2012 Orca Awards – Best Crossword Nominees

Mark your calendars: The complete 2012 Orca Awards ceremony will be featured right here at Diary of a Crossword Fiend on Sunday, February 24!

Like last year, this year’s celebration of the most outstanding crosswords from 2012 will include awards for Best Freestyle Puzzle, Best Sunday-Sized Puzzle, Best Gimmick Puzzle, and Best Easy Puzzle. New this year will be the award for Most Divisive Puzzle. Of course, the ceremony will conclude with the award for Best Crossword.

To whet your appetites, the nominees for Best Puzzle appear after the jump.

First, however, a few words about the selection process. Nominees for this award were selected in part by you, the readers of this blog, through your votes using the star-rating system. Some adjustments were made to take into account the number of ratings received by a puzzle, and our ongoing rule that no constructor should have more than two puzzles in the running. As a result, the nine nominees are not necessarily the puzzles with the highest overall star-rating average.

Why nine nominees, you (didn’t) ask? Last year we had ten Best Crossword nominees because there were ten nominees for Best Picture. This year there are nine films in the running for Best Picture—so we’re having nine nominees for Best Crossword. Some truly brilliant puzzles had to be left behind, but each of the nominees is terrific.

Here, then are the nominees for Best Crossword of 2012, listed in order of publication date (the links take you to this site’s reviews of the puzzles and not to the puzzles themselves, so if you want to go back and solve some of these you may not want to get too click-happy):

• “Get Over It” by Merl Reagle (Merl Reagle Syndicated Crossword, February 19)
Untitled by Ben Tausig (Onion AV Club Crossword, March 28)
• “Themeless Monday” by Brendan Emmett Quigley (BEQ blog, April 9)
• “Spelling Trouble” by Patrick Berry (Fireball Crosswords Year 3 #22, May 31)
• “A Cryptic Tribute” by George Barany (Chronicle of Higher Education, June 22)
• “Instance Messages” by Jeffrey Harris and Ian Livengood (Fireball Crosswords Year 3 #29, July 18) (reviewed July 19)
• “At the Present Time” by Matt Gaffney (Matt Gaffney Weekly Crossword Contest #221, August 24) (reviewed August 28, 2012)
• “Adjusted to Fit Your Screen” by Matt Jones (Jonesin’ Crossword, September 25)
• “Just My Type” by Matt Gaffney (Matt Gaffney Weekly Crossword Contest #226, September 28) (reviewed October 2, 2012)

Congratulations to all of the nominees! We’ll see you on Sunday, February 24!

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6 Responses to 2012 Orca Awards – Best Crossword Nominees

  1. Keith says:

    Interesting – no NYT puzzles among the nominees.

  2. vijay says:

    hard to believe those puzzles are all better than every NYT puzzle in 2012. somethings wrong here.

    • Sam Donaldson says:

      “Better” is subjective, of course, but I have a theory as to why none of the many great NYT puzzles made the cut in terms of star ratings this year. Fairly or not, solvers have a very high standard for NYT puzzles. Frankly, I suspect some consider it rather chic to give a perfectly competent puzzle two stars so as to appear discerning.

      Statisticians might be able to confirm or deny a second hypothesis: the NYT puzzle tends to get many more ratings than other puzzles. The more ratings, the better the chance the average will come closer to 3.0. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds plausible to a liberal arts major like me.

    • pauer says:

      Here’s a list of Jim Horne’s favorite 2012 NYT puzzles to balance out the universe: http://www.jimhblog.com/blog/2012/12/notable-puzzles-of-2012.html

  3. Jeffrey says:

    A list of the puzzles with the most 5 star votes may give a different listing, including several NY Times.

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