Plays on “novel” have been completed so many instances in crosswords — each in titles and grid entries — that I used to be predisposed to ennui. HOME PAGES referring to “Little House on the Prairie” melted some ice, particularly since studying The Long Winter to my children was chillingly charming. However, it nonetheless felt like the remainder of the puzzle could be extra of the identical.
Good factor so many themers had been so NOVEL! The sheer breath and vary of phrases to explain books captivated the author in me. I in all probability might have provide you with WRITING, VOLUME, STORY, BOOK, however there’s such creativity in using SENTENCES, PRINT, and TITLE. John is Roget in motion, after which some.
I used to be stunned by what number of puns I could not instantly get. Already realizing the gist of the idea, I apprehensive that the puzzle would fall flatly into place. But “Crime and Punishment” as PRISON SENTENCES? “The Help” as a WORKING TITLE? Yes!
And the coup de grace: “If Beale Street Could Talk” works doubly as an ADDRESS BOOK — as soon as as a result of it refers back to the Beale Street tackle, and as soon as extra if you consider a speech as an orator’s tackle. That is a few superb double-talk.
If I hadn’t learn Will Shortz’s word, I might have guessed that this 140-word grid was made by a veteran constructor. There’s a median variety of brief, gloopy entries, however issues like ASSN ESE PSAS are minor. Although that is John’s debut, it is no shock that he is labored a number of years at his craft.
Sometimes I put down a guide inside the first few pages, satisfied that it isn’t for me. I’m so glad that I compelled myself to press on in the present day, as a result of John imbued his work with as a lot subtext as The Hunt for Red October.