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December 16, 2004 3:48 PM   Subscribe

A New York Times crossword puzzle printed on November 5, 1996, election day, was designed to predict the winner of the election, no matter who won. That takes some skill to design.
posted by BradNelson (20 comments total)
Farrell may wear the clever hat for today. That's good.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:58 PM on December 16, 2004

The crazy thing is that while the winner could have gone either way, most of the DOWN answers that crossed it could be two different things as well, depending on what the ACROSS answer was.
posted by BradNelson at 4:05 PM on December 16, 2004

Reminds me off the English crossword puzzle in June 1944 which somehow included the code words for some "overlord" landing beaches. Incredible stuff.
posted by Ranger03 at 4:12 PM on December 16, 2004

[this is _ _ _ _]

(The comment has been carefully designed to allow you to fill in whatever four-letter adjective you want. Personally, I chose "good." Thanks, BradNelson.)
posted by Fourmyle at 4:13 PM on December 16, 2004

[this is n e a t]
posted by santiagogo at 4:17 PM on December 16, 2004

i solved this puzzle on that election day. i was on a flight to germany, after having voted early in the morning. somehow, i managed to discover the trick, and i was so excited that i forcibly explained the puzzle to two or three uninterested passengers nearby.

sadly, by being out of the country, i missed out on the ensuing media coverage. still a great memory.
posted by bruceo at 4:52 PM on December 16, 2004

A little easy for a Wednesday puzzle, but brilliant. Nice link.
posted by caddis at 5:16 PM on December 16, 2004

Oops. This is a Tuesday puzzle, day of, not day after, the election. I guess it is about the right level of difficulty.

Did you notice they also have the hardest NYT puzzle of all time there. I seem to be having a lot of trouble with this one, it may be probably is hopeless for me. Anyone else having better luck? Given the trouble I have on normal Friday and Saturday puzzles it seems highly unlikely that I could ever solve this thing, even with a dictionary, an encyclopedia and Google (the puzzle cheater's best friend).
posted by caddis at 5:43 PM on December 16, 2004

I did not do this puzzle...never do Monday or Tuesday, and sometimes I'll do a Wednesday...don't to the NYT till Thursday, proceeding through Sunday (although was not able to get to today's.)

caddis, I will have a look at the hardest one later...the millennium Sunday puzzles a few years ago were like the Saturday puzzles except bigger, of course, and even harder.
posted by 1016 at 6:00 PM on December 16, 2004

Anyone know where I can find current (as in today's) NYT crossword puzzles? Other than the Times' site?
posted by zardoz at 6:10 PM on December 16, 2004

Cripes, this is awesome! The philosopher Daniel Dennett has an essay called "Getting By With a Little Help From My Friends" which includes a crossword puzzle that has two different possible answers, including clues like "sleeping furniture" that can be either 'bed' or 'cot'. It's just a 3-by-3 grid though. He calls it a Quinean crossword puzzle, because it's meant to illustrate Quine's theory of indeterminacy of translation.

I've been working on a philosophy puzzle booklet of my own on-and-off, and one of the puzzles I've been trying to construct is a large Quinean crossword puzzle. The clue for the long word in the middle is going to be "Gavagai!" It's really difficult to construct, though. This page gives me inspiration!

Great link.
posted by painquale at 6:13 PM on December 16, 2004

The hardest one is just pure evil. I have been working on it for almost an hour now, have even started using Google and am still making precious little headway. Good luck 1016.
posted by caddis at 6:25 PM on December 16, 2004

Sadly, I couldn't get too far with this, as it was too culturally specific for this Brit (also, our grids are more blocked out, in a quite different way, always symmetrically). I do I enjoy the brilliant and fiendishly difficult crosswords set by Araucaria of the Grauniad, widely regarded as the best in the business over here. Any crossword fans might try him out for a challenge, but beware - he's a devil to complete!
posted by dash_slot- at 6:41 PM on December 16, 2004

I'm really glad that I got over myself and just read the spoiler on this guy's site. It is quite the nifty puzzle. Up until that point, though, I kept thinking, "What's so amazing about this? The race for the White House was pretty much over by August that year."
posted by NoMich at 6:54 PM on December 16, 2004

Fabulous link, thanks! That was really tricky and cool.
posted by livii at 7:10 PM on December 16, 2004

Wow, this whole site is great. I love the page on crossword puzzle themes.
posted by painquale at 7:40 PM on December 16, 2004

Thanks for pointing out that page, painquale. I actually remember doing that "S for Superman" one and being very impressed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:26 PM on December 16, 2004

Great link. I also love the little mini puzzle at the bottom of the page, which tongue-in-cheekily pretends to be able to predict the result of a coin toss you perform before filling it in.
posted by yankeefog at 7:58 AM on December 17, 2004

dash, Araucaria writes a different breed of crossword entirely.
posted by blueshammer at 8:02 AM on December 17, 2004


2. Breakfast name
3. Fastener
6. Spoonbender Geller

1. Principal
3. Schembechler
4. Educational trio
5. Disappointing grade
6. Lamb's mom (var.)
7. _-495

Clues 1, 2, and 3 compose my response.
posted by kurumi at 12:23 PM on December 17, 2004

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