To see a list of puzzles I have uploaded to the Web, click this link.
Today’s puzzle pokes fun at the newspaper headline writers who didn’t realize that they had just selected a headline that could be interpreted in more than one way. Check out the highlighted words in the above grid.
- FARMER BILL DIES IN HOUSE
- KIDS MAKE TASTY TREATS
- RED TAPE HOLDS UP BRIDGE
- IRAQI HEADS BOUGHT ARMS
- COPS HELP DOG BITE VICTIM
You may have to read the headlines more than one time to find the humor.
The above puzzle was published in the Sunday New York Times. The constructor was Seth A. Abel. The title of the puzzle was ‘Headlines That Make You Go “Huh?”‘.
Today we once again are reviewing a puzzle by Elizabeth C. Gorski. Not sure what the C represents, perhaps “Constructor”?
The above puzzle was published in the New York Times Sunday edition, edited by Will Shortz. The puzzle makes very clever use of the cards that make up a Royal Flush and a Straight Flush. As the puzzle indicates, these are the top poker hands.
Take a few minutes to marvel at how the constructor forms the words around the symbols. Especially, the center of the grid where you see 5 HEARTS. Here are the words …
BAD HEART, TAKE HEART, THE ARTS, HEART RATE, and HEARTIER.
Years ago, you would never see symbols in a puzzle. Not sure about you, but every now and then, it’s fun to see a puzzle designed like this.
Until next time …
The title of this amazing puzzle was ‘This’ll Only Hurt A Bit”. It was a collaborative effort between Nancy Salomon and Bob Peoples.
The puzzle appeared in the Sunday New York Times edited by Will Shortz.
The title is a clue to the solver. The puzzle contains the small word OW within certain grid squares. OW is appropriate when thinking of Crossword Puns.
If you look at the highlighted ANSWERS above you will see how the constructors were able to form words UP and DOWN using the two-letter OW word.
Study the grid and enjoy the talents of Nancy and Bob!
The above puzzle called “Positional Play” was constructed by David J. Kahn and appeared in the New York Times Sunday newspaper.
If you study the highlighted words, I think you will be able to see the theme pretty quickly – especially if you are a baseball fan.
The THEME words are strategically placed to imitate the defensive positions of a baseball team (LEFT, CENTER, RIGHT, THIRD, SHORT, SECOND, FIRST, PITCHER, and CATCHER. In addition, the constructor has some other THEME words specifically related to baseball.
All in all, this puzzle was a HOME RUN. I really enjoyed solving it.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Merl Reagle is a favorite of mine.
Here is another example of why I have developed that admiration.
In a puzzle titled, “That’s Just Ducky”, here are some of the clues and answers that got me quacking …
WHICH DUCK? EIDERone
DUCK THAT’S HOUSEBROKEN? stainlessTEAL
NOTED DUCK IN A NAVY ROLE? saltwaterDAFFY
PARTY GAME FOR DUCK’S? PINTAILonthe donkey
FAMED WASHINGTON DUCK? MALLARDfillmore
HERSEY NOVEL ABOUT A BATTLE-WOUNDED DUCK? abillforaDONALD
PART OF A DUCK’S PORTFOLIO? DOCKSANDPONDS
You might wonder how a constructor comes up with the ideas for this type of puzzle. Take it from me, it is not easy. I will get into the details of how this occurs in a future post.
This week’s Fun Theme of the Week is a puzzle by Elizabeth C. Gorski. Elizabeth is a very well known and respected crossword constructor. She is frequently published by the New York times and she publishes a weekly puzzle for the website Crossword Nation, where she serves as managing editor.
She was named constructor of the year in 2013. A major and significant accomplishment. To learn more about Elizabeth, click on this link to read an article found on the website Ravishly.
The puzzle All In The Past was published in the New York Times and reprinted in The New York Times Sunday Crossword Omnibus in 2009 (edited by Will Shortz).
Here are the clever clues and puzzle answers:
- FILMS SHOWN AT DENTISTS’ CONVENTIONS? extractortrailers
- SHIPPER OF NATALIES RECORDS’ ABROAD? coleexporter
- DISPOSITION OF A REGULAR SORT OF PERSON? exlaxattitude
- PAINTER WHO MAKES A FAST SUBSTITUTION? quickexchangeartist
- COMMUTER TRAIN ESCHEWED BY DRACULA? garlicexpress
- 1960′S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE LIVING OVERSEAS? expatpaulson
- PAIN CAUSED BY ADDING ONTO A HOUSE? extensionheadache
As you can see, the simple yet elegant technique used by Elizabeth was to add the letters EX to the start of one of the clue answers. Did you notice that the puzzles’ title ‘All in the Past’ was a clue to what the theme was?
I really enjoyed solving this puzzle. I think my favorite GOTCHA was the Dracula clue/answer.
What was your favorite?
Today’s clue of the day comes from a puzzle that was published in the New York Times on 3/5/2014.
The constructor was Ed Sessa and the editor was the famous Will Shortz.
The clue was One Controlling Drones and the answer was BEEKEEPER.
Speaking of drones, any 24 fans out there? I have recorded the past few episodes so I am a little behind on Jack’s latest exploits to save the planet.
My favorite cruciverbalist is Merl Reagle. A cruciverbalist is another word for someone who creates crossword puzzles. Merl is famous for his humorous style. His puzzles are syndicated nationally with a new puzzle published each week.
I look forward to his weekly puzzle which can be found in the Tampa Creative Loafing publication. Merl lives in Tampa and I had the honor of meeting him several years ago when he spoke at a local college.
One of his puzzles had the title “Grand Old Pair”. The 10 themed answers to that puzzle were:
As you can probably see from how I capitalized the theme answers, the Grand Old Pair were George Bush and Bob Dole.
The clues that Merl used were ‘straight’, not punny. He didn’t try to trick the solver with the clues. He wanted the ‘gotcha’ to be when the solver figured out the clever theme.
This puzzle had been published back when Bush and Dole ran for President and Vice President.
The clues Merl used had nothing to do with the political pair. It was up to the solver to detect a pattern as they filled in a few of the themed words. The cool thing in these type of puzzles is once you catch on to the theme, you can sometimes get the other long themed words without having to fill in the grid around the long themed words.
I will reference Merl’s work a lot in upcoming blogs. Here is a link to his puzzles: http://www.sundaycrosswords.com/.
Today, we will travel back to a time in the early 20th century where people led lives much simpler than we do today. There were no Starbucks or any fast-food establishments where people could visit to help get their days off to a good start.
They did have newspapers though. In 1917, the Boston Globe was thought to be the first paper in the United States to include a daily puzzle.
In these early days when crossword puzzles were first becoming popular, the crossword constructor didn’t have much of an imagination. It wasn’t their fault. Even though people in general have always had a sense of humor, the style of the early crosswords were pretty standard. The person solving the puzzle were given clues that typically were the definitions of the answer. Example:
Clue = Animal that flies Answer = Bird
As time passed and crossword puzzles matured, the style of crosswords evolved to where we are today.
In future blogs, I will discuss the history of crossword puzzles in more depth.
However, that may put some of my readers to sleep. We don’t want that to happen. Sleep is a good thing – we all need it. But, it is a very BAD thing when reading a blog!
The majority of blogs will look at the things I enjoy about creating (yes – I am a constructor) and solving crosswords. Those ‘things’ are FUN clues and FUN themes. I love hearing comments from my ‘fans’ when they encounter a clue that makes them GROAN.
Well, that’s all for now, thanks for reading my first of many blogs. I hope you visit often. My primary goal is always to entertain. I enjoy making people smile and/or laugh.
Feel free to comment and/or leave suggestions.
Until next time …