Friday, June 20, 2008
Puzzle by Mike Nothnagel, edited by Will Shortz
Anyone possessing enough hubris to imagine that their criticism of another’s work renders them a master is living in a very small world. We all comment upon what we see; however, I am always disturbed to read high-tea academic crossword puzzle dissertations by self-appointed adjudicators who couldn’t compose a puzzle worthy of their local ad rag. Further, many of the newly cropped-up crossword critics are merely duplicating what has been made standard practice by the poobahs of puzzledom, and now the sport of the introvert is becoming the parade of the extroverts. So, with that, I’ll be as brief as possible.
DUNGEONMASTER (15D. Underground movement leader?), MEDICINEHAT(27A. City on the Trans-Canada Highway) and SUZANNEVEGA (45A. 1990 Grammy winner for her album “Days of Open Hand”) appear to have been the first three selected entries by this puzzle’s author, followed by SPEEDITUP (4D. “I haven’t got all day!”) and SERVETIME (33D. Be in the can?).
From there, entries dwindle in size to eight-letter length: DAVERAGE (15A. 1.0); UNAWARES (17A. Without warning); MODERATE (58A. Chair); ONELINER (62A. Comic’s creation); WARLOCKS (11D. A 15-Down might have control over them); AGELIMIT (12D. Provision for holding certain jobs); ALLALONE (35D. Helplessly?) and JOYRIDES (36D. Teens’ escapades).
When the entries weren‘t arcane, the clues seemed a bit distant from the results, but all’s fair in the puzzle pit.
Across: 1. Flurries; 7. How you might meet someone; 14. Head of an alley?; 16. Not forsaking; 18. Sticking point; 19. Old-time comic Ed; 21. Gravlax ingredient; 22. Kind of column; 23. A National Cartoonists Society award is named for him; 25. Short cut?; 30. Nashville-based awards org.; 31. So much, on a score; 32. Carter’s second secretary of state; 34. Like dirty rice; 37. Farm unit?; 39. Championship cricket matches; 40. Left unceremoniously?; 42. Two-time gold medal skier of the 1998 Olympics; 44. Using devices; 50. Crew team?; 52. State bordering Lower Saxony; 53. Film role for Russell in 1993 and Costner in 1994; 54. One might be in a cast; 56. Course for the dead?; 57. Exciting experience, in slang; 60. Like; 63. Their tails do not wag; 64. Where Covent Garden is; 65. Craft often utilizing rubber bands.
Down: 1. Bench warmer; 2. Still in development; 3. Came back together; 5. Part of an even exchange; 6. Traps, perhaps; 7. Title role in a 1986 Woody Allen film; 8. Loser to Audrey for the 1953 Best Actress Oscar; 9. Far from family-friendly; 10. Hardly hardy; 13. Word next to a check box; 20. Dirt spreader; 24. Butt; 26. Gretna Green rebuffs; 28. Miami team, informally; 29. Classless one?; 34. “CEST fini!”; 38. Member of the aster family; 41. “Ya think?!”; 43. Ballpark; 46. Made more exciting; 47. Like some runs; 48. Strongly realistic; 49. Put side by side; 51. Get the lead out?; 55. It might be baked for an appetizer; 58. Overwhelm, with “down”; 59. “King Kong” role; 61. Carp variety.
Very little was common in this crossword -- it was full of twists and turns, starts and stops, and a pure pleasure for the introvert walking through the dark passageways of the dungeon.
For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.
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Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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