Cover the crossword beat enough and you will get a bit jaded. It’s like grey hairs. It just happens. So while Twitter is very excited about this New York Times video covering the creation of crossword puzzles, this writer’s more inclined to say that longtime students of crosswords will find little new information there. And such students may be disappointed to see that Will Shortz’s video “tips for pros” is advice for advanced crossword solvers, not professional (or would-be professional) crossword-makers.
On the bright side, this video is a lovely tour through Will’s home, and all four videos on the Times site (the three aforementioned, plus tips for beginners) benefit from Shortz’s ineffable charm. (The highlight has to be the way he concludes the tour of his home by ever-so-gently suggesting that you might like to send him more puzzle memorabilia, if you just have any lying around.)
In this slow news week, some outlets are already resorting to 2012-in-review articles, but The Guardian has leapt ahead to a 2013-in-preview article. You may have heard that the crossword has a birthday coming up? John Halpern has, and he’d like your help in planning the celebrations. And the BBC is already starting in with an hour-long historical review of the puzzle form (hat tip: pannonica).
If you’re really stuck doing a cryptic or regular crossword, The Nation has a few tips too.
Your crossword app of the week: QatQi, a Scrabble-like solitaire game with an irregular board and a few other tricks. Two reviews.
If you don’t mind R-rated humor, this comedy video‘s got some information to share with you.
Finally, anyone who’s had to train their eyes not to look at a solution published on the same page as the puzzle might enjoy this letter to the editor, which suggests one very practical reason to improve the Aspen Times’ policy.
Wow, lots of goodies! Enjoyed the Shortz tour!
A bit off-topic — nothing to do with crosswords per se — but maybe of interest to some readers here: Wired has an intriguing article about the decoding of the Copiale, a 100-page, 260-year-old cipher that’s finally been cracked with the help of some machine translation specialists at USC, with a bit of history about secret societies too.
Great roundup – thanks!