Variety: Acrostic

Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon have won us over.

Comments: 22

  1. After getting some of them, I hit a total wall and eventually gave up and “revealed” the rest of it. This used to almost never happen to me with Acrostics. [SPOILER ALERT] I got YOUTH HOSTEL, RIGHT OF WAY, and EXHAUSTION. Searching got me YOKO ONO, YOSEMITE and BOOTBLACK, but that one was supposed to be SHOESHINE. I never would have known DAISY CHAIN. I had IN PARALLEL because IN SERIES was too short. I had PROTOTYPE instead of ARCHETYPE.

  2. For Starters is always an enjoyable “middle” puzzle. [SPOILER ALERT] The challenge is increased when more than one answer looks like it could begin with the same letter. I first had SIGN UP for the bottom row, but when I got NYQUIL, I saw that it was wrong. So that row turned out to be SPLEEN, intersected by the vertical JOIN UP.

  3. I have been in communication with Caitlin about a problem going on today. On the main Wordplay page, the link for this particular blog has not been posted. It is still not there on the page as of 3:00 P.M. in New York, three hours after it should have been posted. Perhaps that is why no one else except me has been able to post any Comments here.

  4. This is what I was waiting all day (since Thursday night) to say, until the post finally appeared just now (almost 4pm). This was a fun acrostic. I got nostalgia over this old joke about how to pronounce "Hawaii." I first heard it on a Brother Dave Gardner comedy album ca. 1960-ish. I have no idea if Gardner invented it or lifted it from some yet-older source. Still funny most of a lifetime later.

  5. This one went pretty quickly for. A while back one of the commenters on Wordplay told a variation of this joke, which helped me quite a bit.

  6. I started off with SNORE for LAUGH, and at some point I noticed all the final double I's, and I filled in HAWAII for all of them. With the W in HEAVYDUTY showing up as a V and me having the string EAW in place, I plunked down SEAWORTHY, which makes sense. LAXITY came fast to me, although no one ever stops to think of this pair as opposites; of course, they are perfect opposites. Not so much SINCERITY and IRONY; not sure I'm sure how they are opposites. Once I got one SAYS in place, and figured out THANK YOU, I filled in the partially completed other two SAYS, and with W in for the correct V, YOU'RE WELCOME. I got YOKO ONO off the word Imagine.

  7. My only gimmes were PROTOTYPE (wrong), YOUTH HOSTEL and MINE SHAFT. Usually I need at least four answers to get going, but guessing worked out.

  8. I have posted this problem on Friday's Wordplay, and have been communicating with the NYT Crossword Feedback, but maybe somebody here has an idea about it: the acrostic downloaded without the grid. In my frustration, I drew my own grid and solved it quickly. But then I checked back in the archive - and the same thing happens with ALL the old acrostics, whether already solved or not. No grid. I hope to find a solution within two weeks - before the next acrostic. Any ideas?

  9. @Viv Reply to myself. The NYT Crossword team solved my problem. It seems they made an update last week which does not work well with Explorer - the browser I've been sticking to stubbornly. They suggested I go to the puzzles via Google Chrome - and that worked. And they were extremely nice about it.

  10. @Viv I was having the exact same problem with Firefox, which happens to be the only browser that works well with the visually handicapped magnification software that I must use. But it seems that by now the Times people have the situation improved up to the point that the Acrostic does come up correctly with Firefox.

  11. @Jerrold I solve the acrostic using the grid at, which works just fine. I'm not sure if you have to subscribe to gain access, but there is a very low-cost, bare-bones level of subscription (not a lot of that research about how many times something has appeared, or stuff useful to constructors) that I have found worth every penny.

  12. Two scans of the cluelist gave me only SERA, AUTOMOTIVE, HEAVY and YOSEMITE, and burdened me with three bad guesses: protoTYPE before ARCHETYPE; LAngor before LAXITY and deHydraTED befor EXHAUSTED. A hard glace at the grid showed me what looked like at least a couple of GUYs talking to one another. A few more toggles back and forth and it became clear that the were FLYing to HONOLULU and discussing the pronunciation of HAWAII.The text, down to the amusing punchline was almost self-evident and the cleverly clued entries in the list were revealed.

  13. I thought this was going to be extra hard but turned out to be one of the easiest, even with the trick of "V" for "W" Gimmes: LAXITY, IRONY, AUGURY, YOUTH HOSTEL, MINE SHAFT, EXHAUSTION, THOREAU, RIGHT OF WAY, YOKO ONO I was perplexed by the many "Y"s but then saw the repeat of GUY and SAYS. I continue to be fascinated how the mind finds words that are not known items like Yoko Ono or Yosemite--what makes us certain we have the right term? Why do we get some words and not others? How can we guess a word from a single letter as happened to me with SERA? Mysterious! I want us all to go through an fMRI while solving :-)

  14. @Charlotte K Great idea! My husband was a sleep researcher (now emeritus), and used fMRIs devices in his lab. He said he'd be happy to hook me up to one any time while I solve... :)

  15. Oy vey! Easy for you to say. Delightful. Had yodel for A., at first.

  16. One of the fastest acrostics I think I’ve ever done. My only gimmes were SERA, YOSEMITE, AUGURY (although I thought that was bird entrails, not flight), MINE SHAFT, EXHAUSTION, RIGHT OF WAY, and LUCY STONE, which didn’t fill in much of the grid. But I was able to make words out of those letters quickly—“thank you” and “you’re welcome”, which turned into “you’re velcome” but was close enough. But all the “says” and “guy”s and “the”s filled quickly, and “fl_ing” had to be “flying” so it all came together really fast. Good thing, because my brain is not really up to much this afternoon.

  17. For me, this was one of the slowest solves in a long time. Just one sure GIMME -RIGHT OF WAY- and then I resorted to looking up a couple of answers (always hate to do that!), which finally got me going. The weird part is that I figured out the quote was from the novel ASYMMETRY before I had gone very far, and that allowed me to complete the acrostic with the author's name, which in turn helped me fill in many of the clues. Just finished reading the novel about a week ago.

  18. Slow start, with only SERA and the incorrect PROTOTYPE entered, with the incorrect AUTOmobile and YOUTH HOSTEL in the queue, along with what had to be something to do with mining. But I persevered. "Imagine" made me take a chance on YOKO ONO, which got me going, and I started seeing the GUYSes and SAYSes in the grid. Then the HAWAIIs (one of which was wrong). After that I went pretty quickly through the grid, which showed me some of the errors I had in the Word List. That in turn helped me change the coversation opener from a GUY to a MAN, and before I knew it there was music playing. So what I thought was going to be one of the harder acrostics in my experience turned into one of my quickest solves. As always, my thanks to our brilliant acrosticians.

  19. very funny! gimmes included SERA, RIGHT OF WAY EXHAUSTION and YOUTH HOSTEL. Cottoned onto the repetition with The FIRST GUY SAYS and THE OTHER GUY SAYS... and with HAWAII. this made for pretty speedy solving after that.

  20. Ha! I almost missed the acrostic puzzle this week. I've been editing my latest volume of acrostics all weekend (Puzzling Explorers and Adventurers -- due out later this month!) and haven't come up for air until now. I'm glad I did. I loved this puzzle! Great fun, and lots of misdirection thanks to the misspelled words in the grid. You almost got me, EC & HR, but not quite. I knew AUTOMOTIVE had to be right, so from there I was able to figure out the joke. It was fun seeing Mariposa Grove again in the clues, and I loved the inventive clue for MOUTHWASH, which took me a while to catch on to. Fortunately, there were just enough gimmes to get things started, without making it too easy. Thanks, EC & HR. A great respite from the editing, but now I have to get back at it... BTW, I posted a new free puzzle on my website the other day, so if anyone is up for solving another acrostic this weekend, you can find it on my acrosticsbycyn page. :)

  21. One of the finest (and hardest) acrostics we've had for while. Thanks Hemily!

  22. Didn't get to this acrostic til late today (we only get delivery on Sunday down here) and at first glance thought it looked difficult. But after getting some of the longer words and seeing the double i's for Hawaii several times, I could figure it out. The joke made me recall a really old riddle that goes back to the days before the New York Thruway. "What's the question to this answer? 9W" (That was the main route to get to the Catskills). The question: "Do you spell your name with a V, Herr Vagner?" "Nein, W"