Monday, May 20, 2013

Anyone have an A string? (Sunday Brunch: May 19, 2013)

Yeah, I realize it’s Monday brunch.  I'm catching up.  Sometimes I even have a breakfast burrito for dinner (though that's not necessarily because I didn't have breakfast).

Here are the week’s new puzzles.

The Wall Street Journal have a moderately difficult variety cryptic by Hex called Pyramid Scheme.  Groaner warning for the solution phrase at the bottom of the puzzle, and props to Hex for the pyramid reference in the first clue. If time permits, I might post a hint.

For some reason, I didn’t really like the grid of that puzzle.  The concept was fine: acrosses are normal but downs either go diagonally left or diagonally right, in straight lines where some puzzles of this shape might veer back and forth.  But some of the acrosses were unchecked, so while the first row had six letters, there were only four downs starting in the row. Also, diagonals that didn’t spell out words didn’t have heavy bars.  I can see why, since adding the bars would have made the puzzle much easier as well as spoiling the symmetry of the blank grid.

It’s also the time of the month for a new Harpers (subscriber page): this one referencing (at least in the title) Rogers and Hammerstein instead of Stephen Sondheim).  It’s called “June is Busting Out All Over.”  The clues were not too difficult, but I’m still grappling with the unclued central letter.  For what it’s worth, Erica doesn’t have her commentary on the May Maltby posted yet at Tacky Harpers Cryptic Clues.  Post here or at her blog in in the meantime and I'll explain the solution.

The Hex straight cryptic in the National Post is themed on some of the longer place names in Canada.  I can rattle off names like Swift Current (Saskatchewan) and Chicoutimi (Quebec) since they’re home to teams in the major junior leagues of hockey.  Some of the nicknames are pretty good too, like the Brandon (Manitoba) Wheat Kings, the Windsor Spitfires, and the Shawninigan Cataractes.  The best hockey players in Canada (and increasingly from the USA) don’t play college hockey: they go to the Ontario League, the Quebec League, and the Western League, while the second-tier players go to the NCAA.   Players can be drafted by NHL teams once they turn 18, and some of them go to training camp and possibly play a few games for the NHL team before being returned to their junior team for the rest of the season.

The Times has an acrostic this week (behind the paywall).  Deb Amlen has some comments on the puzzle from Hex over at Wordplay

Nathan Curtis's weekly variety crossword is a Snake Charmer.

1 comment:

  1. SPOILER ALERT: I think you can get Maltby's center letter of "Bustin' Out All Over" 2-ways by completing phrases using either diagonal. I think that connection to the theme "June is Bustin' Out All Over" is that these are things that are likely to occur in June.


If you're responding to a hint request, please remember not to give more information than necessary. More direct hints are allowed after Monday.