Iberian wine city / SUN 9-22-13 / Spiderwick Chronicles co-author DiTerlizzi / my destiny be Fustian Dickinson poem / Old PC monitor feature / Satirical 1974 espionage film / Material beyond terrestrial plane in medieval science / English landscapist famous for burning of houses of lords commons / Classic sci-fi film billed as horror horde of crawl crush giants / 1960s-70s series starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Constructor: Mike Selinker

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Letterboxes" — "Crosswords Contest! In this special contest crossword, the completed grid conceals a familiar three-word phrase related to the puzzle's theme. 70-Across provides a hint as to where to find it, and you will need to print out the PDF to see some heavy lines that cannot be reproduced here (http://select.nytimes.com/premium/xword/2013/09/22/Sep2213.pdf). When you have the answer, e-mail it to crossword@nytimes.com. Twenty-five correct solvers, chosen at random, whose entries are received by 6 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, Sept. 24, will receive copies of The New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzles 2014 Day-to-Day Calendar, courtesy of Andrews McMeel. Only one entry per person, please. The answer will appear here on Wednesday, Sept. 25. The winners' names will be announced on Friday, Sept. 27."


• • •

I'm going to respect the contest. That is, I'm not going to reveal any information here. I don't know why, really. I mean, the stakes are soooooo low that I have a hard time imagining anyone even taking the time to enter. A day-to-day calendar?!? Really?

But I'm going to respect the contest anyway. Call it professional courtesy. Call it laziness. Call it whatever. You're gonna have to come up with your own answers today.

I will say one thing: the reveal, i.e. the meta-puzzle, i.e. the "three-word phrase" mentioned in the contest description (above), is Great. A genuinely fantastic punch line. The fill in this puzzle is not great. Painful and cringe-worthy at times. But there's a reason. Is it a good reason? Well ... I've probably already said too much. Just know that the phrase at the end of the rainbow is not a dud. It may not excuse all the ouchy stuff you had to fill in to get there, but it's not a dud.

OK, that's all. Good night. I would say "don't spoil the puzzle in the comments," but you're grown people (mostly) and you can do whatever the hell you want.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld



Ralph Parker 12:05 AM  

You bastards think you can fool me again? Think again. Screw the contest, I'm going to spoil it right here and now: It says "Drink more ovaltine". Just email that in and reap the rewards, and what rewards they are!


Anonymous 12:13 AM  

Oh, fuuu.....

The last time it happened it cost me $600.

Degenerate Ralphie

jae 12:16 AM  

I'm with Rex, this  seemed a little on the tough side for a Sun.  The NE corner was especially knotty with a couple of WOEs.

Nothing very zippy, but you got to love the cleverness.  Liked it.

Anonymous 12:49 AM  

I solved in on the computer so don't know the three word phrase, and all I can say is I can't see how it could be good enough to make up for what was basically a dull solving experience.

John Child 1:46 AM  

@anon 12:49. Figure out the phrase and you might change your mind. I liked the meta aspect of the puzzle.

Travis 2:42 AM  

I agree that 'kiss the bump' is a great phrase, but I feel like the gimmick has been done before. So it was obvious and slightly drudgerous while at the same time I wasn't sure I would have gotten it if I hadn't seen it before.

misterarthur 2:52 AM  

I wasn't crazy about the puzzle. I do them online, as I'm in India, and home delivery is an issue :) That said, it's the first time I've completed a puzzle and, checking to make sure I've filled the in correctly, was presented with the "information" that every letter I entered was incorrect. Perhaps something to do with the contest? I didn't think the reveal was worth the filling...

petuns 6:30 AM  

I feel like I cheated a little to get this answer but I can see and read which is a disadvantage

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

Lots of difficult fill and what seemed like unnecessarily hard cluing given the hard fill. But the meta puzzle was sweet, "fall for this" and nicely timed on the equinox.

Teresa in Detroit

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Just another opportunity to screw those of us who solve on the iPhone. We get some "classic" puzzle that I'm too bummed out to solve.

Thanks again!

Twangster 8:26 AM  

I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get Braille letters out of the boxes. Can someone please email me an explanation at nolatoss@gmail.com? I have no intention of entering the contest but just want to get on with my day. Please do not send me a cryptic "hint." Thank you.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

I too am frustrated trying to read the Braille entries. Per the net, braille characters are 2 columns wide.

I do not intend to enter the contest, but frustrated

daveslowes at gmail.com


Anonymous 8:46 AM  

i solve in acrosslite. i used to print puzzles, but that was such a waste of paper. now, it seems, we are encouraged to print it out. not that we can't choose to not do it, but to make the puzzle contingent on it seems silly.

as for the payoff, i really don't care. i mean i do, given rex's take on it, but i'm only mildly curious to see what the hubub is about and probably in about 10 minutes i will have forgotten about it. and to will shortz i would then say, "seriously?"

drgerbils 8:48 AM  

The difficulty in constructing such a puzzle is rather obvious and despite these limitations, I thought it was quite well done. Those bemoaning solving on other mediums, I would recommend some sympathy for those of us who actually pay for the paper to be able to enjoy the advantages occasionally of such a puzzle. Those of you unable to solve the puzzle even after completing the grid need to go back and look more carefully at the clues.

Steve J 9:27 AM  

I'm also stumped. What I'm seeing in the boxes doesn't match at all with the symbols I'm finding online. If someone cares to enlighten me, I'd appreciate it (email contact info can be found by clicking my name or avatar).

I hope the payoff is worth it, because otherwise this was a bit of a slog.

@drgerbils: Just FYI, people who access the puzzle online have to pay for it too (and still may buy the paper - I do - but prefer to solve on computer/iPad/etc.). But, yes, it's hardly a big inconvenience to print it out. Although, the act of solving the puzzle on paper reminds me of why I prefer using my iPad. My handwriting is atrocious enough as is, let alone when confined to small boxes.

Carola 9:42 AM  

Feeling ORNERY because my brain can't CONNECT THE DOTS to understand how 70A actually works. I liked all of the related theme answers though, and enjoyed the solve otherwise. Will await enlightenment on the letterboxes.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

I don't intend to enter the contest either. I agree that we who have online subscriptions have to pay for it. I am old fashioned enough that I print the puzzle so I can sit comfortably on the lanai with my coffee and solve. Today's puzzle was a slog. No grins here.

Steve J 9:56 AM  

Thanks to a nudge, I got it figured out.

Impressive construction feat, and impressive multi-layer puzzle. Still deciding whether I enjoyed getting there or not. I think my impression is in line with Rex's.

Sandy K 10:57 AM  

I thought it was fun! Esp when I figured it out!

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

I too need a nudge please. Totally ruined my
brunch-burned the bacon.

Brett Chappell 11:14 AM  

Enjoyed this, although I felt rather "old school" having to use a pen, then scanning, then sending.

I may have a Lepanto Brandy de Jerez in honor of Oporto this evening.

Cstrecker 11:15 AM  

Well I'm totally frustrated. Solved the puzzle without undue difficulty. Haven't the slightest notion of how to suss the 3-word phrase.

cstrecker 11:20 AM  

Nevermind! I got it! **feeling smart** :-)

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Okay, I now "see" what it says!

Norm 11:38 AM  

Really? That's it? That's what you're oohing & aahing over? Even Rex? Nice construction. Cool concept. But ... I guess I expected more of the meta from the comments. Count me underwhelmed. Off to Merl's place where I hope to be entertained more than I was at Will's.

RAY J 11:42 AM  

A warning not to use the check feature when no happy pencil appears in Across Lite would have been nice. CTRL-ALT-DEL. End task. Refill grid on paper. CONTACT POISONS. Nice reveal.

Ellen S 11:44 AM  

Feeling dumb. Can't figure out how to read the hidden message.

Evan 12:05 PM  

This is why I encourage anyone who hasn't tried it yet to try solving Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest. Matt does these kinds of metas all the time, and they're astonishingly clever (even when they're frustratingly hard, you still end up saying, "How'd he do that?"). They teach you to look for hidden things in the grid after you're done, so had I not gotten addicted to them several months ago, I'm not sure I would have solved this one.

Very nice a-ha moment today, even if the fill wasn't spectacular. I'll only say that my method of resolving a tough crossing failed me in one square (it wasn't exactly a Natick, but I think my mistake would have been a better fill option, regardless of the clues).

Rex Parker 12:06 PM  

I can explain the trick if you email me and also state that you are not entering the contest.


r.alphbunker 12:09 PM  

It doesn't get any better than this!

The reason why reveal doesn't work on the computer is because the answer is encrypted.

Norm 12:21 PM  

Oh, it gets much better than this. Every week. See Evan's comment.

Questinia 12:23 PM  

Tried printing it out as a PDF and there were no heavy lines to be found. Then, similarly, @ misterarthur, I filled electronically and got a bunch of x's.

I suppose I could wrangle up an actual magazine but...

Too bad. I would have truly enjoyed the Tiffany diamond encrusted NYT's logo earrings as a prize. That *was* the prize wasn't it?

mathguy 12:29 PM  

Lot of fun. I had never decoded a phrase written in Braille before.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Is this puzzle Crypto-haptic? Hapto-cryptic? Funnily, none of the sites I visited stated whether Braille is read left-to-right, up-down or whatever. Assume it's the former.

I can state with certainty the following:

1) I now know more about Braille than I did before.

2) I am irritated. My Sunday is slipping away.

3) I have graphite all over my fingers from caressing the page. Feel awkward.

Won't enter the damn contest.


lawprof 12:47 PM  

Gotta take issue with Mr. Grumpypants. This was brilliant! The fill not so hard for a Sunday (mediumish, I'd say), but the payoff was immensely satisfying. Suffice to say, there was no way I could have figured it out by simply looking at the grid. Had to learn a whole new language (I know; "language" isn't quite the right word, but you know what I mean). I'll never look at elevator buttons the same way again.

Blue Stater 12:50 PM  

I feel doubly, or maybe triply, cheated: I did not receive a puzzle of any kind, for which I paid extra (over and above the cost of an e-subscription to the paper); I was unable to relax with a Sunday puzzle, an experience that used to form an important part of my day; what I got instead of a puzzle, even if I had been able to cope with the crazed format and the terrible fill, was a maniacal hodge-podge that has even less to do with a real crossword puzzle than usual efforts along this line. Save this sort of thing for Games magazine. Any time you have to issue format and solving instructions for what purports to be a crossword puzzle in a general-circulation newspaper, think again.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:56 PM  

Not a clue. (Hey, that's a three-word phrase!)

Not quite ready to give up yet; just posting this so I get in on the comment thread. (Is there an easier way? Some blogs have a "subscribe by email" button that does not require posting a comment.)

Bunella 12:56 PM  

Tried to email you Rex but it bounced.

I wanted the trick and I'm not entering the contest


Steve J 1:00 PM  

@Evan: Agreed on the recommendation of Matt Gaffney's contest. It can be fiendishly difficult at times, but I find the puzzles are consistently of high quality even if I can't pick out that week's solution.

DavidS 1:01 PM  

On balance, the reveal isn't worth the effort. It's nice to see a secondary puzzle, but:

1) The puzzle logic would be more internally consistent if the outline 3x4 blocks had been 2x3 instead. It works as is, but it's an added difficulty.

2) For this kind of effort, the revealed phrase should be better. What does the third word in the phrase have to do with theme?

For those still struggling, reread the hints in the comments, and when you figure it out, fill out a clean pdf with just the relevant letters in the blocks. And yes, you'll need to google.

Also, I don't understand -- why won't the NYT applet at least tell you if you've filled in the clue answers correctly??!!!

Danp 1:01 PM  

I couldn't get the online version to print in pdf (or if it did, it didn't have the bold lines). So I came here and clicked on Rex's grid. That let me print his version in jpeg which was just fine with me.

I found the meta interesting, clever and worthy of praise for its difficulty in construction. When I finally figured it out, I wasn't feeling it, though.

Charles in Austin 1:18 PM  

I had to do some "research", like looking at a map of Africa.

But no complaints or faint praise from me. I consider this puzzle a Masterpiece -- everything about it.

jae 1:24 PM  

@Questina et. al. To get the pdf version with the heavy lines I had to copy the web address from the puzzle instructions and paste it in my address bar (or what ever that thing at the top of the screen is called).

M and A and easy to please 1:25 PM  

Crossword calendars!
I want that.

Judith 1:26 PM  

I pay for the puzzle in addition to my print subscription. I didn't enjoy this puzzle, couldn't solve it online. I look forward to this every Sunday and feel cheated today. Hope Will doesn't do this again.

Nicholas Beaudrot 1:39 PM  

Will you post the solution to the meta puzzle (or is that meta-meta puzzle) after the contest deadline?

The mismatch between the size of a braille character and the boxes is driving me nuts. But I might figure it out between now and then.

Gill I. P. 1:53 PM  

Yikes....me too - feeling dumb.
I was so determined not to come visit @Rex until I figured out the solution but I want to hear from others so I don't feel so alone.
Like @Nicholas Beaudrot, I'm hoping to figure it out by the contest deadline.

Nicholas Beaudrot 2:00 PM  

I got it. *groan*

This is really unfair to online solvers, I think.

Gill I. P. 2:21 PM  

Hey @Nicholas - I just got it too...
Not sure how I feel about this puzzle though. Will wait to see what others think.
Now I can get ready for the NINERs game.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

It took me a long time but thanks to the person who suggested printing another copy of the pdf and only filling in the grid squares. It worked and I was able to solve it.

Unknown 2:49 PM  

In honor of lawprof, I am officially changing my name to Mr. Grumpypants (assuming Google will let me), but I remain underwhelmed. :)

mathguy 2:55 PM  

@DavidS: For the third word, think tennis.

r.alphbunker 3:17 PM  

If this were a Gaffney or Gordon metapuzzle it would not have the revealer splashed across the middle of the grid and it definitely would not have the boxes.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Oh Em Gee.

I JUST GOT THIS after several hours of intermittently wondering what the hell I was missing.

The actual puzle came in right around my usual Sunday 40-45 minutes.

I would feel smart for getting it if I didn't feel so stupid for taking so long.


Lewis 3:23 PM  

Like Ms. Q, I printed the puzzle and got no heavy lines, so I came here, saw Rex's blank grid with the heavy lines, and drew the heavy lines in what I printed out. I mean, those earrings sound damn good.

I had a moment of excitement when I realized what had to be done to get the three word phrase, thinking that this was quite clever.

But it was the only moment of excitement, really, that I had. I get the double meaning of the first word of the answer phrase, but it wasn't enough payoff for the prosaic solve.

r.alphbunker 3:28 PM  

And the three words together describe what is done to the third word.

Carola 3:28 PM  

Took another look a the grid and the penny finally dropped. I like all the levels in the puzzle. Very neat.

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

Out here on the left coast we get a late start on the NYT puzzles so we are often several hours behind with our solutions.

Like several others the NE corner was a bit of a struggle, and decoding the clue stumped me for about 15 minutes.

But with Ralphie Parker's help and my Lil' Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring, I did solve it. And even a cynic like me has to say it was sorta cool.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

To all of you who seem so surprised that the bold lines don't show online, did you read the NOTE?

Also, how did you solve it online? I only got x's when I tried it. Had to go out and buy a paper for $6!

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

Too insane for me. I don't read Braille and it seems a little odd for braille to be part of a visual puzzle.

wa 3:56 PM  

My grandfather was blind and he would hated this puzzle. At the entrance to the stairs to the Union Square subway station, there is a little plaque with instructions in Braille. I do not know how someone even gets to that point let alone know there specific instructions just for them.

Something like today's puzzle.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

is the point of the 3x6 boxes simply to give the constructor flexibility? I think a 2x6 grid would be challenging from an x-word perspective though would be more thematically satisfying

Roy Leban 4:14 PM  

A tip and a few comments.

The tip: Google for [solve WORD code crossword] where WORD is the last word of 70-Across for a nice page that will help you solve the last step.

Comment 1: If you solve in Puzzazz on your iPad or iPhone, you get a full-fidelity experience, heavy-outlined boxes and all. I switched back and forth between Puzzazz and the aforementioned web page to solve the last step.

Comment 2: If I were to guess (and I'm guessing), I think the choice of the 3x5 boxes instead of 2x3 boxes had to do with fill. The placements of the special letters in the smaller boxes would have made the fill impossible. Plus, it looks better.

Comment 3: I found the puzzle a little bit on the easy side for a Sunday, but maybe I'm just on a wavelength with Mike. I edited his Killer Cryptics ebook for Puzzazz and Mike recently edited my puzzle for the Cunundrucopia of the Maze of Games.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

Was very, VERY annoyed by the 3X5 sized boxes. About an hour after I had thought of all the points needed to solve, I finally crammed it into the inelegant solution.

Here's an additional hint for those who understand why 3X5 is confusing: You can ignore the center column of each box, and then some.

Susan McConnell 5:41 PM  

Couldn't agree with Rex more on this one. I especially enjoy that the meta answer is in plain sight.

chefbea 5:56 PM  

got the help from Rex...still have no idea what's going on!!!

joho 6:16 PM  

I thank @Rex again for ALL that he does (including wising me up today!)

Jim in Chicago 6:31 PM  

Finally got it. Great Sunday.

mac 6:48 PM  

I got it and didn't get it, probably. We have to wait until the 27th?

One day, at a dinner party, a guest asked my husband if he spoke Dutch. "Some bedroom Dutch", he answered. "Isn't that called Braille"? was the next question.

LaneB 6:53 PM  

Completed the grid. But have no idea of the braille solution. PErhaps after the contest deadline, someone will let the rest of us dummies in on the trick..

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

Well, I liked it fine. Having had two blind friends in college helped with the Meta puzzle.

From all the comments above, there's clearly an advantage in being so old that I do the puzzle on paper. Which I subscribe to and which is thrown into my driveway each morning....oh, go ask your grandparents, whippersnappers.

Questinia 6:58 PM  

Thank-you @jae, @ Lewis, @ Roy Leban.

I want in on the fun!
Lol @ mac.

Anonymous 6:59 PM  

For the life of me, I wanted the black square to equate with the dots of braille and that didn't work at all.

I put it letters inside in the bolded boxes on a blank sheet of paper and that worked as I saw a pattern developing.
You need to google a braille alphabet, of course.

Denis C 7:08 PM  

I hate puzzles like this one. Got the comment, cannot read Braille so I am sure I missed something. TEDIOUS fill

Chris 7:14 PM  


Questinia 7:49 PM  


Those earrings will be MINE!

okanaganer 8:05 PM  

I think @Chris should have said: "O!"

The theme reminds me of working in a retail liquor store 30 years ago. There was a small kiosk at the front that sold mixes (soda pop etc.) staffed by blind people, that we oh so tactfully referred to as "the blind booth". When receiving paper notes, the blind clerk would ask the customer what denomination the notes were, and if any were supposed to be over five dollars, the blind clerk would hold the note(s) up above his head and...I am not making this up...pick up an air horn--like people take to sports events--and let off a HONK. The nearest sighted cashier would glance over and yell "That's a twenty, Joe!"

Of course now there is braille on the notes. But soon even that use of braille will be obsolete because everyone will pay electronically. Things do change!

Joe in Montreal 9:02 PM  

ok, got it. Was stuck with TOUCH TOLEPHONE for a while, knowing nothing about wine....
So is this an homage to Ms Cyrus and her twerking?

Anonymous 9:05 PM  

oh, oh, oh! And there it is!

Anonymous 10:31 PM  

Definitely different! A real learning curve!

Einat 10:38 PM  

ooo*f I cant believe I finally worked it out, sorry but the theme and payoff seem like a real stretch to me

David 11:02 PM  

Interesting how people's talents diverge. I am an admittedly bad cruciverbalist (rated Scrabble expert nonetheless) and a puzzle addict. Once I had solved most of the fill, including 70A, I went to an online image of the Braille alphabet and figured out how to translate the puzzle into the 3-word phrase instantly.

The fill, however, was quite hard for me and took several hours over several days, plus some cheating. The NE corner was the toughest, esp. 21A (awful clue/answer), and I guess SNOCKERED means drunk means 116A. Not sure how 77A makes any sense (on a field?). A few of the other clues were a bit confoosling or disappointing, too (like 2D). Still, I know more about braille than I did last week.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:42 PM  

OK, finally got it, although I had suspected the correct method early on but then dismissed it because . . . well, shouldn't really say why, should we?

I'll send in my answer for a one-in-a-million shot at those diamond earrings.

Maria Polhemus 11:45 PM  

OMG It took me all day and I finally did it, thanks to all for the hints!!!!

Mark 12:40 AM  

Thanks to all the hinters; after some patience and some coming back to it a few times, I finally solved the Braille, with the help of a red marker to highlight what needed to be seen. For those of you who haven't solved, it's definitely not worth the effort, unless I somehow missed what's so much to be loved. But if you're still trying, and you want another hint: [if you don't, stop reading because here it comes] the hints I found most useful here were the o and the leaving out center column as well as leaving out other things. Impressively fashioned, I do freely admit, as the Great Cham "admired" the metaphysical poets.

Steve M. 1:04 AM  

For 77A read Seamus Heaney "A Lough Neagh Sequence:" When the eels come up the River Bann from the Sargasso Sea they used to be so thick that they would spread beyond the banks of the river and form a wriggly field.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

For some reason I became obsessed with this puzzle. After solving the grid, I began to feel dumber and dumber for not figuring out the meta, especially with that giant hint across the middle. Printing out a fresh grid & filling in only the boxes helped. Plus two highlighters and a little googling.

JR 11:10 AM  

Wow, I put this down yesterday with no idea how to get the 3 word phrase. I read the comment clues and the one about leaving out the middle column was the most help and then I looked at what was left and noticed something else about what was left and used the 70 across clue and came up with the phrase. I have to say it was magnificent that someone was able to put this together. Excellent

gifcan 11:13 AM  

Emailed Rex but figured out the answer before I received his reply. Figured out? Not without all your lovely hints. Not really a satisfying experience for me.

M Harrison 1:40 PM  

I thought the puzzle was fairly easy...after thinking a bit I got the phrase..takes a little thought and patience!

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Not worth the angst. Spoiled a perfectly good Sunday morning. And Sunday afternoon. And Monday morning. Finally got it, with help of hints. Lousy crossword puzzle, tortured to create meta-puzzle not worth solving. Bleah.

Paul Keller 2:20 PM  

Finished today over lunch. I didn't feel it. Came here expecting to see the grid and the fill soundly thrashed. Seems the great thing about constructing with three letter words is that no matter what the combination of letters, you can always pretend like it's a word.

Was bogged down in the NE for a while. Wasn't sure about the spelling of 81D, and with those crosses! Italy's main broadcasting co.? Really?

Junief 2:40 PM  

How do I email you? Would love the trick explained. Thanks!

Randall 3:22 PM  

I think y'all are underestimating the importance of the clue about the Baltimore ballclub. Just sayin....

unclejohn 5:08 PM  

Wow, I missed that one, Randall. Put me down as an admirer of Mr. Selinker. Don't listen to the neggers. I enjoyed the solve and LOVE these kind of puzzles. Rex, I don't think you should have allowed any hints since you respected "the contest". I entered the pool and hope I win the "special prize".

JP 5:14 PM  

Loved it but didn't have to finish to solve the three words. Very, very cute idea.

Anonymous 5:15 PM  

I stared at this puzzle for the longest time and just got it. How could I have been so blind?

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

Somehow guessed the answer (based on the first word) but Just Couldn't See how to get to it.

Finally.... ahhh...

Anonymous 6:19 AM  

Took a while to figure the three letter word. Not blown away by the meta puzzle (at all) from the puzzle solver´s perspective, although I recognize the effort it took to construct the puzzle. One nice thing though, it provided a small introduction to Braille, and the thought that if I should ever need to use it, maybe I could after all.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Correction: Took a while to figure out he three word phrase...

Laureen 10:59 AM  

I subscribe to the puzzle online and bought the paper for the first time in years 6.00! That's nuts...they should print on hemp paper and save some trees, and the planet! Thought having it on paper would give me a chance to figure it out better...no such luck! I finished the puzzle in average time for me, an hour and a half...but trying read a crossword puzzle grid in Braille?? Huh? IS there some way to translate three column boxes to brailles two col format? this puzzle has me stressed out STILL two days later! I dont care its a measly calendar, its the principal of investing time and even money and still not being able to figure it out that is making me feel grumpy...Please share any tips, thanks!

Laureen 11:15 AM  

OOOOOOOO!!!! now I got it! Two minutes after I post my plea for help I took one more look at the puzzle and got out of the Box I was in to finally figure it out...cool!

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Feh. That almost the entire seeing population will have to consult a reference source to get the answer is not right. It feels like cheating. It would be like the key to the puzzle being in some obscure aboriginal language. (I agree that the final answer is clever, but having to get there by googling did not feel good.)

Steve from Natick 10:12 PM  

Awful in every possible way. Fundamentally opposed to a puzzle whose obtuse theme and arcane fill literally demand googling and other resource referencing to understand and complete (which I always understood to be cheating). I call BS on anyone claiming to have completed this without outside help. Is crosswording a researching skill challenge? Isn’t it suppose to be an honest exercise of learning and expanding our knowledge and love of the language and culture through wordplay? Not this one.

George NYC 10:20 PM  

Agree, And how can you ask people to "read in Braille" when the Braille boxes aren't the right size for the Braille alphabet?

Bob in Charlottesville 11:25 PM  

The time is up. I still can't see it. Sigh. Help?

Randall 12:37 AM  

Again, for those that still need that final push, attention is again directed to 9 Down.

mjddon 8:25 AM  

Okay, the contest is over. The NYT apparently will not reveal answers until Sunday. Why? And, Rex, seems like it would be okay for you to show completed puzzle now. Please?

Leroy Parquet 11:28 AM  

FEEL THE LOVE. Use the O's. The Braille grid is the first & third positions going across and first,third & fifth going down. The only O's in the puzzle are in the Braille grids.

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

so, no answer - on wednesday?

David 12:02 AM  

One question: Isn't a HARRIDAN an OLD WOMAN? I can't find any dictionaries that have it defined as an OLD MAN (29a).

zie brown 10:47 AM  

The contest is over. But I'm not over this humiliation. Please explain to fbrown@cecartslink.org

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

Yes, harridan is an old woman not an old man, thus the answer is not OLDMAN but rather OLDBAT for an old bat.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

Really? Linking up the "Os" in the boxes to spell the words in braille? Irony for all those blind crossword players out there.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

I finally filled in the puzzle; I don't have a clue as to the three word phrase and wonder how in the world one can "read" anything in Braille that isn't raised dots? That is presuming any of us knows Braille, which, if we are sighted, we don't. Since we get these puzzles a week late in the Seattle Times, I couldn't enter any contests, even if I wanted to. Could someone please send me what the phrase is and how the 70A clue works?

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Please explain, Rex, to jeffsong@comcast.net.

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

We got the whole puzzle but WHAT NOW?? bspanier@albany.edu

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