The Week In Crosswords

Late on this mostly because I was working on the book, so let’s get right to it:

The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament approacheth: the winners page is currently up and has “Perhaps you” in every spot, which is technically true, I suppose. As mentioned here, the designers have been announced. The previous year’s champs are gearing up. It’s sure to be an enjoyable time for all! (Sadly, I may have to give my own regrets this year, but you can bet I’ll have a juicy link-roundup for you next week.)

But are we finally starting to get tournament bloat? Another tourney hits Ithaca that same weekend.

Crosswords are mostly lost to Mr. Edwards, an Alzheimer’s sufferer with a crossword-puzzle tie, and his daughter writes about the bittersweet duty of clearing them away.

The Inquisitor
pulled a trick on its solvers in celebration of Groundhog Day, with an identical grid, title, coloration and first two clues to those of the previous puzzle. This maneuver is similar to an Alan Arbesfeld April Fool’s puzzle in The New York Times from some years back. Naturally, the editor received more than his usual share of “gotcha” e-mails from solvers confident they’d found a mistake.

The journalist Peter Harvey was known for many things, some of which he explains in this posthumous interview. One of his explanations concerns a widely-shared picture of him showing more interest in a crossword than in his surroundings, which happen to be a strip club.

App of the week: the freshly reviewed Crossword Cryptogram, a novel fill-in-the-blanks exercise.

New to the Chicago theater: Improbable Frequency, all about an undercover cruciverbalist in World War II Dublin. The Tribune has a mostly positive review, and you may have more patience with the play’s wordplay than the reviewer. (Some of you probably saw this one years ago in New York.)

Crossword-building game Zip-It, a spin-off from Bananagrams, wouldn’t seem to have anything to do with sexual orientation, but that’s probably why it works well as a promotion for Student Pride: it’s a fun pastime that reminds us of what we have in common. Though I would expect that teenagers, being teenagers, will still be snickering about “word intersections” and “Bananagrams.”

The American Red Crosswords collection, now available for iPad/iPhone via Puzzazz. Crowdfunded but you can still get in while the getting’s good: Patrick Berry’s Crypt, Neville Fogarty’s The Games People Play.

I’ll give two dollars to the first person who can explain the cryptic clue and answer cited in the penultimate paragraph of this tale of addiction. Also amusing is David Hill, who insists cryptics aren’t even British.

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4 Responses to The Week In Crosswords

  1. HH says:

    “one with few social skills nearly drained vintage bottle” = NERVE

    one with few social skills (nearly) = NER(d)
    (drained) vintage = V(intag)E
    bottle = British slang for mettle or courage

  2. Todd G says:

    You might be interested to know David Kahn is giving a crossword-related lecture tomorrow. See here for more information.

    Just stumbled on this using Google yesterday. I can’t add anything to this link.

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