Monday, August 1, 2011

We Are Now Crossword Nation!

Come join the conga line at our new site.  -Liz

Friday, July 1, 2011

An Ending and a New Beginning

I've been away from the blog lately, for which I apologize!  It's been busy around here. I recently started writing a new weekly puzzle for Crossword Nation, which has acquired this blog.

Thank you all for following and contributing to Crossword City during the last 1-1/2 years.  I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience because it offered a new space to hear directly from you, the Solvers.

Tonight I'm moving to the new website where I'll continue to blog, post puzzles and explore the art of problem solving. Please click here to join me at my new home, Crossword Nation.  Thank you, and see you shortly!

~ Liz Gorski

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I came. I saw. I crowdsourced?

I used CROWDSOURCE in a puzzle lately.  What is it?

Wikipedia describes CROWDSOURCING thusly:

Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a "crowd"), through an open call.

When this "coming soon" Pottermore promo appeared in an email this morning, I was struck J.K. Rowling's newest venture.  It's lovely.  I have no stake in Rowling's empire -- just a high admiration for writing books that children and adults want to read.

Check out the animated origami in this promo . . . the books literally come to life.  Beautiful and totally enthralling.

(Did I just crowdsource?)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Naval Gazing on the Hudson

While tending to the flowers on our rooftop garden this morning, I noticed a lot of ship activity on the Hudson River. I'd almost forgotten -- today is the start of Fleet Week. Ahoy!

You and I are totally on board with naval terminology.  What's a crossword without a sneaky ALEE ("On the safe side?") or furtive AHOY ("Stern cry" or "Bridge call")?

I quickly snapped some photos to share (click to enlarge).

The parade of ships moves from Lower Manhattan, up the Hudson  . . . 

. . . north to the George Washington Bridge.  Then they turn around and sail back downtown.  

Ahoy, here comes the first one . . . 

It's the USS New York, commissioned into service in 2009, and forged from tons of steel recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

The greenery is Riverside Park.

To my eye, the ship's color defines STEEL GRAY to a tee.  I waved like crazy at the ship and crew -- whistling and clapping as it sailed by.  No one noticed.  

On the Upper West, there's nothing unusual about a waving, whistling, clapping crazy person on a rooftop.

I wanted to stay for the rest of the parade, but darn it . . . I'm expected downtown in a few hours.

To commemorate the holiday weekend, I've chosen this patriotic Leonard Bernstein recording for its remarkable crossword connection.  Alfio Micci -- one of the best and most prolific New York Times puzzle constructors of the '70s, '80s and '90s -- was also a violinist with the NY Phil.

Somehow . . . between concerts, rehearsals, touring and raising a family -- Alfio managed to construct scores of crosswords for the New York Times, many of them Sundays.  He crafted his puzzles by hand -- long before puzzlemaking software came along.  When he started constructing, everything was done by hand. Hand-numbering the grids.  Checking for symmetry (tricky).  Typing up the clues.  No internet.  No Google.  Man, the time it took to simply produce a puzzle really ate into your creative time.

Yet Alfio managed to write a collection of beautiful, literate puzzles. His crosswords reflected the class and grace with which he carried himself.

I'm in awe of the constructors who forged the way for the rest of us, doing the heavy lifting . . . and showing us that it can be done.

Alfio played in the 1st Violin section (outside left, in this clip).  The camera doesn't pan towards Alfio's chair -- but I know he's there, playing Sousa at Bernstein's very brisk tempo.  Good show, Alfio!  Thank you for paving the way.

And a good Memorial Day Weekend to all.