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 Post subject: A themeless
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 10
Hi all,
I've just discovered this forum after being a regular reader of Orange's blog for several months. When I saw that puzzles are welcomed here, I thought I'd share one of my own. I self-published it to my website last month to mixed reviews, but I'm curious to know what some real crossword buffs think of it! Hope you have half as much fun solving it as I did constructing it.

ktd


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 Post subject: Re: A themeless
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:06 pm
Posts: 46
Wow, that's a lot of obscurity in one puzzle. Never heard of Saoirse Ronan, Aishwarya Rai, neither Renzo Piano nor the term "starchitect", Tziganes, boose, NTD, a nicad battery. I know Sino- as a combination form but never came across the word Sinic to describe Chinese. Can't figure out what DLR stands for.

Had to dig deep to come with Goshen, Arachne, Oscan and the Anasazi. I recognized the name Scott Boras, but hadn't heard of him in 15 years and forgot that he was a prominant baseball players' agent. Whew, that's some obscure fill!

Since I haven't watched TV in about five years I hadn't seen the "want a Fanta" commercials, so I checked out YouTube. Good God, now that song is gonna be in my head all day. :o

"Shouldn't be tough", "doing so" and especially "I do care" seem a bit clumbsy for crossword entries.

Aside from a few entries (such as for Knuckles and PartTwo), the cluing is pretty straight forward. I certainly can't fault you for that, though. With so many obscurish answers, the clues needed to be straight forward even on the more common entries if only to give a foothold in the various areas.

I suspect that the "mixed reviews" you received is because this puzzle, as a whole, ends up being more of a trivia challenge than a decoding challenge. In other words, what you've constructed is akin to what late-week New York Times puzzles USED to be like when they were edited by Eugene Maleska. So, your crossword is a bit "Maleskan" (which is not be confused with "mescaline", a very different sort of brain-twister).

That's not to say that it's a "bad" puzzle, per se, but that it's not the KIND of crossword that most solvers these days (especially the ones that frequent the crossword blogs and this forum) enjoy solving.

Well, that's my 3-cents, ktd. I hope it's helpful and that I haven't crushed your spirit! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: A themeless
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 10
Not a problem Tuning Spork! Perhaps the puzzle needs fewer proper namess and more "aha! moment"' entries (I tried to make one with the clue for IROQUOIS NATIONS). I will keep it in mind when writing the next one. Also, Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't "Maleskan" generally equate to "loaded with crosswordese" such as, say, ANOA or ERNE?


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 Post subject: Re: A themeless
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:26 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:24 pm
Posts: 5
I was doing puzzles during the Maleska era and Maleskan, to me, signifies obscurity. When you cited anoa that is Meleskan becuse it is an ox that only crossword puzzle freaks would know andything about just as AI means three toed sloth and ELA represents GUIDOS HIGH NOTE. What this means, to me, is willfull obscurity which, while not necessarily unfair, does leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Your puzzle is full of willful obscurity which some may find fascinating but me, not so much. I see crosswords as something of a treasure hunt, full of AHA moments. This one is full of "Whar the hell is this?" See the difference?

Bill from NJ


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 Post subject: Re: A themeless
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:35 pm
Posts: 917
Renzo Piano designed the lovely new Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, so I'm a fan of his—at least, a fan of the one project I know him for.

I learned about Aishwarya Rai from Roger Ebert. He either decreed or passed along someone else's decree that she is the world's most beautiful woman.

Saoirse Ronan was the girl in that movie I didn't see, Atonement. I like those insane Gaelic/Irish spellings that have non-intuitive pronunciations for the non-Irish.


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 Post subject: Re: A themeless
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:07 pm
Posts: 579
Location: New York, NY
While it sounds like a puzzle I better not try and probably wouldn't employ, Renzo Piano is kinda the museum designer de jour. I even read one recent pan of a museum expansion lamenting, where is he when you need him? His Wiki entry lists several, and he wasn't equally responsible for the outcome in them all (that is, that big a change wasn't always in the work from the old building). But he got perhaps most press recently for LACMA, and I know him perhaps best for the Morgan Library close by in New York City and, before he was quite so trendy but helpful in his reputation, the Menil Collection in Houston. I haven't seen much about his still more recent expansion of the Art Institute of Chicago, and I haven't seen it in person.

Perhaps his most prominent relatively recent building other than a museum is the New York Times offices, which moved a block or two over from the eponymous Times Square. It got a lot of commentary pro and con, and one ironic commentary on its exterior or stacked rods was the climber who used them to ascend the building to the top! (To be honest, while I follow architecture, even I would consider "starchitect" pretty obscure. It's not something I'd ever say.)


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