United Airlines’ in-flight magazine, Hemispheres, used to run a 21×21 crossword by John Samson. John’s the editor of the Simon & Schuster crossword books, and he plays by the standard rules we’re all familiar with.
I haven’t flown United lately, but constructor Mike Peluso did. Boy, does he miss having a John Samson puzzle in Hemispheres. Mike had the misfortune of doing the crossword in the February issue and reported on what he found:
Title was “After You Say ‘High’.” Puzzle was a 21x. There were 6 theme answers: 5 letters at 5A, 3 letters at 21A, 5 letters at 31A, 4 letters at 104A, 5 letters at 129A, and 4 letters at 17D…..for a grand total of 26 theme squares. The theme answers – all of which follow “high” – were TEA, SEAS, CARDS, CLASS, CHAIR and RISE. It’s bad enough that preceder/follower puzzles are overdone (consider me guilty too!), but to have them as stand-alone answers? Sheesh!
There were four 8-letter entries. They were the longest in the puzzle, and had nothing to do with the theme.
You’ll note that the “theme entries,” such as they are, don’t even appear in symmetrical spots. The lengths don’t match up, nor do five Acrosses with one Down.
How many ACPT attendees will encounter this same puzzle en route to New York in a couple weeks? Perhaps a bunch. They will surely forgive me for spoiling the solving experience. The last thing we need is a bunch of crossword fans encountering this Hemispheres puzzle mid-flight and causing such a disturbance that the flight is diverted.
You gotta love the computer-generated one-word clues.
OK, anyone who’s done a dreadful Hemispheres puzzle should consider writing to the magazine to point out that there are many providers of non-dreadful crosswords they might hire:
Here are some more “gems”:
i guess HIGH YELLOW isn’t part of the allowed response
In the interest of fairness to the airlines, I should point out that American Airlines’ crossword is quite good. (It’s also online)