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LAT Wed. 12/30 Dan Naddor


PHLEVEL of this puzzle is 8.  That is, 8 times the digraph ph appears, and that's not easy to make happen in a 15X15 grid. 

Crossing a Japanese noodle dish with an Indian river in Kansas is a recipe [sorry] for failure by solvers.  I for one heard of neither RAMEN nor NEOSHO but guessed N where they joined.  The odds against me were about ten to one --- so I was very lucky.  Of course, my never having heard of either entry says more about my nescience that it does about the general difficulty level of the two words.  Still I'm arrogant enough to suppose that I was in the majority here.  (Full disclosure:  I very seldom eat at Japanese restaurants, and I'm not much good at geography.)

The river was definitely obscure, but I don't think the noodle is at all.  It is sold in virtually every US grocery store and is a favorite among college students because it is dirt cheap and takes a minute to prepare. 

For some reason, I didn't get the "literally 8" clue until I read your post.  I didn't like that - you could say that the ph "count" of the puzzle is literally 8, but I don't see how the ph level of the puzzle is literally 8.  Level is not a synonym for count even, as far as I know, for any obscure definition.

One of the merits of the puzzle, IMO, was that the second ph in each word was followed by a different letter.  I thought there would be a lot of phy endings, once I got the theme, but there was nice variety.

Granted, "count" and "level" are not literaaly the same, but I think by using the word "count," you set up a needless problem.

Ph level is a term used in measuring the amount or quantity of acid contained in something.  Dan found terms which contained 8 ph letter combinations and used the expression "ph level" to indicate the quantity of the digraphs found in the expressions.  In this sense, level and quantity are the same.


Well, I still disagree.  In fact, the level is a quantity, but it is a quantity on a logarithmic scale.  So there's really nothing "level 8" ish about the puzzle, and it made it more confusing for me - someone who knows something about pH levels. 

In sadder news, apparently Dan Naddor passed away yesterday. 


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