Thursday, September 19, 2013

Avoiding temptation (Puzzle No. 3,295)

This is one of those puzzles that you can make lot easier if you want to.  I won't say just where, but there are several long lights that are obvious anagrams: solve them and they open up much of the rest of the puzzle.  In the internet age, those anagrams are just a click away.  It takes a little discipline to say “no” and let those anagrams stew for a while instead of getting the answer so you can move on to the rest of the puzzle.

Sometimes, structure is the way to achieve that discipline.  Since I don’t post the solution and annotation to the The Nation puzzle until Monday, I've got all weekend to figure out the answers.  Most of the time I don’t need it though.  I’ll look again in the afternoon at the clues I didn’t get on the first go-round, and usually I’ll find myself slapping my head and thinking “man, that was obvious--how could you be so dense as to miss that one?”  That was definitely the case this week (not getting 16a?  I really am dense.)

But I think it’s only been once or twice the last six months that I’ve had to resort to the Anagram Server to finish a solution.  I’ll keep on striving for zero.

Link to puzzle

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): moderate, with a couple of obscure words

Hozom’s comment: “Deep Grammar” in which Hot and Trazom describe the grammatical conventions that govern clue writing and point out how one could bend those rules for the sake of a more-clever sounding clue.

I agree with them that there are some constructors who make good use of these grammatical twists, especially Richard Maltby and Stephen Sondheim, who both are professional lyricists.  You know they’re good with verse.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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