September 16, 2005

Crosswords for readers

If you prefer literary clues to sports ones, consider acquiring a copy of Literary Crosswords: 50 All-New Puzzles from Austen to Zola (Sterling; $5.95). Matt Gaffney capably edited the volume, which features a smattering of 13x13 and 17x17 grids in addition to 15x15's. You'll be pleased with how much you know about literature, learn something new, or both. The roster of constructors includes Gaffney as well as Harvey Estes, Brendan Emmett Quigley, Matt Jones, Trip Payne, Patrick Jordan, Rich Norris, Cathy Millhauser, Elizabeth Gorski, Mike Selinker, Thomas Schier, Raymond Hamel, Sam Bellotto, and Fred Piscop.

My favorites were Estes' "Poe Folks" (I love Poe, plus "Brooklyn poetry?" for VOICES is priceless/dreadful), Selinker's "Devilish" (featuring definitions from Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary), and Jones's "Out of Africa" (writers from Africa). The most vexing was Gaffney's "Follow the Heard," which had a fun homonym theme but slaughtered me by crossing the J and M in JAMAR with JUJU and MEZE. Dude...ouch.