Saturday, January 12, 2013
Starting Here, Starting Now (Sunday brunch: January 13, 2013)
Thursday’s post about Richard Maltby and Stephen Sondheim only scratched the surface of their contributions to cryptic crosswords and to musical theatre. I kept exploring, and discovered that while Sondheim’s book of New York magazine puzzles is long out of print (this is the book with the dodecahedron on the cover), Sondheim’s first three puzzles are posted online for posterity. I'm going to try one of them this weekend.
Elsewhere around the puzzling scene, it’s one of those two-acrostic weeks. The Times puzzle (by Hex as usual, with their comments over at the Wordplay blog) is behind the paywall, while the Wall Street Journal’s acrostic is a particularly literary endeavor (update 1/13" I forgot to credit Mike Shenk for constructing that puzzle). Note that there've been issues with Java security, so you may need to reload the page or re-enable Java in order for the interactive version to work. But do so: that applet takes all the drudgery out of acrostics.
For cryptics, this week we’ve only got The Nation from Thursday (solution posted here Monday: hints always available in comments if you need them--and don't miss this week's installment of Word Salad) and the National Post from Saturday, which this week has a mystery constructor. Solution and commentary on that puzzle is over at Falcon’s site. Harpers’ for February wasn’t out yet, last I checked.
I spend a good chunk of my week going back over a Kevin Wald puzzle: "I Scrambled Here" that I’d printed out a few months ago and found while cleaning up around the house. This one has a four-stage meta to taunt you, in case working out two-part clues or clues with anagrams inside them isn’t hard enough already. I’ve filled the grid and solved the first two metas, but there’s a final anagram I haven’t got yet, along with a final bit of wordplay. Want to try and help? If you ask in the comments, I’ll give hints on the parts I’ve gotten so far. Then you might be able to figure out where I’ve gone wrong.