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Billy Bratton author page

9 puzzles by Billy Bratton
with Jim Horne comments

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99/9/20216/21/20241
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1.585271%
Billy Bratton
Puzzles constructed by Billy Bratton by year
Fri 6/21/2024
COSANOSTRAWAS
AVALANCHESSOLO
MANSPLAINSTRIB
ELKPARSESALES
BITIWOULDNT
BREEDSVELCRO
DOESONSETOAR
DOORBLOWNLUCY
OPTMALTAWARE
GEYSERABJECT
OSCARBIDAGE
OHAREGRIMETSA
DELISLIMETRAIL
EELSHOLESINONE
RTSHOLDITASEC
Sat 5/11/2024
INTERNATTILA
MEETUPSMEOWED
CASHGRABINROAD
ATLASMADSTUDS
LEANTATASALDO
MRSTANTRICDON
LITTLETHING
GOTTHESHAFT
TOTALASSETS
CHANEWCARSPCP
OATSSHALEFARE
STYLEORASIREN
TOOOLDSAMESIES
ANGOLAMIXTAPE
REAPEDITSHOT
Tue 4/2/2024
RAFTBLABEMOJI
ELLATIARANAKED
DOORBUSTERDRINK
IHOPENOTONE
DADLINEOFCREDIT
ETCUIESODE
DARESMETTLEKIN
ETALHOLDITBIOS
CODMOTIONSEEME
ALIRUTHEWE
FLOORROUTINEICY
EMOORALEXAM
SIDEBMAYOCLINIC
AMIGOEVENTNANA
GOTATLADYEYES
Wed 7/19/2023
HADATBESOBTS
ARESOEXUDEOHO
DECKOFCARDSORB
ENOBIOMETAKES
SARCASMFEELME
ADHESIVETAPE
NOIRTRIMKEN
OHMSSPIELBEAD
OWEAKINARTS
BOARDINGPASS
ENCODEEXISTED
SITARAPRONOUI
ASHBOWLINGBALL
UMASNAILEASEL
LETEYESRETRY
Fri 4/14/2023
TWITRPGADAMS
OHMEMUSICVIDEO
PIERONAGOODDAY
STANDPATNCISLA
YENOUTGNAT
STEEPCREDTMI
POTSYOUDOTHAT
JASONELMTURKS
ICANTSTOPOBOE
FEYMAINPAINS
PADSSISESP
SHTETLMINTOREO
LOVETOHATEHONK
APPLETINISHOSE
TIGERTENIMED
Sat 12/31/2022
SPARSEFANBASES
WISETOIDEALIST
INKPENTOADETTE
SCREWMIRTHBEN
HEELFINEASYET
ENDMRTSHIA
DEDICATEARTE
ZIGGYSTARDUST
TIRESCRAPPED
VIDSTOYERE
BUSEDOWOWBRAN
ESEDRAINKRAFT
READLIPSKEENLY
GUMMEDUPONETON
SPYVSSPYSODOPE
Sat 11/12/2022
HATNOUSEKOFI
OTRAANNOYIRAN
THATSMYCUEWEDS
WACOTEXASDIODE
ANTMANPAPITIA
RDSLOBAPCHEM
BANANASPLIT
YOGASESSION
ZOOMMEETING
LAURIEANDMEG
OMGTSARGOSOLO
ABOVEGUILTTRIP
DOTEKINDASORTA
UNITALIENPIES
PITSTENSEEST

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen, who is playing a small role in a superhero movie.

One way to make a Saturday crossword challenging is to include words you might not be familiar with. Recent Saturdays have asked us to know the technical term PETABYTE, the modern novelist/poet OCEAN VUONG, and the recent slang word ZHUZH.

That's not the strategy today, where mostly common answer words could easily be clued at a Tuesday or Wednesday level. The difficulty is all in the clues, particularly those that play on initial assumptions.

  • "Some budget graphics" isn't about inexpensive line charts. They're graphics about budgets.
  • "Supergirl, eg." isn't looking for details about that specific superhero, only that she's an ALIEN.
  • "It resurfaces after 20 minutes" doesn't refer to some denizen of the deep who emerges for oxygen after a long dive, it's about the machine that resurfaces the ice after a 20-minute period in hockey.

Wait, what? ZAMBONI is a common answer word?

This explains why it's difficult to judge the difficulty of any crossword or write about it. It's natural to assume your common knowledge is, if not universal, at least common. If you grew up in Canada or if you love hockey, ZAMBONI is a delightfully clever answer to a misleading clue. Otherwise, it's just a string of letters in a disappointing puzzle.

Zamboni or not, today's (mostly) common words means that your experience depends more on your ability to think creatively. If you like this sort of thing as much as I do, don't ignore the Puns and Anagrams and even the Cryptic crosswords that appear every few weeks.

Sat 2/19/2022
AWRATSSCORES
BEARHUGCHROME
REVEALEDRIBBED
UZIIKNEWITBRA
PENDSIGEPCLAN
TREEDURNTOILS
BASSETHOUND
PAROLEBOARD
MAKEDEMANDS
HIRESVINSERVE
OLAYRELAYSOIL
HESWELLNOWUSE
ORIGINSADISTIC
HUTONESERPENT
ONEDGELEASES
Thu 9/9/2021
MARSHABANDBS
ALEKEGSCADBURY
KILOMETERSDAVIS
EMIRNOLESSADO
MEETDOLTSLAP
ENDRADIANMILLS
TORISNAIL
NUDESSERVO
MORNSTAFT
GRAMFOOLISHCOP
REMYCAKEHOPI
ODEJOANNEOUTS
CONVERTTOMETRIC
ENROLLSWELLSEE
REALLYDIYERS

Billy Bratton is the 50th teenage constructor published by Will Shortz.

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