Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't be cross

I recently re-watched "Wordplay," the wonderfully endearing documentary about Will Shortz and his crazy crossword-puzzle-solving buddies. It's such a lively, likable movie that I even watched it again with the commentary on. (Hey! I might have to also buy the companion book, which contains the puzzles shown in the movie. Cool!)

The movie inspired me to tackle the Sunday (I know, I know...the toughest* day of the week) New York Times crossword, with Rob's help. Ooh boy. In the movie, people finish those things in just a couple minutes, faster than I could fill in the squares even if I knew all the answers off the top of my head. Needless to say, we didn't do very well.

I was thrilled, though, to find this Weblog, all about one man's daily NYT crossword puzzling. He dissects each puzzle, listing the clues that tripped him up and the ones he especially liked. It's fun to tackle the puzzle yourself and compare notes. Of course, the one we wrangled over, he listed as "easy-medium.' Right. Heh.

*As my many sharp-eyed, crossword-sweating commentors noted, not the hardest...Sunday is the longest, Saturday is the hardest. Heh, am I discussing porn here, or crosswords?

14 comments:

Rex Parker said...

Thank you for the shout-out, Ms. Junk Mail.

RP

growler said...

Actually, Saturday's puzzle is the hardest. Really. Shortz has said so himself.

Sunday's just seems harder 'cause it's so much bigger.

Megan P said...

I think you'll find - after you get into puzzle-solving - that the Sunday puzzle is actually easier than the Saturday one. The word is that Sunday is about the same as Thursday in terms of difficulty.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Sundays aren't the hardest - just the longest. You want a butt-kicking, try Saturday. Hoo whee.

Anonymous said...

Rex is the best. I always check in on Sunday to find out if he thought it was hard before I start doing the puzzle. You need to get through about 4-5 weeks before you feel confident about the NYT Sunday puzzle. I only do the Sunday NYT (I do the local puzzle on the weekdays) and I have finished every one in the last six months - only rarely checking with Google or Rex for the answers.

Smokey said...

Hi Gael,
If you liked "Wordplay" (which I did too!) you might also like, "Word Wars" which is very similar but it is all about Scrabble. It's very good!

FS said...

Sunday is not the toughest day of the week for the NYT crossword puzzle. Sunday is big, but it's usually about a Wed/Thu difficulty. Saturday is the hardest day.

April said...

Actually, the Saturday one is harder than the Sunday one! I think Sunday is a Thursday or Friday difficulty level. It's just bigger.

johnson said...

Sunday NYT is NOT the hardest day of the week...Saturday is MUCH harder!

Anonymous said...

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but as a total NYT crossword nerd, I must tell you that Sunday is not the hardest day of the week...it's about a Thursday-level. Saturday is the killer, and kicks my ass on a regular basis.

Erin said...

Sunday isn't supposed to be the hardest, just the longest. It's usually about the difficulty of a Thursday...Saturday is the hardest. I can't do Saturdays. I loved that movie too, along with the commentary!

Anonymous said...

Profphil

Sunday's NY Times crossword is not the hardest. It is the largest though. Sunday's is the exception to the rule: NY Times crosswords' difficulty increases each day, Monday being the easiest and Saturday being the hardest. That is Friday and Saturday's are harder than SUnday's puzzle. Sunday's is compared to a Thursday's difficulty level, albeit larger. I have been doing Sunday's puzzle successfully to completion for years. Only recently have I been occasionally able to complete a Friday's puzzle. I still have not dared to do a Saturday's puzzle, deemed to be the hardest.

silene said...

Oy, so NOW I read these comments. I just recently signed up for access to the NY times crosswords online (I am too poor to afford a Sunday at home subscription, sadly). And of course, the first one I try to tackle was...this Saturday. I think I took about three passes through the whole thing before I filled in even one letter. And finishing? oh, ha ha ha.

Anonymous said...

I bought a book of NYT crosswords, I couldn't finish a single one mostly because they are all so skewed to French speakers. Some puzzles were very heavily weighted with French clues/answers. I would love to find comparable level puzzles without the focus on foreign languages - unless I get them specifically to improve one I know/am learning.