Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014, Bernice Gordon


Horace and Frannie would like to congratulate Bernice Gordon today for becoming the oldest person ever to have a crossword published in the NYT (and, quite possibly, anywhere else, for that matter). Her first puzzle was published in the 1950s, and she is credited with originating the "rebus" style puzzle, in which a symbol replaces letters (& = AND, etc.), and she turned 100 last Saturday. There is a nice article about her on the Huffington Post Web site, from which I have drawn some of the above.

Her grid today was relatively clean, with a rebus-type theme of its own. We were a bit surprised to see such a thing on Wednesday, but perhaps it played a little too easy for a Thursday, and Mr. Shortz decided to grant a little leeway.

The theme entries are nicely symmetrical, with the central crossing of ONLYU (39A: 1955 hit for the Platters) and WELLG (30D: "Hmm, imagine that!") to round things out. We enjoyed the odd clue for SAP (20A: Sustenance for aphids), and who doesn't love that use of JAGS (1D: Sprees)?

YIELDING (40D: Soft to the touch) is a lovely entry, and it's always nice to include an interesting quote, this time by VOLTAIRE (34A: Philosopher who wrote "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere"). Lovely.

A few crosswordsy-type things, but nothing egregious. A very pleasant Wednesday.

- Horace


  1. 17:05
    I thought this type of thing odd for a Wednesday, too, but enjoyed it. I recently read a biography of Jefferson that mentions VOLTAIRE a number of times since he would flit about in similar circles as Jefferson. I thought that CARIBBEANC was nice since it had "C"s on the outside and two "B"s right in the middle.I also liked the cross of SHOEBOX and XENON because I enjoy seeing interesting "X" usage. 38A West of "Batman" (ADAM) and 10D Count of music (BASIE) were both good older references. And for some reason I starred 27D Poser (MODEL), probably because I was thinking along the wrong lines for a bit. I mentioned 33D Salad green (CRESS) to Sue because I thought it a good answer. There was nothing blue in here, but Horace's review gave a possible clue as to why.

  2. 8:37. I forgive the awkwardness of the theme in honor of the constructor's age. The rest of the puzzle is reasonably nice, but with too many governmental acronyms for my taste (OSHA, FEMA, NSC), not to mention other abbrs (COS, OMG, APB). Why do I always have difficulty seeing AONE? I had AON_ and was convinced I had to switch other answers around to get AcmE. I agree that YIELDING, VOLTAIRE, CAPEHORN are all nice.