A Written Agreement Crossword
I didn`t write any rehabilitation crossword puzzles. I`ve never liked working with other viewers: the watchful look interrupts the vanity of escape that I only exist in a virtual space of moving letters on a page. And everything in heaven – eating, sleeping, shit, reading – was closely monitored. As an aspiring major in English, I brought more books than clothes with me, hoping that a self-guided course in American literature would suit my recovery. My favorite works were those of Saul Bellow and Philip Roth: their outrageous wit was a welcome antidote to the institution`s serious blend of Mormonism and group therapy. A grid has a factual magic, as banal as it is wonderful. I was reluctant to accept the job: Resolutely committed to my new stable recovery, I feared that it would somehow prove symptomatic of a relapse to give my time so completely like crossword puzzles. But I solved the threads – from puzzles ≠ disembodiment ≠ anorexia ≠ relapse – and accepted the job. Four days a week, I would take the city`s Metro North train to Pleasantville, New York, to join Shortz in his home office, a room flooded with ephemeral crossword puzzles and littered with reference books, remnants of his days before Google publishing. I knew I was benefiting from some sort of CrossWorld affirmative action: there were a lot of young men creating crossword puzzles, more productive than me, a handful of whom even explicitly wanted to be “the next Will Shortz.” But if my appointment to the Times was political, so was my production. So it`s perhaps not surprising that crossword puzzle designers have imported the language of pure mathematics into their process. A good word could be a term with a high vowel/consonant ratio (AREA, ERIE, OREO) or extreme anagrammability (LIVE, EVIL, VEIL, VILE).
It could also be something more capricious. Why was it so rewarding to see solvers fill the squares for 1-Across with ZOLAESQUE in “Wordplay”? Was it the unlikely combination of “Z” and “Q”? The unlikely specificity of the word? Its tongue rolling noise? Giving words and letters an arbitrary but absolute value came naturally to me. Anorexics, like crossword puzzle builders, are predisposed to black and white thinking, and while some of my ideas about diet have been widely accepted in a fat-phobic culture — high-calorie snacks are “bad”; Weight loss is “good” – many of the nutritional behaviors and rituals I adopted, sacrosanct in my imagination, were incomprehensible to a stranger. I wouldn`t afford a teaspoon of ice cream, but I could eat a pint of frozen yogurt. I could have a whole stack of chocolate chip pancakes – as many chips that the dinner cook would load into the dough – but not a drop of syrup. Crossword puzzles have long served as a retreat from the material world, but it`s little more than a reflection of it: an index of worries, obsessions, and everyday language tics. I`m part of a macro generation of designers and editors who are diversifying the puzzle and expanding the crossword dictionary beyond the slump of the Arcana: we are men, women, and non-binary designers who know that what makes a “good crossword puzzle” is recognition, the pleasure of finding something you know fits perfectly into the tight corners of a journal grid. Seeing more and more people reflected in this admittedly specialized leisure activity is not only satisfying; it is political. Home » Crossword Solver » Crossword Puzzle Note: Written Agreement The term “Natick”, coined by puzzle blogger Rex Parker, comes from a 2008 Times puzzle in which NC WYETH (1-Down: `Treasure Island` Illustrator, 1911) overlapped NATICK (1-Across: “Town at the eighth mile of the Boston Marathon”) – the esotericism of crossword puzzles to be sure.
But thinking about my puzzle crossroads like Natick meant admitting that I`d never seen HBO`s hit series (no sin there), or that I`d never bought school supplies or been to daycare (maybe even more devastating). You could even say it was, to admit it, to be a man. The kitsch hardcore aesthetic of Reagle`s life wasn`t exactly what attracted me. But with his simple puns, he seemed to be accessing something basic about language – code that could be rearranged and manipulated by pure intelligence. When he used grid paper and pencil to create a crossword with the “word game” theme on the screen, I internalized the puzzle protocols: one hundred and eighty degrees of perfect symmetry, elegantly nested words, a minimum of black squares, no jargon or linguistic waste, only “good words.” This fall, I went back to university, and during persistent periods of body dysmorphia, I retired to the grid. Crossword building remained a primary source of comfort, but something had changed: I began to be recognized for my work by the audience I had ambivalently courted in the pages of the Times. Other outlets that wanted to diversify their bylines asked for my puzzles. I was known not only as a designer, but also as a female designer. At the same time that anorexic women were becoming a source of medical suspicion, crossword puzzles were becoming the subject of cultural hysteria. Newspapers and magazines in the twenties and thirties warned of a “crossword mania” that gripped the country`s leaders. The hotels considered placing a dictionary next to the Bible in every room; Telephone companies sought to increase their use, as resolvers called friends if they stuck to a particularly impenetrable clue; Baseball teams feared that America`s hobby would be usurped, the grid to replace the diamond. The passion for crossword puzzles has been described as an “epidemic,” a “virulent plague,” and a “national threat.” Shortz is known for editing up to ninety percent of the clues in a crossword puzzle submission and tailoring its references to a desired level of difficulty and an imaginary audience – one that could be as wide or as narrow as Shortz wanted.
We were annoyed, mostly amicably, by this question from the public. We had markedly different frames of reference – he was a sixty-two-year-old man in his sixties who grew up on an equestrian farm in Indiana, and I was twenty-three years old who grew up in Tribeca – and the collision of our background allowed for good conversations and better crossword puzzles. One of my proudest moments was getting him to rewrite the reference to BRO (traditionally “Sister Siblings” or “Siblings for Sis”) as “Preppy, partygoer, selfishly masculine, in modern jargon.” But when I built a puzzle in which the term MALE GAZE was prominently displayed in the grid, he insisted that the sentence would not be in the lexicon of the average Times solver; it was not “confusing.” (Although I lost that battle in 2014, the term appeared under its editorial board three years later.) On this page you will find all the answers to the crossword note Written Agreement. The dangerous fantasy of the female puzzle is perhaps best known to be recorded in the novelty song “Crossword Mama” from 1925. As an “enigmatic woman”, she devoted herself to crossword puzzles as a proxy for other modes of the time. Like the flap, it is freed from victorian corsets and customs. As a doppelganger, you shouldn`t trust him: “You call me `treasure` – it means `bee`! / Looks like I`m going to be stung without a doubt. The vanity spans nine verses: “I heard you speak of `butcher` – it means `meat`! / Who will you “meet” tonight? But like the Sphinx in front of her, the mother of the crossword puzzle asks for a solution: “Crossword mom, you leave me perplexed,” concludes the chorus. But Dad will find out. I only spent a few months in public denial, hiding my disorder from my family and friends.
But in the winter of the tenth year, it was obvious that I was stuck in a rigid pattern of behavior; I couldn`t just go back to another way of thinking or eating. Eventually, doctors and parents – and my own fear instincts – intervened. I had to gain weight to stay in school and avoid hospitalization. I decided that I would gain weight but that I would keep control: I would do it by eating “good” foods, not “bad” ones. I ate four big meals a day, and between them I wrote crossword puzzles. In my war with my body during a temporary truce, I fled into an abstract matrix of letters and words. The simple grid of fifteen squares by fifteen gave order to my frenetic thoughts and provided a high substitute for that of hunger. When, according to the stupid logic of my eating disorder, I lost something special about myself by gaining weight, I boosted my self-esteem by creating crossword puzzles, something I knew was difficult, precocious, and extraordinary. Most of what I knew about crossword puzzle construction came from the 2006 documentary “Wordplay,” in which Merl Reagle, the late syndicated puzzle maker, guides the viewer through the mechanics of designing a crossword puzzle. Reagle`s cameo is decidedly unglamorous: we see it in a mid-size sedan passing Florida malls and hitting roadside signage. “Dunkin` donuts – put the `D` at the end, you get `non-childish donuts`, of which I had a few in my time,” he says. .