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21
Today's Puzzles / Re: Thu., 10/16 Grabowski & Venzke
« Last post by LARadioRewind on October 16, 2014, 05:29:52 PM »
Well, I have discovered that "today's puzzle" is not today's puzzle...but I'm going to discuss today's puzzle on the "Today's Puzzle" thread even though it's an old puzzle and not today's. Now that you're all thoroughly confused, I shall elucidate. After finally figuring out the answers to the New York Times puzzle that appears in today's Los Angeles Daily News and then looking online to learn more about the puzzle, I discovered that it appeared in the New York Times on September 11. It seems that the local paper runs the Times puzzles five weeks after their original publication. That means that when I comment on them here, I'm discussing a five-week-old puzzle. I'll have to confine my comments to other crosswords and not the belated Times puzzles.

The five-week-old puzzle printed today was described as "the most-discussed puzzle at Lollapuzzoola 7, a tournament held in New York City on August 9." Patrick Blindauer title it "Change of Heart." All the across answers contained three, five, seven or nine letters and the middle letter of each---the "heart"---had to  be changed to another letter so the vertical answers would be correct. The changed letters resulted in real words horizontally but those words no longer matched the clues. The answer to "Computer purchase" was MOUSE but it had to be changed to MOOSE. "Canadian pop singer Lavigne" is AVRIL but the word had to be changed to AVAIL. The "O" and the "A" became part of OAK going down. Blindauer could have skipped the "change of heart" idea and simply written clues to fit the words that appeared in the completed puzzle but of course then it would be just an ordinary puzzle. As it is, the puzzle is rather pointless. The middle letter of every across answer has to be changed so the vertical words make sense. For a puzzle titled "Change of Heart," it might have been better if the middle letter of every word, across and down, had to be changed.....but such a puzzle might have just been doubly frustrating and difficult, especially since none of the answers would match the clues.

Rex Parker's puzzle blog has 229 comments about this one and almost everyone hated it. Among the descriptive adjectives: annoying, confusing, moronic, pointless, cruel, poor, arcane, tedious and arbitrary.

http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com/2014/09/sturdy-tree-in-beech-family-thu-9-11-14.html
22
Today's Puzzles / Thu., 10/16 Grabowski & Venzke
« Last post by magus on October 16, 2014, 08:53:33 AM »
THEME:   first word of a phrase relates to CASE
   
GOOD ONES:    
Climactic announcement {& theme}   CASE SOLVED   
White house?   IGLOO [note lower case H]   
   
   
RATING:    ;D
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
23
Today's Puzzles / Re: Tue., 10/14 Jacob Stulberg
« Last post by LARadioRewind on October 15, 2014, 05:40:26 PM »
I agree that a puzzle is more fun---and more challenging---when it contains several cleverly-worded clues, each of which can suggest two or three possible answers. Some clues contain a word that can have more than one pronunciation and/or more than one meaning, such as TEAR. Clever clues don't appear very often, though---usually only when there are clever answers, such as puns or seldom-used words. There aren't many ways for a puzzle maker to be creative when he's writing clues for ALE and SPA and IRE and LEI and UKE and the dozens of other short words that appear in several puzzles each week. ATRA is usually clued with "Gillette brand" or "razor brand" and ALOHA is usually clued with "Hawaiian hello" or "Island greeting."  The clues have become almost as repetitious as the answers. If the crosswords contained more creative answers, I think we'd also be seeing more creative clues.
24
Today's Puzzles / Re: Wed., 10/15 C.C. Burnikel
« Last post by LARadioRewind on October 15, 2014, 05:15:08 PM »
Today's Los Angeles Times puzzle had 40 black squares. That's too many, all you crossword crafters. Stop it! No more than 36! Thirty-two or fewer is even better. One clue was "Storytelling nom de plume." The answer is SAKI. That one sent me to Wikipedia. Saki was the pen name of British short-story writer Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916). Biographers are not certain why Munro picked that name. It can refer to a South American monkey or to a cupbearer in The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam.

Today's New York Times puzzle included four long phrases. The sentence formed by the last word of each phrase can be found on a TSHIRT. Those words formed "Been there, done that." What sense does that phrase make when it's printed on a t-shirt? Who has been where and done what? Am I supposed to ask the t-shirt wearer what it means?
25
Today's Puzzles / Re: Tue., 10/14 Jacob Stulberg
« Last post by magus on October 15, 2014, 08:54:13 AM »
I don't think the puzzle was pedestrian. It can't be easy to find several two-word theme answers where each word can be combined with another word to form a new phrase.

Difficulty of construction does not make, at least for me, the solving more fun.  Rather, cleverness of cluing and evocative and challenging words and phrases are what pleases.
26
Today's Puzzles / Wed., 10/15 C.C. Burnikel
« Last post by magus on October 15, 2014, 08:45:34 AM »
THEME:   phrases containing PLAN spelled backwards
   
GOOD ONES:     
"Just in case" strategy {& theme}   BACK UP PLAN   
Take turns?   STEER   
Vulgar language?   LATIN [Vulgate]   
Malibu mover   GAS [Malibu the car not the West Coast furniture carrier]   
Bricks-and-mortar workers   MASONS [not salespeople]*   
Yard sale?   ALE ["a yard of ale"]   
Winter air   CAROL {she's not a "hoar"}  :-[   
Big brass   TUBA [not military personnel]   
   
BTW:   
* Never liked "bricks-and-mortar" when shop or store do fine.   
   
   
RATING:    ;D ;D ;D
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
27
Today's Puzzles / Re: Tue., 10/14 Jacob Stulberg
« Last post by LARadioRewind on October 14, 2014, 02:32:27 PM »
One of the theme answers is HARDBACK and was clued with "Like unabridged print dictionaries". Both parts can precede the word "water." However---and this is me being picky again---the word "hardback" is a misnomer. "Hardbound," referring to a book with hard covers, entered our language in 1926. "Hardback" came along in 1952. Both sides of a hardbound book, and not just the back, have a hard cover. "Paperback" is likewise a misnomer. We all know what the words "paperback" and "hardback" refer to but the words are still inaccurate.

I don't think the puzzle was pedestrian. It can't be easy to find several two-word theme answers where each word can be combined with another word to form a new phrase. In all my puzzle-solving life, I don't think I've seen more than five or six such puzzles. By the way, On The Waterfront won eight Academy Awards, including best picture, best actor (Marlon Brando), best supporting actress (Eva Marie Saint) and best director (Elia Kazan). And sixty years later it becomes a crossword theme. Brando would have been proud.
28
Today's Puzzles / Tue., 10/14 Jacob Stulberg
« Last post by magus on October 14, 2014, 09:34:22 AM »
THEME:   both words of a phrases can precede WATER
   
GOOD ONES:     
1954 Oscar… {& theme}   ON THE WATERFRONT ["in front of" water]   
   
BTW:   
A shame that such a clever theme is set in so pedestrian a puzzle.   
   
   
RATING: :'(   
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
29
General Discussion / Re: "NCA" -- Will Shortz accept?
« Last post by admin on October 14, 2014, 12:19:39 AM »
Will Shortz wouldn't reject NCA because he's overly fussy or pedantic. He'd do so because he is a good editor. It's worth noting that no other editor has accepted NCA (at least among the puzzles in my database). When it comes to acronyms, they have to be very well known. If you're faced with something like NCA, don't try to justify it or blame the editor(s). Yank it out and rework that area of the puzzle. The more you stick to this line of thinking the better you will become at making salable crossword puzzles.

-Kevin
30
Today's Puzzles / Mon., 10/13 Carol Hacker
« Last post by magus on October 13, 2014, 09:16:06 AM »
THEME:   first and second words of a phrase begin with R and V, respectively
   
GOOD ONES:     
Place for Winnebagos {& theme}   RV PARK   
   
BTW:   
Chutzpah   AUDACITY [guess if you're Jewish and speaking with friends, chutzpah works instead of audacity or nerve, but it gives me agita (acido)]    
   
   
RATING:   :'(   
Three grins = Loved it; Two grins = Enjoyed it; One grin = A bit bland for my taste; One teardrop = Not much fun   
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