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Donald L Brooks

Off to a great new beginning!

Joe Krozel

Great Scot! Why did you have to go and reveal all that, Jim? I was recently commissioned -- nay, prepaid -- to produce that ever-elusive 17-block puzzle -- as a black ink savings measure -- and I've already gone and taken my wife and kids to dinner at McDonalds with the money ... [gasp!] ... and guess what? The darn thing is just plain impossible to make. So I got on the phone with Kevin Der, and he's laughing and laughing at me -- saying he'll bail me out for a cool million bucks ... but I aint got that kind of money -- heck nobody does. So I've been skipping my day job for weeks now, not answering the phone when I see Will calling. Please, Jim, someone's gotta help me ... I'm just gonna submit a 19-block puzzle, but I need you to get on the old blog and tout it as a 17-blocker. My only hope is that ... that noone else will count the squares... Jim ... I'm pleading with you here!


Went to the NYT blog to check the Saturday answers only to find out you've written 3 posts beyond that and a post here-wow! This was hilarious-my husband kept asking what was so funny. Will look forward to future entries! (Like your new pic BTW.)

Sara Kaplan

I annoyed everyone around me by laughing very loudly as I was reading this - Joe Krozel's comment, too.

Todd G

Joe...Jim didn't say the blocks had to be 1x1.

You're welcome.

By the way, you did notice that SEVENTEEN BLOCKS is 15 letters long, right?

Given all the out-of-the-box theme ideas Jim had to create over the past year or so, I'm surprised his brain hasn't exploded. I know I learned a lot at the foot of the master.

Happy retirement.

Elizabeth Gorski

Fantastic new orb! Jim, you are "off grid!" The original avatar makes this feel like "Home Cubist Home." You haven't skipped a beat . . . you, pianist, you!

Liz - via Blackberry from the Cayman Islands

Chris King

So, is this 'Shortz Strategy' still in play, or is the crossword payment system back to the way it was?


Thanks for not revealing that I submitted a bunch of random posts and that you choose the one that you think best matches the puzzle.

PS Let me know when I need to send Deb some more.

Deb Amlen

Phillysolver, I'm changing the system a bit. Jim had a good thing going (did he mention that he got a piece of everything Will pulled in from us constructors?), but I'm upping the ante by charging for comments as well. Make the checks out to cash, would you?

Deb Amlen

P.S. Great post, Jim. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we're looking forward to seeing more writing from you (no pressure.)

In fact, I don't see why we couldn't make this a challenge of sorts. You match me post for post, because after all, it's only eight little posts a week, right? ;)

@Joe: Math isn't my strong suit, so you're safe with me. Again, make the check out to cash.

Stars at Night, Big, Bright, Etc.

Funny stuff! A body could get the impression that you are a bit relieved to be free of the staid strictures of the Wordplay blog. I've always had a thing for Gorski but this is the first time I've seen a photo, and I still have a thing for Gorski.


Good stuff, Jim! Lots of LOLs reading your post and the comments! I really want to picture Joe and Kevin duking it out in some dark, locked room, hand-making the crosswords on those giant boards they use at the ACPT, each one given only 17 blocks to place on their grids.

Thanks for 3 great years of blogging! We all look forward to hearing more from you soon.

Joe Krozel

OK, so I got back on the phone with Kevin Der regarding the 17-block crossword, and he's a little more reasonable this time ... I mean, sure he's still laughing and mocking me, but he's willing to negotiate. First I remind him that his final bid for constructing the puzzle had been $40 -- and for some reason I edged him out with a bid of $39 -- so we go back and forth dickering over how much I'll pay him to take the onus of constructing that monster off of my hands, and we finally settle upon $500. That's a relief. I can live with that...


Isn't it time for a new hoax?

Joe Krozel

Oh great! If I didn't think things could get any worse, well, they just did. Apparently it was no trouble for Jim to edit out my name from his writeup and insert Kevin's name instead -- a simple change in an electronic document -- but now I've got the crossword inker Garson Hampfield on the phone telling me he already inked up a grid which captured my constructing style and it's gonna cost him $400 to make a new one for Kevin. So now he's asking me to defray the cost because -- in his mind -- the fault is essentially mine because I didn't keep him in the loop when the change was made. He thinks I should put the old grid he already inked up for sale on EBay ... like that's gonna happen ...

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