Thursday, January 10, 2013

Why cryptic puzzles were invented (Puzzle No. 3,267)

Well, that title ought to get your attention (though it won't get hits like the words "New York Times solution" will).  Go read this week's Word Salad for Richard Maltby's answer, and much more.

Link to puzzle:

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): average.  Looks hard at first, but steady work and an open mind will see you through.

Hozom's comment: "A Talk with Richard Maltby," in which we learn that Maltby served as Stephen Sondheim's understudy, going out onto the big stage at New York magazine when Sondheim had to devote full time to the production of "Company" (which opened on Broadway in 1970).  Sondheim's puzzles were collected in a book, which is sadly out of print.

Maltby finds the English language uniquely suitable for cryptic wordplay, and vice versa.   
"No other language has the opportunities for puns and linguistic misdirection. In fact, that is probably why cryptic puzzles were invented: to make a game out of the mysteries and anomalies of our language."

It took a bit of searching, but in Maltby's honor, here's a show he introduced and participated in, in honor of Sondheim's 75th birthday, featuring my school classmate Michael Cerveris.  "Wall to Wall Sondheim" (part I, part II).  I don't see Mike appearing in any numbers that Maltby himself wrote though.

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