Update: Today's Monday puzzle by Janet R. Bender (answers) seems trickier than usual for a Monday despite its squeaky clean theme. It includes a French word APERCU, only the second reference to a NABE as a neighborhood theater in the past decade (the last was three days ago), and the technical term WASH SALE for a type of stock transaction. Ms. Bender does almost exclusively Monday and Tuesday puzzles so maybe she's trying to raise the Monday bar. Still, DRACULA provides a bit of a bite and, unusual for a Monday, it is only one letter (Q) shy of being a pangram.
The Transylvanian Count reminds me of this puzzle from 1995 where DRACULA was clued as 1 + 76. 1 Across was VAMP and 76 Across was IRE. Nancy Nicholson Joline provided seven such theme clues.
In other news, John Farmer had an interesting comment about yesterday's Sunday puzzle which he created, and the rest of this post is devoted to cleaning up some loose ends I've been meaning to talk about.
A New Old Puzzle
The NYT archives puzzles on its web site going back to October, 1996. Only three are missing because for one reason or another they don't fit the constraints of the Across Lite software. I'll talk about each of them in future posts. One might be my personal favorite of all time but more on that one later.
Do you want to try something rare and unusual? This is the crossword equivalent of finding a lost Beethoven manuscript in an attic somewhere. The November 10, 2005 puzzle has an odd grid that breaks one standard crossword convention. I've managed to create a close-enough Across Lite version which you can try to solve if you like, and I've modified XWord Info to be able to display it with answers. If you prefer the purist approach, you can print PDFs of the puzzle and answers exactly as they appeared in the paper.
Update: I couldn't figure out who wrote the puzzle but Ellen cleared up the mystery. I'm apparently blind because it's right there in the PDF where I'm used to seeing the copyright. The co-authors are Lee Glickstein and Craig Kasper.
I often get asked how one becomes a constructor. When I correspond with successful authors that's a question I often pose as well. I don't construct so I usually direct people to Patrick Berry's Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies as the most interesting book I've read on the topic. Cruciverb.com is a site specifically geared to constructors so I point folks there too.
A reader named Allen emailed me asking if there were any courses for proto-constructors in the New York City area. I have no idea so I thought I'd ask you. Perhaps you know of support groups or have other suggestions as well.
Update: see Amy's comments.
Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle Book #1
I received Mega Crossword Book #1 in the mail recently and it's absolutely beautiful. This is the way puzzles should be published in book form: high-quality opaque paper, large size, tear-out sheets, clear and crisp typography.
I haven't tried many puzzles yet but there are 300 of them, many by well-known constructors: Patrick Jordan, Victor Fleming, Richard Silvestri, Bruce Venzke, Fran & Lou, Harvey Estes, Fred Piscop, N. N. Joline, Elizabeth Gorski, and on and on. These are original puzzles, not reprints, so I have no idea how this project was put together but as I say, it looks great.