2013 Orca Awards – Best Crossword Nominees

orca smileNow that the Oscars are so five minutes ago, it’s time to get excited for the 2013 Orca Awards, coming to Diary of a Crossword Fiend on Wednesday, March 19!

As in prior years, the Orcas will honor excellence in crossword construction and editing in several categories, including Best Easy Crossword, Best Sunday-sized Crossword, Best Freestyle Crossword, and Best Gimmick Crossword. New this year will be a Best Contest Crossword award. There will also be the Bob Klahn Award for Most Outstanding Clue and the coveted Constructor of the Year Award.

The highlight, no doubt, will be the award for Best Crossword. You can read about the nine nominees for Best Crossword after the jump.

We begin, however, with a few words about the selection process. As in the past, nominees for Best Crossword were selected in part by you, the readers of this blog, through your votes using the star-rating system. Some adjustments were made to take into account the number of ratings received by a puzzle, our ongoing rule that no constructor should have more than two puzzles in the running for any one award, and our new rule against using the Orcas for personal vanity. As a result, the nine nominees are not necessarily the puzzles with the highest overall star-rating average.

Oh, and we have nine Best Crossword nominees because there were nine nominees for Best Picture. It’s not like the nine nominees were head and shoulders above the rest. Indeed, 2013 was a banner year for the crossword, and some truly excellent and deserving puzzles had to be left off the list (luckily they will be nominees for other Orca Awards, so they’ll get some well-deserved recognition soon). Orca tradition, such as it is, always limits the number of Best Crossword nominees to the number of nominees for Best Picture, meaning some hard cuts had to be made. You’re welcome to talk about puzzles that got snubbed in the comments (hey, half the fun of the Oscars is all the chat about those that should have been nominated).

So here are the nominees for Best Crossword of 2013, listed in order of publication date (the links take you to this site’s reviews of the puzzles and not to the puzzles themselves, so if you want to go back and solve some of these you may want to visit the Best Puzzles of 2013 page after you make note of the nominees):

Congratulations to all of this year’s Best Crossword nominees! Find out which puzzle wins this and all the other Orca Awards in two weeks!

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5 Responses to 2013 Orca Awards – Best Crossword Nominees

  1. Dan Katz says:

    So good, all nine of them. If I were voting, I think I’d narrow it down to Knight Moves, Religious Inscription, and Blindauer’s untitled NYT… then I’d look back and forth between those three indecisively for an hour, and finally collapse mumbling incoherently in a corner.

  2. Thank you for the nomination.

    While I’m here, I think it’s criminally unjust that Francis’ “Seasonal Staff” and Trip’s “Seeing Double” were left off this list. My $0.02? For future Orcas one puzzle per writer for any one given category.

    • Amy Reynaldo says:

      I was especially fond of “Seasonal Staff,” particularly the great restraint in not making any phallic “staff” joke. Also, peppermint, yum.

  3. Sam Donaldson says:

    You just named two of the three puzzles that were the hardest cuts from the list of nominees, Brendan. They will get lots of love–as well they deserve–elsewhere in the Orca Awards.

    Thanks for the suggestion about limiting a constructor to one puzzle per category. It makes a lot of sense, though one could also argue that two nominations in a category might better reflect a constructor’s particularly fine year in any given category. Anyway, the Rules Committee will consider it during the off-season.

  4. Dan Katz says:

    I can’t believe I forgot about Seeing Double! As good as the above nine are, I’d rank that highest. It can’t win, but at least I can emerge from my mumbling corner.

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