The Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project received some more publicity this week, first in an article in the Palos Verdes Patch, then a write-up in The Puzzler (which can also be seen on Tumblr). Thanks, everybody—it's great that more and more people are finding out about the project!
In other news, my family gets The Pennsylvania Gazette, the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, and I was thrilled to discover a profile of the amazing pre-Shortzian and Shortz-era constructor Bernice Gordon in this month's issue! "Longtime Puzzler (2 words, 13 letters)" was written by Penn alumna Molly Petrilla, who also directs readers to a crossword created by Bernice especially for the Gazette titled "Across the Green and Down the Walk."
And now for my interview with Barry Haldiman and Beth Welsh, the first husband-wife litzing team for the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project!
|Beth Welsh and Barry Haldiman, not litzing
BETH: Really, it never occurred to me to litz together. I suppose we could try it, but I'm sure it's more efficient working separately like we do now.
BARRY: Nope. I’m pretty sure we litz differently anyway. I put in the answer grids for the whole week of puzzles first, then enter the clues later and solve the puzzle regularly as an editing check. I think Beth does more of a copy editor type of review.
BETH: We solve certain crosswords together—tough ones. Barry collects the printouts, and we usually do them when eating out, while we're waiting for our food to arrive.
BARRY: And [we solve] many of the variety crosswords seen as the second Sunday New York Times puzzles and in the Saturday Wall Street Journal, though I’ve not gotten her to solve cryptics. Finally, we do the New York Times and Wall Street Journal acrostics online together as well. Still, we solve the large majority of our crosswords separately.
- A clue for PALM was typed as "Lifetime location" instead of "Lifeline location"
- A clue for OCARINA should have read "Wind instrument" but was accidentally typed as "Wing instrument"
- A clue for POMADES was supposed to be "Hair ointments" instead of "Hair ornaments"
- A clue for SOHNE should have been entered as "His boys, to Vater" instead of "His boys, to Water."
- A clue for TRIGRAPH was entered as "Cluster of three leaves" rather than "Cluster of three letters."
Original clue: Version of a game also called mill or merels
Further description: Webster didn't define nine-men's morris very well, so I did some more research. Nine-men's morris is a two-person strategy board game. Players first take turns placing their nine game pieces on the board's twenty-four spaces. If a player places three pieces in a row (called a mill), he can remove one of his opponent's pieces from the board. After all the pieces are placed, players take turns moving their pieces to try to form more mills. The first person down to just two pieces (or with no legal moves) loses! Below is a picture of nine-men's morris:
|Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Further description: According to Webster, snipsnapsnorum is "a game in which one player lays a card on the table, the others in turn must match its rank if able, the first to do so says snip, the second snap, and the third snorum, and the winner is the one who gets rid of all his cards first." Below is a picture of snipsnapsnorum:
|Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Original clue: British keno or lotto game
Further description: Webster lists housey-housey as a variant of the British card game house. I hadn't heard of house either, so I looked into it some more. Apparently house is a gambling version of bingo or lotto played with paper and a pencil. The game was usually played by soldiers. Below is a picture of housey-housey:
|Image courtesy of Book Drum.
Original clue: Poorly played whist
Further description: Webster defines bumblepuppy as "whist [a trick-taking card game that was a forerunner of bridge] played poorly or without regard for the rules." Who knew there was a special word for an unusual card game played badly? Since I couldn't find a good picture of bumblepuppy, below is a picture of what whist is supposed to look like:
|Image courtesy of NewMachar.