September 10, 2007


I caught the last 15 minutes of today's hour of Merv Griffin's Crosswords. The gist of it is two contestants and three spoilers rotating through two podia, trying to answer each crossword clue that's presented to them. Incorrect answers lose money, correct answers win money. The money leader at the end is the winner, and he or she continues to the grand prize round in which the the goal is to fill in the remainder of the crossword, spelling the answers aloud.

Tyler Hinman watched the full hour and has some remarks about clues he deems iffy.

One caught my eye: [Six of these make a drachma] (or something along those lines). OBOLS is old-school crosswordese, so I knew it. I've been doing crosswords fairly regularly since about 1980, so many of those words we don't see much any more are still wedged inside my mind. But the word, in singular or plural, has a mere three appearances in the puzzles indexed in the Cruciverb database, two in 2000 and one in 2004. Why has the word largely disappeared from high-quality crosswords? (1) It's stale old crosswordese. (2) Greece switched to the euro back in 2002, so nobody's using drachmas or fractions thereof any more. What do you know? None of the contestants got this one. One guessed RUBLE.

My favorite thing about this game show: Spelling counts. The majority of Jeopardy! responses don't require spelling, and I can spell pretty well, so I'm partial to anything that plays to my strengths. Now, if we could only get the Merv Griffin's Crosswords people to hold auditions somewhere other than Hollywood...


Trip Payne also reviews the show.

And Tyler reviews day 2, shows 3 and 4.