Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is the answer grid for Sunday's "Letterboxes" puzzle

The dark-bordered rectangles are braille letters.

The "O"s are the bumps.

They spell out: FEEL THE LOVE


Cheerio 10:15 PM  

Can we still comment on the puzzle? I loved learning about the Emily Dickenson poem "tho my destiny be Fustian." Emily lives immortal here in the New York Times crossword! I also enjoyed learning the word fustian. . It sounds so much like Faustian, but it is a mere fabric. I would recommend it for a Project Runway episode focus just to honor this poem ... If I ran Project Runway...

ANON B 10:16 PM  

This is not what I do crossword puzzles for. Even with the answer I still don't understand it.
Please don't explain it. I really don't care.
And to rub it in, someone in
today's comments wrote it in Braille.

Elaine2 10:38 PM  

I thought it was fun.

When I got the "gimmick" it came to me pretty quickly that the "Os" must be the bumps. I did have to look up the Braille alphabet, though...

Something a little different -- interesting.

ANAN B 10:44 PM  

Elaine 2:

There's an old saying, "horses for courses". Even had I figured it out, I don't do crossword
puzzles to laboriously translate
Braille. I was satisfied just to
have finished the puzzle.

Z 11:04 PM  

The video was inspired.

Anonymous 11:07 PM  

Braille characters are dots in 3x3 squares. Why are there 5 rows in the boxes?

Anonymous 11:21 PM  

Correcting the typo in my above post:

Braille characters are dots in 2x3 boxes. Why are there 5 rows in the boxes?

Also, what does "Feel the love" have to do with the theme answers?

Anonymous 11:45 PM  

i understood braille to use a grid of 2 x 3 ~ the puzzle was a bit funky in making the boxes 3 x 5

the puzzle itself was fun, and not difficult, but i agree that "feel the love" does not seem to relate to the puzzle or to braille

Elaine2 11:59 PM  


"Feel the Love" relates to answers

handle with care
press secretary
touch tone phone
contact poison

and also to the use of Braille, which one reads by feeling it.

I do agree that the 3x5 was an odd replacement for 2x3.

mathguy 12:04 AM  

I think that "feel the love" means that to read the Braille you need to feel the "o" s in the grid and "o" s are shaped like zeroes. And a zero represents love in tennis.

Anonymous 2:04 AM  

@Elaine2: thanks for trying to help. What you say makes sense, but it just reinforces my opinion that the meta is really weak.

Why outline 3x5 block? Maybe WS will explain next Sunday. And "it was too hard to fit the O's into 2x3 boxes" would not be a satisfactory answer.

I get the whole Feel the Braille thing. I see handle, press, touch, and contact meaning feel. So, let's see, that means care, secretary, tone phone, and poison mean love. It would be much closer to a Wow if there was some tie in to love in the clues.

I can't believe Rex liked this. It seems like something he would rip apart.

I guess I'm just bitter I couldn't figure it out. I just could not get past the 3x5 boxes and gave up trying to relate that to 2x3 Braille characters.

Danp 5:55 AM  

The 2nd and 4th rows and the middle column are just spaces, which a blind person would need to distinguish one bump from another.

Loren Muse Smith 9:48 AM  

Rex had to email me a hint so that I finally saw it. To me, one of the most remarkable thing about this is that those O's are the only O's in the entire grid. Wow.

OISK 6:54 PM  

I finally figured it out this morning (before I peaked here). Very clever - just follow the dots!

Norm 7:11 PM  

@ Danp: I have to disagree. We have braille signs all over our (state) building, and none of them have any blank spaces between the dots -- nor does any alphabet I have ever seen -- so I don't think any such spaces are needed for a reader to distinguish the dots. I was willing to accept the extra lines/spaces for purposes of the puzzle, since it would probably have been very difficult (impossible?) to contract the puzzle without them, but I did think the variance between the 3x5 shapes and the 2x3 braille grid was a weakness.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

A 2x3 grid would require words with three Os in a row.

TK Hodgram 10:59 AM  

@Anonymous: I don't think so. A grid 2 wide would require no more than two o's side-by-side. Three vertical, yes, but that would be three words. For the record, we, too, we're thrown for a loop by the grid. And the subtleties others have pointed out escaped us completely.

spacecraft 11:17 AM  

Strange day indeed. First of all, where is OFL's comment? We get the grid, "This is the answer," (duh) and a 3-line explanation. Also, by the time I log on there are usually, like, 80 comments already there. Today there were 16. Am I in the Twilight Zone?

I must be, for there's THEO, but for a single black square T-boning THEOS. Surely not allowed in the real world. FurTHEr, THE THE of 9d isn't THE only THE: see 97d. Tsk. Yellow hankies all over the place.

I do note that the mini-theme--symmetrical at 1d and 97d--relates to the main one. That's what Braille readers do: CONNECT THE DOTS. However, solvers who can do that have to be in a severe minority. I don't understand what Mr. Selinker expects us to do...go look up the letters in a dictionary that we never use because we're solving this puzzle by sight? I'm confused. This whole thing is truly a TZ experience.

Please, Lord, let me wake up again tomorrow in the real world.

Willie 2:18 PM  

This is the kind of puzzle that makes me want to quit doing crosswords.

Sly Blog Mama 3:08 PM  

This is the kind of puzzle that makes me love themed crosswords. As I'm going along, not having any idea what the outlined sections mean, and finally getting it.
The way I figured it out without knowing (or looking up) Braille is by writing out the dot patterns, and assigning a number to each one to see which letters are repeated and where. I plugged in an "e" for the most frequent letter, assumed "the" for the second word, and plugged in letters in alphabetical order to get "feel" - it all fell in place from there.
The 3x5 in place of 3x3 didn't really matter, because the "dots" didn't show up in rows 2 and 4 of the columns of 5 anyway.
I'm just bummed that my paper runs the puzzle a week late, because I would have loved to enter the contest!

Dirigonzo 5:31 PM  

I figured out the "Braille" part of the puzzle (aided, of course, by the grid-spanning hint provided right in the center) but still came up short as I didn't know if Al Green's hit was ooh-, sha- or TRA-La-La so I left it blank.

@spacecraft - I too would have liked to hear what Rex had to say about this puzzle, and I wonder how long it took him to finish (it took me nearly all afternoon NOT to finish).

@Sly Blog Mama - That's a pretty clever way to decipher the phrase without knowing Braille. I considered doing something along the same lines but I was too discouraged by my DNF to bother. It's good to see you comment here - I hope you'll come back!

Solving in Seattle 6:29 PM  

@Spacey, it appears that all the real timers' comments are on the blog 5 weeks ago. This one is for the Syndies, I think.

Despite some negative comments, I like this kind of puzzle. It makes one think. Like @Diri (correctly guessed SHA), I spent most of the Seahawk/Texan game doing it. Ok, got that it was BRAILLE from the center cross, and got the CONNECT THEDOTS hint, but wasn't curious enough to pop the hood on actually learning BRAILLE. Only after coming to Rexville did I learn that I had to use the "Os" to spell out the "Feel the love" eureka thingy.

Like @LMS, I'm in awe that ALL the "Os" in the puzzle were used for the phrase. No wasted "Os."I mean like... JUBA JUBA!

@Sly Blog Mama, NSA will be in touch with you tomorrow.

Capcha: tweeart. Elmer's sig "O"?

Go Hawks!

Mick Bruno 10:19 PM  

Having the 3x5 outlines was misleading but without them figuring it out would have been tough. But if you just "look" at the O's the Braille is perfectly legal - just a bit large - like it was printed in bold.

Z 11:22 PM  

@SiS - originally Rex only posted the blank grid, a praise for the phrase, and the DiVinyls "I Touch Myself" video. There were many posts there. If you are at all interested, hit the Older Posts link at the end of the blog a few times and you'll get to last weeks original post (Sundays are only one week behind).

rain forest 11:48 PM  

I found this quite a remarkable puzzle. Interesting that the 'o's are the bumps in the braille boxes, but that the constructor missed the boat by cluing the Baltimore Orioles rather than the theme-enhancing clue.

The fact that o's are ONLY used in the boxes is superb construction. Truly, it doesn't matter that I can't "read" braille, but the message is spot on.

Really late with any comments on Friday and Saturday, but I liked both of those, too, and finished, although Friday's was a slog. I've been making wine from California grapes and that has been taking up a lot of time. I did manage to catch the Seahawks game,at least the last quarter and OT. Way to go 'Hawks, even though you were outplayed. Just now watching the Patriots in the process of blowing an easy win.

Anonymous 4:15 PM  

Well said, rain forest. I had not done a crossword puzzle in ages and this one was clever, tough, and just the right thing to suck me back in. By the skin of my teeth I finished the crossword itself. I didn't figure out that the Os were the braille clues (probably in part due to my messy writing), but I'm glad someone here deciphered that.

Anonymous 11:50 PM  

Long time listener, first time caller. . .
I thought this was too clever for its own good. The construction is pretty impressive, granted, but some horrible sacrifices were made to make it work, not the least of which was using the 3x5 grid for the braille letters. Theme notwithstanding, THEO (18A) and THEOS (9D) in the same puzzle bothered me. "THE" answers bug me, maybe for no good reason, but three in the same puzzle seems especially strange (THEOS, THEFBI [46A], THEDOTS [97D]) And cluing SPYS (129A) with "spy" in the clue itself? Really?
SHLEMIEL, ISOGONS, BEDSTEAD (a word I didn't know until today), and the clue for THEM, along with what was almost a dog mini-theme (SHARPEI, CUR, POM, maybe even WIENER and LICK) redeemed it a little bit, but not much.

puzzle boxes 1:13 PM  

Symbiotica is an exhibition organized by words with friend. Words with friend is very popular multi-player crossword game. Above blog is containing information about this exhibition.

Michael 2:02 PM  

Man, this was a real stretch. How the heck were we supposed to know to color in the o and how to read Braille. Love a challenge, got most of it, but like many others don't understand this theme.

David in Seattle 6:48 PM  

Wow, so much hate for a puzzle! I thought it was very clever. I disliked a lot of the short fill, but given the theme I will cut it some slack.

Did the author expect you to know braille? Highly unlikely, but that is easily looked up, and I didn't count googling for "Braille alphabet" as cheating (and I usually avoid googling until I've given up)

Arguing over 3x2 vs 5x3 is ridiculous, they're both rectangles. I think the highlighted boxes and the instruction "Read This Grid in Braille" were pretty darn obvious. Getting the O = dot part is a small leap, but this isn't the first puzzle to do that (last year's contest puzzle did the same IIRC), and in context it's certainly reasonable.

Solving in Seattle 7:06 PM  

@David, hello homey. Did you just get around to doing the puzz, or was the Times a couple weeks late delivering your paper?

Dirigonzo 8:45 PM  

@SiS - where is that darned "like" button when I need it?

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