July 03, 2007

Wednesday, 7/4

NYT 3:44
LAT 3:10
CS 2:49

The NYT crossword for the Fourth of July contains an extra fillip that's hidden from solvers using the Times applet—the Across Lite Notepad note (and presumably a note in tomorrow's paper) reads: When this puzzle has been completed, shade in the letters of 35-Across everywhere they appear in the grid, revealing three letters and three lines. What happens when you do that? See the image after the cut, along with the obligatory spoiler-laden discussion.

So, Patrick Blindauer's NYT puzzle requires us to monkey with the grid after solving, and when you shade in or highlight or otherwise mark the squares that contain the letters in HAPPY BIRTHDAY, those squares spell out USA...and three lines, two of which are 10-letter entries (love DIRTY HARRY!) and one of which is the self-same HAPPY BIRTHDAY, plowing right through the letter S...like the executive and branch plows through the Constitution? Or the judicial branch? I dunno. Folks claim the Times has a liberal bias, so maybe there's a metaphor in this puzzle (and maybe there isn't).

Alas, the restrictions on what letters can be used where produces certain compromises in the fill, like STEROL, SLS, CLX, ESOS, PATRI, OOZY, GPS, ST LO, and RGS.

Remember, there's no Sun crossword for Wednesday because it's a holiday. Speaking of holidays, happy Independence Day, and enjoy your picnics, fireworks, and ancillary festivities!