Friday, 6/22/12

NYT 5:42 
LAT 4:42 
CS 6:28 (Sam) 
CHE 5:30? 7:30? 
WSJ (Friday) tba 

Crossword champion Tyler Hinman praises Roger Wolff’s new book of variety cryptics. If you’re a fan of challenging cryptic crosswords and crave the variety cryptics that, as Tyler puts it, “have some other twist for an additional payoff and/or a more difficult solve,” check out Roger’s book of 50 puzzles. A nice supplement to the Cox/Rathvon variety cryptics that run in the Wall Street Journal every fourth week.

Josh Knapp’s New York Times crossword

NY Times crossword solution, 6 22 12 0622

I loved this puzzle. It’s in the vein of the brashest Nothnagel or Quarfoot puzzle, with tons of fun answers pitched squarely at pop culture junkies and those who like fun words and crossword entries. My highlights list is a big one, so I’ll just mention some of my favorites:

  • 1a. BUZZKILL! Slang for [Party pooper], slaps two Z’s on the board right away. A gimme with the Z in [Actress Caldwell]/ZOE.
  • 14a. [Local money?], good clue for UNION DUES.
  • 20a/7d. WAMPUM meets LUMMOX. How can you not love the sound of both words?
  • 34a. Etymology clue for the Italian dessert called TIRAMISU: [Literally, “pick me up”].
  • 40a. KITSCHY, great word. Lots of consonants in a row.
  • 41a. Johnnie Walker Red, a.k.a. the [Johnnie Walker blend] with the RED LABEL.
  • 47a. [German leader?], misleading clue for SOFT G. Might have seen that clue before.
  • 62a. COOKIE JAR! Pardon me, I need to get one of my Pepperidge Farm Geneva cookies.
  • 65a. TOTEM POLE clued nonliterally as [Hierarchy]. As in “low man on the ___.”
  • 67a. MORPHEUS, Laurence Fishburne’s character in The Matrix.
  • 13d. “WHAT A GUY!”
  • 36d. CRASH PAD, great entry.
  • 38d, 48d. ED HARRIS, full name. FAT JOE, stage name. Or is that his full name? Last name first: Joe, Fat.
  • 52d. [Flip one’s lid?], one’s eyelid, and BLINK.

Toughest crossing for me: Where 60a: [Breakers ahead] and 64a: [Serotonin, e.g.] intersect 52d: BLINK. “Breakers aheads” does not signal PERIL to me. I don’t get this one at all. And I wasn’t sure if 64a wanted to be AMINO rather than AMINE.

You know who’s in PERIL? Ed the goat in this video. This may well be the funniest 33 seconds of your day (or the funniest five minutes, if you keep replaying it like we did, wiping tears from our eyes).

Now, for those of you who grouse that this puzzle has too much pop culture in it, I must point out that there are four times as many Biblical references (EPH, SAUL, HEBREW, EDOM) as Madonna songs (RESCUE ME), or reality shows (Growing Up GOTTI), or rappers (FAT JOE).

4.5 stars. Had a lot of fun working through this puzzle, even the tough corner.

Updated Friday morning:

Sarah Keller’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post crossword, “Spring Time” – Sam Donaldson’s review

CS solution, June 22

Today is the second full day of summer. It makes perfect sense, then, that today’s puzzle is an homage to all things SPRING. Wait, check that. It makes no sense at all, actually. But it’s true: the four longest Across answers all share the clue [Spring]:

  • 17-Across: It’s a SEASON OF THE YEAR.
  • 26-Across: It’s also a WATER SOURCE.
  • 45-Across: But wait! There’s more! It’s also a COILED METAL.
  • 61-Across: And just for shi-giggles, it’s also an EXUBERANT BOUNCE.

To summarize, then: “Next spring, I’ll visit the spring with my spring. That should put a spring in my step.”

The puzzle may have been about spring, but “fall” best describes my solving experience. There was a lot here that was either entirely new to me or very cumbersome to work through. Let’s start with SIM, clued not with reference to a video game but as [Actor Alastair of “A Christmas Carol”]. Then there’s [Norway’s patron saint], who’s not just OLAF but OLAF II. Next up is MANO, clued not along the lines of “mano a mano” but as a partial: [“Look ___ hands!”]. And then there’s apparently something called a Prie-DIEU that serves as a “prayer bench.”

PAOLO Connor of “Gossip Girl” was an unknown to me, but that’s what happens when you’re not in everyone’s target demographic.  The same goes for HESS as a [Toy truck label]. In my world, there’s Tonka and…nothing else, really. I always want AGOSTO to be answer to [Septembre’s preceder], but if I paid better attention to spelling I would see that the Spanish “Septiembre” has an “i” in there. The French (?) version, AOUT, is much less intuitive. Look, I’m all for the occasional foreign word in a grid, especially where it’s very familiar to most English speakers. But this grid has three French terms (AOUT, ETRE, DIEU), three Spanish terms (CASA, ORO, and, but for the resort to a partial, MANO), and two Italian words (ADANTE and “NEL Blu, Dipinto Di Blu”). That’s just too much, it seems to me.

We haven’t even covered the unsightly fill yet. There’s MSEC, O-CAT, AT ME, SSE, RET, and MTGES, and on more than one occasion, two of these unpleasantries sit side-by-side. OOF, indeed. To be fair, there are some nice entries here, like DO IT NOW, IN FRONT, IT’S A GO, and HOT AIR. But it felt like we had to endure too many compromises to get these nuggets of goodness.

Favorite entry = ODD JOB, clued as [Handyman’s work, e.g.] and not as the name of a Bond villain. Favorite clue = [Where it’s happening] for SCENE.

Jeremy Horwitz and Tony Orbach’s Los Angeles Times crossword

LA Times crossword answers, 6 22 12

Fun puzzle with a fresh theme and tons of twisty clues to challenge the solver. The theme makes use of the various homophones of rain:

  • 17a. [Beaver’s motto?], REINWATER
  • 31a. [Device for measuring a king’s performance?], REIGNGAUGE
  • 48a. [Jig performed by Wilson of “The Office”?], RAINNDANCE
  • 66a. [Postponement … or what was not performed in 17-, 31- and 48-Across?], RAIN CHECK

So nobody checked the spelling of REIN, REIGN, or RAINN and thus we ended up with three phrases with entirely different meanings from rain water, rain gauge, and rain dance. I confused myself by putting RAIN DELAY at 66a and wondering how an undone rain delay could alter spelling. D’oh!


Favorite clues:

  • 21a. [Auburn, e.g.: Abbr.], UNIV. Auburn’s also a hair color.
  • 41a. [Doctor’s threads?], LAB COAT. Not SUTURES!
  • 53a. [City with Ibsen quotes set into its sidewalks], OSLO. How interesting.
  • 69a. [Seller of SOMMARVIND beach accessories], IKEA. Swedish for “summer wind”?
  • 70a. [Logical lead-in], ERGO. Not a prefix for “logical” but a preface to a logical statement. Ergo, the clue fooled me.
  • 72a. [Ozzy Osbourne duo?], ZEDS. Musician + “duo” = thinking of Hall & Oates more than the letters in Ozzy’s name.
  • 2d. [Old depilatory], NEET. Yes. It is old. It is no longer a rival to Nair in U.S. drugstores. It bugs me when crossword clues pretend that Neet is still sold in your local store.
  • 25d. [Taxing event, in more ways than one], IRS AUDIT.
  • 28d. [Mill story?], RUMOR. I was trying to think of authors named Mill.
  • 29d. [Toy-saving org.], ASPCA. Toy dogs.

See? Lots of wonderful clues that make the solver use lateral thinking. It’s the lateral thinking clues that make me prefer tough themeless puzzles to most themed puzzles—the Saturday puzzles tend to have more such clues.

4.5 stars.

George Barany’s Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “A Cryptic Tribute”

Chronicle of Higher Education crossword solution, 6 22 12 "A Cryptic Tribute," George Barany

Pannonica’s off today, so here I am. I forget what my solving time was this morning but I think it was around 5:30. And then some time spent figuring out the gimmick. No matter—this is a puzzle one would be happy to spend any amount of time on. A five-star puzzle, for sure. Will make it into the finals for Puzzle of the Year based on the star ratings.

Martin Herbach did the heavy lifting of blogging this puzzle down in the comments earlier this afternoon. He wrote:

The CHE is so amazing, I don’t know how they did it. We’ve had other substitution cipher puzzles of the “W IS E” variety, but the coded message is invariably garbled. Here, the “clear” message is a name but it encodes to another name!

If that’s not enough, the name that is coded is ALAN TURING, the most famous code-breaker in history. He cracked the German Enigma machine during WWII, which had profound implications for the prosecution of the war. He was one of the first theorists to work on stored-program computers. He was a tragic figure who was hounded out of his field and underwent chemical castration in lieu of prison for his crime of homosexuality. And tomorrow would have been his 100th birthday.

George Barany squeezed a lot of information about ALAN TURING and his field of cryptology into a 15×15. He made it a cipher puzzle. But first he found HRHALDEMAN to be a substitution cipher coding of ALAN TURING. So he selected the eight digrams that would effect this coding and made them rebuses. Then he constructed the puzzle. Easy.

The theme plays out like so:

  • 17a. [What eight squares in this puzzle contain, thus creating a cipher key], TWO LETTERS. Those are the eight rebus squares.
  • 26a. [Institution at which this puzzle’s honoree earned a Ph.D. in mathematics], PRINCETON.
  • 37a. [1986 Hugh Whitemore play based on the life of this puzzle’s honoree (or what you should be doing to read the real answer to 59 Across)], BREAKING THE CODE.
  • 45a. BLETCHLEY [___ Park, where this puzzle’s honoree did his most famous work].
  • 59a. [This puzzle’s honoree, born June 23, 1912 (but only if you’ve finished 37 Across)], H.R. HALDEMAN.

The eight rebus squares reveal a cipher. From top to bottom of the grid:


If you eyeball the first letters of the pairs going down, those letters should look familiar. They’re all in H.R. Haldeman. Where you find those letters in his name, substitute the second letter in the pair. Boom, the real subject of the puzzle is ALAN TURING. How insane is it that George found a famous name that could encrypt the name of legendary cryptologist Alan Turing? And, as Foodie points out in the comments, how perfect is it that Haldeman was famous for secrecy?

A magnificent puzzle. Hopefully George will chime in in the comments to tell us more about the puzzle’s development. (All he told me via email is that working with editor Patrick Berry was a dream. I have heard before that Patrick has a knack for figuring out the perfect way to complete a theme in the most elegant fashion.)

Again, yes: Five stars, no deductions.

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72 Responses to Friday, 6/22/12

  1. Jason F says:

    I really liked the cluing in the NYT puzzle. Nice mix of trivia, misdirection, wordplay, etc. Nothing easy, nothing unfair. Made me work for almost every square.

  2. Foodie says:

    Agreed! A very nice Friday workout. BUZZKILL is my favorite, RED LABEL my first entry, AMINE is my D’oh moment. Someday I expect to see monoAMINE clued with Serotonin.

    That V at the intersection of tVA and tuValu did me in. Do you mean TWA is not right?

    PS. I enjoyed the caviar discussion from yesterday!

  3. Howard B says:

    That was a crazy, puzzly thrill ride.
    My only buzzkill was FAT JOE – I wasn’t really doing the rap thing in ’95 (I was busy learning a lesson in overscheduling classes in college), so I wouldn’t really know a 1-hit wonder rapper from that era. So yes, that corner was tricky.

    But a sign of a really good puzzle is that even in the roughest spots, you still have a chance to work through it, you still feel it was fair, and you have a good time figuring it out.

  4. A 5-star Friday. I’m confused why AMINE/LES wasn’t changed to AMINO/LOS, but that’s a pretty small gripe. With —JO- in place for the rapper, I was confident with LILJON, but no. And all in all it’s a good example of Scrabbliness without paying too steep a price. Keep ’em coming, Mr. Knapp!

  5. Jeffrey says:

    This puzzle would be better if… I got nothing. 5 stars.

  6. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Egomaniacally suspecting a veiled reference to myself, I’m happy to report that I loved this one too. I’ve actually heard of “Growing up Gotti,” as obnoxious as the concept is; and OK–I first assumed that Joe was probably “lil” but quickly supposed that he could be fat. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter, (along with norepinephrine, and many others) — not a problem. I don’t understand {Breakers ahead} for “peril” either. I am such a sucker for clues like 47a. I might as well be Charlie Brown kicking the football. The only thing that totally threw me, and my last entry was “buzzkill”. I gather that is a real word (?) 16a led me to wonder whether there could be such a thing as a ‘zompire’, which craves flesh and blood.

    But I really enjoyed it. Have we met Josh? Anyhow, congrats, Josh.

  7. Bruce N. Morton says:

    I wonder if it’s “breakers” as in ocean waves. (?)

  8. Bruce N. Morton says:

    The CHE is *fantastic*, especially for those of you who like a puzzle with an extra dimension, a gimmick, a meta. Not especially difficult, but a superb instance of such.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      @Bruce, thank you for your CHE comment, which sent me off to download the puzzle right away AND didn’t spoil the solve at all. Thanks for being nonspecific about the extra dimension! Like @cyberdiva, I give this one 5 stars.

  9. ArtLvr says:

    I made it all the way around from ASTONISH until that same 47A noted by Bruce. Drat!

  10. sbmanion says:


    The term “breakers ahead” is definitely nautical, but here is a prescient link to peril in an 1860 NYT article:


  11. cyberdiva says:

    I just want to second Bruce Morton’s praise of today’s CHE puzzle. It was clever but very doable. 5 stars! That makes two this week for me [Thursday’s NYT was the other one]–a record.

  12. Daniel Myers says:

    I was really, in sooth, regardless of what others might have thought of it, planning to belaud this puzzle to the skies. But, BUSTED! Amy and others have already done so. It’s almost perfectly suited to my tastes. I had no problem w. 60A, immediately assuming the nautical context and only a few seconds of pausing before 47A’s SOFT G became obvious. My only quibble is with 43A: I solved the puzzle in my UNTIDY BED, which may or may not have the duvet folded today;-) Lovely puzzle!!

  13. Matthew G. says:

    I didn’t understand {Breakers ahead} until I had P_R_L, but then it made sense. Tough, brine-seasoned clue, but accurate and gettable.

  14. Josh Bischof says:

    Just jumping in to join the chorus of praise for today’s NYT puzzle. Absolutely fantastic puzzle. It’s full of great fill, but what I also like about it is that Mr. Knapp seems to have fought very hard to keep it completely free of crap fill.

    Five stars.

  15. Dan F says:

    Embarrassment of riches today. I can’t remember the last NYT themeless I enjoyed as much, and the CHE gimmick is an all-time classic (though the punchline is a little random). Plus a crazy déjà vu in the Newsday puzzle! Plus a new “Unthemely” crossword from Todd McClary!

    No idea about the breakers. Did we ever get a legit explanation for the arms/halters clue last week?

  16. loren smith says:

    Amy – LOVED the video! This is a funny one about a lamb.

  17. Martin says:

    Six stars for the CHE. Blog it already so we can talk about the feat! (OK. Bloggers have lives too. Unfair but true.)

  18. djz says:

    Sarah, the clue, look_______hands is not mano but ma, no as in Look Ma, no hands! That it’s also Spanish for hand is a bit clever IMO

  19. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @Martin H: Go ahead and talk about the brilliant CHE. Pannonica hasn’t clocked in yet today.

    @Dan F: I’m sticking to “It was an error. They meant the punny ‘bare’ but used ‘bear’ by mistake.”

  20. Zulema says:

    Why would the tourist in Mexico buy a CARTA? Enlighten me, please. Or is this a follow-up to yesterday’s Jeopardy category that thought it asked for Books for Children in Spanish, when what they really asked for were Books by Children (LIBROS POR NIÑOS)?

  21. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Zulema–I confess that I too have *major* difficulty getting clear on ‘por’ and ‘para’ in Spanish. I think many native English speakers do. That doesn’t justify the mistake (I’m taking your word that it is) but it does make me a little more sympathetic than I might normally be. More generally I think prepositions are a great source of difficulty for many non-native speakers of many languages. One often hears non-native speakers of English misusing them.

  22. Daniel Myers says:

    Even within English itself, prepositions can cause confusion. I’ve adapted to the fact that different to is regarded as an egregious solecism in the states, regardless of context.

  23. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Daniel, I’ve never even heard “different to.” I’m wondering if you meant “different than” which *is* regarded as a solecism in some quarters (including this one).

  24. loren smith says:

    Bruce and Daniel – I was trained to always use “different from” and to never split infinitives.

  25. Daniel Myers says:

    Bruce: No, I mean “different to” which is very common and accepted in the UK. Vide the hyperlink in my last post.

    Loren:-LOL-Good for you! It’s amusing that in the only language that I know in which one CAN split infinitives, it is verboten by schoolmarms and such.

  26. Todd G says:

    I believe this is my first vote for a puzzle, but I simply HAD to give the CHE puzzle 5 stars! Thanks much Bruce et al. for pointing it out to me. I can’t even be jealous, I’m so awestruck at how anyone could think this theme up.

  27. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I learned of “different to” from a South African blogger friend, so it may be a commonwealth thing. Do the Canadians mostly use “from” or “to”?

  28. Martin says:

    OK. Time’s up. Pencils down.

    The CHE is so amazing, I don’t know how they did it. We’ve had other substitution cipher puzzles of the “W IS E” variety, but the coded message is invariably garbled. Here, the “clear” message is a name but it encodes to another name!

    If that’s not enough, the name that is coded is ALAN TURING, the most famous code-breaker in history. He cracked the German Enigma machine during WWII, which had profound implications for the prosecution of the war. He was one of the first theorists to work on stored-program computers. He was a tragic figure who was hounded out of his field and underwent chemical castration in lieu of prison for his crime of homosexuality. And tomorrow would have been his 100th birthday.

    George Barany squeezed a lot of information about ALAN TURING and his field of cryptology into a 15×15. He made it a cipher puzzle. But first he found HRHALDEMAN to be a substitution cipher coding of ALAN TURING. So he selected the eight digrams that would effect this coding and made them rebuses. Then he constructed the puzzle. Easy.

  29. Jeff Chen says:

    Whoa. CHE. Mind-blowing!

  30. Foodie says:


    Martin et al, I agree that the CHE puzzle is a tour de force. I thought that the morphing specifically to HRHALDERMAN was genius, not only because it’s a recognizable name, but because of the involvement of the latter in secrecy, Watergate, the 18.5min gap, etc. So, switching a famous code breaker for a famous secret maker was truly inspired. And the execution of the theme was flawless.

    The NE sat empty till after I got through most of the puzzle. I figured out what the missing code square had to be (HA) and reverse engineered it into the incomplete area. It gave me special satisfaction!

  31. Daniel Myers says:

    It may interest you lot to know that Bletchley Park, where Turing did much of his work during WWII, recruited decoders from champion cruciverbalists. From the Wikipedia article:

    “Cryptanalysts were selected for various intellectual achievements, whether they were linguists, chess champions, crossword experts, polyglots or great mathematicians. GC&CS was ironically referred to as “the Golf, Cheese and Chess Society”.[17] In one instance, the ability to solve a Daily Telegraph crossword in under 12 minutes was used as a test.”

  32. loren smith says:

    Daniel – we can thank Bishop Robert Lowth for that silly rule. His first Grammar of the English language was pretty much based on Latin. Close, but. . . kind of like trying to fit a map of Africa onto a map of South America.

  33. Jeffrey says:

    Canadians use “different, eh”

  34. Papa John says:

    What? I never had a decoder ring when I was kid, so I have no idea what Martin means by “substitution cipher puzzles”, “substitution cipher coding” or “digrams”. (I looked up the later but all that came up was “no dictionary definition”. However, I did find that it is a “pair of letters used to write one sound”. Is that what the two letters in the rebus squares are? If so, how are they used in a cipher key?)

    Thanks, Martin, you made an already befuddling situation even more befuddled. :-(

    Okay, so I didn’t solve the puzzle on paper, as suggested in the Notepad. How was that a help? I solved it in Across Lite, with no more difficulty than most puzzles and in a reasonable time frame, but I have no idea what all the coded stuff is about. It is way beyond my ken. Must one be a cryptologist, as well as cruciverbalist, to completely solve this much-admired puzzle?

  35. *David* says:

    Ladies and gentlemen we have our puzzle of the year, all hail King George.

    Papa John it is simple substitution, you can do it!

  36. Martin says:

    Re: Alan Turing, Bletchley Park, and codes… I highly recommend Simon Singh’s “The Code Book”, which IMO is the last word in the history of codes and ciphers:


  37. Foodie says:

    Papa John,

    The code in the square is of the simplest kind. XY means replace X with Y. So the DU square means take the D in HALDEMAM and make that a U. If you use the 8 pairs in this way, systematically replacing the letters in HR HALDEMAN , the name ALAN TURING emerges.

    I agree the notepad is a bit misleading. Solving in AcrossLite works perfectly well. A piece of paper is helpful in doing the mechanics of transformation. And in my case, to figure out what two letter square I needed to fit in an unfinished corner.

  38. Papa John says:

    Thanks, Foodie, you cleared that mess up. (So that’s what Martin meant by “substitution cipher coding”. Ah! So how does the “digram” thingy work? Because of that, I was trying to make the two rebus letters into a sound. Egads!)

    Those of you who have heard my many, earlier declarations about puzzles in puzzles in puzzles not being worth the time or effort, I stand by my commitment. I didn’t even bother with King George’s puzzle-within-a-puzzle until I came here and read Martin’s cryptic message about ciphers. Then I got a headache trying to make sense of it all.

    FWIW, I thought the crossword solve was top-notch.

  39. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I think Martin was being puzzle-jargony with “digram.” He meant nothing more than TWO LETTERS, as seen in the puzzle.

    This was a particularly smart puzzle-within-a-puzzle. Much more elegant than a connect-the-dots! And winding the theme up with H.R. HALDEMAN and half thinking, “He studied math at Princeton and someone wrote a play about him called Breaking the Code? Huh. That’s weird”—it requires working the cryptogram substitution to pay proper tribute to Alan Turing (and get the Watergate taste out of one’s mouth).

  40. Daniel Myers says:


    Book ordered! Thanks.

  41. Papa John says:

    Don’t get me wrong, Amy, I am as duly impressed as the rest of you with the intricacies of King George’s puzzle. I usually am about other puzzles-in-puzzles, too, but only after coming here to find out what they are all about.

    I am not — what is it Shortz calls himself? — an enigmologist. (Should that more correctly, in this instance, be enigmaphile?) Other puzzle types, including code-breaking, have never caught my attention. I especially don’t like riddles. And, as I said earlier, I am not a cryptologist, so not knowing that the cipher key, in this case, is substituting one letter for another doesn’t dent my ego.

    I do the crosswords, mainly for the cross words.

  42. Papa John says:

    No one has answered Zulema’s question about why a tourist in Mexico would buy a CARTA. So… Martin, are you going to defend this fill? Did you test solve this one? Anyone? Zulema, and other great minds, want to know.

    In regards to the discussion about “different to”, I’ve always been prone to say “different than”. Is that grammatically incorrect?

  43. Martin says:

    Will’s field is enigmatology. It sounds less like he studies insects.

    Jargony? Moi? “Digram” is probably not a puzzle term either. I’m just a lazy typist and “letter pairs” is more letters. I think “bigram” is a bit more common, but it looks like “big ram” to me so I prefer “digram.” Who’d dig a ram? (I know. Ewe.)

  44. Martin says:

    I dunno about CARTA. I assumed it was short for “carta postal.” If you go to a tourist kiosk to buy two “cartas” would they look at you confused or would it be a reasonable shortening? I assumed the latter but it’s true that Romance languages tend to be wordier than English so maybe that doesn’t translate.

    I also thought the cluer might have meant “map.” It seems to be “mapa” most often but there are plenty of maps on the web labeled “carta” in Spanish.


  45. Daniel Myers says:

    Papa John,

    In re your question: “In regards to the discussion about “different to”, I’ve always been prone to say “different than”. Is that grammatically incorrect?”

    Nobody seems to want to click on my hyperlink. Thus, here’s the full link:

    You’re fine.

  46. Andy says:

    Abandon hope, all other would-be Crosswords of the Year 2012. That CHE is just ridiculous, in the most complimentary sense of the word.

  47. john farmer says:

    I did think HR HALDEMAN was a somewhat random 10-letter name. I wondered if he also might have been having his 100th this week, or if he had been associated with “Breaking the Code” in some way. I looked it up but didn’t find a connection.

    While HRH worked well for the puzzle, no doubt other names could have been made to work too. What it did, though, was give me a brief moment of thinking that someone had the audacity of making a tribute puzzle to a Watergate co-conspirator. That was worth it.

  48. placematfan says:

    What a great day for crosswords. I really thought the NYT was just everything a themeless should be, and the CHE is in a league of its own.

    I’m pretty sure Don’t Split Infinitives, just like Don’t End Sentences With Prepositions, is a rule considered pedantic by the majority of the grammarian community.

  49. Martin says:


    I’m not sure there are many other names that work. You need ABACDEFGCH, where A can’t be A, B can’t be L, C can’t be N, D can’t be T, E can’t be U, F can’t be R, G can’t be I and H can’t be G.

    I’m amazed they found the one.

  50. loren smith says:

    Placematfan – I don’t know if I’m part of the grammarian community, but I do find those rules pedantic. And aside from the “this is she” on the telephone, I feel silly saying things like “It was I” when owning up to the commitment of some act. “Whom” feels forced, too, and I refuse to say, “Everyone was here, but he left.”

  51. Daniel Myers says:

    “Whom” feels forced, Loren? Perhaps it’s simply down to the way I was educated, but I can’t think of an instance in which it feels forced to me.

  52. loren smith says:

    Daniel – we’re hanging out with very different peer groups. If I use “whom” with the people with, um, whom, I deal with day in and day out, “whom” feels conspicuous. Along the same line, just the other day, I was responding to an email and wanted to write, “Please come by to meet with Chef and me any time tomorrow.” I told the person with an office across from mine that I was about to send an email, and the recipient was going to think I made a mistake by using “me” and not “I.” I sent it with the correct “me.” She probably thought I goofed.

  53. loren smith says:

    Daniel – just between you and I ;-), I guess I need to find a new peer group.

  54. Bruce N. Morton says:

    I just filled in the WSJ, I guess correctly, but I haven’t the foggiest idea what it’s supposed to mean. I hate to assign a rating, since I’m so totally blank on it. Take a number???? I can’t see the slightest connection to any of the theme entries. I guess Alice is a Mike Shenk pseudonym, so there has to be something there. Anyone able to enlighten me?

  55. Daniel Myers says:

    Loren–It sounds as if your “peers” aren’t quite deserving of the name, grammar-wise in any event. I remember an old schoolmaster of mine who had a poster on his office door of an owl with “WHOM? WHOM?” in a cartoon bubble above said owl’s head.:-)

  56. Martin says:


    “TWO” is inserted into phrases with wacky results.

  57. Daniel Myers says:

    LOL, Loren, just read your latest post: Wavelengths or something. ;-) Agreed!

  58. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Martin, thanks. Pretty obvious. I think I’m tired

  59. loren smith says:

    Daniel – I like you, and I guess it’s because sometimes we’re on the same wavelength!

  60. john farmer says:


    I missed a level to the name, in my hasty post before I had to run out. Thanks for pointing that out. I just spent a few minutes looking, and the closest name I could find is the relatively unknown Spanish actress Lola Dueñas (“Volver”), which may not even work because of the u in the 6th slot. H.R. Haldeman is a lot less random than I had thought, and among names of people probably the best by far.

  61. George Barany says:

    I am flattered and humbled by all the nice things that Amy, Bruce, Cyberdiva, both Martins, Daniel, Foodie, and others have written, but should start right out by saying that Patrick Berry needs to share in this glow. An April 10 conversation with my son Michael, a graduate student at Princeton, put the Turing centennial birthday of June 23 on my radar screen. Since time was of the essence, I pitched to Patrick in late April a completely filled and clued grid that had already been run by a few of my trusted beta testers, and contained as theme entries ALAN_TURING, BLETCHLEY_PARK, BREAKING_THE_CODE, and COMPUTER_SCIENCE, as well as the “bonus” ENIGMA. Patrick replied and made the brilliant suggestion that we could pay true tribute to Turing by encoding his name in the puzzle. Patrick specifically suggested H.R._HALDEMAN, which at first glance seems like a name chosen at random but turns out to be the only moderately recognizable name that maps onto ALAN_TURING. During the first week of May, we traded back and forth no less than seven grids, Patrick gently guiding the project towards the kind of smooth fill for which his reputation as a solo constructor is richly deserved. I then had just a few days to come up with clues, and never got a chance to see the result of Patrick’s editing until the printed Chronicle showed up in the mail. He certainly respected my creativity while reining in the more outlandish factoids that I had worked into clues. In summary, a dream collaboration!

  62. Zulema says:

    Back to me and my question. CARTA is a letter, one in an envelope. CARTA POSTAL is a letter sent through a P.O. CARTA may be found with the meaning of Map in historical and other such contexts. Some have ventured that the constructor or editor meant MAP and that they derived the word from the French for map. A map is a MAPA in Spanish or in Mexico, and a tourist may want one. Until I got the crossing, I thought it would be TARTA, the kind you eat.

    It again comes down to checking, just as POR and PARA (very difficult for non-native speakers), can be checked for context. PARA means FOR, generally; POR means BY and also means FOR but only in the sense of FOR THE SAKE OF, otherwise it’s PARA. Very basic, not regional, not in any way like DIFFERENT TO (Brit.) and DIFFERENT FROM (Amer.) And none of this in any way relates to splitting or not splitting infinitives.

  63. joon says:

    it seems like i’m always 65th to the party, but yeah, this was a great day of puzzles. the CHE kept getting more amazing the more i poked at it, and it was a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest thinkers in history.

  64. jefe says:

    I would guess that someone mistakenly thought that CARTA might translate to or refer to a postcard.

  65. Andy K. says:

    I think someone probably thought CARTA was Spanish for “map,” as in “cartographer.” That was my mistaken belief, not knowing any Spanish, when I was solving.

  66. Daniel Myers says:

    Loren, the feeling is mutual!!!!

    @Amy or WHOMever- Shouldn’t the above post be zapped????

  67. Daniel Myers says:

    Beat me to it! Thanks.

  68. Zulema says:

    You are all correct that it was a guess. But the professional has to check, and not just with the online translator which can be great for laughs. A postcard is a Tarjeta Postal in Spanish or just a Postal, briefly, accent on the a, so that wasn’t it. Next time, check! is my advice.

    And did you all know that Turing commited suicide at 41? I may have known but had forgotten the sad citcumstances.

  69. Tita says:

    Tuning in late to the game, but just have to pile on even more praise for the ALANTURING tribute. After I finished, I printed another copy for puzzle spouse, who was an instructor in the army Signal Corps, and who (not whom) worked with cryptography devices.

    Thank you Mr. Barany, both for the fabulous puzzle, and for stopping by to give us an always appreciated glimpse behind the curtain.

  70. Keith says:

    Sorry, but I can’t share in the enthusiasm for the CHE puzzle. I don’t want to have to solve codes in order to complete a word puzzle.

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