Creator of first crossword / SAT 12-21-13 / Jerry Orbach role in Fantasticks / Kingdom vanquished by Hammurabi / Girl's name in #1 1973 1974 song titles / Ranch sobriquet / Neighborhood org since 1844 / Fruit whose name comes from Arawak / Morlocks enemy

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Constructor: Todd Gross and David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: First crossword puzzle — today is the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle. The shaded area corresponds to the shape of that original puzzle, which looked like this:

Puzzle's creator (ARTHUR WYNNE) and publisher (NEW YORK / SUNDAY WORLD) both appear in the grid, as does the puzzle's publication year (MCMXIII)

Word of the Day: KREWE (12D: Mardi Gras group) —
krewe (pronounced in the same way as "crew") is an organization that puts on a parade and/or a ball for the Carnivalseason. The term is best known for its association with New Orleans Mardi Gras, but is also used in other Carnival celebrations around the Gulf of Mexico, such as the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, Florida, and Springtime Tallahassee as well as in La Crosse, Wisconsin and at the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
The word is thought to have been coined in the early 19th century by an organization calling themselves Ye Mistick Krewe of Comus, as an archaic affectation; with time it became the most common term for a New Orleans Carnival organization. The Mistick Krewe of Comus itself was inspired by a Mobile mystic society, with annual parades inMobile, Alabama, called the Cowbellion de Rakin Society that dated from 1830. (wikipedia)
• • •

[SYNDICATED SOLVERS—my book review of Ben Tausig's "The Curious History of the Crossword Puzzle" appears in the Wall Street Journal today (January, 25, 2014). Here is a PDF.]

I've been seeing references to the 100th anniversary of the crossword all over the web today, so this feels rather anti-climactic. Yes, 100 years. Yes, that's the publication and the creator. Yes, that gray area is the shape of the original puzzle—though nothing about the content of that gray area (with the notable exception of FUN) corresponds to the original puzzle. If you want a FUN puzzle with which to celebrate the anniversary of the crossword, I suggest Merl Reagle's Google Doodle (if it's still up … it was on Friday). This was very easy if you were aware of the anniversary, maybe a little less so if you weren't. I've seen ARTHUR WYNNE's name so many times in the past few days that "gimme" doesn't even begin to describe it. Not sure how anyone's supposed to know what the gray area represents—did you get a note? My .pdf had no note.  It's a bit insidery, esp. the FUN bit. Maybe there's a note out there that my version just didn't have. Who can say?

I like FUNGICIDE (16A: Jojoba oil is a natural one). Otherwise, shrug, puzzle's OK. Only trouble today was spelling AMIDALA (22D: "Star Wars" queen and senator), which is not AMADALA. Nor is it AMYGDALA, though it's close. Had I SWEAR instead of IT WAS I (40D: Formal confession). No other bumps to speak of.

If you want to read a little something on the 100th anniversary, I recommend this thoughtful little piece by Ben Tausig: "The Shape of Clues to Come: The Crossword at 100."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Pete 12:08 AM  

If this wasn't some sort of meta-tribute to how crappy puzzles were 100 years ago, I can't for the life of me understand how this was chosen.

This was, without a doubt, the worst puzzle I've ever done, or tried to do, NYTimes xword puzzle for the past 20 years. And I couldn't be more SOLEMNER when I say that.

Wade 12:11 AM  

I know! NEIF? NARD? Come the hell on! Arthur LOSE if you ask me.

jae 12:22 AM  

Yup, easy! Between all the hoopla and doing the LAT Fri. puzzle just prior to this one...gimme city!

Pretty good centennial tribute. Liked it, given the constraints. And, thanks NYT guys for making the PDF version obvious and easy to access.

I got to agree with Tod, FUNICELLO is way better than FUNGICIDE .

WOE: DEW CLAW. Fortunately I live just down the road (Highway 5) from La COSTA.

Benko 12:29 AM  

At first I felt like I was being too much of an insider saying that this puzzle was way too obvious given the ado of the past week. Then I remembered that even Google was a prominent part of the anniversary celebration. Sort of a disappointment for me as well.

r.alphbunker 12:33 AM  

I am glad that David Steinberg had a hand in this anniversary puzzle. I hope that someday he will break the age difference record between collaborators on a NYT puzzle that he set with Bernice Gordon a while back, except this time he will be the senior constructor.

The NE did me in. Wanted SUNDAYunion. Finally looked at Ben Tausig's book, saw it was WORLD and finished in a minute.

A couple of months ago, I tried to commission BEQ to do a puzzle that embedded the answers of the original Wynne puzzle into a modern grid. Amazingly he told me that Mike Shenk had done it twenty years ago for Games magazine and sent me this link to Amazon to buy it
It is a 23x23 puzzle on pp 150-151.
I solved it and created an Across Lite puzzle version of it. If anybody wants to figure out my email address I will send you the .puz version.

Steve J 1:01 AM  

Ah, so there's a diamond (there was no shading in the Magmic app puzzle). That explains the metric ton of cheater squares. Nice little added bit to the 100th anniversary.

Aside from that, I found this kind of perfunctory and zipless. FUNGICIDE was kind of nice, but the rest of the fill was a little flat. Same with the cluing. Maybe the intent, since it was a tribute puzzle, was to keep this simple even for a Saturday. That, it was. But not as FUN as I hoped.

August West 1:35 AM  

Really not much to it. As noted, all the hullabaloo this week made the themers gimmes and, for once, I didn't have to know my mid-sixth century rubber trees to solve a DS joint (venture). I just know retired_chemist got all of this one.

Wanna really celebrate the crossword puzzle? Get Francis Heaney's 12.18.13 "Seasonal Staff" from AVC (linked in the body of Rex's 12.19 post). It's a mind-melting ball!

Anonymous 1:54 AM  

Puzzle needed more way more cowbell and way less Steinberg.

Evan 1:59 AM  

Disappointed with this puzzle -- obscure words like NARD, NEVA, NEIF, and TANE (which you could easily change to LANE or DANE); unchecked letters; uninteresting one-word answers everywhere else; no real theme consistency; and....

....whoops, wrong puzzle. I forgot it was the year MMXIII.

You've come a long way, Crossword!

(Tip of the hat to @Wade who beat me to the joke before I realized he did.)

chefwen 2:12 AM  

What everybody has already said. A lot of 100 year anniversary hoopla, it was fun, but I'm over it now.

La Costa was a gimme (Hi @jae) I used to work down the road from it in Carlsbad. Bought my bath gel and shampoo from their spa, wonderful products, plus it was fun to walk through the luxurious resort and pretend that I could actually afford to go there. Maybe in my next life.

meg 4:25 AM  

I was slightly disappointed when I realized that the 100th anniversary fell on a Saturday; I can only successfully complete Saturday puzzles once a month or so. So I guess I'm glad that Will went with an easy puzzle today so people like me, avid but average solvers, could join in on the festivities.

I guess I'm glad that David Steinberg was involved since he is so invested in the history of the crossword and seems to be Will Shortz's pick for the future of the NYT crossword.

I'm left underwhelmed and unimpressed. I would have rather had a really nice themeless today with a big anniversary puzzle on Sunday. We got the Thanksgiving puzzle a day early, why not have the birthday puzzle a day late?

100th anniversary puzzle concepts that strike me as Way More Fun than this one:
-puzzle that featured some of the most used words in crosswords/words that are famous for being crosswordese
-puzzle featuring famous editors & constructors in addition to Mr. Wynne
-puzzle that looks toward the future instead of the past. There are constructors out there doing cool new things. You know what is the opposite of a cool new thing? Having one of the theme answers be MCMXIII.

Or, hey, here's a crazy idea: maybe, since it is 2013, the digital version of the puzzle could contain features that the print version lacks. Or maybe, since it's 2013, the print version and digital version could at least look the same. I can buy a 3-D printer at the major chain office supply store but I can't get a few shaded squares on my smartphone.

But, hey, crossword puzzles! 100 years old! Happy birthday! Here's to 100 more years of innovation and frustration! Wish I could share a celebratory toast with all of you.

Danp 5:20 AM  

Who even cares about today's puzzle? The real experience was dealing with NYT's tone deaf staff. They apparently learned that people don't know how to print PDF, so they gave a link, which, when I printed it, was missing several clues at bottom. And they suggested using Version 2, which is mainly different from Version 1 in that it has a different method of guessing where I want to go after typing in a letter. And why? So I can see an oddly shaped diamond that means absolutely nothing to me. I only wonder if they make all decisions by committee.

Danp 5:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
George Barany 5:54 AM  

On this winter solstice, it's probably a good day to be thinking about, and solving crosswords. So many thanks to @Rex and the many well-informed commentators here who alert the rest of us to all the FUN stuff that's out there. @Merl Reagle's Google Doodle is still up, but how many of you have seen this fascinating back-story? @David Steinberg pulls off a double play, supplementing the New York Times puzzle just blogged with this tribute for his own Orange County Register. Tip of the hat to @Todd Gross, who in the midst of his euphoria about co-constructing today's Times puzzle, alerted me to @Finn Vigeland's tribute puzzle. Finally, without being too much of a spoiler, may I recommend that you find @Marti DuGuay-Carpenter's puzzle today at the Los Angeles Times, and its "for something completely different" counterpart on my crossword friends website, entitled Think Twice [includes a "midrash" to read only after solving]. Here's to a FUN birthday party, and to the next 100 years of puzzling!

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

Don't you gotta figure that Sunday will be a puzzle connected to 100 years of crosswords? I mean, this puzzle as tribute, celebration, etc. was a major fail.

Arthur Wynne's ghost

Unknown 8:12 AM  

Bit of a yawner...

Zwhatever 8:20 AM  

A fine puzzle diminished only by our high expectations. Nicely done.

Loren Muse Smith 8:22 AM  

@r.alph bunker - I, too, was really pleased to see that David was part of today's tribute; he does indeed have so much invested in crosswords and their history.

Even knowing ARTHUR WYNNE and NEW YORK SUNDAY WORLD from all the recent hoopla, this still was soooo much more hard for me than what y'all are saying.

Early mistakes:
"eerie" ON ICE. (I can't be alone there.)
"pesticide" FUNGICIDE (@M&A – I've begun ingesting food-grade FUNGICIDE to beat back this pesky DEWCLAW that is starting to form on my shin.)
"keys" TYES. Come again?
"rims" HEMS
"Annie" ANGIE
"naïf" FAWN
"Great _ _ _" GREENLAND
"chirr" CHIRP. Just kidding
Not knowing SOLEMNER was even possible. But I get a kick out of it – playfuller than "more solemn."
And lastly – reading the "canine" clue as dental and digging in forever.

Had a dnf owing to a big ole Natick at 40D, 51A, and 41D. I totally committed to some Latin phrase for "formal confession," so EWELL was BEDIMmed, and I never got the chance to guess that L.

Still, I feel pleased to have done as well as I did considering all that was completely new to me: EL GALLO, AMIDALA, SULA, BEDIM, TYES, DUNDEE, KREWE, COSTA, WEI, and ELOI because I stubbornly refuse to remember that and its various clues.

@jae – did you spell DALAI LAMA the first time with no H? Not me, man. At least the gimme SHEET paved the way for a spot on H-placement in NEHRU.

@Wade and @Evan – you both got me good. I spent five minutes going back and looking for NARD, wondering how the heck I missed *that* beaut. GGGG

Hey, Todd, David, Will, The Grey Lady. . . Happy Anniversary, everyone. I'm eternally grateful to ARTHUR WYNNE and what he brought to us.

Zwhatever 8:34 AM  

ANGIE in honor of centenarians everywhere.

Carola 8:41 AM  

ESSENTIAL to my mornings: doing the puzzle, reading @Rex, then coming to hang out with this KREWE, so I add my thanks to ARTHUR WYNNE (whom I first remembered as AnTHony wyNn) for getting us started.

O MAN IS SOLUMNER even a word? Perhaps used by ELOI. I liked the Rock singer clue and learning about GUAVA.

Mohair Sam 8:49 AM  

@Z is right. Our expectations were perhaps too high - this was an easy Saturday for sure, but not a bad one.

@Rex - thanks for the tip on Ben Tausig's book. Perfect Christmas gift for my crossword addicted wife.

Zwhatever 8:58 AM  

And finally, for @lms and friends.

I must say I do like hitting the captcha reload button and getting easy to read numbers. Happening about 75% of the time right now.

jberg 9:07 AM  

On a SOLEMNER occasion, I might complain that MAR is a verb, and graffiti a noun -- but this is a celebration, so I'll just point out the wonderful cluing for LORELEI at 37D. Now off to the Christmas Revels with the grandchildren (well, and their parents, too) for the next stage of solstice celebration.

chefbea 9:21 AM  

When I saw the puzzle with the 100 year old puzzle in the center, I figured it was going to have the same words…but no, only fun. I even saved my puzzle which I did the other day.

Why is RJ Reynolds brand=salem??
And what is CGI???

The Answer Man 9:25 AM  

Computer Generated Imagery

RJ Reynolds makes cigarettes

joho 9:34 AM  

I wonder if the very first crossword puzzlers thought the very first puzzle was easy?

When I started out I thought they were all very difficult.

Today I was a little disappointed that this was easier than I expected, but I would rather jump wholeheartedly on the band wagon honoring and remembering ARTHURWYNNE and his most amazing contribution to the world!

And thanks also to Todd Gross, David Steinberg, Will Shortz and all who so devotedly nurture and grow the world of crosswords!

astroman 9:36 AM  

Hate GRAFITTI as a verb.

chefbea 9:40 AM  

@answer man..thanx

Loren Muse Smith 10:09 AM  

@Z – too funny! How 'bout this one?


PapaLeroux 10:13 AM  

The only thing I really liked was the Jerry Orbach clue as I recently played Henry, the Old Actor in a community theatre production of The Fantasticks.
To paraphrase, "Screw your courage to the sticking place and be not sick and pale with grief that thou her constructors could not have made a (insert discriptor) puzzle."

AliasZ 10:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
AliasZ 10:24 AM  

The heart of this puzzle is in the right place, yet a bit of a let-down after the amazing Merl Reagle doodle. Still a very nice, albeit over-easy, tribute to the extraordinary phenomenon of "word-cross" puzzles started in MCMXIII by ARTHUR WYNNE. I began solving in a different language while in grade school back in Eastern Europe during the late 1950's. Unchecked letters, completely isolated sections and asymmetrical grids were, and are still today, the "rule." It was a revelation when, upon landing on the shores of my new home in 1969, I saw the pretty, symmetrical and wide-open grids, the often undecipherable clues and entries in a new language in the NYT, then edited by Will Weng. Needless to say, I got hooked more than ever, and still am today.

Now let's have some FUN!

-@Loren, I was sure 55A was CHIRR and Hemingway was an EXRAT.
-When I see a group of mourners, I am unable to conSOLE'M.NERvousness prevents me.
-I'm AMIDALArge "naïve city" (GREEN LAND) surrounded by SNOOTY NONPROS and CTRL freaks.
-It's a DUNDEE, we are playing poker. It'll serve EWELL to understand your choices: get out ORDEAL.
-Did Mel BLANC ever CHIRP? I bet he did.
-HUN, if you find yourself in deep REDOS, make sure you DEWCLAW yourself out of it.
-Who is that AMALIA LAD? The 1989 Peace Nobelist backwards.
-Smoke'em if you got'em. If you can't smoke'em, SALEM.

Cheers, and enjoy your last weekend before Christmas.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  


Bob Kerfuffle 10:38 AM  

About that 1913 puzzle - I gave a very short talk to my local Historical Society this week about the Crossword Puzzle, and handed out copies of the Wynne original. As part of my preparation, I had been able to track down DOH, SERE, NARD, even NEIF on the Web, but for TANE all I came up with was a mention in a Scrabble site which said something like "TANE - one (pron)". Can someone better informed than I give more information than that, like a mention from the OED?

Meanwhile, Happy 100th to the Crossword and all of its followers!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:40 AM  

@Anonymous, 10:30 AM - Welcome! You must be new here - R AND D (research and development) is a standard bit of CROSSWORD + (24 A) ESE.

Loren Muse Smith 10:42 AM  

@AliasZ - good catch - DALAI LAMA and AMIDALA are pretty close to being anagrams. Too bad it wasn't ALAMIDALA.

r.alphbunker 10:49 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle
This blogger suggests that it is t'ane.
See the Oct 21, 2010 post.

OISK 10:58 AM  

Good weekend. I liked yesterday's puzzle, and today's. Yes, it was a bit easy for a Saturday, but completely appropriate. As usual, it contained a pop reference completely unfamiliar to me. Angie? There were TWO songs called Angie? I did not remember Arthur Wynne, but got it from the down clues, and never heard of "Sula" either. Anyone else want to write "Staat" when they saw "Saxony"? Then I realized that it isn't "Saxony" in German. I was very critical of Mr. Steinberg's effort several weeks ago (worst Saturday ever, IMHO) but this was a fair and well conceived puzzle. Thanks, guys!

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Not new, just a blind spot. Why didn't you just say r and d, dummy.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:10 AM  

@r.alphbunker - Thank you so much for that link. I have bookmarked that site - after I was finally able to tear myself away from reading entry after entry!

Joe The Juggler 11:22 AM  

"Why didn't you just say r and d, dummy."

There's an example of a change for the worse over the past 100 years: anonymous communication as a license for rudeness.

Keith 11:29 AM  

If you solve a crossword puzzle, do you get a check in the "WYNNE" column?

Bob Kerfuffle 11:41 AM  

@Joe the Juggler - I did not take Mr. Anonymous's comment as a slap at me.

Where you see insult, "Why didn't you just say r and d, dummy.", I see self-deprecation:

Why didn't you just say, "r and d, dummy."

Punctuation is another victim of change over the last hundred years!

r.alphbunker 11:41 AM  

In this blog there is also a "whynne" column. :-)

The WYNNE at the Feast 12:12 PM  

Are KREWE and SULA really so much better than NEIF and NARF?

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

@chefbea,R.J. Reynolds had a cigarette factory in Winston-Salem, NC. It used both parts of the town's name as brand names.

Benko 12:23 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle:
According to the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, TANE was often used as a synonym for "one" in Old Scottish. TANEHALF or TANEHAFF meant "one half" as well.

Anonymous 1:05 PM  

A really elegant, well-put-together puzzle with a minimum of crosswordese, and a fitting tribute to the anniversary. Maybe clued a little easy for a Saturday, but to call it a dissapointment is, I think, malarkey.

jae 1:12 PM  

@lms - Yes, yes I did, but in all fairness I had almost all the crosses in place.

JDipinto 1:17 PM  

@OISK -- The songs are "Angie" by the Rolling Stones (1973) and "Angie Baby" by Helen Reddy (1974).

Loved "El Gallo" since "The Fantasticks" is one of my favorite musicals.

Blue Stater 1:18 PM  

I'd like to see one -- any -- citation for SOLEMNER. Not a word in my book -- or in the MW dictionary, either. Haven't tried the OED.

Blue Stater 1:21 PM  

Oh, yeah. "Graffiti' isn't a verb, either. Who edits this stuff? Oh, wait....

Masked and Anonymo5Us 1:26 PM  

The original Crossword had only one U. The diamond-shaped equivalent part of today's 100th anniversary puz had three U's. Far less barbaric.

Wonder why A.W. chose a diamond shape? Makes for some nasty unchecked squares at the edges. Maybe it was because the black crossword square hadn't been invented, yet.

fave original crossword weeject: DOH. Woulda went with DOC, there, tho. Or maybe DOW, if they had dows way back when. That's the thing -- fewer words in the old arsenal, back in 1913. No JLO or JELLO. Or MAXX.

fave weeject today: WEI or ICI. We'll see yer NARD and TANE, old crossword dude. And raise you one IKE.

@lms: The heartbreak of dewclaw on de shin. Tough break. You may be turnin into a giant flea. Rat-poison-dog must be thrilled.


Sandy K 1:32 PM  

Was hoping for a WYNNE-win and FUN kinda situation on this anniversary...instead it was SOLEMNER? than expected.

Maybe cuz I got more than naticked by the ELGALLO/SUMO/SOLEMNER mess I had.


Mette 1:34 PM  

The OED defines TANE as an obscure past participle of take in Scottish and north dialects. Could not find SOLEMNER.

ANON B 1:50 PM  

Will someone please explain "Amidala"?

Arthur Wynne 1:51 PM  

@M&A - Yes, there was only one U in my first Word-Cross -- but then, it was all in FUN!

rgards 1:57 PM  

Re: Tane
For 40 years I have thought John Fogarty pumped a lot of 'Tane down in New Orleans before hitching a ride on the riverboat queen, Proud Mary. (Gasoline = octane = Tane), and I was going to point out AW's prescience. But my friend Goggle says that he pumped a lot of pain instead. The things you learn by coming to this site are astounding. My thanks to Rex and all the regulars for making this such an interesting community.

ANON B 1:59 PM  

Never mind. I Googled it. I never watched Star Wars. I didn't
realize that it was one and
the same. I thought it was the
name of a queen and also the name
of a senator.

M and Also 2:03 PM  

@A.W. --- har. Well then, it shoulda been all in UNUSUAL, or somesuch. But, hey -- thanx for the FUN.


Lewis 2:05 PM  

Yes, easier than a regular Saturday, but not easy. I did like the feel of fairly flowing through a Saturday puzzle - that is not normal for me.

I am disappointed that after 100 years of crosswords evolution, words in the grid like SOLEMNER remain. That is one dog of a word. Let's start ironing these out -- are you listening, Will? You are in a position to greatly influence the direction of crosswords (as you already have).

mac 2:09 PM  

Not enough bite but a fitting tribute. To me the weirdest clue was dewclaw. Is that related to dewlap?

I though jojoba oil had something to do with sun protection products, and unfortunately letters 2 and 3 cooperated.

Back to the Christmas prep.

AliasZ 2:44 PM  

Has anyone attempted the 3-D word hunt variety puzzle yet? I found 38 words, two or three of them perhaps questionable, but the 39th is entirely elusive.

There is an amazing piece for two pianos composed by Claude Debussy, called En BLANC et noir. It is played here by Sviatoslav Richter and Benjamin Britten.

chefwen 4:06 PM  

@loren muse smith - My brother in law likes to call me "the grammar Nazi" and gave me that card a few years ago. It's my all time favorite. If I recall correctly I commented on it here and got quite a few laughs.

OISK 4:23 PM  

@AliasZ I am only at 22. 38 is pretty amazing! I always do the "special" puzzle first, especially if it is a double crostic, or "cryptic" puzzle, but this time I took a pause and finished the regular Sunday puzzle. (easy) I'll go back to the word hunt later.

Lewis 4:32 PM  

@aliasz -- Thank you for posting that Debussy piece. Wow!

Anonymous 5:01 PM  

Not having read all the comments today, if this is a repeat, I beg your pardon.

In today's Wall Street Journal, Wynne's octogenarian daughter noted that Wynne's first puzzles were called "Word Cross Puzzles" but after a few weeks of same, a typesetter for the World, in error, dubbed it a "Cross Word".

When the typesetter apologized, Wynne said he actually preferred "Cross Word", and voila, our obsession was born.

Joe The Juggler 5:12 PM  

Blue Stater,

Emily Dickinson used it.

The World – stands – solemner – to me –
Since I was wed – to Him –
A modesty – befits the soul
That bears another's – name –
A doubt – if it be fair – indeed –
To wear that perfect – pearl –
The Man – upon the Woman – binds –
To clasp her soul – for all –
A prayer, that it more angel – prove –
A whiter Gift – within –
To that munificence, that chose –
So unadorned – a Queen –
A Gratitude – that such be true –
It had esteemed the Dream –
Too beautiful – for Shape to prove –
Or posture – to redeem!
F280 (1862) 493

retired_chemist 5:24 PM  

Yes, @August West, I DID finish this one error-free and am rethinking my DS position. I suppose as long as he has a co-constructor the outré stuff is probably under control. I did not have A COW.

The puzzle - meh. The AMIDALA/ELOI crossing gave me some grief, since I had Ewok first. AMIDALA is a new one for me. Ditto EL GALLO and La COSTA. SOLEMNER is kinda ugly - I would usually say "more solemn."

Thanks, Messrs. Gross and Steinberg.

Dirigonzo 6:33 PM  

My only REDOS were SNObbY/SNOOTY and rouge/BLANC, and I learned what TYES are. I knew it was a tribute puzzle but did not understand the significance of the shaded squares until I came here - someone smarter that I should create clues for the partial words that appear in the shaded area, e.g. 7 1/2d - "When doubled, British sitcom from 1982 - 1992" > 'ALLO. Or maybe not.

Lane B 6:44 PM  

It must have been "easy" because I seldom finish Saturdays' and Steinberg's puzzles usually stump me. It was fun to learn some crossword puzzle history.. Don't understand a34 and thought NONPRO was a stretch . NE corner was the last to go; the bottom half the easier. Ego restored somewhat.rz .

okanaganer 7:24 PM  

Anyone looking for the Google Doodle crossword, I imagine it will soon be moved to their archive:

And if it isn't there, here is a link to have it all by itself:
although that may not last either.
(I was trying to hack it to make it bigger!...didn't work.)

Norm 7:34 PM  

My reaction to this puzzle sort of mirrored the story in r.alphbunker's first post today: I thought the embedded outline of the first grid should have been a complete puzzle in itself. Thought this was a very weak tribute. (Oh no! The captcha is back to unreadable letters! Damn! Oh, whew! Refresh gives the more legible numerals.)

Dirigonzo 8:01 PM  

@Lane B - Some laboratories (labs) are responsible for Research and Development (R and D) (as was discussed earlier).

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

Punctuation? Why didn't you just say,:" r and d,dummy."? No ? My point was the original explanation was a tad condescending.

Zwhatever 9:07 PM  

Wow. an ungrateful as well as rude anonymouse.

See, that's what "condescending" looks like. @Bob Kerfuffle was trying to be nice, but some will take offense at a kind word.

chefbea 10:31 PM  

I finished Sunday's puzzle and figured I'd go to Rexville to discuss it, but Sunday's not there yet. Guess i'll go to bed and see you all in the morning

Andrea Carla Michaels 4:14 AM  

The whole time solving, I thought the shaded area WAS the original puzzle, like it had words like AYWORLD and wondered what the original clue was!

Found this charming and a nice tribute...
As my therapist says, "it's all about expectations".

I'm suddenly overwhelmed by the thought how different my life would have been sans crosswords... The thousands of hours spent solving/constructing, the hundreds of friends I've made virtually and in person...
What I've learned from puzzles, how much of my selfworth and professional image is derived from this world, how much joy and pain this blog has generated.
Happy anniversary, cross world. Thank you, Arthur.
Definitely has been a WYNNE - win situation.

Roy Leban 5:19 AM  

With respect to broken puzzles...

@meg wrote "Or, hey, here's a crazy idea: maybe, since it is 2013, the digital version of the puzzle could contain features that the print version lacks."

Yes, it is 2013, and Puzzazz supports the print edition on your iOS device right now. And it doesn't cost you anything to use it. The app is free. You just use your NYT Premium Crosswords subscription.

The shaded squares are nothing. Check out the Thursday puzzle with the bars, which worked perfectly in Puzzazz.

Tita 9:16 PM  

So late to the game. Finished quick, just no time to post.

I had jsut done the google doodle, so I was primed for this one, knowing about FUN.

I was gobsmacked when I realized that the original puzzle was embedded in this "conventional" one. "How cool is that?!", methought.
(Hi, @Acme)

So I can't help but be dissapointed to have discivered that wasn't the case.

But thanks anyway, Mr. Steinberg - you continue to astonish me.

Books and Manual 3:53 AM  

So happy to be given a privilege to post a comment here. You have a wonderful site. Thank you for the effort to publish this.

Books and Manuals 8:58 PM  

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often..

rachelle madrigal

TimJim 10:57 AM  

Just wanted to express my appreciation for the syndication link. I'd stopped coming when the nyt started charging for the online puzzles,figuring I'd just do them later in my local paper. Now I've got the best of both worlds! Wonder if the easy link will spark a new stream of posts a month later ....

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

First, welcome newbies @Books and Manual(s?) and @TimJim. On the 100th...better late than never, right? Now to the puzzle that so many thought was "easy." Not me.

SOLEMNER? Oh well, if it's good enough for Emily...

34a--I refuse to print it out--is terrible.

Normally I frown on Romanumerals, but when it takes up seven spaces AND is part of the theme, it's a tour de force.

The NE and E were the last to, very grudgingly, fall. I was almost an hour at it before the aha! of OWNERS, certainly "not team players," hit. Not up on my canine anatomy, I had no "clew" about DEWCLAW. Unlike many others here, I did not read tons of stuff regarding the birth of the crossword, so did not know Mr. WYNNE (but thanks, dude). And it took me forever to suss out ESSENTIAL, why I can't tell you. But the thing that nearly threw me into a DNF was the clue for CLOSED: "Not for the general public." That's SOME Saturday clue, guys!

Medium-challenging (I never saw "The Fantasticks"), but FUN. I'll have to look up "Arawak."

BTW, yesterday I was dealt out because I actually could READ the word captcha! Today, well, I shoulda sat out another hand. Two measly pair.

DMG 2:35 PM  

Not a gimme for this solver. Took awhile to discover that jojoba was a FUNGACIDE, not a pestACIDE. I actually, unsuccessfully, planted some once, when it was touted as the solution to some major world problem- I forget which one! It also took me far too long to get the near-to-me LACOSTA. Toyed with LAjOllA, which seemd to fit the known letters, but, of course, not the clue. Other, unsolvable, problem came in the SE. I associate the name Pauline (Kael??) with early puzzles, so when WYNNE appeared, I just gave up, assuming I had more wrongs than rights! Some days are like that.

Warm thoughts for those of you caught in the grips of the worst winter ever!

Today's hand is two pair, 9's and 3's.

Waxy in Montreal 4:24 PM  

Similar problem in the SE to that encountered by @space. Ended up there with CHOSEN and DEWCHAW along with the nonsensical SAN.

Feel I should be sending one of those belated birthday cards (sorry I missed...) to the crossword puzzle. Guess Arthur Wynne missed his opportunity for eponymic fame when the Sunday World didn't call it a WynneWord puzzle.

Waxy in Montreal 4:29 PM  

Thanks for the warm thoughts, @DMG. Those of us stuck in the second polar vortex of the month can sure use them.

Satch 5:01 PM  

SOLEMNER had me so enraged that I just sat and stared at it. What's next, gooder?

Nice to know Emily used it. No wonder she never got a date.

Solving in Seattle 6:41 PM  

We Syndies get to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the cw a second time. Big whoop.

Since I googled the 100th year of the cw I saw the diamond shape in the Wiki article. The Seattle Times actually had the diamond shading in the paper, so easy to see the tribute.

Stay warm, Waxy.

Welcome, Satch, TimJim & Books and Manuals. We welcome newcomers to Syndication Land (Syndyland).

Capcha: rilliso himself. A man true to who he is?

Dirigonzo 7:34 PM  

Just stopped by to check my poker hand - full boat, deuces over fives. Pretty lame, but maybe good enough tonight?

@TimJim - the Syndy crowd has been commenting here for a while; now that you've discovered us, maybe you'll join us on a regular basis?

DMG 8:19 PM  

Just read, and enjoyed,Rex's review in the WSJ where I was reminded that the earlier puzzle maker I was thinking of was Margaret Farrar. Maybe Pauline Kael was a movie reviewer?

On another note I notice the review cites "the crosswordese.... obscurities such as ANOA and UNAU" that have been de-emphasized in favor of more modern content. In response, I can only say ANOA and UNAU can be found in a good dictionary, and remembered by regular solvers. As for the name of some singer or group that had a one-off hit 30 years ago, count me out.

Better hand this time, full house 4's and 3's. Must learn how to express this properly in " add player" talk. My game is bridge with an entirely different vocabulary.

stitham 8:26 PM  

Thanks for your review of Ben's book, Rex. It was very cogent... and even pellucid!

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