Thursday, November 15, 2012

Choice specimen (Puzzle No. 3,261)

A particularly nice mix of words and phrases in this grid: a few unusual ones, but nothing obscure (am I repeating myself?).   A pair of 14 letter entries, a phrase split across the first and last acrosses, and some novel approaches that emphasize the "play" in wordplay (especially 22a) or make you stop and think how to parse the clue.  Yep–this puzzle pretty much typifies Hot and Trazom's work.

While I started this one on a morning walk over to get a coffee, the last word (25a) escaped me until this evening.  A fresh look after dinner (and a martini), and I had it in a snap.

Link to puzzlehttp://www.thenation.com/article/171232/puzzle-no-3261

Hozom's comment: The Big Four.  How many Js, Qs, Xs, and Zs are too many? (and no, this puzzle does not use all four: the blog posts shouldn't be taken as hints to that week's puzzle).  We learn that those letters often make cluing a challenge, so Hot and Trazom don't use too many of them (theme puzzles are another story, of course).  I'm on the 'fewer' side of the fence too: many of the clues require phrase anagrams or anagrams plus a single letter, and they end up being too easy.  Like I said a few weeks ago: easy clues are OK (and necessary), but they ought to be entertaining.

Solution and annotation posted Monday.  Use the comments for hint requests.

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