I guessed who wrote today's Friday puzzle (answers) before I even read it. With only 21 blocks (black squares) it had to be a Manny Nosowsky. Check out my list of puzzles with the fewest blocks. Only two puzzles have fewer and one, the record holder at 19, is also by Mr. Nosowsky. Of the 14 puzzles with 21 or fewer blocks, 9 are by him and 5 are by everyone else put together.
Fewest blocks is different than fewest words. Today's word count of 66 is far from the record. It all depends of block distribution, and Manny doesn't compete at the top of that list. He prefers the dense looking grids even with the higher word count. The record lowest word count is 52 held by Frank Longo, who together has 3 of the lowest 4. (I don't have a page for word count on my database site yet.)
Not only was today's puzzle dense, it was fun. The 15-letter answers in both the top and bottom three-stacks were all good solid phrases. My favorite is "have cosmetic surgery perhaps" for IMPROVE ON NATURE.
Brilliantly done, Manny Nosowsky. And speaking of talented constructors...
My previous post posed the question: what do you call a sneaky clue like "something Elizabeth II has" for ZED where the has refers to the word itself rather than the subject of the sentence? (Not that a queen could be a subject — that makes no sense at all — but you know what I mean.) My readers came through with some suggestions. PhillySolver proposed autologal based on Greek roots but that sounds like an adjective to me. My favorite, suggested by Joon was a "Quarfoot special" after devious constructor David. I prefer to further reduce it to a pure eponym and call it simply a Quarfoot.
There's no central authority for the English language so how do we (let's make this a joint effort) make it official? Only through common usage, and here's where I need your help. Drop this handy word frequently in casual conversation, or better yet in your next NYT Op-Ed piece. Years from now scholars will debate the first reference and the mysterious Joon will show up in an archived web search sparking great debate in academia.
Of course words continue to evolve. The capitalized Quarfoot will soon become merely the quarfoot and eventually just the quarf. Similar clues will be described as being quarfy, and the even more clever clues of the future will be called neoquarfotic. I can hardly wait.
Did anybody notice I managed to juxtapose "genesis" and "evolution" in my title? I realize this may only amuse me.