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#23990 - 03/21/01 10:06 PM icon  
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bgassman Offline
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In answer to wwh's question about a short, handy alternative to the usage of "icon" that I suggested I didn't much like, the obvious choice, at least in an entertainment or sports context, is "star." A little longer, but still quite possible in a headline in other contexts, would be "notable." I think that would have been much more suitable and indeed complimentary than "icon" in the obituary headline I quoted. Still longer but more to the point in many contexts would be "luminary" or "celebrity." I like "luminary" as a synonym for "star" because of the connotation of light that they share.
Coincidentally the NY Times crossword puzzle in my newspaper yesterday had the word "icon" as the answer to the definition "James Dean or Marilyn Monroe." Perhaps that gives some kind of imprimatur to the usage I was questioning. What do you think?



#23991 - 03/21/01 10:46 PM Re: icon  
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belMarduk Offline
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Webster's has the following definitions pertaining to the use of luminary as describing people...

1) a person of intellectual or moral eminence, esp. a person who has attained eminence in his field or is an inspiration to others; a leading light

2) (loosly) any famous person; celebrity

I have never heard luminary used as in the second example. Perhaps, IMHO, this is because luminary implies intellectual or moral brightness and not all stars are all that bright, and moral, well, we won't even go there. Some stars are only stars for a very brief time so luminary seems to overstate it a lot.


#23992 - 03/21/01 11:21 PM Re: icon  
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wwh Offline
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My impression is that the standards of NY Times editors are far higher than those of the crossword puzzle people.


#23993 - 03/22/01 03:13 PM Re: icon  
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of troy Offline
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Used to be true Bill, but as NY times addict, and NY Times crossword puzzle addict I would say its no longer true

Will Schortz, the current editor, (since about 1995) allows the use of "brand names" (oreo has become a "common puzzle word) and other changes..

about once a month i acually get the sunday times puzzle done-- i can usually do the weekday ones, and sometimes saturdays-- (NY times puzzles get harder and harder as the week progresses-- most people can complete Monday's puzzle-- really good ones can do Sunday's consistantly--not me)


#23994 - 03/22/01 04:19 PM Re: icon  
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Bobyoungbalt Offline
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NY Times Crossword
'Tis true, the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle is nowadays hellishly difficult, more so, it seems to me, than it was just a few years ago, to say nothing of 10 years ago. Or maybe it's just my failing mental capacities. At any rate, the Baltimore Sun prints both the NY Times puzzle and their own Sun puzzle on Sunday. I always start with the Times puzzle and although I almost always succeed in doing the whole thing, I've never done it in less than an hour and a half, and it has taken me as long as 7 or 8 hours (stretched out over Sunday p.m. and a couple more evenings). That done (or maybe done except for a few really tough sections where I am temporarily stumped) I go on to the other one, which takes from 30 to 90 minutes. Doing the easier one often seems to stimulate the old grey cells, since I can than go back to the Times puzzle and hit on something right away that clears up the parts I was stumped on.

For really hellish crossword puzzles, there is the London Times and other British-style crosswords, which have those wierd definitions. They drive me bonkers and half the time the references are to stuff only a Brit would understand, so I no longer even attempt them.


#23995 - 03/22/01 05:06 PM Re: icon  
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Jackie Offline
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Whoa, Bob, kudos on doing the NY Sun. Times X-word! Wow!
I'm sorry you don't like cryptics--I love them!
Possibly because they're still kind of new to me--frankly, I'd gotten tired of plain old crossword puzzles, though I might not have if I'd tried the NY ones. But cryptics can have such great word plays in them! I really wish I could find more of them. Even our best bookstores seldom have books of just cryptics--I usually have to find them mingled in with other kinds of word puzzles.


#23996 - 03/22/01 05:17 PM Re: icon  
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of troy Offline
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Good for you Jackie-- i don't even try the cryptics! way to hard for me!

The Sunday Puzzle is in the Times Magazine-- I thing your library would have it (for you to photocopy) and the Sunday times usually has two puzzles-- the standard cross word-- and an other-- some times a "standard" crossword-- only no Black boxes-- you have figure out where they go!-- or a cryptic-- or spiral puzzle--

Harpers (Magazine) always has (for me, impossible!) a cryptic--

and this month-- an article about English usage-- Tense Present-- i have just started to read it--
Its hard for me to read-- I don't mind a word or two from the condenced OED-- but this article has a very fine font-- and lots of foot notes-- i keep getting lost...at least it is not on calendered paper.


#23997 - 03/22/01 05:18 PM Re: icon  
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AnnaStrophic Offline
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To me, Will Shortz is an icon's icon.
I have a friend who leans more toward the scientific than I do, so we balance each other well in terms of trivia. When we get together (he lives in California, so I don't see him often) we usually try to incorporate the Sunday NYT crossword into our activities. Last time we worked on it together, we beat our previous record of 55 minutes by 3. But I remember actually completing only one alone, with no help. Now as for those cryptic crosswords, fuhgeddaboutit. Never could understand them.


#23998 - 03/22/01 05:23 PM Re: icon  
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Jackie Offline
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Cool, Helen, thanks. Cryptics aren't all that hard when, like everything else, you understand what the rules are.
There are seven different types of clues that I know of,
which I won't go into here. But sometimes, I make a "leap"
and know the right answer, and then cannot for the life of me figure out how I got there! This thread inspired me, though, to put the simplest kind of clue in another post.
I made it impossible to miss, however, since most people are in such a hurry, I was afraid no one would see it.


#23999 - 03/22/01 06:44 PM Re: Cryptics  
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sometimes, I make a "leap" and know the right answer, and then cannot for the life of me figure out how I got there!

I do the same thing with the cryptics. Usually I will eventually manage to figure out the rationale and I normally don't write the word in until I do get to that stage.

As for those Harper's puzzles; the first one I tried to do cost me three days of puzzling just to figure out what I was supposed to do. Simple good old fashioned cryptic clues combined with instructions like:

Half of the clues are in the right place. The other half are displaced by the amount hinted at in 16A and 5D. Of those that are in the right place half are to be entered directly and the other half are anagrams.

I used to be a crossword puzzle addict; I couldn't rest at night unless I had completed at least one crossword puzzle. Then I finished a Harper's puzzle and the addiction was broken.


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