We last heard from Elizabeth A. Long just a couple of weeks ago with her whirligig of a puzzle called Shapes Up. With the Wednesday, July 30 puzzle (answers) she goes from gimmick to quote and even though I'd heard it long before it was worth going to the trouble to solve the puzzle to pull it out. I realize this is completely subjective.
What goes through a constructor's mind while she's working out the clues? Consider KNEECAP. This is a rare answer word appearing only twice before in my database so it's not exactly crying out for a fresh definition but each previous occurrence was "patella" which is, let's face it, boring. Ms. Long wants to be clever or funny or something better. She goes straight for dramatic with "gangster's target, maybe." Combine that with SMACK DOWN and you have to believe she's a formidable woman.
The word of the day is PHLOX which I can't recall encountering before. Jacob's ladder doesn't refer to the angelic staircase or the climbing arc in cheesy sci-fi flicks but rather to the flowering plant Polemonium which is, I guess, synonymous with or perhaps a kind of phlox. It's a great word.
Leading lady Laura LINNEY is nicely alliterative. If you're a Buddhist who has attained Nirvana through rigorous discipline and ascetic practices, you already know that you're an ARHAT, sometimes spelled arhant. If you don't live in the northeastern U.S. you might not know that a SWALE is low marshland. BWANA apparently means "master" or "boss" in Swahili. GODS and Monsters is a great film but it may no longer pack the punch it did when it was released ten years ago.
Special thanks to guest blogger Danny Glasser who filled in for me yesterday. Perhaps I should make Puzzle Poker Predictions a regular feature.