Patrick Blindauer continues to expand the playfulness of crossword puzzles by packing another game into one of them. He's done chess and acrostics and today it's a word search. With an added twist that's even more impressive than the word search itself. Actually, it's kind of a word search crossed with an acrostic.
SPOILER WARNING: Don't read any further until you've done today's New York Sun Crossword Puzzle. New York Sun puzzles are every bit as fun and challenging as the more well-known New York Times and they're indisputably better in one way -- they're free. If you'd like to read about an unbiased head-to-head competition between the Sun and the Times puzzles check this out. Or if you're ready to decide for yourself you can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.
4D: Discovery within this grid using the 10-Down (WORD SEARCH PUZZLE)
10D: See 4-Down (DOWN CLUE STARTERS)
And the down clue starters (first letter in each down clue) spell out: FIND THESE SIX WORDS TIME STORY TREE HOT FOUL ASSEMBLY. And from there it's up to you to find those words backwards, diagonally, diagonally backwards, however they might be hidden. Hiding ASSEMBLY in this grid was cool enough, but the way he gets the first letters in the down clue to spell out the instructions and the words -- and still have the clues themselves sound completely natural. Now that's impressive.
Usually with one of these Blindauer creations I play the second game after I finish the puzzle, but today I used the hidden words to help me through a couple of rough spots in the puzzle.
Other entries of interest:
1A: Only person to win both an Oscar and a Nobel (SHAW) I did not know that and I never would have guessed it unless you told me it was four letters long, starting with S-H. That's why I love crosswords. They make you look and feel smarter than you really are.
15A: Eton john (LOO) Now, that's funny. I know my sense of humor's not that sophisticated, but tha's funny. And I bet you did the same thing I did, read the clue too fast as Elton John and moved on to another clue -- or maybe you put SIR in there.
17A: Eck, for most of his career (ALER) That's a tough clue for a Tuesday. Those ALER and NLER's (for American and National League baseball players) are kinda tough (and unpopular in some circles). ECK is Dennis Eckersley, a Hall of Fame pitcher with a stupid yucky-sounding nickname.
30A: D and C, in D.C. (STREETS) This one gave me fits, and I used my knowledge of the one word search word (TREE) to figure it out.
36A: It may bring the kid out in you (CESAREAN) I had a hard time with that one too. I had the -REA- and figured it had to be ICE CREAM.
77A: Juice dispensers (TASERS) With all the talk about Barry Bonds and steroids these days, I wanted to put SYRINGES here.
41D: Row of keys under a touch typist's hand (ASDF) Well, this is where people who do the puzzles on the computer have an advantage over us pencil and paper people.
54D: One involved in match play (PYRO)
That's all for today. I have to apologize for the appearance of the completed puzzle. I highlighted the word search words in yellow, but I'm at work and the only scanner I have is the one in my black and white Xerox copier, and it didn't look so good. So I circled them instead -- which I guess is what you're supposed to do with word searches. Call me a traditionalist.