Sunday, December 2, 2012

More Old Crossword Books, 5,800-Plus Litzed Puzzles, New Litzer of the Month, and a Contest

Fantastic news:  I just received more old crossword books from Stan Newman!  In addition to helping with the identification of puzzles that appeared without bylines, old puzzle books sometimes provide the only way of determining what a puzzle's clues and entries were if a PDF is illegible.  I'm going to be looking through all these old crossword books carefully over the next few weeks in the hopes of resolving particular problems that have surfaced.

In other news, more than 5,800 puzzles have now been litzed!  We're continuing to make steady progress through 1978 and are almost at 1977, the last year of Maleska puzzles.  I've seen some really interesting puzzles and trends in 1979 and 1978—when we get further into the 1970s, I plan to compare puzzles of these years more closely with those from the 1980s.

December's Litzer of the Month is expert solver Jeffrey Krasnick!  In addition to solving thousands of crosswords, Jeffrey has also litzed an incredible 268 puzzles.  To read more about Jeffrey, click on the above link or the Litzer of the Month tab at the top of the page.

Today's featured puzzle, "Planted Antonyms,"  was constructed by Ernst Theimer.  It was originally published on March 30, 1986, and was litzed by Barry Haldiman's litzer Hugh during the first litzma (litzing marathon) back in 1999.  This litzma consisted of twelve Sunday puzzles that were reprinted in 1992 to celebrate fifty years of New York Times Sunday puzzles.  "Planted Antonyms" is my personal favorite of this dazzling twelvesome; its description read, "What an origami swan is to a paper airplane, this puzzle is to the average crossword."  The puzzle certainly lives up to this description—in addition to the enigmatic reveal MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY/HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW, it also contains twelve theme entries (coincidence—or not?) that are clued in a way that only makes sense if a part is replaced with its antonym.  For example, the clue "GUSH" leads first to the original answer SPOUT and then ultimately to the grid entry SPIN—so solvers must first determine SPOUT to be the answer to the clue and then replace OUT with its antonym, IN, before entering it into the grid.  Both the original answer to each clue and the final result entered into the grid are legitimate words.  Brilliant!

Instead of explaining them all, I'm going to make coming up with the remaining eleven original answer/grid entry pairs (all Acrosses—the one I explained above was the only Down entry) a contest, which will be on the honor system.  Here are the rules:
  1. Read the description of the puzzle and example above to understand this puzzle's gimmick.
  2. If you have previously downloaded and looked at this puzzle from Barry Haldiman's website or elsewhere, seen it in a printed collection of Maleska puzzles, or solved the puzzle before and remember the answers, you are not eligible to participate.  Please do not try to find the puzzle online or use the Ginsberg clue database to check your grid answers!
  3. All contest submissions must be e-mailed to me at preshortzianpuzzleproject at gmail dot com (using the usual format) by 11:59 P.M. Pacific time on Sunday, December 9, to be eligible to win the prize.  In your e-mail, please include both the original answer and the grid entry for as many of the eleven clues as you can.
  4. The participant with the most correct answers will win a Puzzazz e-book of his or her choice!  In the event of more than one entry with the most correct answers, the winner will be randomly chosen from among those entries.  I will provide an access code that will allow the winner to claim the prize.
Below are the remaining eleven theme clues—use them to figure out the original answers and grid entries.  The first number indicates the length of the original answer to each clue; the second number indicates the length of the grid entry.  For example, the SPOUT/SPIN example I described above would be notated as: "GUSH" (5, 4).

"NOT SO FAST" (6, 6)
"OBTAINED" (3, 5)
"TEMPTRESS" (5, 4)
"LAPWING" (6, 7)
"FIRED" (4, 5)
"DISTEND" (5, 4)
"SLY" (6, 6)

The winner (and answers) will be announced in a special post the week of December 10.  Have fun—and good luck!

Today's featured pre-Shortzian entry is ANTHROPOPATHISM.  ANTHROPOPATHISM originally appeared in the February 16, 1980, puzzle by Robert Katz, which was recently litzed by Mark Diehl.  Not surprisingly, according to the Ginsberg clue database ANTHROPOPATHISM has never been reused.  The original clue for ANTHROPOPATHISM was "Cruel seas, e.g."  Webster defines it as "the ascription of human feelings to something not human."  Anthropopathism comes from the Late Greek anthrōpopatheia, meaning "humanity," and was first introduced into our language in 1847.  Below is a picture of cruel seas:

Image courtesy of Scenario League.

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