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Hurry on home (and do your crossword)

I talk about the NY Times crossword a lot in relation to The Secret. I may be obsessed, but I think I have good reason. The NY Times crossword is one of the longest running puzzles around and is easily a benchmark for word play. From everything we know about Byron, it'd be surprising to me if he didn't at least casually partake.


Take, for instance, this recent puzzle.

What's that? A misleading wordplay that leads to baseball? Ya, the NYT X-word pretty much does this every day. They absolutely love baseball; much to my chagrin. Does this particular use of wordplay sound familiar? Did Byron do this exact thing?


Could this be a coincidence, and people just like that whole 'home/home' concept? Sure. But there are other eyebrow raising oddities. I posted one here a while back. Regardless, whether Byron directly ripped off common NYT riddles isn't the point to this post. (though I do think it's worth investigating more)


The point of this post is simply to discuss a common trope I hear with this puzzle. Should we 'keep it simple' and stick with the 'best' answer when it comes to these verses? I get it, the first two found were pretty darn straight forward. Heck, "L sits" was literally a proper noun starting with L--Lincoln--sitting in a chair.


However, JJP has since repeatedly stated that not all puzzles work the same, and he and Byron have both stated that theses things vary in difficulty.


How does the NY Times Crossword vary difficulty? Through indirection.


You can count on Monday answers pretty much being face value.

"Send too many emails" = spam

"Online marketplace for crafts" = Etsy


But when we get to Saturday, that's where it gets fun!

"Ticks off" = Anger, obviously... wait, what? ... the answer is Counts!

"Something that not a single person can go in." = Tough, misleading riddle. Answer: Carpool lane

"One known for making House calls." = Your friendly caregiver Nancy Pelosi, of course. (Interesting cap H helping with the puzzle, but not relating directly to the state of the answer, eh?)


And those are all just last Saturday!


Many, many people solve Monday. Very few solve Saturday.


Is it possible we simply solved the Monday puzzles? Might Byron's impression of what makes something difficult have been influenced by a long running, common puzzle of the time?

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Sabrina X
Sabrina X
Apr 21, 2022

Hey Phil!

Guess we're at the similar places in our reasoning/obsessions. I think a valid interpretation does not necessarily have to be easy to figure out (like L sit). But once you do, it should "click" and not be difficult to explain. And crosswords definitely use this process often! If by some sort of miracle we could know the answer to all the remaining verses, I feel like we'd find a few idioms.


I've been sitting on my interpretation of v5 "wingless bird" for a year now. I'm fairly certain at this point that the line's answer is "kite", or at least that it has great merit. "A bird with no wings that can fly". The merriam-webster 9th ed (1983)'s…


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Sabrina X
Sabrina X
May 26, 2022
Replying to

I had noticed this about the jap clues scans as well! I definitely think it could be referring to two different things. Or maybe something interlinked, but still in two parts? (if that makes sense!)

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HCS137
HCS137
Feb 06, 2022

Now this makes me wonder if/how the NYT crossword puzzles may have influenced Byron…nice angle. I could totally see “Rhapsodic man” as a clue in a puzzle back in’81 or ‘82. I think you can access archived puzzles thru the NYT but, of course, you need to purchase a subscription. I wonder if there is another means to search some possible Secret verse lines (to discover if they might have been clues in an old crossword)?

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Fenix
Fenix
Feb 05, 2022

I bet Preiss was bad at these crossword puzzles…😁 Great stuff as always!

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phrabbott
phrabbott
Feb 05, 2022
Replying to

*tick off that money.

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StrangeMorris
StrangeMorris
Feb 05, 2022

This is exactly why I only attempt to tackle the NY Times Mini Crossword.

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Unknown member
Feb 05, 2022

This explains so much... I suck at crosswords.

But seriously, this is brilliant.

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