Mar 8, 2008

Letters to the Editor (Mr. Wayne R. Williams)

Updated: March 22, 2009 Sunday

I've written 2 emails regarding our crossword difficulty pattern to Wayne Robert Williams, our Tribune Crossword Editor, but never got any reply.

I am getting tired of waiting, and there is no sign that he is ever going to respond to my various queries. So, I decide to put my questions/confusions/venting to him on my blog, and establish a permanent sidebar link, just for him, in case one day he realizes that readers' opinions do matter.

Please feel free to comment on this entry if you are also perplexed by or displeased with certain cluing. I will copy and paste your comment and integrate it into mine. And I will publish one letter every week.

C.C. (March 8, 2008)

Letter No. 55, March 16 to March 22, 2009 (Final week)

March 16, Monday: The clue for TACO (Salsa dipper) is inaccurate.

March 17, Tuesday, 4 Roman numerals are too much.

March 18, Wednesday, Ouch! Hard puzzle!

March 19, Thursday, it it a themed puzzle? Only two theme entries though.

March 20, Friday, Ounce should not be part of the clue for GILL (44A: Four fluid ounces) as OUNCE is the answer for 47D: Light weight.

March 21, Saturday, The clue for TONERS (46D: Soothing skin creams) is simply wrong. Toner is liquid.

March 22, Sunday. Thanks for all the fun and frustrations. Good luck with your future endeavors!
Letter No. 54, March 9 to March 15, 2009

March 9, Monday, Great ADD (What summers do) clue.

March 11, Wednesday, BLAST is answer and then clue. A BAS (57D: Down with!) needs a French hint.

March 15, Sunday. I don't get your theme title. Is HAND PICK part of the theme?

Letter No. 53, March 2 to March 8, 2009

March 2, Monday: HAT TRICK clue (Three consecutive goals) is incorrect. It does not need to be consecutive.

March 3, Tuesday: MONEY is part of the answer, then clue too.

March 8, Sunday: IAN is clue and answer.

Letter No. 52, Feb 23 to March 1, 2009

Feb 24, Tuesday: Congratulations on the 38 O record.

Feb 25, Wednesday: There should be a "briefly" with the clue for TKOS (60A: Fight stoppers). Also, the clue for LEM (36A, Moon car, briefly) is incorrect. The LUNAR LANDER is known as the LEM. The moon car is the lunar rover.

Feb 26, Thursday: "Most senior" is more accurate than just "Senior " for 63A ELDEST.

Feb 28, Saturday: The clue for NEWSSTANDS (1A: Place for papers) should be in plural form.

March 1, Sunday: 13A: Device for tossing empties: EJECTOR. It intersects OUSTED (18D), which is clued as "Ejected". Why not "Forced out"? 41D: Dead Sea kingdom: EDOM. "Ancient" is needed for the clue. 79D: Crosses: SPANS. Intersects EONS (92D: Geologic span).

Letter No. 51, Feb 16 to Feb 22, 2009

Feb 17, Tuesday: ART appears as the answer and clue.

Feb 19, Thursday, PERT (Chic) clue is inaccurate.

Feb 22, Sunday, "Ancient" needs to be added to the EDOM clue (55A: Dead Sea kingdom). I also disliked the clue for DIA (101A: Dist. across). It should be "Dist. across a circle".

Letter No. 50, Feb 9 to Feb 15, 2009

Feb 9, Monday, disliked the clue for OCTET (12D: Octopus arms, e.g.) due to letter duplication.

Feb 11, Wed, there should be a "var." mark with the clue for TABU (9D:Prohibited).

Feb 12, Thursday, too may "Be..." clues.

Feb 13, Friday, worst puzzle I've every solved, DINNER as clue and the answer, SUPPER as clue and the answer. Too many Roman numerals. Many flawed clues.

Feb 15, Sunday, DEVICE/TWIN appear as clues and answers.
Letter No. 49, Feb 2 to Feb 8, 2009

Feb 4, Wed, WEN could be clued as "Chinese Premier __ Jiaobao". The cyst clue is getting stale.

Feb 6, Fri, NCAA appears both as the answer and as the clue.

Letter No. 48, Jan 26 to Feb 1, 2009
Jan 26, Monday, "Clique" alone is enough for IN-GROUP (53A: Elite clique), since ELITIST is the answer for 28A: Snob.

Jan 29, Thursday, TEA is answer and appears as the clue for LIPTON.
Letter No. 47, Jan 19 to Jan 25, 2009

Jan 22 Thursday, LEAD (32A: Blaze the trail) and LED (51A: Set the pace) don't belong to the same grid. They are just one word in different form, which should not be allowed in crossword construction. Would be alright if LEAD was clued as "Component in recalled toys" or something metal related.

Letter No. 46, Jan 12 to Jan 18, 2009

Jan 12, Tuesday, Underwood's original clues for those Operas are far more creative and colorful.

Jan 13, Wednesday, HOTSHOT does not fit the other theme pattern.

Jan 14, Thursday, the clue for ATF needs an abbreviation hint.

Jan 17, Saturday, the clue for HALTER (6D: Reins attachment) is wrong. The clue is asking for BRIDAL.

Letter No. 45, Jan 5 to Jan 11, 2009

Jan 5, Monday, PONDWEED (20A: Submerged perennials) should be in singular form.

Jan 6, Tuesday, the clue for PANE (36D: Glass panel) is simply awful.

Jan 7, Wednesday, NARC is DEA agent, not NEA agent.

Letter No. 44, Dec 29 to Jan 4, 2009

Dec 30, Tuesday, CLYDE appears as the clue and the answer.

Jan 2, Friday, SEL (24A: SSS word) could be clued differently.

Jan 4, Sunday, 98A: Ebonics, e.g.?: NEW ENGLISH (Old English). I don't get the rationale. How so?

Letter No. 43, Dec 22 to Dec 28, 2008

Dec 22, Monday, what's the theme of today's ING ING puzzle?

Dec 23, Tuesday, AIMER could be clued as "Love, in Paris" rather than "Target sighter".

Dec 28, Sunday, the clue for PEPIN (43A: Son of Charlemagne) is wrong. PEPIN is the father , not the son, of Charlemagne.

Letter No. 42, Dec 15 to Dec 21, 2008

Dec 15, Monday, SOLO is the answer and part of the clue.

Dec 16, Tuesday, "USA foe" for USSR (32A)? No. Definitely needs "Former" or "Once".

Dec 17, Wednesday, the clue for ODDS (54D: Track stats) needs to be changed into "Track figures", as "stats" suggests an abbreviation.

Dec 18, Thursday, bad clue for FOCI (54D: Central points) as POINT is an answer for 28D: Promontory, a word I've never heard before.

Dec 19, Friday, Why abbreviated "Fr." for A DEUX (7D: Of two: Fr.) clue?

Dec 20, Sunday, What is your answer for 96D (Sound of hoofbeats)? We all have CLOP-CLOP. But shouldn't it be CLIP-CLOP? But the intersecting 105A: Greek letter is RHO. WET is the answer and part of clue.

Letter No. 41, Dec 8 to Dec 14, 2008

Dec 9, Tuesday, both AWOL clue (6A: Off-base GI) and OPIE (8D: Aunt Bee's nephew) are inaccurate. Should be great nephew. The clue for NORAS (57D: Ephron or Lofts) is wrong too. Norah Lofts.

Dec 12, Friday, DIVE is an answer and a clue. POUT and POUTY should not appear in one puzzle.

Letter No. 40, Dec 1 to Dec 6, 2008

Dec 1, Monday: PINE TREES (41A: Forest fauna). Should be "Forest flora). SLEUTH appeared both as clue and the answer.

Dec 2, Tuesday, The clue for YOST (69A: MLB Manager Ned) is inaccurate. He was fired in Sept.

Dec 3, Wednesday, 49D: Latin being: IN ESSE. Latin being is ESSE.

Dec 6, Saturday, TARSALS (26D: Ankles) are "Ankle bones", not "Ankles".

Dec 7, Sunday, FORT appears as answer and clue. The clue for DETENTE (17D: International accord) is wrong. Your clue is asking for ENTENTE.

Letter No. 39, Nov 24 to Nov 30, 2008

Nov. 24, Monday: GRAINS is the answer, then "grain" as a clue.

Nov. 25, Tuesday: The clue for UCLA (Pasadena campus), COPRA (Coconut meat), TONGUE-TIED (Stammering) are all in incorrect.

Nov. 28 Friday: The clue for AUNTIE MAME (Comden/Green musical) inaccurate. They only adapted the film version screenplay.

Nov. 30, Sunday: RAM (88A: Farm butter). The clue needs a "?" mark.

Letter No. 38, Nov 17 to Nov 23, 2008

Nov 18, Tuesday, NOVEMBER could have been clued as "Veterans Day month" to tie in with the Wars theme. SEATS is the answer, and then 2 seats as the clue.

Nov 19, Wednesday: 35A clue for ITALIAN SUB should be "Genoa-based boat" rather than "Genoa-based ship". SUB is known as boat.

Nov 20, Thursday: TABU needs "var." for the clue ("No- no"), the same with ATF (29D: Booze, butts and bullets bureau).

Letter No. 37, Nov 10 to Nov 16, 2008

Nov 15 Saturday, too many affixes.

Letter No. 36, Nov 3 to Nov 9, 2008

Nov. 3, Monday, ASIAN appears both as the clue and the answer.

Nov. 4 Tuesday, great puzzle. Brilliant theme.

Nov. 6 Thursday, BLEND as answer, blend as clue.

Nov 7, Friday, HORNET clue (67A: Charlotte pro) is wrong. They are now New Orleans pro.

Nov 8, Saturday, the clue for TRADE NAME (33D: Corporate ID) should not be abbreviated.

Nov 9, Sunday, the clue for SASH (86A: Pageant ID) should not be abbreviated.
Letter No. 35, Oct 27 to November 2, 2008

Oct 27, Monday. Great ERIE clue ("Superior's inferior?").

Oct 29, Wed: The following two clues definitely need "for short or abbr.": 39A: Tussaud's title: MME & 55D: Dallas hoopster: MAV

Oct 31, Friday, NAT (9A: Country: abbr.) could be clued as NAT King Cole to fit the musical theme.

Letter No. 34, Oct 20 to October 26, 2008

Oct 23 Thursday: The clue for MISLAID ("Lost") should be reworded. LOST TO is answer in the grid.

Oct 24 Friday: Both COHEN and UNTIL appear as answers and clues.

Oct 26 Sunday: The clue for SUISSE (1D: Genevan nationality) have included "Genève" as a hint, as SUISSE is the French spelling.

Letter No. 33, Oct 13 to October 19, 2008

Oct 13, Monday: SEEKS and SEEK. Lazy construction.

Oct 15, Wednesday: The clues for 18D & 52D are inaccurate. They are the words before the first word of above 4 theme entries.

Oct 16, Thursday: LETTERS as answer, then "letter" as clue.

Oct. 19, Sunday: BELT an answer & "belt" appears as clue.

Letter No. 32, Oct 6 to October 12, 2008

Oct 6, Monday: TRACK is an answer, but "track" appears as a clue also.

Oct 11, Saturday: SUITABLE is an answer, "suitable" appears as a clue again.

Oct 12, Sunday: The clue for STRIA (79A: Glacially produced grooves) is simply wrong. The clue is asking for STRIAE.

Letter No. 31, September 29 to October 5, 2008

Sept 29, Monday: What is the theme?

Sept 30, Tuesday: SKILLET (46A: Cast-iron pan) is not accurate.

Oct 1, 2008 Monday: PFCS (71A: Military E-3s should have specified Army).

Oct 2, 2008 Tuesday, LANDMASS answer & "landmass" clue.

Oct 5, Sunday, IDEAL as answer and "ideal" as clue.

Letter No. 30, September 22 to September 29, 2008

Sept 21 Monday: CHIT appears both as the clue and the answer.

Sept 24, Wednesday, AVE appears both as the clue and the answer.

Sept 27, Saturday, the clue for NOMINATIONS (20A: Proposed candidates) is simply wrong. The clue is calling for either NOMINEES or NOMINATED.
Letter No. 29, September 15 to September 21, 2008

Sept 15 Monday: CAKE (s) appeared both as the clue & the answer.

Sept 17 Wednesday: both OSCAR & GOLD appeared as the clues & the answers.

Sept 21 Sunday: The clue for 119A is inaccurate. The order should be reversed to "50s dance/sci-fi movie".

Letter No. 28, September 8 to September 14, 2008

Sept 9 Tuesday: GIVES clues "Hands over" is very ungainly since you have IN HAND as an answer.

Sept 12, Friday: Huge mistake on AVIVA. The Spanish walled city is AVILA. You could change GAVE into GALE for 26D, so 33 would be AVILA.

Sept 13, Saturday: SWINGS clue "Move to and fro" is simply wrong.

Sept 14, Sunday 22A: Stout's stout sleuth: NERO. 127A: Duchin or Nero: PETER 52D: Peter of "My Favorite Year": O'TOOL. Need attentive editing.

Letter No. 27, September 1 to September 7, 2008

Sept 2 Tuesday: Why LISTENING for 56A? The other 2 theme entries are both present tense verbs (STOP & LOOK).

Sept 3 Wednesday: "Fraud" would be a better clue for SHAM. It's ungainly to have two "Counterfeit" clue in one grid.

Sept 4 Thursday: Shouldn't the clue for 64A be "The end of the quip" rather than "The end of comment"?

Sept 5 Friday: So tired of your TSE clue. Awful "half a fly" all the time. I hate the clue for 40A. It's inaccurate. CRACKER only follows the last word of those theme answers. QUAG clue should have a "briefly" to indicate a shortened form.

Sept 6, Saturday: Too many affixes.

Sept 7, Sunday: IRAN could be clued as "Turkey neighbor" rather than "Iraq" neighbor.
Letter No. 26, August 25 to August 31, 2008

August 25, Monday: ELITE (16A: Privileged few) can easily be reworded because you have FEWER (51D: Not so many) in the grid.

August 27, Wednesday: The clue for EIDER (37D: Downy duck) definitely needs to be changed as we had DAFFY DUCK as an answer.

August 29, Friday: The clue for WIMPS (28A: "Hardly hemen") should be "Hardly he-men."

August 30, Saturday: OUCH!

August 31, Sunday: Family name (Williams), was it for your family reunion?

Letter No. 25, August 18 to August 24, 2008

August 18, Monday, CASH appeared both as the clue and the answer.

4 RALE/RALES in one week?

Letter No. 24, August 11 to August 17, 2008

August 12, Tuesday, EVEN appeared both as the clue and the answer.

August 13, Wednesday, LEILA (52D: Goldoni of "Shadows") was simply wrong. Her name is LELIA.''

August 15, Friday, UCONN needs "abbr" in the clue. TER (Part of Canada's Y.T) clue is too lazy.

August 16, Saturday, who is the real constructor? Tom Pruce or Josiah Breward?

August 17, Sunday, STRIA (76A: Parallel grooves) clue should be in singular form.

Letter No. 23, August 4 to August 10, 2008

August 4, Monday, RANK appeared twice both as the clue and the answer.

August 7, Thursday, some of the clues felt strange. Did someone else edit the puzzle?

August 9, Saturday, STEGOSAUCERS clue could be reworded better. Too many affixes. Not a good puzzle at all.

August 10, Sunday, VOW appeared as the clue and the answer. ALE & ALES in one grid? Too lazy.

Letter No. 22, July 28 to August 3, 2008

July 29, Tuesday, MT ETNA should have an abbr. hint in the clue.

July 30, Wednesday, UNIX ( Trademark DOS) clue is incorrect. Here is comment from a fellow TMS solver embien: "As any computer person can tell you, UNIX is not a "DOS" (Disk Operating System), but rather an "OS" (Operating System). DOS is usually restricted to PCs, as in MSDOS (the original IBM PC operating system)." ROAN (Motley horse) clue should be changed because HORSE is part of the theme answer.

August 1, Friday, OPTS (22A: Plump (for)) is weak.
Letter No. 21, July 21 to July 27, 2008

July 21 Monday: A "Var" should be added to the PREVUE clue.

July 22 Tuesday, GREEN appeared both as a clue and as an answer.

July 24, Thursday, can we change the Thursday QUIP diet? We are bored to death.

July 25, Friday: PERIOD(s) appeared in both the clue and the answer. Why TIES is in plural form while the other theme answers are in singular form?

July 26, Saturday: "Spanker" is a terrible clue for "BEATER". Too many affixes, esp suffix S.

July 27, Sunday: Good puzzle.

Letter No. 20, July 14 to July 20, 2008

July 14, Monday: STAMP should not appear both as the clue and the answer.

July 16, Tuesday: CRT (part of a TV) clue is inaccurate. Add "some".

July 16, Wednesday: FNN (Stock sticker stn) does not exist any more. STREET appeared both as the clue and the answer.

July 17, Thursday: Telephone trio (PRS). Only true on old phones.

July 18 Friday: the FREEZER/STORE clues were too clumsy. Barry Silk's originals are much better.

July 19 Saturday: SAMBAR clue should be "Asian Deer".

July 20, Sunday: EXECS clue should be abbreviated.

Letter No. 19, July 7 to July 13, 2008

July 11, Friday: 59D (ROOM) clue should be "Word than can follow the last word of those theme answers".

July 12, Saturday: Happy Birthday!

July 13, Sunday: 3D should be TOO (not To) GOOD TO BE TRUE. 84D: IOUS should be "paper debt" rather than "Paper bets".
Letter No. 18, June 30 to July 6, 2008

June 30 Monday: AVEC (8D: Opposite of sans) were clued as Picasso's famous "Colombe AVEC Fleurs" so we would have got an impressionist (DEGAS), a portraitist (HALS), a surrealist (DALI) and a Cubist's work in the grid. The FLYPAPER (40D: Hanging insect trap) should be rephrased as INSECT is the answer to 30D: Bug.

July 3, 2008 Thursday, EVEN PAR clue (25D: Zero in Golf) is silly, where did you get this "Zero" concept?

July 4, 2008 Friday. Great themed puzzle. 68A: Hem line (SEAM) is incorrect. They are not the same.

Letter No. 17, June 23 to June 29, 2008

June 23, Monday. Why so many "Res*' clues on the lower right corner?

June 25, Wednesday, is Ill/AIL/ITIS/REHAB a sub-theme?

June 26, Thursday, the clue for ILL (32D: Sickly) is so boring, so is the Quip theme.

June 27, Friday,
RE: "ONI": Why the online clue and the newspaper clue are different? Which one is your final product?
Letter No. 16, June 16 to June 22, 2008

June 17, Tuesday, 20A answer is not accurate. It's SERVICE INDUSTRY, not SERVICE ECONOMY.

June 18, Wednesday, clue for 36D: OLDS (Antique cars) is inaccurate. REO would be a good answer. 22D: NYC summer hrs. (DST). NYC is not needed.

June 21, Saturday, OLD should not appear both as the clue and the answer. Too many affixes in the grid, esp S.

June 22, Sunday, several flaws: SST, SSTS, Span/ACROSS, Orono clue should not be abbreviated, no need to add "?" to Green-eyed for ENVIOUS.
Letter No. 15, June 9 to June 15, 2008

June 9, Monday, please don't expose the theme in the clues anymore. PGA appeared both in the clue and as the answer.

June 10, Tuesday, BASE appears both as the clue and the answer. Dislike the
clue 'ENRY for 34A: Professor 'iggins, to Eliza. It should be either "Professor 'iggins" or simply "Professor Higgins, to Eliza".

June 13, Friday, 4A clue for PROVO (BYU location) should not be in abbreviated form.

June 15, Sunday, POP appeared both as the clue and the answer.

Letter No. 14, June 2 to June 8, 2008

June 6 Friday: PARCS clue should be in plural form. ARI clue Jackie's ex was incorrect, should be Jackie's second, or Jackie's O.

June 7 Saturday, can you explain why you changed Barry Silk's original clues for the upper right corner?

June 8, Sunday, DEM, TANK appeared both as clue and the answers.

Letter No. 13, May 26 to June 1, 2008

May 27 Tuesday: INNER, OUTER, UPPER, LOWER. Do you still remember your March 24 puzzle? I do. And I don't like the almost identical theme entries.

May 29, DAVIS appeared both as the clue and the answer. Pls, no more QUIP!!

May 31, Saturday puzzle has too many obscure words.

June 1, Sunday, clue for 107D: Dickens character (FAGEN) is wrong. Your clue demands FAGIN. Need to reclue for FAGEN (Steely Dan memeber). To many Roman numerals.

Letter No. 12, May 19 to May 25, 2008

May 20 Tuesday, 45A is weak.

May 22 Thursday, QUOTE theme is so bland. We are sick and tired of this Thusday QUIP/QUOTE diet.

May 23 Friday, 17A need some creativity there to make it consistent with the other homophones. 2 Drags in the clue.

May 24 Saturday, 2 finales, is it on purpose? 55A: MIR needs to be reworded. It's de-orbed in 2001.

May 25 Sunday, please clue HONAN as either HUNAN or HENAN next time. It's LABOUR for 123A (British political party), not LABOR. 2 Silvers in the puzzle.

Letter No. 11, May 12 to May 18, 2008

May 12 Monday: 21D clue fishes should be fish.

May 13 Tuesday: The clue for CRESCENDO (music peak) is not correct technically. It needs to be reworded.

May 15, Thursday. Too bland a theme. SCATS and POPS can be easily recluded as music related to fit in your theme.

May 16, Friday: 52D: Skin Cream (TONER), it's wrong. TONER is liquid. 57D: Millay of poetry (EDNA), it's incomplete. Needs St. Vincent.

May 17, Saturday, 28 S's in one grid?

May 18, clue for 59A TENDERLOIN is not "Meet cut", clue for 98D: ELYSEES is Les Champs ___, not le Champs __. It's just ridiculous to have FOOT, THRUST, ASHEN both as clues and the answers. 3 Roman numerals?

Letter No. 10, May 5 to May 11, 2008

May 5, Monday: RED COATS is in plural form, everything else is singular form. Where is the consistency? TONG is Chinese American Secret Society!!

May 7, Wednesday: EAST, IRON & QUAD could be re-clued as baseball related.

May 9 Friday puzzle, PLATECOMERS felt very stretched.

May 10 Saturday, too many affixes. unbearable.

May 11 Sunday, SWATHE definitely needs a Var mark. OUT RAN, ran out, come on, please avoid this kind of double appearance. 39A: ATL should be reworded.

Letter No. 9, April 28 - May 4, 2008

April 28 Monday: too many BARS in the 44A area. TONG is Chinese American Secret Society.

April 29 Tuesday: SHOW should be appear as both the clue and the answer.

April 30 Wednesday: TV made 2 appearances both as the clue and as the answer. Too many obscure words in this puzzle, esp the lower left corner.

May 1, Thursday: Why clue "EAU" as "The water of Paris", why the?

May 3, Saturday, too many obscure words. Read Rex Parker's comment please!

Letter No. 8, April 21 to April 27, 2008

Dear Mr. William,

April 21, Monday: Why publish the Derby themed puzzle 10 days earlier? Could've avoided 2 Throw's, 2 Time's, and 2 Sense's.

April 26, Saturday, clue for 7D is incorrect. It demands EQUINOXES. This whole puzzle is horribly constructed and poorly edited.


Letter No. 7, April 14 to April 20, 2008

Dear Mr. William,

April 14 Monday: Upper middle part "SAM" could be reworked. BAR theme could've been hidden so the last entry BAR will be a perfect theme revealing!

April 15 Tuesday: "MAE" clue should not have the movie names to be consistent with other move actor/actress clues.

April 16 Wednesday: TITS/TEATS, what are you testing?

April 17 Thursday: 2 "period" in the clue, and they are together. PAU for 36 D is legit but too hard. "TELL' should not appear both as answer and as part of the clue. Clue for SEATS should be "Tickets details" instead of "Ticket details".

April 18, Saturday is good.

April 19, Sunday's theme should be BEFORE TAX, rather than AFTER TAX.


Letter No. 6, April 7 to April 12, 2008

Dear Mr. William,

April 7 Monday: 3D: Summer cooler, to some: ICE TEA. The correct answer should be ICED TEA. Clue for NY METS (NYC team) could be better worded as Shea MLB team or something like that.

April 8 Tuesday. 63D: LIMA for Succotash morsel is incorrect.

April 9, Wednesday, UFO crew? (ALIEN) does not need the "?".

April 10, Thursday, the intersection of LILT and JILT is not pretty. Second day in a roll for ASPIC?

April 11, Friday, Another ET. AL?

April 12, Saturday, 7A Mass product efficiently (CHURN OUT) is not an accurate clue. Another ET AL, another ETUI? That's 3 ETUI and 4 ET AL in 6 days, are you in your dreamland?

Letter No. 5, March 31-April 6, 2008

Dear Mr. William,

CODE (Monday March 31), ORAL (Tuesday April 1), GRAIN (Thursday April 3) all appeared both as the clue and as the answer on this week's puzzle. It could be avoided.

On April 2 Wednesday puzzle, 22A: "Fiddler on the Roof" village (SHTETL) clue needs an e.g. , otherwise, the exact answer for the clue should be Anatevka.

On April 3, "Couples' pedestal" (TEE) is great.

On April 4, 13D: Part of "MIB": MEN. Not a good clue.

On April 5, double appearances of STAIR and HAMMER in both clues and answers, not elegant.

On April 6, too many obscure medical/chemical terms.
Letter No. 4, March 24-March 30, 2008

Dear Mr. William,

Why question mark on 68A: Woody? (TREELIKE) March 29 puzzle?

Too many INGs on March 28 puzzle. So clunky. The question marks for 48A: Watch the boxer (PET SIT)? & 51A: Travel on Regasus (RIDE)? are not warranted.

The clue for ARSON on March 26 puzzle (Burning desire) should have a question mark behind it. The clue for PAIRED should just be Matched, not need to add an "up".

The clue for SLOAN on March 25 Tuesday's puzzle is not complete, you should not have omitted the essential word Winter ("Six O'Clock" painter).

Quite a few solvers have problems with the More ridiculous (INANER) on March 24 Monday puzzle.
Letter No 3, March 17-March 23, 2008

Dear Mr. William,

On Sunday March 23, the constructor's name is shown to be Alan P. Olschwang. But Olschwang's puzzles are all about quips/quotations, was it another author name mix-up?

On Saturday March 22, the constructor's name is Ed Voile, yet it clearly has Josiah Breward's marks, and I was later informed that the Chicago Tribunes' author was published as Breward (yourself), can you please clarify?

The Local Poet clue on March 20 is very unfair to solvers outside Chicago, basic editing should be done about 20A.

The intersection of SEA and ASEA on March 19 Wednesday's puzzle is horrible.
Letter No 2, March 10-March 16, 2008

Dear Mr. Williams,

Thanks for giving us 2 new constructors' work in the past week.

The OWLY clue (Like Woodsy) on March 11 Tuesday's puzzle is too much of a stretch.

The clue for PRELAW on March 13 Wednesday's puzzle is Undergraduate Courses, why plural form?

There should be a "Var" hint on the INSURE (Made Certain) clue on March 15 Saturday's puzzle.

C. C.
Letter No 1, March 3- March 9, 2008

Dear Mr. Williams,

Can you please let us know whether our puzzle is getting tougher as the week goes, or just random? According to our poll, 62% of the readers believe we follow the NY Times pattern, 38% disagree, and 15% are at sea. Please clarify this for us.

Does last Friday Feb 29, 2008 Randall Hartman's puzzle have a theme? If yes, what is the theme? If not, why do we suddenly have a themeless Friday?

Regarding today March 8, 2008's puzzle, how can you let 11 "S" enter into a Saturday puzzle? And so many prefixes and suffixes (er, re, est, ed, ing)? Are they on sale???


feste said...

I know from personal experience that Stanley Newman will reply to any inquiry concerning the Newsday crossword puzzle.

C.C. Burnikel said...

I deleted feste's other 2 comments because they were the same as her first message. Sometimes the Blogger software does not work well.

And thanks for leaving a comment here feste. I also received an email a few weeks ago from Mr. Newman via Orange (Amy Reynaldo). He was/is very friendly.

Wonder if Will Shortz also responds personally to his readers.

Richard said...

This has nothing to do with your letters to the editor but I have trouble emailing your blog. In the March 9 puzzle it seems to me that 39A is PREEMPTIVEBID which will make 33D AVI AND 34D ceta neither of which I have ever heard of.

C.C. Burnikel said...


You are right.

I've just corrected my mistakes.

But what's the theme here? I could not understand.

There is a Comment section under the end of my entry for today's blog. You can comment there.

Thank you a lot for the help.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet Will Shortz wouldn't ignore an inquiry.

C.C. Burnikel said...


I never wrote to Shortz before, so I cannot not really tell. Maybe some other readers have the personal experiences.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that the writer of the Star Tribune (our Globe & Mail( crossword puzzle has been changed within the last year and I find it is not as good as the writer you had previously. I can finish this one simply by using Google which means that he relies on too many film/tv/questions. This is not a test of knowledge but just of current events. I never watch tv so that forces me to use Google which is not a test of my knowledge.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Anonymous at 10:38am,

Very interesting observation.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

I find the change in crosswords for the Star Tribune to be for the better. These are much better than Stanley Newman's or Wayne Williams'
puzzles. Newman's puzzles are typically very dull.

Anonymous said...

I am referring to the online puzzle being better than the print puzzle,... by far.

Anonymous said...

May 25, 2013 puzzle has a solution word, "reloan". loan is a noun. lend is a verb.
The solution word should be "relend".

KEW/Bellevue, WA

Anonymous said...

Puzzle Aug. 27, 2015: clue #23 "flour substitute" is definitely NOT "GLUTEN"! all those who suffer from Celiac Disease and can't tolerate gluten know that is the ingredient in flour that causes them to become ill. Also anyone who cooks knows it's just wrong.

Argyle said...


Mr. Wayne R. Williams hasn't been the editor here in years.