Monday, April 16, 2007

New-Fangled In-Flight Crossword

"What to do when you're starving on a plane"

So you know how they don't really serve meals on planes anymore, but you can buy these snack boxes or boxed lunches or whatever for $5? Well, I was starving, STARVING, on the flight from Cancún to Philadelphia - had breakfast but never got lunch, and pickings in Cancún airport were slim, plus lines moved slowly and people were arguing with the cashiers because the credit card machines were down ... anyway, starving. On previous flights, I had steadfastly refused to pay money for one of these snack boxes (I want my hot, bad, free meal, dammit), but this time, two things forced my hand. A. I was, as I have said, starving. And B. We were told that the snack box would come with ... puzzles. Turns out that the top of the box had a bunch of Ridiculously Random trivia questions (including "Who was the star of the TV show Mannix"?! A: Mike Connors), while the bottom of the box had ... well, it had this!
Perhaps some of you have seen this. It's a very basic but not embarrassingly horrible puzzle. My favorite part is the (I'm guessing unintentional) extra level of difficulty created by the absence of any clue whatsoever for 20A, the answer to which is ELK. No theme, no author credit, 90 answers. The glossy coating to the box made it impossible to solve in pencil (all I had on the plane) so I waited til I got home. In fact, I just did this puzzle earlier this afternoon. Anyway, I just liked the idea of a crossword, even a mediocre one, turning up in a really unexpected spot (so much better than the advertising that might have filled up that space). I also really appreciate the work that goes into Good puzzles, especially where cluing is concerned. None of the clues here are clever, or have "?" appended to them, and most of them are actually just single-word clues. YAWN. No "X"s or "Q"s or "J"s ... Not worth the $5 I paid for it, but since I got chips and salsa and cheese and crackers and some kind of Nestle Crunch candy in the bargain, all in all, I was satisfied with the transaction.

RP

5 comments:

Tyrone said...

What airline did you fly? Continental still has a meal (almost always crap--they should stick to microwavable pizza and breaded chicken sandwiches because everything else is utterly inedible) and an in-flight magazine with a pretty decent, 21x21 crossword by Frank Longo (the past three I've seen have been by him, so I'm assuming he does them all), as well as two sudokus (not a huge fan of those).

Orange said...

That's an awful lot of black squares in that snack-box grid.

Rex Parker said...

I flew US Air. In-Flight Mag had a Rathvon and Cox puzzle and ... some other puzzle, both of which were fine (better than the Snack Box puzzle, that's for sure). One of them had "GQ" embedded in all theme asnwers.

Merl Reagle was allegedly responsible for the Sudoku in the magazine.

RP

Orange said...

If you're at all prone to whittling away time with sudoku, stay away from the three (easy, medium, hard) daily puzzles at Merl's website. There's space to key in teeny "maybe" numbers in each box. And if you screw up, you can close the window and not have a piece of paper in the trash staring at you reproachfully.

I don't do Merl's sudokus anymore, but there was a time...

Tyrone said...

I don't understand how there are sudoku writers. I mean, I understand that people can write sudokus, but a relatively fast computer can probably churn out 500 years' worth of sudokus in about a minute. Seems kind of silly if people actually get paid to write them.