same model seems to drive by incessantly. For us, of course, it’s flags. They’re everywhere!

NYT Crossword No. 1119

Enjoying some well-earned (well, earned possibly) time off, the wife and I settled into a tricky little crossword puzzle at brunch on Christmas Day. (For you crossword cognoscenti, this was the syndicated version – of tNYT Crossword 1119 detailhe crossword, not the brunch.) We were stumbling along pretty well down to the bottom right corner when we discovered #55 Across: 5 letters – “Place for a small flag”. Well, that should be easy we thought: we considered “GRAVE”, “TABLE”, “ALTAR”; shoot, I even tried misspelling “ARIAL”. But no, Victor Fleming, the author/designer of this puzzle wanted “LAPEL”. [Side note: our Canadian friends (and doubtless others) pronounce this with the emphasis on the first syllable; most swimmers in our local linguistic pool emphasize the second.]

Now of course we realize that the lapel of a jacket is certainly one place for a small flag. Heck, we sell lots of them.Friendship Lapel Pin of US and Norway Lapel Pins crossed with the US flag or just the single flag of every country and state. But enough of the commercial; that’s not why you read this fascinating text – right? It’s for the amusing content – of course.

So what amused me whilst writing all of this for you is the blog I found written by one William Ernest Butler who, after giving us all that name, enjoins us to call him “Bill”. Well “Bill” seems to be what one might call a crossword “nut”. His blog site not only shows us his solution (including how long it took him to solve the puzzle – “24m 04s” – we must trust him I guess; it doesn’t appear to be independently verified), but he also gives enormous detail about the answers – complete with photos, examples, history, etc. – for ‘most every answer except #55 Across.

What? He couldn’t think of anything edifying about “LAPEL”. Heck, here I’ve written an entire blog just about that item which he ignominiously skips over. C’mon, “Bill”. Flags, Lapel Pins. What could be more deserving of attention?

Ah well, different strokes …

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