Wordplay Highlights

A few memories from my 14 months at Wordplay, The New York Times crossword blog:

• My “Squares” cartoons, starring Ashen and Noir, appeared in 34 posts. All of them are here.

• “A Day with Will Shortz” (I joined him for a day of puzzle editing) appeared over six consecutive days. Here’s a compilation.

• The Doodle Pad debuted near the end of my run. Graphic representations of complex Sunday themes was another late idea:Hope for Clear Skies and On a Roll.

• I started “Ask Will” with this post at the end of 2009. Here’s a compilation, with Jim and I trading off on the question-asking duties.

• The first “guest solver” chimed in March 2010, with 14 more to follow, including one for Jim Horne. Here are all the posts.

• Also in March, there was a moving tribute to Dan Naddor when a puzzle of his ran three months after his death. The Los Angeles Times crossword editor Rich Norris had more to say when Dan’sfinal puzzle ran in Oct.2010.

• Two Times crossword firsts were featured (with download files):
the first Sunday puzzle from 1942 and the first daily puzzle from 1950.

• Bernice Gordon, at 96, broke her own record as the oldest constructor of a Times crossword.

• My favorite interview consisted of a two-sentence answer by Henry Hook.

• All you ever wanted to know about Mr. Happy Pencil.

• These posts, three months apart, featured two terrific versions of the song Poinciana: Ahmad Jamal and Jarrett/Peacock/DeJohnette(recommended by Jim Horne). I also like this theme from Spirited Away by Joe Hisaishi.

• We learned more about the first crossword blogger, Curtis Yee.

• I matched wits against The Islanders in a crossword face-off. A follow-up interview was conducted by John Batchelor on his ABC radio show.

• Sally Bliumis-Dunn shared an original crossword poem with us …oncetwice.

• Dan Piraro stopped by as a guest cartoonist … oncetwice.

• Ever wonder how a wide-open themeless puzzle is constructed?

• On Nov. 14, 2010, the game of Crossword Golf was introduced.

• And finally, here’s my fairly unremarkable debut, proving thatJim’s announcement the day before, on Halloween, wasn’t some kind of trick.


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