From the Archive

Crossword Tournament puzzle #5

February 27th, 2010 at 1:18 am ET

Tonight I re-solved a clean copy of Brendan Emmett Quigley’s puzzle #5 from the tournament. (Note: No spoilers here.) I suspect I wouldn’t have had a clean solve even untimed — tonight I peeked at the answer grid with 3 squares unfilled, and one of them I probably never would have gotten (although now, 15 minutes later, I finally have understood the clueing for that last entry).

What made it hard, I think, is that the way the clues and the theme combine to create the theme entries is a little different than in other puzzles. This threw me (along with a couple hundred of my friends), such that the theme took me a long time to start puzzling out, and I didn’t get it until it was too late. In fact, I realize now that I understood the theme logic a little incorrectly in competition — it’s only now as I re-solve that I have it right.

If anyone has a lock of Brendan Quigley’s hair, or a fingernail clipping, or anything I can use for some protective white magic in advance of next year’s tournament, please send it my way. I was originally in a somewhat less generous mood and thinking voodoo, but white magic is so much more in the spirit of the event. Besides, with crossword construction powers like his, he’s probably immune to black magic anyway. Along with my white magic, I plan to do every puzzle on Brendan’s Web site between now and next year’s tournament. Best to be prepared.

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