And so, in the spirit of living in the Hallmark moment, I give you . . . EROS and AMOR, the Greek and Roman love gods.
Crossword puzzle writers love Eros and Amor -- partly because they're so much alike, and partly because they're in a class of their own. First of all, they've enjoyed centuries of job security as love gods. They have wings. They carry bows and arrows. If you shout "Hey, lover boy!" -- they'll both turn around and wink at you. Most importantly, they both have four-letter names (two vowels, two consonants) with an "O" in the third position.
Constructors might keep you guessing by omitting the Greek (EROS) or Roman (AMOR) hint in their cluing -- so stash these factoids in your cruciverbal quiver:
- EROS (Greek love god): He's Aphrodite's son. There's a statue of Eros at London's Piccadilly Circus. He's in Oscar Wilde's poem title "The Garden of Eros"
- AMOR (Roman love god): "Amor" means "love" in Spanish and Italian. Look for Latin fill-in-the-blank phrases like "Omnia vincit amor" ("Love conquers all"). He's a "Latin" lover. In opera, there's "Porgi Amor" from The Marriage of Figaro
But what if you're like me: you take multi-vitamins, you drink acai tea, you floss . . . and yet, sometimes you still don't know your EROS from your AMOR?
Here's a tip: AMOR, spelled backwards, is ROMA (hinting at ROMAN or ROME). Judith Testa's fantastic book captures the wordplay.
Solver's Takeaway: AMOR, spelled backwards, is ROMA. And so, AMOR is the ROMAn god of love.
RENEE Fleming has become a crossword regular in recent years, and for good reason. Here she performs "Porgi Amor" from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Perfection.