In other news, the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project recently received some publicity on Pinterest, a website whose mission is "to connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting." The blurb is currently on the far right of the top row, though it may move around a bit.
Today I am featuring two puzzles whose themes relate to sports team names. These puzzles were only published a year apart, though their executions are surprisingly different! The first was constructed by A. J. Santora. A. J. Santora published many brilliant pre-Shortzian and Shortz-era puzzles, almost all of which were jam-packed with theme entries and lively fill! This puzzle, which originally appeared on April 8, 1981, and was recently litzed by Jeffrey Krasnick, is an exceptionally well-done Santora opus. It features an incredible 10 symmetrical, interlocking theme entries, some of which are triple-stacked, in a standard 15 x 15 grid! Each theme entry is a word or phrase that contains a member of a major sports team; also, the theme clues cleverly hint at the locations of the teams hidden in the theme entries. For example, "Man in an L.A. shelter?" leads to TAX DODGER and "Minnesota cots?" leads to TWIN BEDS. The nonthematic fill is fantastic as well—I love the entries SLOBBERED, WINE PRESS, and SEXY! My only small complaint about the puzzle is that the theme entry DEEP REDS contains REDS in the plural, while all the other theme entries contain a singular team member. Nevertheless, this is an outstanding pre-Shortzian puzzle! The answer grid (with highlighted theme entries) can be seen below:
Both the Bert Rosenfield and A. J. Santora puzzles are exceptional—these puzzles' thematic similarity is a great example of how crossword constructors both think alike and think differently. It will be very interesting to track the development and evolution of various themes over the years when the pre-Shortzian database is complete!
Today's featured clue originally appeared in the December 5, 1982, puzzle by Virginia P. Abelson, which was recently litzed by Barry Haldiman. The clue for EMAIL was "Enamel." I was really surprised to see the entry EMAIL appear in such an early puzzle—it must have been considered atrocious fill back in 1982! In fact, according to Merriam-Webster, the term EMAIL as we know it was first introduced into our language in 1982. Apparently, EMAIL means "enamel" in French . . . good thing we don't see that clue anymore! According to the Ginsberg database, Maleska also used the clues "Bleu Louise" and "Blue-green color" around this time period. In 1993, Maleska finally modernized and used the clue "Telecommunicated messages." Though this clue is a bit clunky, it was certainly progress! Below is a picture of some blue French enamelry:
|Image courtesy of Barbara Stroud.|