Still with me? Ok, I warned you.
I blogged a couple of weeks ago about how mainstream crossword puzzles are hampered by the insistence on the safe and the uncontroversial. Orange commented recently that cluing RIB as "Eve's origin" was not only sketchy science but unconscionably sexist. It bugs me too that currently out-of-fashion supernatural entities (Zeus, Isis) are treated differently than equally implausible fashionable ones, presumably to avoid offending adherents. The difference is that I say, to quote the philosopher G. W. Bush, "Bring 'em on!" Go ahead and offend me. Give me something to get riled about. Amuse me with your balls. (Woops!)
Rather than give you a detailed analysis on what I think is or isn't appropriate and why, I'm taking a tip from trashy supermarket magazines. They provide inane quizzes that answer life's persistent questions. Why can't I do the same? So, here it is. What's your O.I.?
Imagine you're Will Shortz. Which of these would you allow? Which amuse you but you wouldn't use anyway? Which offend you deeply? I'll try to include some of each. I'll even help you write your comment. Start as follows: "Sir, I am shocked and appalled!". You can fill in the rest yourself. Click the links below for the answer words... if you dare.
- Ditzy dame (6 letters)
- The _____ Man's Burden (Kipling) (5 letters)
- Wuss (5 letters)
- Poop (4 letters, of course)
- World Trade Center destroyer (4 letters)
- Spectacles, testicles, wallet and _____ (5 letters)
- Book with conflicting creation stories (7 letters)
- State with the worst education system (7 letters)
- Wet t-shirt feature (6 letters)
- Clinton grand jury testimony (4 letters)
To see how you did, add up your score, multiply by 9/5 and add 32. All the answer words have been used before. The only clue on my list that you'll find in the NYT database is poop which has four occurrences.
Update: The best part of doing this blog is getting to virtually meet other addicts or, in this case, a pusher. In exchanging email with Constructor Collins it's become clear, though, that I have failed to note a couple of significant accomplishments. First, this is Peter's tenth published NYT puzzle. That's the cutoff for inclusion in my Most Prodigious Authors list so you can now check out his entire oeuvre. As he says, "Number 237 with a bullet, baby!"
More importantly, he has shattered the previous record for most number of "G's" in a 15 by 15 grid. Take that, Manny Nosowsky (mini bio here)! We all get a lot of pleasure from this hobby and so in this, an entry devoted to pushing the envelope, it seems appropriate to praise Mr. Collins particularly for tickling the crossword G-spot more often than anyone else.