What I did on my holidays

As always, when I go to another country, I check out their cruciverbal material.  The USA, of course, has more than enough to keep one engrossed, and more than enough books etc. to purchase.  But there are weight limits to luggage…

This time round it proved hard to find newspapers at all, until a shop at Dallas/Fort Worth on our return journey yielded both the Wall Street Journal and the Sunday edition of the New York Times.  The WSJ isn’t so bad, but the NYT really requires gym training to pick up and carry away.  And this time I noticed the odd shape of the pages:

There’s Chambers for comparison – WSJ and NYT have the same long, thin format.  What would you call that – narrowsheet?  Somehow the strange proportions slipped my memory from 2016’s visit.  But the USA still uses foolscap and other Imperial measures, of course, and the paper I used to print off e-copies of the puzzles was strangely dumpy.  Having not found the WSJ on the Saturday, I acquired an e-version of the special weekend puzzle, but here it is in situ:

A bit difficult getting the contrast of the second puzzle, but it’s a Cox and Rathvon “variety cryptic”, and very nice it was to solve on the plane back (and you can find it here).  The SW corner has a standard US puzzle, NE is something called Varsity Math, which is a number puzzle, and NW has a quiz.  Varsity Math and the US puzzle also appear on the WSJ Puzzles site.

The NYT is more protective of its crossword and it’s not available online.  Given the 17 sections and two glossy magazines that come with the Sunday edition, it’s pretty darn hard to find in the dead tree edition as well.  I eventually Googled the answer – one of the glossy magazines, where there are two puzzle pages:

The earlier page is on the left: the top row of puzzles is:

Spelling Bee by Frank Longo: the standard “how many words can you make from these letters using the middle letter every time?” puzzle.  The solution to this was given three pages later, so I guess it’s regular.

Six-Packs by Patrick Berry: unusual puzzle based on phrases like HOURGLASS FIGURE where the last three letters of each word spell a 6-letter word: ASSURE.  You get clues to 12 such phrases and the 6-letter words they generate and have to supply the phrases.  Neat – solution next week.  The solution from last week was to a different type of puzzle entirely, so I guess this varies.

Thermometers by Thinh Van Duc Lai: a variant on puzzles where you fill in squares in a grid.  The constraint is that there is a pattern of (rather twisted) thermometers in the grid and you have to fill them from the bulb upwards. Last week’s solution given this week, so this looks like a regular too.

The Puns and Anagrams (by Mel Taub this time) at the bottom is also a rotating feature – last week’s solution shows an Acrostic filled the space.  

The second picture shows the Will Shortz-edited Sunday NYT puzzle (Pluses and Minuses by Ross Trudeau (how many of that family are there?)).  There’s a pair of Kenken puzzles bottom left.  Both of these have last week’s solution on the facing page.

Solving to follow, as I’m still a little behind on the regular UK puzzles, and a new edition of GAMES arrived the day I got back.

I also expended some lucre on puzzle books:

I now have puzzles from Chicago, Boston, New York and Los Angeles – must look for San Francisco next time!  The Compendium is a Stanley Newman production, commissioning puzzles from setters he admires.  It has had a curious publishing history, having been published as a four-volume series not once, but twice, before morphing into this compendium a couple of years ago.

I have a little backlog of puzzles from the current weekend to solve now, so I’ll stop here.  The 2017 APEX puzzle is slated for appearance next weekend.

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