Sunday, March 25, 2012

Winter Webby Runner-Up: My Own Attempt at a Crossword Review

The following post is brought to you by Nick Yannacone. Just, you know, FYI.

Since my presentation was centered around the online crossword community, I thought I'd try my hand at participating in that community (for a change). Here follow s m y first attempt at a crossword review, a little like those provided every day by the voracious bloggers Rex and Amy.


F riday, 3/16/12, NYT Crossword, by Joel Fagliano

Let me start off by acknowledging that Mr. Fagliano is, if not quite my favorite, at least one of my favorite crossword creators out there today. Partially, this is due partially to his excellent choices for the crossword's answers -- "fill" in crossworld's lingo. I liked opening up my newspaper a few months ago to see "GOD'S GIFT TO WOMEN" and "STICK IT TO THE MAN" in big, bold letters on the crossword page. Good stuff.

And, partially, I think, it's due to a twinge of jealousy: Joel's younger than I am, and he's probably already entertained the world more than I will in my entire life. (... Jerk.) But, hey, I digress. Let's get back to the puzzle on hand.

Did I mention I like Joel's fill? Yeah? I do. I still do. This puzzle does not disappoint, with marquee answers like "SPACE JAM" (best movie of the 90s? probably) and UCSC's "BANANA SLUG"s filling the grid. I can't hate anything that involves both Michael Jordan and banana slugs, and this puzzle is no exception.

Continuing the list of "things I enjoyed seeing, would like to see more of, and might sell considerable amounts of my soul in order to achieve that aim" are the following:

  • "ALPHABET," clued as "It breaks the 'I before E' rule"
  • Hilariously-named author "DAVE EGGERS"
  • "GANDALF," including a reference to the (in?)famous Balrog scene
  • Jason Bourne's "CIA AGENT"S
  • A "GAG GIFT"

All good stuff, indeed.

Now, there were a few rough spots in the puzzle in order to facilitate the vast volumes of sweetness... I'm looking at you, "ECOL." You may stand for an important field of science, but you are not a word! How dare you appear in my cross-WORD puzzle! You should be ashamed of yourself.

Sorry you all had to hear that.

I'm also not totally a fan of "IONA," abbreviation "ADM.," and partial phrase "A LIE." But, hey, I got the cool stuff I came for.

The real advantage of this puzzle, though, is that it has a decidedly Stanford bent. Just look at that beautiful "TECHY," spread out right across the center of the puzzle! (There are no FUZZIES in sight, which is... sadly typical for much of my techy life. Sigh....) More significantly, right down in the southeast section of the puzzle is our very own President "HENNESSY!" Of course, the clue tries to be all "oh, there are other people who do crosswords, too" about it and references, I dunno, some kind of Brandy, but we all know what it's REALLY talking about, right?

Anyway, this was a pretty great puzzle from a pretty great puzzle creator. As I've said before, I can't hate anything with slugs AND MJ in it, and, with President Hennessy to boot? No complaints, no complaints at all. This was a pretty nice way to start the weekend, and I hope Mr. Fagliano sees fit to bestow his lexical gifts on the world again sometime soon.

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