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PUZZLE: Unthemely #67

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DOWNLOADABLE PUZZLE: Unthemely #67  (PUZ) (PDF)

The next paragraph contains some spoilery comments about Unthemely #67. To provide a bit of SPOILER SPACE, I will mention that I posted a new quiz to the Sporcle website called Key Party. The quiz is based on the photo collage puzzles featured in classic Games Magazine, along the lines of “Can you find 60 things in this picture that end in the letter O?” In my youth I would make my own versions of these puzzles using cut-outs from magazines, catalogs, and newspaper advertising inserts. In the 21st century Google Images and Photoshop make the process a little cleaner. Visit Sporcle and give my quiz some love.

*SPOILERS * My initial fill for Unthemely #67 included the entry MFAS at 23-Down. This turned out to be a problem entry because of a duplication with 45-Across, but I didn’t notice the dupe until I was about halfway through the clue-writing process. Before refilling the central section I considered two options that would allow me to keep the original (and, aside from the dupe, marginally better) grid. I considered a clue for MFAS as an abbreviation for Ministers of Foreign Affairs, i.e. the equivalent of Secretary of State in Canada and some other nations. I then wondered if the duplication would be acceptable if the clues were cross-referenced. The entries MFA and ARTS could appear in the same grid if the latter were clued as {Part of (the MFA clue)} but could MFA be clued as {Deg. for a 23-Across}? I couldn’t think of a similar precedent in a mainstream crossword and the singular-plural mismatch in my grid made a cross-reference clue awkward so I found an alternative fill and finished the puzzle.

Would you have considered either of my two options?

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6 thoughts on “PUZZLE: Unthemely #67

  1. I don’t know what your original central fill was, but I think BFFS is rather better than MFAS in either of its meanings. However, if you had kept the MFAS fill, I think the dupe is minor enough to overlook and not clue via cross-reference, as the options there seem thin.

    Fun quiz!

  2. I am (almost certainly too much of a) stickler when it comes to little crossword “rules” (e.g., avoid dupes, don’t expand any letter from an initialism entry in its clue, etc.), so I’d’ve avoided either MFAS option if possible. this is one of the many reasons I’m thankful for co-constructors—they often help rein in my insanity. (FWIW, I’m not so touchy about cross-references, though.)

    a guy at my office bought 50 lapel mikes for a joke last week and yet that was the last thing I filled in.

    • No reason to apologize for high standards, j. I’m curious though: Assuming that MFAs were a sanctioned dictionary definition for “Ministers of Foreign Affairs,” would that clue option still break a crossword rule? I remember an editor revising a section of a grid that I had submitted. The revision introduced the entry WON, though the entry WINS appeared elsewhere in the original grid. I kept the revision and clued WON as the Korean currency. Would you have accepted that approach or would you have insisted on a re-revised grid section without WON?

  3. Second Jangler on all counts. I’ve seen worse “implied dupes” than that in grids; I think it’s the sort of thing you only notice as the constructor. At the same time, I understand feeling like once you’ve seen it as a flaw, you can’t unsee it.

  4. I don’t think I would have noticed it, even if it were clued in reference to the degree. It was such a great puzzle, esp. the clues and entries at 26-, 45-, 59-, and 65-A.

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