Showing posts with label Peter Gordon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter Gordon. Show all posts

Sep 26, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 ~ Peter Gordon

Theme: Sing, Sing, Sing! - Three musical numbers from a 1957 Broadway production.

20. Julie Andrews' "The Sound of Music" role: MARIA VON TRAPP

25. Jimmy Fallon hosts it: THE TONIGHT SHOW

43. Avengers member with a patriotic shield: CAPTAIN AMERICA

50. 9/26/1957 Broadway debut featuring the consecutive songs found at the start of 20-Across, the middle of 25-Across and the end of 43-Across: WEST SIDE STORY

Argyle here. The theme was lost on me until I read the full reveal. Clever.


1. Sales pitch: SPIEL

6. Outback birds: EMUs

10. Sunup: DAWN

14. CafĂ© lure: AROMA

15. Clickable webpage word: LINK

16. Home to billions: ASIA

17. Grass shortener: MOWER

18. Apart from that: ELSE

19. Slightly wet: DAMP

23. Risk, e.g.: GAME

24. Healthful berry: ACAI

31. "Homeland" spy org.: CIA. (Central Intelligence Agency) Homeland is a TV series on Showtime and is in its sixth season.

32. Taxi: CAB

33. Nebraska city: OMAHA

34. "Apocalypse Now" setting, familiarly: NAM

35. Gathering for fans of graphic novels, anime, etc.: COMICON. (comic book convention or comic-con)

38. Delivery vehicle: VAN

39. Painting need: BRUSH

41. Microwave: ZAP

42. Valuable rock: ORE

48. Tolstoy's Karenina: ANNA. 864 pages; too late for a summer read.

49. Dutch cheese: EDAM

55. With 50-Down, tightrope walker's place: HIGH. 50-Down. See 55-Across: WIRE

56. Oscar winner Kazan: ELIA. Best Director—"Gentleman's Agreement"(1948) and "On the Waterfront"(1955) Also, Academy Honorary Award—Lifetime Achievement(1999)

57. Aquafina rival: EVIAN. Bottled water products; Aquafina - Pepsi, EVIAN - Danone(French)

59. Craving: URGE

60. Accelerates, with "up": REVS

61. Foolish: DIPPY

62. Military meal: MESS. 63. Cafeteria carrier: TRAY. Good pairing.

64. V-formation fliers: GEESE. They are starting to form up now.


1. "Casablanca" pianist: SAM

2. Formal school dance: PROM

3. Corn Belt state: IOWA

4. Rise into view: EMERGE

5. Cattleman's rope: LARIAT

6. Late morning hr.: ELEVEN AM

7. Venus de __: MILO

8. Disentangle: UNSNAG

9. Quick drawing: SKETCH

10. Arp's art movement: DADAISM. Dada was not so much a style of art like Cubism or Fauvism; it was more a protest movement with an anti-establishment manifesto.

11. Right away, in a memo: ASAP. (as soon as possible)

12. Namby-pamby person: WIMP

13. Midday snooze: NAP

21. Gas brand that had a torch in its logo: AMOCO

22. Florida's Boca __: RATON

25. Pageant winner's crown: TIARA

26. Exaggerate, as a stage role: HAM UP

27. Spanish island in the Mediterranean: IBIZA

28. Devastation that's wreaked: HAVOC

29. Scarlett of Tara: O'HARA. Gone with the Wind

30. Decrease in intensity: WANE

31. "Closing Bell" channel: CNBC. (Originally, the Consumer News and Business Channel.) The show is named after the bell that is rung to signify the end of a trading session.

35. Repetitive shout at a protest: CHANT

36. Required little effort: CAME EASY

37. Newspaper opinion pieces: OP ED's

40. Secret supplies: STASHES

44. Add to text, as a missing letter: INSERT

45. Carpenter, at times: NAILER

46. Suitable for all ages, filmwise: RATED G

47. Apple software for creating videos: iMOVIE

51. Omelet ingredients: EGGS. Gotta break 'em to make an omelet.

52. Prima donna: DIVA

53. Ready for picking: RIPE

54. Toy dog's barks: YAPS

55. Play a kazoo: HUM

58. TV's "Science Guy": NYE


Jan 25, 2010

Interview with Peter Gordon

Several LA Times crossword constructors and hardcore solvers have mentioned on our blog the superior quality & incredible inventiveness of the NY Sun puzzles, arguably the best in the country while the paper existed (2002-2008).

The man behind all the innovation and brilliance is Peter Gordon (the taller one. Merl Reagle is to his right), who challenged and actually caused improvement of the overall puzzle quality and payment to constructors of the NY Times during his editorship at the NY Sun. Mr. Gordon is also a very accomplished constructor. He has had 76 puzzles published by the NY Times alone since 1993, not to mention all the great puzzles he constructed under the pseudonym Ogden Porter at the NY Sun.

Additionally, he's a remarkable crossword solver, and a two-time division winner at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Enjoy this refreshing & informative interview; I thoroughly did.

Can you tell us a bit more of the Fireball Crosswords you've just launched? Why all themeless? Do you have a specific target solvers in mind?

Fireball Crosswords are weekly puzzles that are e-mailed directly to you. It's $10 to subscribe ($10.61 if you pay by PayPal) for 50 puzzles. Subscription info is at You can also pay an extra $30 and request a specific answer to appear sometime during the year, or an extra $60 to have your answer at 1-Across. I've gotten quite a few of these requests, surprisingly.

They're not all themelesses, but probably more than 40 will be. This way I'll do a theme if I get a good idea, but if I don't, then I can just do a themeless. My target solver is someone who can't get enough high-quality, tough puzzles online. There are plenty of easy puzzles available, but not too many hard ones. These should be a nice challenge even for an experienced solver.

What is a typical day like for you as an editor for Sterling Publishing? And what are your major responsibilities there?

I am responsible for overseeing all the puzzle and game books that Sterling publishes, now under the Puzzlewright Press imprint. There's no typical day, but in any day I might do some of these:

* Edit a manuscript and make a book out of it
* Test-solve a puzzle book
* Look through manuscripts submitted by authors
* Meet with the art department to discuss covers
* Work on the layout of a puzzle book
* Check over a book-in-progress from the other puzzle editors there, Francis Heaney and Patrick Blindauer
* Analyze sales numbers to see what's selling well and what isn't
* Come up with a way to repackage old material in a new format
* Think up titles for books
* Find authors for books we need written
* Answer e-mails from authors who are working on books
* Negotiate with authors on contract terms for books
* Try to make licensing deals with organizations whose logos we want to put on our books
* Look over proofs of back covers, covers, inside pages, etc.

Which one is more fun, creating a puzzle yourself or editing others' grids? And how do you describe your own editing style?

I prefer creating a puzzle myself. I don't want to edit others' grids. I do it only to remove something I don't like. I'd love it if I got grids with only great entries and nothing I disliked, but there's a lot that I don't like, so I often changed grids. I think that words that are seen only in crosswords (ESNE, SNEE, etc.), partials, unfamiliar abbreviations and the like shouldn't be used unless necessary. So if I saw something I didn't like, I'd try to get rid of it. Sometimes I couldn't, and I'd live with it. But surprisingly often it was possible to redo an area and get rid of something I didn't like. When I see a simple corner with two partials and a lousy entry, that says to me that the constructor didn't try hard enough. I spent way too much time editing the Sun puzzles. But I wanted them to be good, and that took time. Also, I tried to avoid repeating clues. In one calendar year I had fewer than 10 repeats. It meant that I'd have to spend a little more time on each clue coming up with something new and interesting, but often it would be a nice new clue, so it was worth the effort.

What kind of theme/fill attract you? And what kind of entries do you try to avoid in your puzzles?

I like themes that have never been done before. So when I got ones where it was four phrases that started with words that could follow the last Across word in the grid, I'd send a form rejection. I've seen that one too many times. And the add-a-letter-or-two-or-three or subtract-a-letter-or-two-or-three is also overdone, but at least there you can have some fun. So I'd run those occasionally, but I got so many of those themes I could have run one every day. Like I said above, I try to avoid things that you know only from crosswords. NENE is a good example. Sure, it's the state bird of Hawaii. But you probably know that only from crosswords. Can you name Hawaii's state tree? If not, why should you be required to know its state bird? (The state tree is the KUKUI.) I have no problem with words like ARIA and OREO. They show up a lot more in crosswords than in real life, but they're perfectly familiar words outside of crosswords, and I don't understand why anyone complains about them.

Where do you normally find your crossword construction muse? And what kind of newspaper/books/magazines/website do you read for inspiration?

The muse can come from anywhere. I might read or hear a phrase and get inspired. I have dozens of little scraps of paper with theme ideas jotted on them. And sometimes the ideas sit around for years before I can come up with enough other entries to make a theme. I write a current events crossword for The Week every week (, so I have to pay attention to the news. I read The Week every week, which I get as soon as they go to press so I know what will be in the next issue when I write the puzzle. I've read The New York Times every day since around 1991 (except for when I was on my honeymoon), and I read the comics in Newsday regularly. With a full-time job, plus The Week, plus Fireball, I don't have much time for books, but when I do read, it's usually nonfiction. I watch very little TV (well under two hours a week). I check out the crossword blogs when I have a puzzle, but most of my web surfing is for news.

What puzzles do you solve every day and who are your favorite constructors?

I solve the Times every day. I do Matt Gaffney's puzzle each week. I like the meta-puzzle aspect. I definitely will be doing the new variety cryptics in the Wall Street Journal. I'm almost done solving "Atlantic Cryptic Crosswords" so I'm glad to have more to keep my variety cryptic crossword fix filled. I don't regularly solve the L.A. Times or CrosSynergy, but I see them when we make books out of them. I look at the Newsday answer grid every day after reading the comics. And I'll peek at others now and then, including the Onion, Quigley, Wall Street Journal, Reagle, Chronicle of Higher Education, Tausig, Boston Globe, etc. Each month I download them all and I have enough to keep me busy for hundreds of hours if I ever have the time.

Besides having SUDOKU on your license plate, what are the other surprising things people might find about you?

After college, I went to the Joe Brinkman Umpire School in Cocoa, Florida. It was a five-week program for people who wanted to be professional umpires. I didn't make it to the minor leagues (only about 15% of the class does), but I umped for several summers in Brooklyn, and may well do it again sometime.

Also, I collect postcards that say "Greetings from" on them. I have more than 8,000.