The Week In Crosswords

The most entertaining find this week is Crossword, the charming 7-minute silent film below that uses its simple conceit with a very dry wit.

Hugh Stephenson reviews his 16 years editing Guardian crosswords, mulling the incremental changes the feature has seen, soliciting feedback on some matters and explaining why sometimes you have to ignore the feedback you get. Stephenson also announces that “Wordstock UK” will take place in London, almost certainly on December 17, around the time the crossword has a rather notable anniversary.

The Nation continues its fascinating exploration into the nature of cryptic crossword clues and what may or may not be acceptable. If I get a vote about its latest question, I think a triple definition is just fine but a single one strikes me as unfair.

Matt Gaffney and Rex Parker review a Eugene Maleska puzzle, and if you know the schools of thought of those three individuals, there will not be many surprises here. I was interested to learn, though, that Will Shortz had to begin his tenure by dismissing some puzzles Maleska had approved. Probably necessary, but it can’t have made the politics easier in his first months on the job.

Good uses of crosswords: passing the time during dialysis, controlling one’s fear of flying.

Bad uses of crosswords: plate of heroin, murder alibi.

The solutions to the Kickstarter-campaign puzzles for The Maze of Games now stand revealed. Neville Fogarty’s “Games People Play” campaign concludes its run just over its $2500 stretch goal. And speaking of fundraising, PuzzleSocial looks to be a bit of a Wall Street darling.

Crossword puzzles for wine geeks, baseball nuts.

Ego-solve of the week, re-releasing chart-toppers Ant and Dec. Also, this clue about Pat Rabbitte is embarrassing on multiple levels. Also, Dule Hill fans are happy. And Chipper Jones has questionable taste.

Finally, the best crosswords are edible. Except the ones that are drunk and pervy.

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5 Responses to The Week In Crosswords

    • T Campbell says:

      You are correct that December 21st is the actual anniversary, but the birthday celebration is (probably) the 17th. My guess is that this is meant to avoid conflicting with Christmas.

  1. Will Shortz says:

    When I took over in 1993, I was given an inventory of more than two years’ worth of crosswords that Mr. Maleska had been accepted for The Times. I didn’t like the idea of returning them … but even more I didn’t like the idea of spending my first two years on the job running puzzles I didn’t want. So I gritted my teeth. Over several months, as time permitted, I went through the stack puzzle by puzzle. I think I re-accepted about 15% of the inventory and returned the rest to the contributors, with my regrets.

    Returning puzzles is not a good way to make friends, but I still feel it was the right thing to do.

    Also, the bad news in most of my letters came with some good — I’d gotten the Times’ crossword rates almost doubled, from $40 to $75 for the dailies, and from $150 to $300 for the Sundays. So people were happy with that.

    –Will Shortz

  2. Huda says:

    I’m amazed at the weekly finds! That 7 minute video was a lot of fun (mildly pervy)

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