The Week In Crosswords

Taylor Swift’s “Red” has broken music sales records, so it’s kind of hard to get away from her lyric, “Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer.” Everyone on Twitter seems to delight in either snarking the line or just repeating it, verbatim or slightly garbled.

Honestly, it’s a good line, whether or not Swift strikes you as the “crossword-solving type.” There’s no evidence she’s unaware that professionally-made crosswords always have right answers, she’s only singing that they should, just as there should at least be something “right” to say to defuse an argument. I did a word find the other day which did indeed have no right answer– the poor thing had two typos. And even though I knew it was the puzzle’s fault and not mine, it still felt like I just wasn’t smart enough to get it right– not unlike the feeling you get trying to make a toxic relationship work.

As pop-culture references to crosswords go, it’s no Inspector Morse, but it’s no Rubicon, either. Now, some of the other lyrics are a bit more, well, puzzling. “Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met?” What?

Image from the YSL catalog.

Patrick Blindauer’s Puzzlefest IV is now available for pre-order.

USA Today has restored the crossword to an earlier position, while the New York Times briefly suspended its paywall– indirectly allowing puzzholics access to thousands of puzzles– to supply information about Hurricane Sandy. Will Shortz did a couple of special Sandy-themed anagrams on NPR.

While the Smithsonian Puzzle Contest made a happy winner of this Ken Jennings fan, the exact method of selecting that winner has been called into question.

There are a few online resources detailing the tricks of a cryptic crossword, including mine, but The Guardian‘s irregular series has detailed three types of cryptic clues I haven’t seen described anywhere else: Cockneys, spoonerisms and, this week, palindromes.

In recent cruciverbalist profiles, Dave Sarpola plugs Crossword Compiler, Tim Croce snubs smaller crossword venues, and David Steinberg argues with his parents about their crossword tournament performance. Steinberg’s profile also contains some fascinating details about his education. Also, cruciverbal magician David Kwong proves himself a class act.

Finally, I totally missed the Arlington Puzzle Festival this weekend, and can’t yet find a good summary of it online. Any attendees should feel free to report on it in the comments.

About T Campbell

T Campbell is a crossword constructor and comics scriptwriter. Among his cruciverbal accomplishments are the Ubercross C-Spot (the largest puzzle to follow New York Times standard rules), Crossworlds, a collection of 50 science-fiction-themed puzzles, and the forthcoming On Crosswords: Callin' Out Them Squares.
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One Response to The Week In Crosswords

  1. David L says:

    I live in Alexandria, next door to Arlington, and I go to the Arlington Central Library fairly often — and I also had no idea there was a puzzle competition last weekend. I might have gone if I’d known.

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