News and Olds

Thoughts on This Week’s Puzzle:

My boy is in bed, the bills have been paid, and I have a little time to reflect and look ahead

This week I was able to post my fourth word pyramid, and I am finding some interesting things in constructing these puzzles.  Some of the answers come fast, especially the two through six letter answers, but for every pyramid there is a seven letter or up answer that just won’t come for a looooong time.  This week it was the eight letter answer AL LETTER, and believe me I was not thrilled with having to go with that the first place.  This answer is a prime example of “puzzle speak”.  It is two words that make sense together, but let’s face it, this is just terrible syntax.  Very unnatural sounding.   I was very pleased with the other nine answers.  I wanted to use one of the single letter stock ticker symbols and ideally a letter that appeared in the words WALL STREET.  It was great serendipity that the Loews Corporation has the “L” stock ticker symbol and that the company has ties to New York City.  The rest of the answers are all familiar phrases.

These word pyramids provide me with a second challenge, and that is either coming up with New York-centric clues or finding the New York angle to more common phrases.  In this puzzle, I was more than pleased to be able to get New York Ranger great Jean Ratelle into the puzzle.  Ratelle is a just fantastic New York-centic answer.  I am a huge hockey fan (albeit not a fan of the Rangers, but we’ll just leave it there, OK?) and Ratelle was one of the all time greats.  Sadly, Ratelle’s career is kind of forgotten now, as most of Rangers history revolves around the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion team.  This is really a shame, because there are many great players in Rangers history that are overlooked because of the 54 year Stanley Cup dry spell before the ’94 championship.  Players like Ratelle, i.e. broke in with the team and/or played most or all of their careers with the Blue Shirts are punished for the team’s failure to win it all, while players who had much shorter careers on Broadway are exulted for finally bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.  I guess this is understandable, but take a second to go to the link about Ratelle above.  He was quite a remarkable player.

Common phrases like TALLER and TALE easily lended themselves to New York themed answers.  Bob Costas was born in Queens, so his talk show LATER was in.  I never could find out through my research if that show was shot in New York.  Does anybody know?  Anybody?  Is this thing on?  I used Sunset Park for NYC kite flyers because I live right across the street from it, and there really is a lot of kite flying here in the summer and fall.  Now about AL LETTER…  I suppose I could have used Roker for Al, but Al Hirschfeld had just a bit more flair for me.  Sorry weather dude!

Heinz Dept.

Still ketchin’-up.  The very fist word pyramid that I did for this blog was inspired by the intersection of two Avenues in Brooklyn, Avenue N and Coney Island Avenue.  I wanted to use a street intersection to bookend the pyramids starting and ending answers, and I also liked the symmetry of starting with Avenue ___ and ending with _________ Avenue in the clues.  I chose this intersection purely because starting with N and ending with CONEY ISLAND made constructing the middle clues easier letter-wise.  I literally had no idea what was at this intersection.  So this summer, I took a little field trip there.  I was a little worried that the corner of N and Coney Island Ave. would be just completely nondescript, but I went with the nothing ventured nothing gained philosophy and checking out the location.

I took a pretty long walk up down Ocean Parkway and across Avenue N to get there.  I passed through predominately Jewish neighborhoods to get to the corner and when I got there I found…

AND MY PHOTOS WILL NOT UPLOAD.  GRRRRR.  I will have to get back on this one.

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