A few weeks ago, while doing the crossword puzzle in the Chicago Tribune, I came upon the clue “Toll road toll unit.” Glancing at the puzzle, I saw that it was a four letter answer and the second letter was x. Without a moment’s hesitation, I wrote “oxen” in the spaces. I was thrilled that a crossword puzzle writer would know that tolls were based on how many oxen or other animals were pulling a wagon. In fact, as I worked the puzzle I was composing a letter in my head to that writer. I was going to tell him or her all about Plank Road Summer, and thank her for putting such a great historical tidbit into the puzzle.
However, my puzzling soon faltered as I struggled to complete the puzzle. Alas, I had made a mistake. “Oxen” was not the correct toll unit. The correct answer was “axle.” Do you suppose I was the only person working the Tribune puzzle that day who tried the word “oxen?”