Stamford or bust

Tournament time is just one of many crossworld goings-on

Published March 31, 2024

Happy Sunday everyone! A big week ahead, as the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament starts next weekend in Connecticut! While the ACPT is currently full for in-person solvers, you can still register for the virtual tournament and get the puzzles for yourself. Get all the info at the ACPT website, and have a great time! 

Meanwhile, Crossword Con goes down in New York on Friday. Tickets available here

But before we get to all that excitement, let’s take a look back at the last week of crosswords.

Clues you can use

Monday, Mar. 25 (New York Times, constructed by Shannon Rapp and Will Eisenberg)

Emma Stone’s co-star on Showtime’s “The Curse” = NATHAN FIELDER

As listed in the opening narration of his first show, Nathan For You, Fielder graduated from one of Canada’s top business schools with really good grades. In that original Comedy Central series, he proposed surreal solutions to budding business owners, and then filmed the results. Since then, FIelder has continued in the world of surreal comedy, including the HBO series The Rehearsal, which notably spent its first episode focusing on a guy who lied to his bar trivia team about his academic credentials. In 2023, Fielder’s entry on the Time 100 list was written by Emma Stone, co-star of his (scripted) show The Curse.

Tuesday, Mar. 26 (USA Today, constructed by Jess Rucks)

Singer-songwriter Janis = IAN

Never intending to be an all-time crossword clue–nor, for that matter, a Mean Girls character namesake–Janis Ian started her career with a self-titled 1967 debut album, released when she was just 16. That one featured her Top 20 hit “Society’s Child,” but Ian saw her greatest success eight years later with Between the Lines and its anthemic single “At Seventeen” … which she released at age 24. The song won Ian a Grammy, and she performed it on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live. On her aptly-titled 1993 album Breaking Silence, she came out as a lesbian. She’s also a published author, placing sci-fi short stories in Galaxy’s Edge magazine, and publishing the 2008 autobiography called–what else?–Society’s Child. (Its audiobook earned her another Grammy, by the way.)

Thursday, Mar. 28 (The Atlantic, constructed by Paolo Pasco)

Robot that landed on the moon in February 2024, marking the first moon landing by a private company = ODYSSEUS

Founded in 2013, it was last year that Houston-based Intuitive Machines built a lunar lander named Odysseus, after the great traveler of Greek myth. Launched on Feb. 15, the mission made its way to the moon, and on Feb. 22 became the first lunar landing of any American-made spacecraft since Apollo 17 in 1972. So naturally it was a moment of great celebration when the module landed on the surface … but unfortunately Odysseus landed sideways, and the mission ended prematurely on Feb. 29. Slipping the surly bonds of Earth is the most difficult task ever accomplished by mankind, and IM still considers the mission a success, as Odysseus was able to capture photos from the lunar surface. Here’s hoping that by the time we send crewed missions up again, they’ll get the gyroscope right.

Moves and mentions

Besides all that action in the lede, there are even more links to peruse:

  • Congrats to Sally Hoelscher on her recent USA Today promotion: for years, she wrote her own blog Sally’s Take on the USA Today Crossword, and now it’s been picked up for the paper itself. A well-deserved promotion for an invaluable resource!
  • In this space, we recently covered Anna Shechtman’s book The Riddles of the Sphinx: Inheriting the Feminist History of the Crossword Puzzle. As the book continues to roll out, the Washington Post chimed in with an article.
  • When the New York Times crossword made a fun reference to a unique sports bar in Portland, Ore., Oregon Live took notice. Check out their nice write-up about the homegrown clue.

And with that, I say again: Good luck to all the ACPT solvers next weekend! I won’t make it this year, so I’ll see you right here next week. ‘Til then!

Chris King is a longtime crossword commentator, and the author of five published puzzle books. His column appears on Questionist every Sunday. 

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