OTOH (like OTO) answers to the crossword clue
in today’s New Yorker puzzle
As we covered OTOH earlier this week, it’s a good time to mention the [Plains people] known as the OTOE or OTO.
It’s believed that the Otoe and [Some Native Americans of the Midwest] from other tribes split off from a large Great Lakes tribe in the 16th century, so it’s doubly true to consider an Otoe a [Midwest native].
Popular clues include:
- Oklahoma tribe
- Siouan tribe
- Native Nebraskan
- Plains Indian
- Missouri River Tribe
- Chiwere-speaking native
- Tribe encountered by Lewis and Clark
Today, there are about 3,000 members of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, which is centered in Red Rock, Oklahoma. The Otoe-Missouria Tribe YouTube channel is a wonderful wealth of information, preserving the tribe’s history through songs, stories, and images
But for generations the Otoe were a migratory people, living in small villages and using a TEPEE as a [Home on the range] when on hunting expeditions. BTW, I was surprised when I first saw TEPEE in a puzzle, having always thought “tipi” was the standard. But now I look at “tipi” and think, no, that looks too weird to be correct. But so does “teepee.”
In puzzles, TEPEE is by far the most common spelling of the [Wigwam relative], while TIPI and TEEPEE both turn up from time to time, with or without a the letters VAR at the end of the clue denoting the [Alternate spelling].
All sorts of spellings for words used to find their ways into grids. The EMU regularly showed up as EMEU, the ETUI arrived as ETWEE, etc. Over time, the use of the Var. tag became more common, and then many of the variant spellings were simply dropped from use in puzzles, as they’d been in written English outside of crosswords. We no longer see AMEER much as another possible spelling for EMIR, but AMIR still turns up, and not always with the “Var.” warning.
There doesn’t seem to be a preferred or “standardized” spelling of OTOE or OTO in crosswords, as neither answer gets clues stamped “Var.” But OTOE shoes up far more often. More importantly, the tribe itself–which has merged with the Missouia, who also are believed to have broken from the original Great Lakes-area tribe–uses the longer option.
If, as it appears, the Otoe-Missouria prefer “Otoe,” then perhaps the answer OTO should be used exclusively as the [Ear-related prefix] that’s a [Prefix with laryngology], or as [“___ be in England”: Browning], ways it occasionally appears now).
Why should it crosswords to represent a [Palindromic tribe] name–particularly without “Var.” the–if that tribe doesn’t use it?
Like No-way-ke-sug-ga, two crossword answers strike this single Plains tribe. But just as we reject McKenney and Hall’s assertion that the Otoe were a “tribe of not much importance,” it’s seems right to stop spelling spelling Otoe as Oto.