Renaissance Era Cup: A Crossword Clue That Stumped Many Solvers

If you are a fan of crossword puzzles, you might have encountered a clue that puzzled you for a while: Renaissance-era cup. This clue appeared in the New York Times crossword puzzle on October 15, 2022, and it had many solvers scratching their heads. What kind of cup was used in the Renaissance era? And what does it have to do with the wordplay in the clue? In this article, we will explore the possible answers and the history behind them.

The Answer: Codpiece

The answer to the clue Renaissance-era cup is codpiece, a word that has eight letters. A codpiece is a pouch or flap of fabric that covers the front opening of men’s breeches or hose, and it was worn as a fashion accessory in the 15th and 16th centuries. The word codpiece comes from the Middle English word cod, meaning “scrotum” or “bag”. According to the New York Times, the word codpiece was also used as a slang term for “fool” or “simpleton” in the Renaissance era.

The wordplay in the clue involves parsing the word codpiece differently, as suggested by the dashes in the clue. If we split the word into cod and piece, we get two meanings: a type of fish and a portion of something. If we split the word into co and dpiece, we get two abbreviations: co for company and dpiece for department piece. If we split the word into c and odpiece, we get a letter and a word that sounds like “odd piece”. These are some of the possible ways to play with the word codpiece, and they might have helped some solvers to crack the clue.

The History: A Fashion Statement

The codpiece was a popular garment in the Renaissance era, especially among the nobility and the royalty. It was used to accentuate the male genitalia and to display one’s wealth and status. Some codpieces were padded, embroidered, jeweled, or even shaped like animals. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, King Henry VIII of England was known for his extravagant codpieces, which he used to assert his masculinity and fertility. He even had a codpiece armor that was designed to protect his groin from injury.

The codpiece was also a practical item, as it allowed men to urinate without removing their lower garments. It also served as a pocket or a pouch, where men could store money, keys, or other small items. However, the codpiece also had some drawbacks, such as being uncomfortable, unhygienic, or even dangerous. According to the BBC, some codpieces were made of metal or leather, which could cause irritation or infection. Some codpieces were also used to conceal syphilis sores, which were common in the Renaissance era.

The codpiece gradually fell out of fashion in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, as men’s clothing became more streamlined and less ostentatious. The codpiece was seen as a symbol of vanity and vulgarity, and it was ridiculed by writers and artists. However, the codpiece has made some comeback in modern times, as a costume element in movies, theater, music, and sports. Some examples of celebrities who have worn codpieces are David Bowie, Prince, Madonna, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

The Conclusion: A Crossword Challenge

The clue Renaissance-era cup is a crossword challenge that tests the solver’s knowledge of history, culture, and language. It is a clever and witty clue that requires some lateral thinking and wordplay. It is also a clue that reveals a fascinating aspect of the Renaissance era, when the codpiece was a fashionable and functional item. The next time you encounter a crossword clue that stumps you, don’t give up. You might learn something new and interesting along the way.