Bernice Gordon’s Wednesday, 1/15/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)


January 15, 2014 by manvspuzzle

Bee-GeesTheme: Puttin’ letters where words should be.  Each of 6 theme answers is a familiar 2-word phrase, the last word of which is substituted with a homophonic letter of the alphabet.


Theme Answers:

  • 17A — It’s all about location, location, location : GEOGRAPHY B
  • 39A — 1955 hit for the Platters : ONLY U
  • 62A — Environs for Blackbeard : CARIBBEAN C
  • 11D — Occasion for sandwiches and scones : AFTERNOON T
  • 28D — Soul food ingredient : BLACK-EYED P
  • 30D — “Hmm, imagine that!” : WELL G

What’s Good: 1) The Fill, 2) The Constructor! 1 15 14


First of all, you need to know that Bernice Gordon turned 100 years old on Saturday.  OMG!  That makes this puzzle extremely special.

One of my favorite things about the New York Times puzzle (as opposed to some smaller and/or independent puzzles) is the diverse (and large) group of people it reaches on a daily basis.  I *love* knowing that every puzzle I solve is simultaneously being solved by tens of thousands of people around the world — old, young, gay, straight, rich, poor, male, female, intersexed, republican, democrat, smart, dumb, alien, baby, dog, etc. —  you get the idea.  No other puzzle can really compete with that, regardless of how “superior” (an unbelievably loaded term, which often misses the mark imo) some of those other puzzles may seem at a glance.

I also love the diversity in the (comparatively) large pool of NYT constructing talent, which is arguably the best way to tickle such a wide audience.  There are probably at least 200-300 active constructors publishing in the Times these days.  The surprise each day of finding out who the constructor is, what his/her idea was, how it was edited, who it appealed to, etc., is just fun.  I *like* it.  I don’t want to be restricted to just a handful of constructors.  And while I like those other puzzles, too, a big part of that is because they are almost 100% geared to people of exactly my demographic (20-40-year-old supercool party animals).  The Times offers so much more than that.

Umm…yeah, what am I supposed to be writing about here?  Right — Bernice’s puzzle.  It’s good.  Has kind of an old-school feel, but that’s really not surprising.  I would say that it really didn’t feel like a Wednesday; much more of a Tuesday for me.  Difficulty-wise, Will could have switched yesterday and today as far as I’m concerned.  But the theme is probably just enough wordplay to *not* really be a Tuesday.  Whatever.

I’m sure this sort of thing has been done many times, and will probably only be really fun for people who somehow haven’t seen the trick before (mostly n00bs, or maybe people closer to Bernice’s age — diversity!).  But the fill is pretty great.  With the exception of my little misstep of NSC and CRESS, (totally my fault) I found this to be pretty smooth overall.  I especially liked LIP SYNCS and SHOEBOX.  No really bad short stuff.  Just good work.

Thanks, Bernice!



2 thoughts on “Bernice Gordon’s Wednesday, 1/15/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

  1. howardb42 says:

    I hope i can solve these things at 100, let alone construct.
    Although ive solved this theme style before, the crossingtheme answers add a touch of elegance we dont see that often. Congrats to Bernice, and thank you for the fun!

  2. Jeff Chen says:

    Great point about the joy of opening up a puzzle, eager to see who has the byline. I think it’s fun to have such a wide diversity of constructors.

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