Critics Review Brown Crossword Week

Batter up!

The crossword blogosphere was abuzz this week about the NYT Brown Crossword week. As Wordplay showed, crosswords are no joke. A poorly worded clue or a strange reference can bring an unwitting puzzle constructor a shower of haterade from the World Wide Web. On the other hand, an elegant, well-designed puzzle can bring eternal glory and bragging rights.

What did they have to say?  

Rex Parker, the “44th Greatest Puzzle Solver in the Universe,” was the most curmudgeonly of the lot.

Zoe Wheeler ’12 earns some grudging praise:

The theme is OK, though only SAM IAMB really does anything for me. I am really distracted, for some reason, by the non-quiet Bs, especially in ABBA (the only Bs in the whole puzzle outside of theme answers) (32A: “Take a Chance on Me” group).

But Rex sniffs about 54A in Eshan Mitra ’12’s puzzle:

54A: Sound accompanying a cloud of smoke (POOF) — this seems more like comic book sound effect than actual sound. Is the context a magic show?

However, he is unabashed in his praise of Joey Weissbrot ’11’s constructing skills:

Liked this one a lot. Don’t understand why the circles are where they are, but I like that they are evenly spaced and form a nice straight line through the grid’s center. Very elegant.

Wordplay, the NYT Crossword Blog, is more even-tempered than Parker. It also features commentary about each crossword by its constructor.

Contributor Jim Horne compliments Mitra’s clues:

I particularly admire a couple of long nontheme answers. Most young boys dream of driving a firetruck when they grow up, but for me, driving the ZAMBONI seemed more fun since I imagined they got to see all the hockey games free. Even better is “No, you go, really” for I INSIST. The clue is perfect, and the answer starting with double I’s is fun to see in the grid.

He also muses:

I hope students at Brown are enjoying their week in the crossword sun. I like to think the No. 1 question on campus is “Which of our classmates do you think will have the next puzzle?” Well, maybe that could be No. 2 after “Have you met Emma Watson yet?”

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