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Puzzle Solution #18: Throwing a Little Light

A page from Donald Trump's coloring book as imagined by HuffingtonPost.comYou may not yet have had an opportunity to enjoy my latest puzzle. Perhaps you have been busy, nervously clicking on FiveThirtyEight.com’s Election Forecast and, depending upon what you find there, perusing real estate listings in Canada and Costa Rica. Well, who hasn’t? But you do still have time to complete this crossword before you are forced to flee the country. The puzzle, Shady Business, is waiting patiently for you.

[The image of a page from Donald Trump's coloring book is from the Huffington Post and is used here without permission.]

Spoiler space

This video provides a lot of spoiler space. If you have already done Shady Business, you are invited to enjoy my original video before proceeding to its solution. The video deftly juxtaposes the music of Dmitry Shostakovich and They Might Be Giants with hidden camera photos of birds in my backyard to create an enduring work of art. Or, possibly, a two-minute and 45-second waste of time. Either way, better than being groped by a presidential candidate with tiny hands and an even tinier mind.

The solution

(Image courtesy XwordInfo.com.)
Puzzle solution.

Taking the bad with the good

The response to this puzzle has been encouraging. Those who have written or talked to me have had very nice things to say about it and its theme. Of course, I realize most everyone follows the old adage, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.” There are sure to be those who are less impressed and there may be haters.

I hope most enjoyed it, even with its faults.

The theme seemed solid when I first thought of it, but I grew less fond of it as I worked to fill the grid. I never found a completely satisfying set of clues for my theme answers.

Some of my fill quite pleased me: ODYSSEY, ZYDECO, HOOPLA, SHLEP, AIMEE (I’m a big fan), SCAUP (I’m a birder), DADBOD, and a few others.[1]

NBA scoreboard abbreviationsSome of my short fill didn’t please me quite as much. There was too much of it for one thing. The ugly OERS was the nadir (though it has appeared at least five times in puzzles of the New York Times). All of my three- and four-letter answers have appeared in the NYT. The two rarest–YLD (twice) and TGT (thrice)–are fine as clued, at least as far as I am concerned. I could have clued UTA after the deceased actress Uta Hagen (as the NYT has dozens of times), but I was much happier to go with “NBA’s Jazz on a scoreboard.”

HOOKAS isn’t ideal. “Hookah” is the preferred spelling of the water pipe. Both spellings have appeared in NYT crosswords, though not the plural “hookas.”

95.8% fresh!

As if any of this post-puzzle prattle means anything, let me drop in some XwordInfo statistical analysis here to really polish the turd. Click on an image to see the numbers.

Puzzle analysis from XwordInfo.comPuzzle analysis from XwordInfo.comPuzzle analysis from XwordInfo.com

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Homer Simpson, male model?

  1. It was DADBOD, not ODYSSEY, that inspired the odd Homeric hint on the Shady Business puzzle page. [^]

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