I’ve become a big fan of The Onion’s crossword puzzle recently. Here’s a few reasons to love it:
- It’s free. Unlike some other papers.
- It’s convenient: there’s an Onion distribution box within 100 feet of my apartment.
- It’s online (w/ answers!). Here’s a link to the June 17 puzzle.
Now some spoilers… don’t read these if you plan on doing that puzzle I linked to!
- I rarely learn new words from a crossword puzzle. If an answer looks strange, it’s more likely to be because I’m not parsing it right than because it’s a word I don’t know. But the last two weeks, we’ve had:
- The cultural references are more up-to-date. Unlike the NYT puzzle, I have a chance with these. Case in point, last week’s 23 Across, “Trent Reznor’s band, for short”: NIN.
- It’s more irreverent than the Times. Take this week’s 7 Across, “Not worth doing?”: BADINBED. It took me a long time to get since an answer like that would never be in the NYT. I thought the joke might be “worth” referring to “net worth”. I’m glad I was wrong!
- The themes are hilarious. This week’s was inventors killed by their inventions:
- 17A: Invention by tailor Franz Reichelt in which he fell to his death (as seen on YouTube)
- 24A: Invention by Otto Lilienthal in which he crashed to his death
- 27A: Invention modernized by William Bullock that mangled his leg and led to his death
- 50A: With 50-Across, invention of bedridden engineer Thomas Midgely, Jr. that strangled him to death
- 62A: Procedure improved by physician Alexander Bogdanov that left him dead of TB and malaria
The fun is that, as you fill in the answers, you have to think of bizarre inventions that could kill a man.