For those of you reading this who haven't been able to litz during the contest, there's still time! By litzing 2–3 puzzles a day for the remaining 6 days of Litzstarter, you can be eligible for the Grand Prize drawing of free admission to the 2014 ACPT!
With all this litzing, we've moved into another year: 1958! In searching for a representative event from that year, I discovered that 1958 was the year 14-year-old Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Chess Championship. At 14, he was the youngest to have done so, and even after all these years, his record still stands. Arguably the greatest chess player who ever lived, Bobby Fischer died in 2008. Below is a photo of the young Bobby Fischer:
|Photo courtesy of chesshistory.com|
In other news, yesterday PuzzleNation published an interview with me in which I discuss the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project, among other things. To read it, click here.
A few days ago, I received another e-mail from Lyn Silverstein, the daughter of pre-Shortzian constructor Jules Arensberg. She had attached a copy of a charming invitation—decorated with crosswordese!—Margaret Farrar had sent to Lyn's mother 10 years or so after Jules died. The invitation was to a celebration of 50 years of Simon & Schuster crossword puzzle books (April 10, 1924, to April 10, 1974). This amazing event took place at the Private Dining Room of The New York Times—here's the invitation:
Thanks so much again, Lyn! If anyone remembers attending this party, please comment!
Today's featured puzzle (whose constructor is unknown) was edited by Will Weng, litzed by Todd McClary, and originally published on April 1, 1969. I think Will Weng started the tradition of running an unusual puzzle on April Fool's Day each year, as the April Fool's Day puzzles I've seen so far from the Farrar era seem like ordinary puzzles. If so, then this was the first of the bizarre April Fool's Day puzzles! This wacky and novel crossword features 12 theme entries that contain actual apostrophes in them, such as ENTR'ACTE, DON'T, and WE'RE, a gimmick not reused in The New York Times for many years thereafter. In fact, this is the earliest puzzle I've seen with punctuation marks in the grid! Aside from the interesting theme, the nonthematic fill has some very nice longer entries, such as WINE TASTER, ADORABLE, and RESEMBLING. The rest of the fill, however, feels rather strained, which is most likely a by-product of the theme density. The not-so-great entries include a host of pre-Shortzian crosswordese (SAIC, ANANA, ARADO, et al.); MARMORA (clued as "Turkish sea."); ABT ("German composer."); ONE O ("___'clock), which, in addition to being an awkward partial, also has an apostrophe that isn't in the grid; and MSTA ("River to lake Ilmen."). Despite these clunkers in the fill, I appreciate that Will Weng took a risk and published this ground-breaking April Fool's Day puzzle! The answer grid (with highlighted theme entries) can be seen below:
I've come across several clues with debatable stereotypes about teenagers in crosswords from the middle to late 1960s, which makes sense since teenagers were heavily involved with the counterculture back then (much to the chagrin of their parents). There is some truth to these teenage-stereotype clues, though I was disappointed not to see a clue referencing teenagers who build crossword puzzles! In any case, here are the clues I've found, along with a 21st-century teenager's assessment of each one:
- April 29, 1967 (constructed by Louis Sabin, litzed by Mark Diehl)
- Clue: Almost any teenager.
- Answer: REBEL
- Commentary: Almost is the key word here!
- June 26, 1967 (constructed by Dorothy M. Hall, litzed by Martin Herbach)
- Clue: Teen-agers' monopoly, in many homes.
- Answer: TELEPHONE
- Commentary: I can count the number of times I've used a telephone, as opposed to a cellphone, on my fingers.
- January 31, 1968 (constructor unknown, litzed by Mike Buckley)
- Clue: Teen-age preoccupation.
- Answer: DATING
- Commentary: No comment. ;)
- April 4, 1968 (constructor unknown, litzed by Denny Baker)
- Clue: VIP in the family.
- Answer: TEENAGER
- Commentary: Darn straight!
- January 29, 1969 (constructor unknown, litzed by Mark Diehl)
- Clue: Member of the go-go set.
- Answer: TEENAGER
- Commentary: You mean the set of teenagers who have used GO-GO as a crossword entry?
I didn't have to look too far to find a picture of a teenager—in fact, I even found a picture of one carrying a telephone in his backpack like his contemporaries did before cellphones were invented!
|Image courtesy of teenagecruciverbalists.com!|