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December 18, 2016

NYT Sunday Crossword: Magnificent beast

I’m about to laud the New York Times Sunday Crossword (link to paywall), “Mirror Reflection” by Derrick Niederman, for its cleverness. I am not going to spoil any answers, but I am going to spoil the clues. Except that I’m not going to say anything that you would not figure out immediately simply by reading the clues themselves. No figuring required.

Nevertheless, you might want to avoid the spoiler if you are planning on doing the puzzle.

The Across definitions for mirrored positions are exactly the same, but the answers are different. E.g., the clue for the word in the upper left corner is “One of the blanks in the cereal slogan ‘___ are for ___'”. That’s exactly the same clue for the word in the lower right corner.

I gave that example because those two positions are the easiest to describe, but it is actually one of the weaker clues. Many of them are quite clever. I haven’t finished it yet, so there may be some that are irritating, but the design of the puzzle is audacious.

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December 25, 2008

Two order of magnitude quizzes: Crowns ‘n’ Crosswords

You win this type of quiz, invented by my friend Paul English, if you come within an order of magnitude of the right answer.

1. In Boston, the going rate for a dental crown seems to be $1,200-$1,600. That’s just for the crown, not for the labor. What is the dentist’s markup on the crown? That is, how much does the dentist pay the lab for it?

2. How much does the New York Times pay the creator of one of their daily crossword puzzles?

The answers are in the first comment. So is the prize for winning, i.e., nothing but the answer.

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