Today marks Charlie Barasch’s sixth NYT puzzle and his first Saturday puzzle. I sometimes become too focused on evaluating crosswords and seeing what I can learn form them to pay much attention to the talented constructors who make them. Weekend puzzles require a great deal of special talent, so it should come as no surprise that these contributors are talented in other ways. For example, Charlie teaches linguistics at The University of Vermont and has published in several academic fields. His first book will appear in September and it is not a book of crosswords. It is a book of poetry reflecting on the dreams of 42 past presidents (not sure about the current nightmare). Check out this link to see I am not making this up (Dreams of the Presidents).
I was able to ask Charlie a few questions and here is what he told me about his art.
Well, his entries certainly 'fit' this time and made me wish I were a Professor of Linguistics. Jim will post the answer grid soon [here - JH] but to complete your degree in language arts, here are a few answers on the final exam:
1a/d One taking a shot = GUNMAN and GUESSER
17a Second in Court = ASST DA (think Sam Waterston)
18a Like a family man = MARRIED WITH KIDS (inspired the picture)
23a Pitch between columns = NEWSPAPER ADS
38a Couples aspiration = QUALITY TIME (gotcha!)
46a Be like Clark Kent = LEAD A DOUBLE LIFE (wear nerdy glasses almost fit)
8d Split = DASHED AWAY
15d Its stuffed with dough = FAT WALLET
25d Area of interest for Archimedes = Pi R SQUARED (Area of a circle, right?)
32d Beer brand since 1842 = SCHAEFER (wanted Schlitz for some reason)
39d Tzimmes = ADO (hence the title of this post)
57a Woman with a future = SEERESS (my least favorite word, but if I construct a puzzle, I want to use it. Just look at those end of word letters!)
Someone else will have to explain UNIATE and SATI as they just fit in and may not be real words.
This was certainly one of the hardest puzzles since late last December and yet it was a total pleasure. I guess I said 'aha" about twenty times. I need to go rest up now. Tomorrow will really test our intelligence, I promise.