Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013, Mike Selinker

Today's puzzle is a contest, and submissions are accepted through Tuesday, so we will not be posting our commentary on it until after that time.

Good luck!

- Horace



Well, this was a pretty easy puzzle to complete, but the contest part took us a little longer to figure out. Still, though, not that long. The answer, above, seemed very apropos for a puzzle based on the Braille alphabet. Pretty clever. Did you notice, also, that 1D and 97D were further clues? Nice touch.

The fill got a little sketchy in parts. Witness SHA (13A: "La-La" lead-in in a 1974 Al Green hit), CRT (99A: Old PC monitor feature) (let it die), and 75A: Numerical prefix (OCTO) smacks of "I give up"-type clueing. Also, I've taken a lot of Latin, and EDILES (53D: Roman magistrates) is not familiar to me. Might say more about me than anything else, but I just put that out there.

But there was way more good than bad. PRESSSECRETARY (31A: Mouthpiece for the head?), GAT (37A: Old piece) (gun), and LIT (116A: Snockered) were all good. I like the word BEDSTEAD (47D: Where a mattress goes). I love the inclusion of AETHER (51A: Material beyond the terrestrial plane, in medieval science), and I double love the clue for EEL (77A: Part of a wriggly field?). I don't know whether I need to explain this or not, but when Frannie and I started this blog, and just before that time, "eel" was everywhere, all the time. It must have been in ten or eleven puzzles in one two-week span. It's the kind of thing that critics love to hate, but we turned our frowns upside down, and now we love to love it. So seeing it again here, with such a ridiculously wonderful clue, well, it's just nice, that's all. And there are many more that I liked, but one must draw the line somewhere.

Lastly, one benefit of having lived a while is that answers like TOUCHTONEPHONE (107A: Rotary alternative) come immediately. Gosh, remember when that was new? It was the coolest thing...

- Horace

p.s. Although we got the answer and entered the contest, this was technically a DNF. Didn't know 13D: "____ Mater" (hymn) (STABAT) (guessed SHABAT), and couldn't figure out 21A: What X-O-X lacks? (TAC). As I started to write that I still didn't get it, I guess I figured out, just now, for the first time ever, that the name "Tic, Tac, Toe" refers to the name of (?), or what you call out as you announce (?) your row of three identical symbols. Huh. You learn something new every day!


  1. Got it! The fill wasn't hard, but it took me a while to see how to apply the instructions. Fun!

  2. We just finished it too, and had the same experience at the end. Will write more on Wednesday.

  3. Remarkable achievement. There is one aspect that I especially love about the meta answer. It took me awhile too to figure out the secret phrase, but the key is loosening up the mind, something that's often hard for a "concrete-sequential" to do. One criticism: I think the whole thing would have been better without the thickly lined rectangles.

  4. 1:17:32
    I still don't get the "FEEL THE LOVE" thing. Braille is a 3X2 thing. So, I guess it's a DNF for me, technically, too, since the contest was part of the whole. I've stared at this for awhile now, and see nothing. And how can full boxes of letters with no blackouts be the letters "F," "V" and "E," and how can "E" also (in "FEEL") be represented by two other patterns? Maybe I'm an idiot. The fill itself was typical Sunday regarding difficulty. Maybe I'll keep this for a little longer and look at it more.

    1. Huygens, unhinge yourself from the 3 x 2 prison. That's what I was talking about when I said I had to loosen up my mind. Think about what it is exactly that constitutes Braille, and then notice something very unusual about the boxes vis-a-vis the entire rest of the puzzle.

  5. Wow. You just blew my mind. I hadn't noticed the "vis-a-vis the entire rest of the puzzle" situation before. Perhaps now I might be able to forgive the constructor for saying (on the Wordplay blog), of that very feature "It makes for a very differently looking grid."

    No, on second thought, I don't think I can.