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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

(xpost)

jaymc, Monday, 24 December 2007 03:54 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

anatol_merklich, Monday, 24 December 2007 04:04 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

New crossword from me.

jaymc, Thursday, 27 December 2007 16:25 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

nabisco, Thursday, 27 December 2007 19:53 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

Haha, rly? It was correct online.

Jordan, Saturday, 29 December 2007 23:06 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

Jordan, Monday, 31 December 2007 19:28 (thirteen years ago) link

Good!

jaymc, Monday, 31 December 2007 19:35 (thirteen years ago) link

Do you have .puz files?

Casuistry, Monday, 31 December 2007 20:15 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

cockblocker?

Jordan, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:04 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

xpost dang it

n/a, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:06 (thirteen years ago) link

http://www.filmaffinity.com/imgs/movies/full/31/317347.jpg

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:08 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

n/a, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:21 (thirteen years ago) link

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

n/a, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 16:21 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 17:01 (thirteen years ago) link

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

nabisco, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:09 (thirteen years ago) link

Total pro-level theme on that one, too!

nabisco, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:09 (thirteen years ago) link

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

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:10 (thirteen years ago) link

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

jaymc, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:10 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

i finally went back to that thursday y'all were tripping on... it's a pain!

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 27 October 2020 22:24 (six months ago) link

if you want a thursday trip, try 15 september 2016

mookieproof, Tuesday, 27 October 2020 22:48 (six months ago) link

will peek

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 27 October 2020 22:51 (six months ago) link

just looked at that one again, brutal. probably my worst thursday time ever

donna rouge, Wednesday, 28 October 2020 00:53 (six months ago) link

Oh yeah i remember that one too

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 28 October 2020 13:09 (six months ago) link

odd wednesday

mookieproof, Wednesday, 28 October 2020 23:50 (six months ago) link

I had to cheat today. :\

I want to luhbahguh babum gum (Leee), Thursday, 29 October 2020 00:18 (six months ago) link

yeah this was real tough for a Wednesday, also I think I said this upthread but I really hate running quote puzzles - they’re never really worth it

donna rouge, Thursday, 29 October 2020 01:44 (six months ago) link

I forgot who carrie bradshaw was but somehow didn’t have any trouble today.

am incredibly close to Queen Bee as well today (I think) but feel like I’m at the limit of my vocabulary.

sound of scampo talk to me (El Tomboto), Thursday, 29 October 2020 02:20 (six months ago) link

man i got SO close on spelling bee today

donna rouge, Thursday, 29 October 2020 03:03 (six months ago) link

i realize that rex parker only actually likes about one puzzle per week, but sometimes it's funny to do one you know he's gonna absolutely loathe

mookieproof, Thursday, 29 October 2020 03:06 (six months ago) link

I think writing a crossword review every day for however many years has driven him mad

Wayne Grotski (symsymsym), Thursday, 29 October 2020 03:20 (six months ago) link

I never remember to check how many clues I've gotten wrong when I submit in Boswords, does anyone know of any way to check after I've completed (besides waiting for the final standings to post)?

I want to luhbahguh babum gum (Leee), Friday, 30 October 2020 22:09 (six months ago) link

it shows you when you submit your answers, but if you miss that you might have to just wait for the results or for the solution to post

Wayne Grotski (symsymsym), Friday, 30 October 2020 23:02 (six months ago) link

Oof, Boswords this week is tough, needed almost 20 minutes to solve, though it came out clean at least.

I want to luhbahguh babum gum (Leee), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 22:45 (six months ago) link

yeah killed me too

Wayne Grotski (symsymsym), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 22:50 (six months ago) link

Dammit I forgot to do Boswords this week before the cutoff and so I'm saddled with a 0.

I want to luhbahguh babum gum (Leee), Friday, 20 November 2020 22:27 (five months ago) link

https://www.twitch.tv/nytgames

wasdnuos (abanana), Thursday, 26 November 2020 10:53 (five months ago) link

I need to forget I saw that.

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 26 November 2020 14:33 (five months ago) link

Same probably

sound of scampo talk to me (El Tomboto), Thursday, 26 November 2020 16:55 (five months ago) link

Do any of you guys do the Stumper? Can't remember if I asked.

Robert Gotopieces (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 28 November 2020 23:19 (five months ago) link

I do it, but check answers a lot

Wayne Grotski (symsymsym), Sunday, 29 November 2020 00:40 (five months ago) link

Finished 137 in Boswords, that's about as high as I could have expected

Wayne Grotski (symsymsym), Sunday, 29 November 2020 00:40 (five months ago) link

the newsday stumper? haven’t done one in awhile. i love a challenging xword but the stumpers are such a slog

donna rouge, Sunday, 29 November 2020 01:24 (five months ago) link

four weeks pass...

came across ‘org. that tracks baby name popularity’ but JAYMC didn’t fit

mookieproof, Sunday, 27 December 2020 11:45 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Naticked today.

Sammy Agar-Agar (Leee), Saturday, 16 January 2021 18:56 (three months ago) link

50A / 43D?

Andrew Farrell, Saturday, 16 January 2021 19:44 (three months ago) link

That and 34D.

Sammy Agar-Agar (Leee), Saturday, 16 January 2021 19:57 (three months ago) link

OK I solved it after looking up 56A -- as I was deciding between CORNISH PASTA and CORNISH PASTE. (I wish I weren't so beholden to maintaining THE STREAK.)

Sammy Agar-Agar (Leee), Sunday, 17 January 2021 02:32 (three months ago) link

The last Evan Birnholtz wapo crossword of 2020, "5x5", is a meta around three layers deep, something you don't see very often.

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 18 January 2021 06:11 (three months ago) link

Here's the solution if you don't like doing metas: https://crosswordfiend.com/2020/12/26/sunday-december-27-2020/#wp

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 18 January 2021 06:17 (three months ago) link

Big fan of the WSJ's monthly cryptic, but it seems to have ceased - nothing since October: https://blogs.wsj.com/puzzle/category/cryptic/

mahb, Monday, 18 January 2021 09:51 (three months ago) link

It’s still there, WSJ is just bad at labeling. You can find all the links here: http://chall.us/hex/hex_all_wsj.html

Michael F Gill, Monday, 18 January 2021 15:20 (three months ago) link

Thanks. I often can’t find that as well.

Next Time Might Be Hammer Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 18 January 2021 15:26 (three months ago) link

i really liked last saturday’s nyt. extremely tricky and non-obvious

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 18 January 2021 15:30 (three months ago) link

yes

speaking of recent out-of-touch missteps, “HASHTAG” is not the same thing as the pound/hash symbol 🙄

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Friday, 29 January 2021 16:38 (three months ago) link

While I am in broad agreement with the tenor of that piece, I gotta say that this sentence

Born to Arabian horse farmers in Indiana in 1952, crosswords were Shortz’ lifelong passion.

Threw me for a minute until I realized that it was the horses who were Arabian, and the crosswords were the passion.

Copybara / pasteybara (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 29 January 2021 16:45 (three months ago) link

Does one “farm” horses?

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Friday, 29 January 2021 16:47 (three months ago) link

same

mookieproof, Friday, 29 January 2021 16:47 (three months ago) link

speaking of recent out-of-touch missteps, “HASHTAG” is not the same thing as the pound/hash symbol 🙄

This was my first thought too, but I guess people do call the symbol itself a hashtag at this point: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hashtag

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Friday, 29 January 2021 17:28 (three months ago) link

Does one “farm” horses?

No, one raises them, and those who did are IIRC called ranchers instead. I had a similar stumble reading that, on top of which I thought it was saying that Shortz was Arab.

RandPaul's Drag Race (Leee), Friday, 29 January 2021 18:21 (three months ago) link

Wow, KAC not pulling ANY punches in his constructor notes for today's puzzle (filled grid spoilers on that page of course):

https://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=2/6/2021

Mike Mignola Electric Co. (Leee), Saturday, 6 February 2021 18:06 (three months ago) link

And an excellent, smooth solve for the puzzle itself. I'm a little astonished that he's only been in the NYT 15 times, since he's one of my favorite constructors.

Mike Mignola Electric Co. (Leee), Saturday, 6 February 2021 18:08 (three months ago) link

A great puzzle with a bunch of surprising answers.

baelien (Ye Mad Puffin), Saturday, 6 February 2021 18:17 (three months ago) link

Wow that’s a seriously great essay from Collins

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 6 February 2021 18:31 (three months ago) link

Loved yesterday’s too

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 6 February 2021 18:31 (three months ago) link

i mean, there are many ways you could clue “PORT” - i love it when it’s this chewy

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 6 February 2021 18:35 (three months ago) link

two months pass...

virtual ACPT next weekend - anyone signed up?

https://www.acptonline.com/event-details/43rd-american-crossword-puzzle-tournament-1

donna rouge, Friday, 16 April 2021 02:37 (three weeks ago) link


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