69. Squares #25 (new every Monday)

To go there: NY Times Crossword Forum
(Click on “Today’s Puzzle” at the bottom of the list. You’ll have to register if you’re new there.)


13 Responses to 69. Squares #25 (new every Monday)

  1. Patrick Merrell says:

    A few thoughts about this cartoon. Although it can certainly be interpreted as a criticism, I see it as poking fun at a truth — the NYT crossword forum does veer off on tangents.

    But that’s what keeps ’em coming back.

    Also, I hinted at comments that two posters, Martin and Steve, have made there, and that was on purpose. First, because I thought they’d actually get a kick out of it. Second, because they’re fairly immune from criticism; they bring a lot of value to the forum. I’ve never met a Martin post I didn’t like (I still have fond memories of his Japanese flower arrangement tales, among many others), and Steve actually makes as many posts about puzzles as anyone there.

  2. Lizzie G says:

    Very funny Squares today. I bet that the “How To Brine A Turkey” and “Slow Pitch Softball” forums are all about Ashen and Noir. Our little crossword universe is so symmetrical . . .

  3. Orange says:

    I will reserve comment until Ashen and Noir Google their way to crossword blogs.

  4. frank says:

    dear mr merrell,


    as it was the first time i’ve seen your cartoon, i cannot tell if you’ve analyzed the NYT forum in any depth over time or just took a snapshot, but, for the most part, very few on the forum have real experience worth sharing in crossword solving or fill analysis other than what is generally available to anyone, on the computer searches. however, the commentary provided on off-topic discussions is the real reason to lurk and at times participate, in my case usually deemed to be provocative. other NYT forums died when the site demanded strict adherance to the topic and wouldn’t allow the posters to regularly stray. in my research it is the socially acceptable way to gossip and thereby exchange information initially in general and subsequently on a specific topic. if you were to meet einstein at a cocktail party, you wouldn’t go directly into e=mc2, would you ? no i don’t think you would, so the internet is a modern way of shooting the shit and only occasionally dealing with the topic at hand, the irony is the crossword is a diversionary exercise and the forum is an even further diversion, IMHO


  5. Patrick Merrell says:

    Frank, thanks for your thoughts. I don’t disagree with you.

  6. Zulema says:

    Frank just keeps repeating his assertion that we all on the NYT Crossword Forum swear by search engines. Why is that of such interest to him? Some of us don’t even discuss RHUD in the Forum since it has been a lost cause from way back when it became the default dictionary for the Editor.

    Patrick, I bet you didn’t realize that you were starting a subordinate Forum.

  7. frank says:


    my interest is in what is cited as technically correct but, IMHO, leads to unneccessary frustration. let’s use as example the fill COURSE PRO.
    confessed avid golfers don’t respond to these clues how can non-golfers have a chance ? i’ll suspect certain solvers who defend these “technicalities” are relying on computer searches and lose touch with the real world – a great researcher does not a good, however effective and efficient, solver make. so i just cringe when search engines are cited as authoritative sources and further discussions continue to use such citations. mr merrell was obviously much more effective in conveying this sentiment as he is much more talented than i in expressing such ideas. anyway, be well.


  8. Zulema says:

    Frank, I agree with you re defenses, because I have often been at the receiving end of absurd defenses of barbarous usages such as the Americanized pluralization of foreign words (Señors, which is not ambiguous at least, but even worse, Teatros for theaters in Milan).

    Patrick, we miss you, and so many others. I left too for a while.

  9. frank says:

    how about spanglish ?

  10. Jeff A says:

    Thanks for a genuinely laugh-out-loud-funny strip, Patrick!!

  11. Patrick Merrell says:

    And thanks for laughing out loud, Jeff!

  12. joecab says:

    Ha! I screamed when I read this one :)

  13. Patrick Merrell says:

    Sorry I scared you, Joe. :-)

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