My own book, On Crosswords, is hitting stores next month, and is now available for review in both digital and print form! (Digital, naturally, will reach you faster.) Contact me if interested.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say here that Ben Tausig’s upcoming book, The Curious History of Crosswords, sounds utterly fascinating.
Robin Deits has put together a new, impressive automatic cryptic clue solver. No foolin’. Here’s more on how it works, and here’s the source code.
As reported previously… Peter Gordon and Matt Gaffney have both done great news-focused crosswords for The Week, but Gaffney’s is more wordplay-focused in general, and Gordon’s tended to bristle with more “ripped from the headlines” clues. Gaffney took over from Gordon, but now you may not have to choose! Gordon is currently over 20% of the way to funding a new set of newsweeklies.
“CROSSWORDS! They’re a charming obsession– but for one 61-year-old in Manchester, the obsession proved (DUN DUN DUN) NEARLY… FATAL.”
Longtime readers know that crossword proposals have been done before, but this is the first to use the acrostic-like feature, the Jumble, which has also been featured extensively in a recent Dick Tracy adventure. (Hat tips: Patrick Blindauer, Matt Jones.)
“While in power, Stalin banned crosswords since he believed them to be ‘bourgeois and degenerate.'” Also, everything else.
Brighton has a crossword house that’s seeing a lot of use at the Fringe Festival, every weekend in May.
A classic exchange with the Fake Will Shortz.
The Nation looks at cryptic clues for palindromes.
Tyler Hinman draws our attention to a bit of unused crosswordese. Similarly, Elizabeth Gorski has good news for the next generation.
And finally, Deb Amlen’s guide to becoming a competitive solver.
I didn’t have any luck getting a local copy of the cryptic solver to work, but I don’t use Python on this machine much. I’ll try again later.
The online version didn’t do too well on some (easy I thought) clues I’d written, and I don’t think that’s because they suck. (Could be…) It lacks both enough transformations and enough heuristic sense to decide among answers (it definitely looks for too many zebras), but it’s not a bad first stab.