May 05, 2007

Don't misbehave for the substitutes

You know how schoolchildren may play mind games with substitute teachers? We'll have a passel of guest writers subbing for a vacationing Crossword Fiend. Here's the all-star line-up:

Linda G, who has her own shiny, new crossword blog, will write the next two Monday posts. Linda cracked the whip about cluing greats like AVA Gardner with reference to their husbands, pointing out the superiority of clues that cite a woman's work rather than marriages. I concur! Could be coincidence, but I haven't noticed a wifely clue since Linda first raised the topic.

Longtime commenter barrywep punishes himself for "cheating" when he finds answers or theme explications here by giving me a dollar. What could be more charming? Barry will write the next two Tuesday posts, as well as sharing bloggerly duties for Sunday, May 13. (Barry won a shiny divisional trophy at Stamford in March.)

John Farmer is a constructor who specializes in twisty crosswords (one of which will be included in my book). He comments here as JJF and may prefer not to be teased about octopi. John's blogging about the Wednesday offerings for both weeks, as well as this Friday's crosswords.

Dave Sullivan also constructs crosswords. He helps me with the technical aspects of this blog, has been commenting here (as Evad) since the beginning, and has become a good friend. He may talk smack about me while I'm gone, or maybe he'll behave. Dave will be blogging about the Thursday puzzles and splitting next Sunday's work with Barry.

Who is sure to triumph over the tough late-week crosswords? ACPT finalist Al Sanders, the dramatic core of Wordplay, is usually faster than me. He likes to solve on paper (as seen on the silver screen), and solvers who are fast online are typically a bit slower on paper—so don't think Al's solving times are lagging behind mine. (And if his on-paper times are better than my online times, please forget I said anything.) Al will tackle the Saturday puzzles both weeks, as well as the Friday puzzles on May 18.

The Fab Five guest bloggers may or may not include their solving times. Al has offered to post his in the comments each day so that those of you accustomed to using the Fiendish solving times as a metric will have comparable data. Also, not everybody does the same set of crosswords that I do each day. You'll probably get NYT/Sun coverage each weekday, but the attention to other venues will vary based on the writer's solving proclivities. Maybe their posts will pop up in the evening the night before the puzzles are officially published, and maybe they won't appear until the next morning—hey, it'll be a surprise!

I'm most appreciative that the Fab Five have offered to guest-blog, and I know you'll all join me in welcoming Al, Dave, John, Barry, and Linda.