Thursday, January 1, 2015

Appreciation of American cryptics (Puzzle No. 3,202)

Double issue of The Nation this week, so we’ll go back for one of Hot and Trazom’s earlier puzzles.

Link to

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

Cluing challenge: Let’s take two!  In honor of New Year’s Day in Philadelphia, let’s clue MUMMERS and STRING BAND.  Submit your clues in the comments.

I came across some nice comments from David Stickley: the Australian constructor, in an interview posted at Crossword Unclued.  Crossword people often brag about setting and/or solving particularly challenging puzzles, but Stickley understands that making tough cryptics is easy: it’s a license to get sloppy with cluing.  On the other hand, following American cryptic rules (every clue has a definition and wordplay) requires a lot more discipline.

Stickley also recognizes the reward in that: puzzles that welcome new solvers at the same time they satisfy experienced solvers, as they will eventually (and reliably) yield to sustained effort on the part of the solver.  You don’t need to know any tricks: just tumble around the words enough and you’ll find the answer.    

1 comment:

  1. I love how they call them double issues. They should be called half issues!

    Where ya been? Haven't seen you since they profiled you months ago.


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