The Week In Crosswords

With 110 potential buyers for the Hostess brands, it is likely that the ultra-Scrabbly SUZY Q’S will live on to populate an avant-garde puzzle or three in 2013. So relax.

More seriously, the week’s been marked by some interesting new research into crossword history.

This very blog mentioned the recent alumna report on Bernice Gordon, the oldest constructor ever published in the New York Times, but neglected to mention the meatiest part of it: that she is responsible for the first known rebus crossword in the paper, during the Farrar era.

And Sérgio Barcellos Ximenes has published more of his writings on crossword pre-history, early history and trivia. Sadly, this work is not yet available in English translation, but if you know Portuguese, or if you want to try to muddle through with machine translations and his many images, download the first volume of his “1001 Curiosidades sobre as Palavras Cruzadas,” or the first four volumes of his “Historia das Palavras Crusadas.” Ximenes (not to be confused with the British constructor of the same name) is not only a formidable scholar, he’s a devoted collector, and his purchases through Amazon and eBay have given him access to facts never unearthed by anyone else. (I’ll be spending the next week unpacking his research, myself.) With almost a hundred years to go, he needs all the encouragement he can get.

Derek McKenzie of has a new e-book out, Weird Little Words That Win Word Games, complementing his prior e-book, Crossword Ease.

Scandinavian-style puzzles and more variations, available in your email.

Scrambled crosswords available in your Twitter.

Crossword setter Qaos has been smuggling American-style “themes” into British cryptics.

Also reported elsewhere on this blog: Peter Valentine’s New York Times Crossword-inspired “crossword poems.”

CBI would like to register a complaint about the latest Private Eye News cryptic crossword.

Missed this until now: For all the help crosswords may be in staving off dementia, if you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a similar disease, research from Rush University indicates it’s definitely time to put the puzzles down.

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