As mentioned previously, it’s Will Shortz’s 60th birthday today, and what a well-lived life it’s been!
The New York Observer got in over its head this week by suggesting that the appearance of Dr. DRE and other rappers in the New York Times grid was a sign of the puzzle’s increased “hip-hopification.” Dre’s name is so useful that it’s appeared 77 times in the Shortz oeuvre. Even Eugene Maleska, an unlikely hip-hop fan, used it at least once (albeit clumsily cluing it as “one of the rappers”). Responses to the Observer ranged from gentle correction (“As pointed out by others, this is not a new development. Still, I’m glad you’re solving the crossword” –Will Shortz) to outright derision (“My vote for non-story of the millennium” –Rex Parker)
Arachne’s Guardian crossword of the 22nd included a highly charged message at its outer edges. The normally meaningless perimeter this time spelled out the name DANIEL MORGAN and the verdict JUSTICE NOT DONE. Daniel Morgan was a private investigator murdered in 1987, alleged and widely believed to have been killed for his investigation into police corruption: his killer or killers were never found. The Guardian has a long history of investigating this story.
Mike Selinker and Thomas Snyder’s Puzzlecraft, a “how-to-build-’em” guide for all kinds of puzzles serialized in GAMES Magazine, is now available for preorder but set for an April 2 release.
Finally, the BBC released this amusing clip from Thieves Like Us: