October 06, 2005

Th Vwllss Crsswrd W Ll Lvd S Mch

In regards to the Friday Sun puzzle—the one with all the vowels removed—let me just say this: Frank Longo and Peter Gordon, marry me. Or, barring that, will you create and publish a lot more of these puzzles? I don't suppose there's any chance of a book full of this type of crossword?

It was great to luxuriate in a crossword for twice as long as a typical Saturday NYT, and great to have a stern challenge that didn't involve resisting the temptation to Google some obscure name. A little Googling could come in handy to interpret the answers after the grid's filled in correctly—baseball player Frankie FRSCH is what, Forsuch? Frisch? I have no idea. And I thought MTLFNDS was metal funds until I realized it had to be mutual funds. I suspect many of us have a few answers that we can't expand with any degree of certainty.

This puzzle does lend itself to creative interpretation. The Sultan of Swat vs. the saltine foe's wet. Premature births vs. promoter breaths. Negation vs. nougatine. At times vs. tee times.

I hope Kevin McCann asks Frank to write up the anatomy of this construction for Cruciverb. Did he start with a vowel-free word list? Did he just start plugging in the 15's and hoping for the best? Did he look for unique possibilities (i.e., could RSTTHTP be anything other than rise to the top?) or entries that could be interpreted more than one way (like TTMS)? Did it take a tremendous amount of time to construct, or was it a fairly routine process?

So, tell me: Did you all enjoy this twist on standard crosswords as much as I did? Do the regular puzzles leave you hungry for more of a mental workout?