Tuesday 20 November 2012

Fortnight nightie-night

Just a pair of weekly puzzles left after this week!  Don't worry, puzzles will continue, though at a slower and less regular rate.  However, there will also be more puzzle-related stuff (ramblings and half-baked ideas, mostly) posted periodically, so I do hope you'll stick around.

But for now:

Every time I write a themed puzzle, I'm convinced that I've used up the last of my cruciverbal creativity and that I'll never be able to think up another theme.  And every time, just when I need a new one the most, one materializes out of thin air (you may have noticed that I pretty much post whatever kinds of puzzles I feel like posting; however, I hate to go too long without a themed puzzle, and every few weeks a new one seems necessary).  Such was the case this week.  I was recording a new album with my band Ink Road, and didn't think I'd have to time to crank out a solid full-sized puzzle, so I figured a 13x13 would have to do.  The challenge was coming up with a theme that felt complete using little grid real estate. Jeffrey Harris said once that "if I solve a puzzle with three theme entries, I want that to be not because there was no room for a fourth entry, but because there is no fourth entry."  Good advice to constructors, I think, and I wanted to heed it.  Miraculously, just this afternoon while running errands and fretting about still having to write a puzzle and get some shut-eye for work in the morning, a theme idea came to me for which I could think of only 3 short entries plus a revealer.  The rest was just the proverbial 10% perspiration (I believe the original quote referred to "genius"; I don't think this puzzle is ingenious, for the record).  Actually, even the third theme entry doesn't quite belong, in a way, but I think it gets the job done.

On a related note, my backup idea was a freestyle with a mini-theme, the gist of which I'll present to you in the form of a puzzle:

I'm thinking of a pair of 2-word terms, both of which have the enumerations (5, 5) (i.e. 2 5-letter words each).  They can both be clued as follows: [It might be listened to as a sleeping aid].  The first words of each can be paired to form a new term clued as [Metaphor-heavy sea beast of literature].  The last two words of each original term can also be paired to form a term clued as [Avant-garde genre for Sonic Youth, at times].  What are the terms?  I have no idea if this is difficult or not, but they were going to be the seed entries because I thought it was neat.

Answer: WHITE NOISE and WHALE MUSIC, which can be repaired as WHITE WHALE and NOISE MUSIC.  (highlight to view)

A more elegant puzzle would have the pair rearranged to form terms related to the originals (the holy grail would be all four terms sharing a single clue), but I couldn't think of any.

More words, crossed and otherwise, next Tuesday.

ps That link to my band above is hilariously dated, as is most of our web presence.  Only 2 of 5 current members were on the last album, and some pictures out there have like 4 extra people in them.

Puzzle: Sack Attack
Rating: XW-PG13
Difficulty: Mild


jefe said...

What's the original word/phrase for 32A?

e.a. said...

delightfully weird.

Bananarchy said...

SCHNOOKUMS. I learned (once it was too late to change, of course), that SNOOKUMS is a common (maybe more common) alternative.