April 25, 2008

Bonus puzzle from Lee Glickstein

Lee Glickstein, whose New York Times and New York Sun puzzles you've enjoyed, has a bit of a transgressive streak. Some crosswords just go a little too far over the edge to be suitable for a daily newspaper, and the Onion A.V. Club's puzzle editor, Ben Tausig, doesn't take outside submissions. In the past, Lee crafted some "Topical Punch" puzzles that drew on late-night TV show punchlines, and that sort of topical humor loses its immediacy quickly—those, too, had no home in traditional crossword publishing venues.

The internet, of course, offers a perfect (albeit usually unpaid) way to share content. Behold, Lee's "Picky, Picky" in Across Lite, parked in my Google Groups page. I hope you enjoy it—I did! If you do like it, please be sure to leave your hosannas for Lee in the comments, as that's the only remuneration he's getting for this crossword.

(Lee, thanks for sharing it!)

Updated to add more info about the puzzle and the solution, below the fold:

Did you notice the depth of the theme concept here? First, the standard theme: the letters NIT are inserted in phrases to create each theme entry. Each theme entry's clue is phrased as a complaining, carping bit of nitpicking. Many of the fill answers' clues are worded to accentuate the negative—for example, [Vexingly theatrical actor] is a HAM. Poet LEROI Jones is clued with a line that includes the word "against." The ABBA song is a demanding "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme." FEET are an [Oft-smelly pair]. And then some of the fill is negative in and of itself—see A DRAG and ANNOY. And DELOUSE ties in to the literal meaning of "nit."

Why? Because sometimes nitpickers seem to be negative about every darn thing, and there's no pleasing them. If you take a pretty good crossword and focus on two things that bugged you, why not turn your attention to a crossword that takes your vexation as a given?