Thursday, February 27, 2014
Constructor: Stanley Newman
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Sign at a neighborhood bar: "DON'T TALK ABOUT / YOURSELF. WE / WILL DO THAT / AFTER YOU LEAVE"
Word of the Day: DIURNAL (11D: Active when the sun shines) —
- Relating to or occurring in a 24-hour period; daily.
- Occurring or active during the daytime rather than at night: diurnal animals.
- Botany. Opening during daylight hours and closing at night.
- A book containing all the offices for the daily canonical hours of prayer except matins.
- A diary or journal.
- A daily newspaper.[Middle English, from Late Latin diurnālis, from Latin diurnus, from diēs, day.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/diurnal#ixzz2uUNq9Vci
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In the 1,000-plus crosswords I’ve constructed and the 5,000-plus I’ve edited (for the New York newspaper Newsday and PuzzleSocial.com) since adopting Crossword Compiler in 2000, I’ve found that with careful grid patterning it’s never necessary to use obscurities, even for wide-open grids such as the 72-worder here. This sometimes requires that I check Google News and Google Books, to be sure that words I think are in common current use actually are. I look forward to the day where this fussiness will be standard procedure for constructors, so we can finally bid the OLEOs, OLIOs and ANILs of crosswordese an unfond farewell.I told Stan last week that I was solving one of his Newsday puzzles, Downs-only, with my wife in the diner last week, and found myself adjusting my guesses based on my knowledge that he was editor of the puzzle. Wife: "4 letters: [Amazing thing]" Me: "Oh crap, it's probably stupid ONER … oh wait, no. This was edited by Stan. Try LULU." And LULU it was. A similar thing happened when we were trying to parse an Across (w/o looking at clue) and had the pattern EV_L. Wife: "It's EVIL." Me: "Could be EVEL … no, wait, it's Stan. You're right; it's probably EVIL." And yes, it was EVIL. It's nice being able (mostly) to rule out the dreck.
This grid isn't what I'd call sparkly, but for a 72-word themed puzzle, its smoothness is pretty damned impressive. Loved the clue on SODA POP (1D: Redundant-sounding refreshment), as well as the clue on AMA (8D: Org. offering group practice membership), which had me thinking NRA and imagining a bunch of people on the shooting range at once. FOODIE is fresh and original and, again, I like the clue (61A: Epicurean explorer). Unexpected clue on RIP (59D: Cut in the direction of the grain). Modern clue on AMY (55A: Adams of "American Hustle"). Just a solid, professional effort overall.
Puzzle news now: Matt Gaffney is now doing a regular metapuzzle contest for New York Magazine. See the first contest here. And, again, I'll be at the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition this Saturday (3/1) in Ithaca, NY, judging and mingling and talking and god knows what. Should be fun. Info on the competition, which is open to all skill levels, here.
Now, for no reason, here is a picture of me and my dad from the early '80s. I have no idea where we are or why (in the world) I'm wearing shades.