Thursday, June 16, 2011

Inspired NY Times X-word

My congratulations to Jonah Kagan who designed an NYT crossword puzzle that was truly inspired.  Since I do the puzzle that is syndicated in the Oakland Press, the actual date of the puzzle was May 11.

Now, Rex Parker disagrees with me on this puzzle's cleverness, but call me a math nerd and I will feel honored.

The puzzle starts with telling you that 11 circled letters can be connected to spell a two-word phrase appropriate for the puzzle.  So, I go looking for the clue to the longest answer and at 33 across I read:  Mathematical sequence related to a pattern found in (4 clues) across, infomally.  The answer Fibonacci pops into my head and sure enough I find that 'Fibonacci series' fits, which I guess is  informal for 'Fibonacci sequence'.

But the four answers?  Artichoke, Nautilus, Innerear, and Sunflower have me questioning my reasoning.  And my circled letters 'LDENOITOGAR' mean absolutely nothing.  Duh!

But then 'nautilus', of course, the spiral.  All answers have spirals.  I write the letters as they appear on a separate sheet of paper and the answer pops right out:  Golden ratio.  Redraw the line to look like the nautilus shell starting with the 'G' on the left side.  Ingenious.  Inspired.  What a way to start the day.

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