Friday, February 26, 2010

Free Puzzle . . . Never a D'oh Moment

You know you're watching too much Olympic coverage when you start referring to gold, silver and bronze medals as "hardware." At rehearsal yesterday, Gary the violinist accused me of sounding more like Bob Costas than just a sports fan.

Okay . . . so I'm a bit obsessed with the Vancouver games. But I also appreciate that winners are celebrated on podia all over the world . . . at venues like last weekend's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Brooklyn.

To those who think that physical stamina plays no part in brain games, consider the definition of sitzfleisch in the Oxford English Dictionary: "The ability to endure in some activity."

String players who've played back-to-back matinee/evening performances of The Marriage of Figaro have a deep-seated understanding of sitzfleisch. For some reason, Mozart omitted the rests in the violin, viola and cello parts. If musicians were paid by the note, Mozart's string players would be sitting pretty--right between Bill Gates and Warren Buffett on the Forbes billionaire list.

And so, with deep appreciation for mental and physical excellence, we congratulate the ACPT "A" Division finalists. They racked up some real hardware:  Dan Feyer (Gold), Howard Barkin (Silver) and Anne Erdmann (Bronze). 1, 2, and 3 -- in non-"hardware" lingo. 

And mad props to Joon Pahk, "B" division winner; and to "C" division winner Louis Lana. Excellent work! (JOON, PAHK and LANA are irresistible grid words.)

Further to an earlier post about puzzle theme inspiration: sometimes ideas are prompted by remarkable folks in one's own backyard. Anne Erdmann's wit and grace set this puzzle ("Twister")  into motion. Anne needn't ever say or think 61-Across, but she brought the house down with her original answer. ACPT-ites will recognize the "acorn" or seed, but you don't have to be a tourney veteran to work the puzzle.

May the
sitzfleisch be with you!  
CITR 3 Twister

ANSWER GRID:  Click here


Joon said...

thanks for the mad props (btw, your psychic abilities are remarkable), and thanks for the puzzle! is 7d (great clue!) a theme answer? it would seem to complete the set.

Anne E said...

Wow... I can't believe I actually inspired a puzzle by one of my all-time favorite constructors! (OK, perhaps it would have been preferable to not BE 61A, but this sure eases the pain and is an amazing consolation prize indeed!) Thank you thank you Elizabeth. I am truly honored!

Elizabeth said...

Joon, I thought of you as I was cheering on Kim Yu-Na on Thursday night. She took the Gold by a huge margin: wasn't she amazing?

7D--ah, I didn't notice that! Alas, my psychic talents failed me on the ACPT weekend . . . didn't predict that the flu bug would keep me home. I'm sorry to have missed you--double hugs to you next time!

Elizabeth said...

Anne, I watched Nancy Shack's video; when you wrote in that "proprietary" answer, it took me a second to figure out what was going on . . . and then, wham-o! Hilarious. Of course, it resonated with me (I say that to myself all the time).

Thanks for a creative and well-played final!

Bruce S. said...

Very fun puzzle in the NYT today. Nice work. I need to get all my airline abbreviations down though.

Elizabeth said...

Good morning, Bruce . . . oh, yes, the "airline" crossing was the trickiest part of grid set-up; lots of rewrites in that corner, and re-configurations of the word ladder . . . I hoped it might "fly" when supported by easy long words. :)

Crossword Man said...

I'm a-shamed to say I failed to spot theme answer #6. Thanks Joon for pointing it out.

Elizabeth said...

I'm a-shamed too . . . Joon, you're a natural editor. I didn't notice 6-D. Thank you!

Liz<---- muttering 61-A to herself

Joon said...

aw, shucks. it's the math geek in me: i know that 3! is 6, so when i see five of the six permutations i can't rest until i find the last one.

a theme like this would make a great matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest puzzle. five overt ones, and the meta is "what's the 6th theme answer?"

Howard B said...

Thanks! Didn't see Anne's brilliant answer until after the festivities were over. Classic. Untrue, but classic :).

Kim Yu-Na was incredible, by the way - never seen a performance quite like that, and that was saying a lot this year.

Sorry you couldn't make it this year :(.

Elizabeth said...

Howard, it's great to hear from you! Yu-Na's skate was historic and thoroughly inspiring. To peak at the Olympics is an athlete's dream.

I enjoyed watching the ACPT finals via Nancy Shack's videos; but wish I had been there to congratulate you on a fantastic finish. I'm in awe of your speed and accuracy.

Good show!