Thrilled to be making my Sunday debut in the NY Times! I've had a few weekday submissions accepted, but my "Holy Grail" has always been the Sunday Magazine puzzle.
I've been solving puzzles most of my adult life, and in fact, many of my extended family are major puzzlers — crossword, Spelling Bee, Ken Ken, Two not Touch — and we're always texting back and forth about these. Special thanks to my sister Jane and brother Seth, for being my "test drivers" on all my crosswords!
My true passion is music, and I play in a "dad" band called Landing Party (which, for obvious reasons, is on hiatus right now). Speaking of music, the idea for this puzzle came to me based on my first puzzle accepted in 2014, which was a play on song titles (Clue: rap song. Answer: knock on wood). I started wondering if the same trick could be applied to movies and voila.
Many thanks to Will and Joel, who were so helpful in making this a much better puzzle from its original iteration (Will came up with the PG Movie clue, which was perfect as a last themer).
Very pleased to have my 3rd puzzle published in the NY Times! My daughter Anna is an avid equestrian, so I thought in her honor I would create a horse themed puzzle. I was a little concerned that the Dickens quote "the law is a ass" would be a little too obscure, even though as an English major I had heard of it and always wondered why Dickens used "a" instead of "an". It's almost pretentious in a weird way. Anyway, I'm glad Will found it acceptable as well.
My original version of this puzzle contained more horse references (Equus, Mr. Ed, Hee Haw, Donkey Kong) but the result was too much dicey fill, so Will and Joel convinced me to drop the extra references for the sake of smoother fill. Good advice, especially for a Monday oriented puzzle.
I liked some of Will and Joel's clue changes, especially "wide keyboard key" for ENTER and "figure made by a figure skater" for EIGHT.
Hopefully all my friends and neigh-bors will find it to be an enjoyable solve!
I am very pleased to have my 2nd puzzle run in the NY Times! I have to give credit to some college friends for helping me bring this together, they were spending a beautiful summer weekend with my wife and I and we started bouncing around "boy meets girl" names, there are actually a ton of them! Some that weren't used: Chris Christie, Edmund Hillary, Hugh Laurie, Buddy Holly. So it helped to have a bunch to choose from to make the puzzle and the fill work. Not too many fill issues since there were 4 theme entries including the revealer.
Thanks to Will and Joel for coming up with some improved clues and answers, I liked the way they took "neo" and "con" and made them into one answer (now why didn't I think of that?)
After many attempts, I'm very pleased to see my puzzle being published in the NY Times! The first puzzle I attempted to construct years ago was on graph paper, and I had so many erasures that I tore through the paper in several spots. Much easier to use Crossword Compiler!
My inspiration for this puzzle came when I saw the term "hip hop" in a music review, and started thinking about the origin of the term. And that's when "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane came to mind and it all flowed from there. I really wanted to use "pop song" for one of the theme answers, but couldn't come up with a song with "father" or "dad" in the title that was well known enough. I have to thank my extended family for some of the others, as we sat around the Thanksgiving table bouncing around ideas and eventually I was able to come up with three other music genres.
When Will contacted me to let me know he had basically accepted it, he said that I needed to revise my clues and answers to reflect a Monday level difficulty. Much easier said than done, I have a new found respect for Monday constructors, as it's difficult not to have a few semi-tough clues in an entire puzzle. On the other hand, I'm glad my first published puzzle is a Monday, as most of my friends and family can at least take a shot at finishing it (and they should have plenty of time as Monday is a holiday).
I continue to work on other puzzles but am very relieved to no longer be a cruci-virgin!