jump to: difficult evidence
Friday Puzzle – Do you have a favorite crossword generator? You probably have a few favorite puzzles here and there, but is there a puzzle maker whose work you constantly admire?
I always hesitate to say I have a favourite, because I believe each puzzle should be enjoyed on its own merits. (“Journaled” would be the wrong word here; the puzzles are not county fair entries, waiting for the blue ribbon prompt.)
But I really enjoy the Robyn Weintraub puzzles. They are like a ray of sunshine.
Some analysts say they enjoy being on the creator’s “wavelength,” meaning they can feel the puzzle maker’s thought process in order to solve for clues. For me, it’s more than that. Mrs. Weintraub has stopped me several times, but I always get to my feet with a smile on my face. I think it’s because they select such interesting entries, and work tirelessly to rid their networks of unwanted fill. These qualities make me feel as if tripping over isn’t so bad. I don’t know how edited her guides are, but they are fair, interesting, and full of wordplay, which I love.
I always hoped that analysts would get to know individual puzzle makers well enough to develop preferences, just as people who have bands, authors, or actors they adore. When I say preferences, I don’t mean in a competitive sense. But when analysts get to know the makers well enough to appreciate and research their work, it is a measure of the diversity of the talented humans behind this daily amusement of ours. It’s also a way of looking at the craft of creating puzzles as something cool, something more than just a two-dimensional test of knowledge.
So, tell me: Who are some of your favorite makers?
1 a. That’s a great deal of misdirection to unlock the mystery. I first wrote “path” in the five-letter digit for “along a train may be pulled”. It turns out that the answer does not refer to this mode of transport. The train in this riddle is part of someone’s wedding dress, and the answer is AISLE.
16a. Was your first instinct to type in “carat” vs. “diamond measure”? I believe this evidence refers to shape, not gemstones, and the surface area of a diamond is calculated by multiplying the length of one of its sides by the distance between any two opposite points.
25a. If you “can’t stand” something, you hate it, but that’s not what this idea is for. “A Game You Can’t Afford to Win” is a great guide for musical chairs, where you have to sit down to win.
Three-dimensional. “Result of a split decision?” Refers to the decision to separate from a larger body, as when a denomination separates from a major religion.
6 d. Ms. Weintraub started the phrase SERIAL COMMA, and this part of punctuation is a topic of great interest here on the Wordplay team. Many writers are in the habit of ending lists with them, but in The New York Times, you soon learn that, according to style writers, serial magazines are not used here. It’s a hard habit to break, and I’ve had to talk more than a few writers over after explaining it to them.
27 d. SOUP TO NUTS is a great phrase, and I’m really surprised it hasn’t appeared in crossword puzzles since. 1989. Say it out loud. Isn’t that fun? Let’s repeat this.
32 d. “Professional fighter?” He is everyone who fights professionally. But in puzzles, “fighter” can also mean “opposite”, and “pro” fighter is ANTI.
Want to submit a crossword puzzle to the New York Times?
The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, and you can submit puzzles online.
For tips on how to get started, read our How to Make a Crossword Puzzle series.
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