The Week In Crosswords

This is an experiment, and may not last. But for now, here’s the most interesting crossword news of the week.

Top Story: The fifth Lollapuzzoola, unlike its namesake, continued in spite of inclement weather. Winners were Glen Ryan (who’s been racking up tourney wins this year) in the Local division and Joon Pahk in the “Express” division.

Already familiar to readers of this blog, Pahk gave some of his winnings, tickets to The 7th Monarch, an off-Broadway show featuring a crossword-obsessed would-be astronaut, to fellow finalist Francis Heaney. (Monarch invites attendees to bring solutions to its simple crossword puzzles to the show.)

The Lollapuzzoola puzzles are available for purchase online, but only until August 12.

Rising tenth-grader and published constructor David Steinberg‘s Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project aims to digitize via Across Lite, or “litz,” every New York Times crossword from 1942 to 1993, when Shortz took over as editor. (XWordInfo already has the complete Shortz run.) It’s been announced here before, but what’s new is that longtime crossword-maker and mentor Vic Fleming is among those who’ve joined the effort. Among their recent discoveries: a puzzle where exclamation points are part of the grid.

A reminder: no matter how boring the road gets or how tempting it is to knock out just a few squares of the puzzle before you get where you’re going, don’t solve and drive.

The Engineer‘s British, non-cryptic crossword has gone online-only.

If you think literature is dead, you haven’t met Don Manley, aka Pasquale, Quixote, Bradman, Duck and Giovanni. All five of his aliases are crossword-makers, a circumstance for which the former research scientist and publisher remains grateful (“I’m over 65 and with fairly modest state and occupational pensions. I need the money”). He is the all-time champion clue writer in the 40-year-old Azed competition, and his most recent win, this month, is a reference to a classic nonsense poem.

Shane Rogers has a new review of Shortyz Crosswords, but the real tech news this week comes from two new releases. The first is Crossword Buddies for the iOS, supplementing its existing incarnations. The second is Wordplay, Springy’s direct competitor to Words With Friends. Notably, both these games test speed as well as skill.

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13 Responses to The Week In Crosswords

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    What about lollapuzzoola?

  2. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Matt, I left a comment last night.

  3. T Campbell says:

    Wow, what a way for an experiment to begin. Please note the revised edition. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there this year!

  4. Noam D. Elkies says:

    How is !COMETU! clued? Or ¿should I read it “¡Come tú!”?

    Didn’t know about “screamer”. Nowadays we could have entries like “THE WHOLE SHE!” and “!ALORE, INDIA” and even “CHITTY CHITTY ! !”.

  5. T Campbell says:

    Dunno yet, Noam: the puzzle’s not yet part of the database. I would suspect, though, that yes, “¡Come tú!” is the way to go.

  6. Jim Horne says:

    These old puzzles are so interesting for editorial as well as for technical reasons. For example, since everyone uses software now, grids intended to be symmetric always are symmetric. When you have to do it by hand, things like this slip through. It’s really tough to tell where the violation occurs.

    David tells me that 1992 puzzles are nearly proofed so they should show up in XWord Info soon.

  7. Huda says:

    Re asymmetric puzzle, Very interesting. Hard to see, indeed! I love the almost symmetric last name of the constructor. Was this someone who published many puzzles during that era?

    Such a cool project by David Steinberg! I tried to click on the link but got an Error, Call Dave! Is this something that is asking for contributions?

  8. Barry Haldiman says:

    Yes, Alfio Micci was very prolific among Sunday NYT constructors. I have a tribute page at

  9. Huda says:

    Barry, thank you! A ton of Sundays! and apparently a love of diagonal grid patterns…

  10. Thanks for the announcement about the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project, T Campbell!

    @Noam D. Elkies–The clue for !Come tu! was “Madre’s emphatic order to a niño.”

    I’ve seen many other pre-Shortzian puzzles with asymmetric grids–Alfio Micci certainly wasn’t the only constructor to make one! I’ve even seen a puzzle with two 2-letter words in it. . . .

  11. There is another event coming up at the end of this week. The 3rd Pittsburgh Crossword Puzzle Tournament will be held 8/11/12.

  12. There is another event coming up at the end of this week. The 3rd Pittsburgh Crossword Puzzle Tournament will be held 8/11/12. The web site for the tournament is

  13. Stephnee says:

    Hey- thanks for the WORDPLAY rec. Just downloaded and I am addicted. The strategies and possibilities are really exciting and make for a really challenging and fun experience.

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