I was really hoping this one would run on Wednesday. One of my goals in crossword puzzle constructing is to hit for the New York Times "cycle," and Hump Day is proving elusive. It's the only one I need. I thought this one could be it, but... alas.
Also, I just think this puzzle is more Wednesday appropriate. I think it's clever enough, but it's not tricky. It's straightforward. It's not a rebus, and there are no twists or jumps or anything. I've heard Will doesn't want Thursdays to necessarily be trick puzzles -- the only criterion is that they be harder than Wednesdays and easier than Fridays. And that makes a lot of sense to me. After all if the solver knows there is always going to be a trick then the trick isn't as tricky as it would be if there was the possibility of no trick.
(On a somewhat related note, I've never understood why some log-in passwords require you to use upper case characters, special characters, etc. Doesn't this requirement limit the space of possible passwords, thus making it less secure? Isn't it better to give users the option of these characters to allow for the largest space of passwords possible? Perhaps I'm thinking of this too much like a mathematician. Maybe it's more psychological: Unless people are forced to use special characters, they won't. I honestly don't know.)
But I might not be representative of the general crossword puzzle solving audience. My fear is that solvers will be expecting something trickier, and this puzzle will feel like a bit of a let down as a result. I'm writing this before any reviews have been posted, so we shall see.
The first theme entry for this puzzle didn't ultimately make it into the puzzle. I wanted MAGNUM PI ("Champagne bottle that holds 3.14159... liters?"), but I couldn't find other good symmetric entries with the initials at the end, so I had to change course.
But even after going in a different direction, it took two attempts to get an acceptance. The first grid I submitted is given below.
I was asked to rework it because of 48-Across -- GI BILL ("Invoice for a karate uniform?"). Neither Joel nor Will had ever heard of a gi. I didn't mind changing the puzzle, but I was quite surprised, as I thought gis were common knowledge. Well, maybe not everybody was a fan of MMA back when fighters could wear gis into the ring.
Alright, a few quick bullets and let's call it post.
- In the first version of my puzzle, noticed that the entry is ID CARD (no plural), so that it is symmetric with GI BILL. My clue for this was "Item 'played' to explain instinctive, impulsive behavior?", which I think is pretty good (but it doesn't really work in the plural). I just like the idea of "playing the id card," whenever you do stupid.
- In one of my early puzzles, I used the clue "'Downton Abbey' maid" for EDNA, and a few solvers complained because there is a much more prominent maid on the show named Anna. So of course, I used the same clue this time. I'm glad that it didn't get changed.
- I'm also glad that my RADIOHEAD clue -- "Band that used a pay-what-you-want model to sell their 2007 album" -- didn't get changed. I love that they did this, and I love the album -- In Rainbows. I bought it for however many dollars ten pounds was worth in 2007.
- A clue I was sad to see is "Annual mystery-writing award" for EDGAR. That certainly is not my clue. To me there is only one EDGAR, and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
[Better than David Ortiz]