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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 4:49 pm
Posts: 273
Location: somerville, ma
both will shortz and rich norris rejected this puzzle because of one answer that i thought was the strongest in the puzzle. rather than revise the puzzle by removing its raison d'être, i decided to just post it here. it's hard, but whether that means NYT friday or saturday is for somebody else to judge.

enjoy.


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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:44 am 
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Location: Tshwane/Port Elizabeth
Immediately hopped to the 2 15's... 33A was a gimme, and a LOL funny clue! 8D was just vaguely familiar as something I'd seen in a BEQ puzzle... Which of the 2 was the sticking point? I can certainly understand misgivings about 8D, even though it's pretty easily inferrable. Especially as there's a definite (though again very understandable, considering the demographics of crossword solvers) bias against more modern "stuff" in crosswords.

Building on 33A I had 2/3 of the crossword in around 5 minutes and was going "Friday Schmiday." Then I hit into a brick wall and the rest of the 4 corners took an eternity to solve; I'd still say definitely Friday rather than Saturday in its present form. Loved: High-falutin' vocab abounding in both clues and answers. Last word to get 12D (head slap). Sublime clue for 35D too.

Was less fond of the weird cross-referencing plurals at 28A/31D, but that really is about it.

The entire crossword comes across as very polished (not sure why I'm surprised though) and was a very entertaining 20-or-so minutes!

P.S. 44D felt kind of archaic, as a lecturer are you still using slides. I know I had 2 lecturers this year who still used them; come to think of it though, they were (easily) the 2 best lecturers...


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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:31 am 
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Location: somerville, ma
gareth, thanks for sharing your experience. glad you liked it! 8D was the seed entry (and the one that caused both will and rich to pass on the puzzle, albeit for very different reasons). i wrote this one a bit before brendan did his, but self-publishing has its advantages.

Gareth Bain wrote:
44D felt kind of archaic, as a lecturer are you still using slides. I know I had 2 lecturers this year who still used them; come to think of it though, they were (easily) the 2 best lecturers...


i dunno how they talk in south africa, but over here we refer to pages of a powerpoint presentation as "slides" even though the physical transparent inserts that you used to slide into the projector are a distant memory. hilarious example here.


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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:51 am 
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Joon, you right about those being Powerpoint slides; I feel stupid now.


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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:38 pm
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Very nice! I can see how 8D might not stand the test of time, unlike the other 15... :) I can also see how the fill might not be sparkly enough for Will. But your clues are great - I learned quite a bit!


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:27 pm 
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thanks dan! i actually do think 8D will stand the test of time, but i suppose the thing about the test of time is that you have to wait to get the results. so we'll see.

and i'm pleased to have cooked up a puzzle that took you longer to solve than download. :P


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:40 pm
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Joon, enjoyed this very much. I think that 8D would be topical enough at least for a few months after 9/9/09, if not longer. 33A brings to mind that great puzzle by Mike Shenk at the ACPT (was it 2009?) with DUDE WHERES MY CADAVER. I think Amy mentioned one time that you like to work a Catholic reference or two into your puzzles, so I've learned to look for that (I'm a Catholic theologian by trade, go figure), so 12D was pretty easy. 35D was my favorite clue. I sailed through until the NW, where it took a few minutes for SCALAR and SMACKDAB to come through (I had the ...DAB ending for 1A and it took a while to see what was going to work with that. I'd give it a solid Friday rating.

Mo


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:07 pm
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Couldn't finish the NW. Not sure why. SMACK DAB just looked like NONSENSE without all letters in place. Don't really understand SCALAR, tho' I guessed it. Barely know KLEIN. No hope on CAROLINE. MALONE was also a guess.

With different cluing ... :) ... this seems a great puzzle. I've had puzzles rejected for more idiotic reasons. It's a shame — this puzzle seems entirely NYT-worthy.


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:28 pm 
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Location: Somerville, MA
Fun one for me too, and surprising that 8D didn't make the cut. I would have thought 1D would be the real challenge given most of us cruciverbians are more of the English Major persuasion. My wife's a mathematician or I'd never have even recognized it. Being the English major in the family I only cracked NW, which was the last to fall, when I finally remembered that dratted Beckett title.

I usually get Saturdays in under 15, and thanks to NW this one took me 16:03, so it tips to that side of the line on my personal difficulty scale. But then I've hit Friday puzzles I found harder than Saturdays fairly often, so I don't know that it's all that clear a distinction.

Thanks for putting this up, and to BEQ for linking me over here. Nice work!


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:09 pm 
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Fun puzzle, several very enjoyable clues (like 33A and 46A).

Joon, did one of the editors reject the puzzle because there's no THE in front of BEATLES ROCK BAND? Odd that the entry itself would get the puzzle nixed, since it's extremely intuitive even if you've never heard of the game.


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:11 pm 
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BTW, took me 8:39 in AL.


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:14 pm 
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I thought this was an elegant puzzle. Certainly up to NYT standards. I felt the same sense of accomplishment as I would with any NYT puzzle. The NW was the last to fall - DAB just didn't look like it could be the end to anything...then lightbulb time! Definitely somewhere between a Friday and Saturday time for me. Thanks for sharing!


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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:40 pm 
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Location: somerville, ma
thanks, everybody. a few responses:

mo, it's no secret that knowing the constructor's tendencies can give you a leg up in solving puzzles, especially tough themeless ones. CAROLINE is my wife's name, and CATHOLIC is, well, you know. naturally i didn't clue either of them that way, but when i'm filling the grid and an option like that jumps out at me, i tend to try pretty hard to make it work.

rex, the SCALAR clue is perhaps unnecessarily cruel, but the physics teacher in me couldn't resist. in (introductory) physics, there are two kinds of quantities: vector quantities, which have both magnitude and direction, and scalar quantities, which have magnitude but not direction. force and velocity are vectors; mass and time are scalars. anyway, the cluing in that corner was a bit extreme, but i guess that's what can happen when there's no editor.

matt, will passed on 8D because he didn't think it would have a shelf life of at least 5 years (for the reprints, books, etc.). rich passed because he was concerned that it wouldn't be intelligible without the colon in the title (the official name of the game is "The Beatles: Rock Band"). nobody mentioned anything about THE. then again, nobody i've ever talked to or played with has called it anything other than "beatles rock band" (with no leading article), so i don't really think that's a big hangup.


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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:33 am 
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Thanks for the explanation, Joon. And greetings to a fellow Somervillian!

On edit: funny how you can trip yourself up by overanalyzing a puzzle. SCALAR occurred to me a number of times when trying out various crosses, but a) I didn't know enough physics to be sure it fit the clue, and more importantly b) I just thought it was too physics/math-geeky for a crossword. I often go for an answer that's too abstruse when the correct one is simpler, and I thought that was the temptation I was facing here. A delight when it turned out to be correct!


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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:07 pm
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Location: New York, NY
I felt like doing a puzzle, so apologies that I rarely peek in this forum and had no special reason for taking on this one. But can I offer some suggestions based on troubles I ran into?

Obviously the grid heavily depends on just two entries. One relies on them to connect the corners, and they stand out. That may work best, then, in a themed puzzle and explain why unthemed ones often stack long entries, say.

They're both also factoids, and I didn't know or indeed recognize either one (and I'm as big a Beatles fan as they come), so while 33A helped other solvers, they were mostly just obstacles to me. That may explain why in themeless puzzles the factoids are often restricted to short entries (although with enough short entries to give one a foothold), while the longer ones are often idioms, where the challenge is to connect definition to plausible phrase.

Given that, I'd have liked more of a foothold in some places, and no question that some entries are going to strike different people as needlessly obscure. KLEIN and MALONE were my gimmes, but others were head scratchers for me, like REE or GTI or certainly TITICACA and CAROLINE (again, kind of long for a factoid). SCALAR is a lovely misdirection, so it would work great in a puzzle where it's the key obstacle.

Finally, more on a trivial level, note that some might dislike REDS as an answer with "Red state politico" among the clues. And maybe I'm wrong, but I think the clues for DECLASSE and STIGMA are inexact.


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