This is the crossword puzzle thread

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I have been meaning to make this thread for a few weeks now, since Jordan and I have been derailing the Chicago thread lately with commentary about the Ben Tausig's Ink Well crossword (syndicated in a variety of alt-weeklies) and the Onion AV Club crossword, which Tausig edits. You can find both here.

Additionally, I have been constructing my own crosswords, which I've put up on Flickr. I just spent most of my weekend working on my first puzzle to utilize five theme fills (previous puzzles used only three theme fills or else were themeless).

Feel free to discuss the NYT puzzle, too. I wanted a thread broader than this one, but since that's the premier puzzle in the U.S., it surely belongs here, too. (I have to admit that I don't actually do the NYT one, but that has a lot to do with the fact that you have to pay to do it online.)

Anyway, go forth and tell me about your frequent encounters with "Sea eagle" or "Actress Skye."

jaymc, Monday, 24 December 2007 03:32 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Recently I picked up a copy of the Oregonian in order to do the NYTimes puzzle and I kept it aside for weeks and then finally did it -- it was a Wednesday puzzle and I had a few minutes to spare -- and it was all Latin themed clues, which was nice, and was almost enough to make be believe that divine providence had caused me to hang on to it, almost.

Also while cleaning up I found the enormous bag of old GAMES magazines from the 80s that my friend gave me and which I have yet to explore. Rah!

The difficult part about crossword making is the clues, of course...

Casuistry, Monday, 24 December 2007 03:43 (eleven years ago) Permalink

it was a Wednesday puzzle and I had a few minutes to spare -- and it was all Latin themed clues, which was nice

omg ysi?

anatol_merklich, Monday, 24 December 2007 03:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yes and no. I mean, it takes me several hours to create the fills and usually I'm so relieved to be done that I can rush through the clues in mere minutes. But it's a challenge to make really good clues, ones that will make the difference between an easy and a (more interesting) difficult puzzle. For instance, I like to put a lot of pop-culture references in my puzzles, but a lot of times these are hard to create ambiguous clues for; some end up just being fill-in-the-blanks.

jaymc, Monday, 24 December 2007 03:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

(xpost)

jaymc, Monday, 24 December 2007 03:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Re: YSI: Oh uh I did it and then recycled it. It might still be in my recycle bin though. But it'll have the answers.

Casuistry, Monday, 24 December 2007 04:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Har, no worries Casuistry. Are we talking about cryptics or non- here btw?

anatol_merklich, Monday, 24 December 2007 04:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Cryptic thread is another one, mostly UK posters, but jaymc and Casuistry show up too.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Monday, 24 December 2007 04:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i can do ny times up through wednesday 80-90% of the time with a fair amount of ease, thursday closer to 50-60% (usually with some help), friday almost never, and i dont think ive ever finished a saturday ny times x-word

max, Monday, 24 December 2007 04:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Oh. I have. Either I get hopeless stuck on a Saturday (30% of the time?) or it takes about 45 minutes. Or, it did when I was doing them all the time.

Casuistry, Monday, 24 December 2007 06:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink

last week's sunday ny times crossword i did in less than an hour (this is not usually the case for me).

i cannot, under any circumstances, ever finish a cryptic crossword

impudent harlot, Monday, 24 December 2007 06:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

New crossword from me.

jaymc, Thursday, 27 December 2007 16:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Haha "what johns do."

The school clue is super-great, too!

I was momentarily thrown by two spellings not conforming to the way the NYT would render them -- and then in both cases yours seems more Korrect, and theirs seems more of the variEnt.

nabisco, Thursday, 27 December 2007 19:43 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm pretty sure I know one of the two you mean. Is this the other? Because I think that's always spelled like that, even though a word that contains that word has a NYT-preferred variant.

jaymc, Thursday, 27 December 2007 19:51 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Nope, two different ones -- 9 across and 48 across.

nabisco, Thursday, 27 December 2007 19:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

And actually, funny though it may be, I'm kind of annoyed with "what johns do," just because it's a bit of a stretch, even for a Tausig-type puzzle. Really hard to work with five theme fills, though!

jaymc, Thursday, 27 December 2007 19:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Nope, two different ones -- 9 across and 48 across.

Ah! I had originally used the variant for 48-A until I looked it up in Wikipedia and saw that that was a common mistake.

jaymc, Thursday, 27 December 2007 19:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

my pops schooled me on that holiday sunday NYT puzzle. :(

i got ben tausig's book and i'm about halfway through it, although his cluing seems to have gotten harder as he went along.

Jordan, Thursday, 27 December 2007 19:55 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I think you can get away with one giant stretch per puzzle, so long as it's , you know, funny.

nabisco, Thursday, 27 December 2007 19:56 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Try to be a little sneakier with the clues, maybe? "When Romeo dies" -- the present tense gives that one away far too quickly. Make it past tense, so there's at least a chance that I'll panic for a moment trying to figure out if we know the year -- or, better, "Where Romeo died", and I might think you're going for "GENOA" and realize that won't fit and wonder if I am misremembering the story -- or, maybe even better, for a good Thursdayish clue, find some other character who dies in a similar place, but whose name does not immediately ring of Shakespeare, and I'll be mystified for a while, but it will eventually come to me. Because it's that sort of strip-tease, right?

"What johns do" is nicely phrased for sure, though.

Casuistry, Thursday, 27 December 2007 20:13 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That's a fair point, Chris. My thought process for that clue was basically, "I need something that happens there ... Oh, well, obviously: Romeo dies ... Is that too easy? ... What happens in Othello? ... *reads Wikipedia article about Othello* ... yeah, not really feeling that ... I should probably be working right now ... All right, 'When Romeo dies.'"

jaymc, Thursday, 27 December 2007 20:35 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That's sort of what I meant about the clues being the hard part. But you saw the movie, right? How Will Shortz basically rewrites half the clues for the puzzles he accepts?

Anyway I'm not trying to discourage you, of course. I just want more awesome crosswords to do.

Casuistry, Thursday, 27 December 2007 23:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Speaking of Tausig puzzles: the numbering of the clues in the Onion one this week (the sports issue) is completely off!

nabisco, Saturday, 29 December 2007 22:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Haha, rly? It was correct online.

Jordan, Saturday, 29 December 2007 23:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yeah, it's bad enough that 1/3 of the down clues are sometimes randomly deleted; this time I was like, "Yeah, that's not gonna work."

jaymc, Saturday, 29 December 2007 23:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Another new one. Title is exactly the same as Ben Tausig's Ink Well puzzle last week but with a different interpretation.

jaymc, Monday, 31 December 2007 17:32 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I think this is your hardest one yet, for sure.

Jordan, Monday, 31 December 2007 19:28 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Good!

jaymc, Monday, 31 December 2007 19:35 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Do you have .puz files?

Casuistry, Monday, 31 December 2007 20:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Wow, jaymc, that last one is really good.

I used to want to make my own crosswords, and looked for books on how to construct them, but never could find any. Are there such things, or do you just get in there and figure it out?

Rock Hardy, Monday, 31 December 2007 20:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Most books about crossword puzzles seem to have an obligatory section on making them, I think. I read Eugene T. Maleska's book, and boy was he proud of the awful crosswordese he used to drill into his puzzles, but I'm pretty sure it had a chapter on making puzzles.

Casuistry, Monday, 31 December 2007 20:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

No, I don't have .puz files. I need to look into that. Also crossword constructors are always talking about a software program called Across Lite?

And thanks, Rock. I just sort of figured it out through trial and error. All you really need to know is the basic rules for what the grid needs to look like: no words shorter than three letters, diagonal symmetry. But any good software (like Crossword Weaver, which I use) will help you make sure you don't do anything irregular.

When I started out doing themeless puzzles, I would just start at the top-right and work my way around the puzzle intuitively. With themed puzzles, I do the theme fills first and then work outward from the middle.

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 15:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm still a little wtf over this Tausig one from the other day (I'm working through his book). The clue is "Good Buddy" and the answer is "CBER". I assume it's CB radio, but still doesn't quite make sense to me?

Jordan, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

cockblocker?

Jordan, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm guessing that someone who uses CB radio is a CBer, in the same way that Tausig uses the clue "Recipient of 'You've got mail' message" for AOLER.

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

just "CBer," as in one who does CB? seems ok to me

xpost dang it

n/a, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yeah guys, I know that CBer is one who does CB, but how do you get that from "good buddy"?

Jordan, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink

that is CB slang, they say stuff like "ten-four, good buddy."

n/a, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

http://www.impawards.com/1977/posters/smokey_and_the_bandit.jpg

n/a, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Across Lite is the program that you use to enjoy .puz files, and you can get it from the NYTimes website, and they distribute their puzzles to online subscribers in that format. Someone you know might have a year's worth of such .puz files, but he has perhaps already worked through them all.

Casuistry, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Also, you're supposed to have no more than [a certain number] of black squares if you hope to get published by the big-leagues, and certain black-square formations are frowned upon (full 90 degree right angles -- basically anything Tetris-y).

Casuistry, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I think it's 17% black squares, or 40 squares in a 15x15 puzzle. Though Tausig had one that was 46 recently.

certain black-square formations are frowned upon (full 90 degree right angles -- basically anything Tetris-y).

I didn't know this.

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure it's as hard-and-fast a rule as the percentage one, but on those rare occasions when I see such a puzzle, I'm always a little startled by it. I dunno, I should flip through one of my NYTimes books to make sure I'm not fooling myself about it.

Diagramless puzzles, of course, are all about that.

Casuistry, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 17:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

http://www.cruciverb.com/index.php/articles/htmlpages/120

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 17:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

A++ for "Paris's friend," Jaymc -- actually took me a while, with excellent payoff

nabisco, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Total pro-level theme on that one, too!

nabisco, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ha, I sort of wrote that one with you in mind, N!

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

The "Paris's friend" clue, I mean.

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I had to look that one up after I got the answer, I don't watch that show.

Jordan, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:13 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I tend to find ‘ordinary’ crosswords are just synonym exercises, but which I don’t find that interesting. Plus I use the times cryptic to keep track of whether or not my meds are dulling me (in the short term they did, but I’m back to my usual level now).

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Friday, 9 November 2018 13:17 (six months ago) Permalink

Okay, I have one tiny use for crossword apps. The Standalone app seems to still be going strong whilst the other apps have fallen by the wayside.

Buckaroo Can't Fail (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 11 November 2018 20:03 (six months ago) Permalink

Some of the rest of the Redds have being doing NYT regularly so I have been dipping back in with caution

Gottseidank, es ist Blecch Freitag (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 25 November 2018 18:05 (six months ago) Permalink

are there any living people who actually use the term el-hi

mookieproof, Monday, 26 November 2018 01:50 (six months ago) Permalink

naked indians iirc

we got the observer this week and couldn't get into the rhythm at all. might be a long winter

old yeller-at-clouds (darraghmac), Monday, 26 November 2018 01:53 (six months ago) Permalink

Today's nyt had an impish gem with the clue "AT hot dog hot dog RA."

Brian Oenophile (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 3 December 2018 01:28 (five months ago) Permalink

Yup.

The WP today has an insanely complex gimmick.

What is Blecchism ? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 3 December 2018 02:06 (five months ago) Permalink

I was able to solve all the grids, but I don't always care about the metapuzzle shit like rearranging them or whatever, or mailing in what quote it being referenced by anagram in the circled letters or whatever.

Brian Oenophile (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 3 December 2018 14:35 (five months ago) Permalink

Yup

What is Blecchism ? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 3 December 2018 14:39 (five months ago) Permalink

(Doesn't mean I am not curious! Feel free to spoil me if you have a chance.)

Brian Oenophile (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 3 December 2018 14:45 (five months ago) Permalink

WP spoiler: https://crosswordfiend.com/2018/12/01/sunday-december-2-2018/#wp

Freda VanFleet (symsymsym), Monday, 3 December 2018 15:16 (five months ago) Permalink

Thanks. Not worth it IMO, so I guess I'm not the target audience for that meta exercise.

Brian Oenophile (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 3 December 2018 16:13 (five months ago) Permalink

Full disclosure: I burned out on doing puzzles around the time the ACPT moved from Brooklyn back to Connecticut. Until then I was doing pretty much every single puzzle mentioned on that blog, including the metas, which I was never great at. I sometimes worry if this is just a matter of sour grapes, but also think I really just don’t care enough about spending the extra time to chase down the metas, it’s like a glorified acrostic maybe.

What is Blecchism ? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 3 December 2018 16:29 (five months ago) Permalink

I sympathize, JRatB.

A while back I burned out on themed, gimmick, and rebus puzzles generally, after decades of faithful adherence.

I loved the tough themeless Post Puzzlers, but those petered out. Some of the Fireballs captured that magic, but even then there was a lot of diagramless or otherwise un-fun stuff that did not constitute voluntary leisure activity for me.

I've become interested in the current NYTs due to a boring office job, but I am fully aware that it's a phase.

Brian Oenophile (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 3 December 2018 18:18 (five months ago) Permalink

Ahem.

There are such things as cryptic crossswords in the US, in American English - they were started by Stephen Sondheim.- but they are not too common. Main sources now are the WSJ and Harper’s, once a month. The New Yorker used to have one but it was super easy in a small grid. NYT does them on Sunday once in a while as a extra.

Interesting.

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Monday, 3 December 2018 18:22 (five months ago) Permalink

Thanks, YMP.

Cryptics I took a break from as well, but still actively enjoy. This weekend’s WSJ puzzle was fun.

What is Blecchism ? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 3 December 2018 19:34 (five months ago) Permalink

I'm thinking of going to the ACPT next year... any tips (more accommodation-wise than anything else)?

From Damage Inc. to Metallica Inc. (Leee), Friday, 7 December 2018 00:37 (five months ago) Permalink

Don’t you just want to stay in the hotel where the contest is? Maybe you can get a roommate to share

What Do I Blecch? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 7 December 2018 00:50 (five months ago) Permalink

It's a Marriott though (but the strike's over so I guess it'd be ok?).

From Damage Inc. to Metallica Inc. (Leee), Friday, 7 December 2018 01:02 (five months ago) Permalink

ooh i’d go to this

maura, Friday, 7 December 2018 01:06 (five months ago) Permalink

Maura: FACT (fancy a crossword tournament)?

From Damage Inc. to Metallica Inc. (Leee), Friday, 7 December 2018 01:12 (five months ago) Permalink

The Nation is a good source of free US cryptic crosswords: https://www.thenation.com/admin-taxonomy/crossword-puzzle/

fetter, Friday, 7 December 2018 11:41 (five months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Just got an email from Pete Muller about the year end round up of the Vitameatamegameta puzzle. Haven’t participated in that stuff in years. Wonder if I am missing anything

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 1 January 2019 17:20 (four months ago) Permalink

I'm signed up for ACPT!

Siouxie Sioux Vide (Leee), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 19:00 (four months ago) Permalink

todays nytimes crossword puzzle was too hard for a wednesday.

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 19:04 (four months ago) Permalink

I agree that trickery like the theme clues is more Thursdayish.

That said, I was able to work it out just by focusing on the down answers and stubbornly ignoring the theme until the last possible minute. It took me 9:10 (vs. my Wednesday average of 7:57).

I was working as a waitress in an oxygen bar (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 22:27 (four months ago) Permalink

27 down / 47 across gave me the most trouble.

I was working as a waitress in an oxygen bar (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 22:30 (four months ago) Permalink

the peter muller meta from September, "Borderline Crazy", has a ballsy meta that I found clever. the mega-meta is also easy this year if you want to try to find it yourself. in general i enjoyed reading the meta solutions but I didn't enjoy try to solve them myself.

adam the (abanana), Thursday, 3 January 2019 00:09 (four months ago) Permalink

I just don’t have the energy these days to chase down metas, sorry.

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 3 January 2019 03:37 (four months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

peter muller has launched his monthly music meta for 2019:
https://pmxwords.com/

also avcxword sent out the first inkubator crossword last week—i have yet to do it but it's waiting in my queue!

maura, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 16:31 (four months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

https://imgur.com/gallery/HEqVZ39

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Saturday, 23 March 2019 15:44 (two months ago) Permalink

good luck!

iatee, Saturday, 23 March 2019 16:28 (two months ago) Permalink

Whew, the time limit is a new dimension for my solving, and by new I mean diabolical. With the exception of puzzle 5, I managed to at least finish all the puzzles (6 by the skin of my teeth, ie with 15 seconds left).

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Sunday, 24 March 2019 15:09 (two months ago) Permalink

No worries. I left giant holes in Puzzle 5 the first time I did it. Are you staying for the championship?

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 15:24 (two months ago) Permalink

I have to miss the championship to catch my flight home. 😭

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Sunday, 24 March 2019 16:28 (two months ago) Permalink

That’s too bad, it’s always a lot of fun.

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 16:41 (two months ago) Permalink

Did you participate in stuff last night? I always commuted so never did the evening events

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 16:41 (two months ago) Permalink

Weird to look at the rankings after having been out of it for several years. Seems like the Connecticut contingent is doing well.

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 17:10 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, there was a Trivia HQ audience participation thing (which I was typically middling at) after the the Mike Shenk celebration.

Oh and the Dr Fill presentation was a lot of fun, Matt Ginsberg is a funny dude.

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Sunday, 24 March 2019 17:44 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, noticed Dr. Fill is doing particularly well this year.

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 18:03 (two months ago) Permalink

Pending any further scoring changes, I came in 119 for rookies, and 531 overall! That’s some stiff competition.

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Sunday, 24 March 2019 21:30 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, it's tough. Saw that a rookie won the C final.

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 21:32 (two months ago) Permalink

I can at least say I did better than Hinman this year!

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Sunday, 24 March 2019 21:34 (two months ago) Permalink

Because he didn't compete?

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 21:36 (two months ago) Permalink

Exactly.

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Sunday, 24 March 2019 21:36 (two months ago) Permalink

Interesting to look through the list to see who did or didn't compete.

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 21:39 (two months ago) Permalink

Only 1 wrong square in puzzle 7! That’s actually the one I finished with only 15 seconds on the clock. Damn surprising, though I’m struggling to remember what the clues were.

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Sunday, 24 March 2019 21:46 (two months ago) Permalink

Hah, it’s MARINES and SARDIS. So they gave me too many points.

LEOPLOD BLOOMPS (Leee), Sunday, 24 March 2019 22:00 (two months ago) Permalink

Might want to put a spoiler alert there on the off chance someone is doing the home version

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 March 2019 22:08 (two months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Did all this weekend's puzzles for the first time in a while and didn't feel weird.

Careless Love Battery (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 19 May 2019 16:24 (one week ago) Permalink


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