Monday, April 13, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015, Bruce Haight


Another blogger called yesterday's puzzle a "stunt puzzle." Well, this seems like another one. I wonder if Mr. Haight originally tried to use only the letters in his last name, but then had to give in and tack on two from his first name - E and R - for it to work out right? It makes me wonder just how few different letters have been used in a NYT puzzle? Is this the record? I might have to go over to to find out!*

But before I do, let's talk about how this one worked out. We see plenty of crosswordese, abbreviations, and gratuitous plurals in here, too. Maybe it'll be kind of a "here's all the junk you have  to learn in order to whip through a puzzle" week at the Times. You've got your AGHA, ETA, SHAH, ERTE, IRREG, ATRA, EEG... and then you've got some normal ones that have been pluralized, like AGGIES, AHS, SEERS, RAES, SSGTS, HIES, STETS... and then you've got the just plain odd, like REES, ASTR, ISHETRE, TITI, and ARTI. And that's just most of the funny stuff. I didn't even get to SIGHER or RAREE (39A: ____ show, (part of an old carnival)). Whaa?

The big, long, EASTEREGGS (11D: Hidden treasures) makes me wonder if I'm missing something fundamental here. Like really there's something hidden in this puzzle that I'm not seeing. If there were, I'd be much happier about it, but I'm not sure how much time I'm going to invest in looking for such a thing. The other ten-letter entries are all perfectly good, but overall, I'm gonna have to give this one a thumbs down. It just didn't do it for me.

- Horace

* I checked, and yes, this is the lowest letter count for a NYT puzzle. The previous low was ten.

p.s. I have now read that Will Shortz announced that this would be an entire week of "stunt" puzzles.


  1. 15:53 (FWOE)
    I'm doing some catching up now, as its been busy living between two places while the bathroom remodel is progressing. I still haven't finished this past Saturday's puzzle (53 minutes in, at the moment, but stuck in the northern center). Anyway, my error today was at the SETTE/TITI cross, neither of which I knew. I guessed SEsTE, giving me TIsI, which seemed reasonable to me. I didn't love this one, but wouldn't give it a "thumbs down," either. It's quite nice construction to be able to accomplish something like this, even though it requires quite a bit of the junk mentioned by Horace. I'll give it an "OK."

  2. 8:21 (FWOE) - I agree with Horace. The puzzle is reasonably constructed, I'll admit, but the junk level is skyhigh. My error came at REES/HIES, where I'd entered REEd as a reasonable guess, and didn't notice the tense of 21A. Don't like SSGTS/ERTE/ASTI/TITI at all. Yuck.

    BTW, Horace, you have a typo in EASTEREGGS in the original blog post.