Thursday, December 11, 2014

Time windows (Puzzle No. 3,347)

It’s probably coincidence, but in solving The Nation puzzles recently, I noticed a few answers that hit a sweet spot of those of us in middle age.  Stuff like Tenzig Norgay (along with Sir Edmund Hilary, was first to climb Mount Everest) and Petula Clark (singer of the 1964 hit “Downtown”).  And there were some classical music references too.  Meanwhile I hadn’t had to grapple with any rap stars or recent TV shows, so solving-wise, I was on a roll.

Since solvers are a diverse bunch (we hope), constructors need to be careful not to have too narrow a time window for their cultural references lest young or old solvers think they aren’t welcome.  Now there are some puzzles like AV Club which are ripped from the pop culture headlines and are intended to be tests of that kind of knowledge, but cryptics are mostly about wordplay, so they shouldn’t be pop culture (or old fogey culture) tests.

This week’s The Nation puzzle was a test, but not of the cultural type.  How’d you do?

Link to puzzle

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): hard

Hozom’s comment:  “To Infinity and Beyond” in which Hot and Trazom interview Kevin Wald, constructor of the most amazing variety cryptics, and tell us how to pronounce “Ucaiomhu.” Read the whole thing.

Cluing challenge (at Word Salad): SPICE

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