The Impossible Crossword

5 Dec

While Jim and I were on our voyage home this weekend, we attempted the USA Today Crossword puzzle. We were able to piece together most entries, and it was an enjoyable experience for us.

The second resort we stayed at offered us the NY Times crossword puzzle on Thursday. I’ve always heard (from Carrie Bradshaw) that the NYT was a killer.

She was right. Enclosed below is the puzzle in the December 3 edition of the NYT, written by Joe Kozel. Highlighted in yellow are the words that Jim and I got right on the first attempt.

I do not understand why someone would make the puzzle so ridiculously difficult. The puzzle was full of acronyms as well, which stretched the brain to impossible lengths. For example, the clues for both 1 across and 8 across are “Orient.”

I also find it rather frustrating when the clues do not indicate that the “word” is actually a phrase, or “two words.” The clues would indicate when something was an abbreviation – why not a phrase? Take 12 down for instance, the clue being “Pit-____.” Two things immediately came to mind – bull and stop. But no, it was “a pat.” Who the f says that?

This makes me wonder about the clientele of the NYT – are any of these people real? Or perhaps they’re all savants. Do they have real jobs, or are they able to have their heads in dictionaries all day? Do any of them shop for their own groceries, clean their own toilets, and pick up their dog’s poop? After reading the comments staying that Mr. Kozel had put together a “great puzzle” I am shocked that these people actually exist. And somewhat jealous.

For Jim and I’s sanity, when we look to do a crossword, we’ll stick with the USA Today or the People magazine editions.

For your reference, here are the clues:

Across Down
1. Orient : FAREAST
8. Orient : SITUATE
15. Ace : AVIATOR
16. Ace : ONESPOT
17. Lower in stature : DEGRADE
18. Lower in stature : BENEATH
19. Part of B.C.E. : ERA
20. Shakes : LOSES
22. Runnin’ ___, 1944 N.C.A.A. basketball champs : UTES
23. Party favorites? : ALIST
24. Onetime sponsor of Richard Petty and Mario Andretti : STP
26. Uses a needle : SEWS
29. Dummy : DOPE
31. Epitome of simplicity : ABC
34. I, for one : PRONOUN
38. I, for one : NUMERAL
40. Understanding : ENTENTE
41. Understanding : EMPATHY
42. Tire : WEAROUT
43. Tire : RETREAD
44. Tax form datum: Abbr. : SSN
45. Major sight in the sky? : URSA
47. Ballet bend : PLIE
48. East end? : ERN
49. Sweater woes : SNAGS
53. Raw side? : SLAW
56. Sway : SAYSO
57. “Nonsense!” : BAH
60. Loose : LIBERAL
63. Loose : ATLARGE
65. Mean : AVERAGE
66. Mean : SIGNIFY
67. Bristles : GETSMAD
68. Bristles : ARISTAS
1. What some things do in the sun : FADE
2. Profess : AVER
3. Latvian capital : RIGA
4. Elephant’s-___ (plant) : EAR
5. Whatever : ATALL
6. “Me too!” : SODOI
7. Lock : TRESS
8. They’re good for crying out loud : SOBS
9. Serpent tail? : INE
10. Good companion for an ace in Vegas : TEN
11. Burn through : USEUP
12. Pit-___ : APAT
13. Lug : TOTE
14. Old English letters : ETHS
21. J.F.K. posting : ETD
23. Ed of Hollywood : ASNER
24. Froth : SPUME
25. Lure : TEMPT
26. Gushes : SPEWS
27. Coastal fliers : ERNES
28. Odin, to the Germans : WOTAN
30. Lulu : ONER
31. Old Russian co-op : ARTEL
32. Religion with an apostrophe in its name : BAHAI
33. River through Glasgow : CLYDE
35. “___ Own,” 1989 #2 hit by Bobby Brown : ONOUR
36. Possible response to a driving mistake : UTURN
37. Trawlers’ gear : NETS
39. Brothers of the Wild West : EARPS
46. ___ result : ASA
48. Vessels by basins : EWERS
50. Lake bordered by Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania : NYASA
51. Moving : ASTIR
52. ___ body (cell part) : GOLGI
53. Denigrate, in English slang, with “off” : SLAG
54. In the flesh : LIVE
55. Aid’s partner : ABET
56. Something that’s fun on the coast? : SLED
57. Person under the Union Jack : BRIT
58. Fuji rival : AGFA
59. Startled cries : HEYS
61. Winning Super Bowl XXXIV player : RAM
62. Turkish title : AGA
64. Response: Abbr. : ANS
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