Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Let The Games Begin

**NOTE: There is nothing about the Olympics in this post. I just needed a title.

Once again, not much to report. It's late, and truth be told I've not been in much of a puzzle mood lately. I swear I do have some interesting musings to share regarding things cruciverbal, but it always seems that come Monday night, once I've frantically rushed to finish the puzzle before midnight, I run out of time to properly articulate them. One of these weeks when it's not so darned nice outside... Rode lots of bike this weekend, and played a nice afternoon gig as well. First show with a newish jazz quartet; went much better than expected, but I got a bit turned around in the middle of our crazy salsa rendition of "Caravan." I have very little jazz -especially latin jazz- experience, but I'm learning fast (it's all sink or swim when it comes to playing, for me. I like to get in way over my head with new musical outfits and learn as I go, faking it till I make it).

In puzzle news, I must tip my hat to Joe Krozel, whose Friday NYT set a new record for fewest black squares (17!!). You could fill any wide-open grid with junk, of course, but I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the fill in this one. Plus, that 92.44% white grid is absolutely terrifying when you first see it as a solver. This puzzle deserves to hold the record, IMO.

Neat grid today (12x17 and asymmetrical), but no real pyrotechnics. Tried for a smooth, solid, knock-down-drag-out themeless. Lots of wide open whitespace, with reasonably clean fill at the expense of spicy entries. Started with 13- and 14-Across stacked, and filled the top from there. Originally had a symmetric grid with a wide-open middle, but I couldn't get good enough fill in the bottom stack, so I tried moving 13-Across' other half to its current vertical position on a whim, and it worked. Plus, I got to play with both the fat corner and the 3 and a half stack in the top. I have a strange fondness for themeless grids comprised predominantly or entirely of straight horizontal lines of squares, so I was happy that the top stack filled so well with that arrangement.

Oh, and 14-Across is courtesy of one of the Meta winners. Name on the solutions page.

More words, crossed and otherwise, next Tuesday.

Puzzle: Themeless #15
Rating: XW-G, believe it or not
Difficulty: Very difficult. This one's got teeth.

Download the PDF file here and the PUZ file here, or solve or download the Across Lite puzzle and/or software from the embedded app below.


Howard B said...

Yes, this had teeth. Nice cluing!
Would have had a bit easier time, had I not found at least 3 creatively different (read: very wrong) ways to spell 11-Down, despite knowing the answer.
Tricky cross-references as well, that helped things along once uncovered.

People should take this one bit by bit, and eventually it should reveal itself.

Bananarchy said...

Thanks Howard; hope you found the clue for your entry satisfactory. Fun to work into the grid, that one.

Howard B said...

Was a good one for sure, hit me at quite an unexpected angle. Oof!