Before I get to any commentary regarding this site, I did want to plug AP.com supporter Tyler Hinman’s latest crossword essay, titled “The War on Fill.” Be sure to continue on and read the comments — some heavy hitters in the crossword world offer their two cents on the topic, including the veritable Will Shortz. Especially for those interested in crossword construction, this is a thought-provoking piece indeed. My two cents: I’m much more forgiving of any form of inelegance (whether that may be lackluster fill entries, weak cluing, cheater squares, etc.) if the theme of the puzzle is truly outstanding. Since a themeless puzzle, by definition, lacks a unifying motif, immaculate fill becomes that much more important. But anyways, it’s a great discussion and be sure to check it out. It’s too bad crosswords don’t have a academic journal of sorts — a JAMA equivalent, if you will (or, channeling my grad school days, the Journal of American History) — because Tyler’s piece could have definitely belonged. Well, maybe with more footnotes.
SPOILERS ON LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE ARE FOLLOWING!!! YOU’VE BEEN FOREWARNED.
Thanks to those who commented last week — C2 was indeed my favorite clue, the “Urban initiative that lasted over 200 years,” cluing THE CRUSADES. Pope Urban started the first Crusade, which of course spawned three critically-acclaimed sequels over the next few centuries. I was glad to come across a good clue for a somewhat dull entry in THE CRUSADES. But on the whole, I liked last week’s puzzle quite a bit, and again thanks to everyone who posited their own favorites. Feel free to do the same this week!
This week’s offering was a bit of an unusual construction; the seed entry was actually the last across entry, Row L. I originally had that on top and was working my way down as usual, and finished with the flowery entry on the bottom row. In the spirit of Patrick Berry, I decided to flip the grid and put the floral entry on top and the “seed” on the bottom. I like this puzzle, too — especially that clue at [redacted]!