Friday, June 29, 2007

My Summer Puzzling

Well, I have been writing puzzles, but I did a lot of solving this past week while relaxing at the beach (if you were on the 75th Street beach on LBI, that was me with the puzzle book and the Mets hat). I tore through a book of easy New York Times crosswords in just a couple of days, and have been working some Sundays as well. I've got about eight puzzles to do in S&S 255 and have just started the newest one (256). I've also been working out of Stanley Newman's 100th book and the big book of Maura Jacobson New York puzzles.

I also just got a new pair of reading glasses, as closeup vision is starting to go south a little with age. It's definitely helping and hopefully it will help even more as I start seriously training for the 31st ACPT (Feb. 29-March 2 at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott) in the fall. Again, it's my aim to improve. I'd love to crack the top 50 in '08.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So What Was This "Cross-Wits" Like, Anyway?

Ralph Edwards Productions struck gold in the late 70's with the one-two punch of the weekly "Name That Tune" and the daily "The Cross-Wits". Based on Jerry Payne's busted "Crossword" pilot you may have seen online, it paired contestants with teams of two celebrities, solving crossword puzzles (more like kris-krosses) that all had a subject. If you or your celebrity partners guessed a word (off some really clever clues and sometimes daffy ones too) you got ten points per letter and additional points if you solved the puzzle. The winning contestant got to pick one celebrity as partner to try to guess ten words in a crossword to win a car.

The late Jack Clark hosted the program, which ran for five years and in many markets (including New York) replaced an earlier Clark-hosted show, "Dealer's Choice". The show was briefly revived in the 80's as "Crosswits".

Copies are very hard to find, but they're in Ralph Edwards Productions' vaults. The company has made brief clips from the program available; so go over there and watch some "Cross-Wits".

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Time Out New York" Intros Weekly Crossword

That's a crossword puzzle - or a third of it - on the cover of this week's Time Out New York magazine. The current issue of the NYC listings magazine - kind of a younger, hipper sibling to New York, which has featured a crossword by Maura Jacobson since the 1970's - has now added a weekly crossword puzzle, which will be constructed by the younger, hipper Brendan Emmett Quigley.

To herald the new weekly puzzle, there is a section of games (not unlike "Pencilwise" in Games Magazine) which features a lot of games-like puzzles, including a cryptoquotes, mazes, a cryptic by Cox & Rathvon, and a logic problem by 2007 Stamford finalist Francis Heaney.

The cover puzzle (also by BEQ) is actually a third of a crossword grid, although there is a diagram given on the inside as well as a set of clues.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"Ooooh! My show has a new name!"

First, it was "Let's Play Crosswords." Then, for a brief time, it was "Let's Do Crosswords."

Finally, it's now settled. The new name of the crossword game show soon to start taping in Chicago and on your TV's this fall is... "Merv Griffin's Crosswords".

Like the man says, "Oooooh!"