Manny Nosowsky - Record-breaking Puzzle

Record-breaking Puzzle

Nosowsky is known for constructing puzzles with wide-open grids, often published later in the week, for expert solvers. On July 24, 1998, he set an early record by publishing a standard 15x15 daily crossword puzzle with only 21 black squares. This record stood until 2001, when Joe DiPietro published a 20-black-square puzzle. On March 11, 2005, the Times published a Nosowsky puzzle that set the new record: 19 black squares ; this record was finally broken on August 22, 2008, when an 18-black-square puzzle by Kevin Der was published. On a popular web site for crossword constructors, Nosowsky published an article describing his method for making the record-breaking puzzle; he also was featured discussing the puzzle in the bonus material for the DVD of the 2006 documentary Wordplay.

His puzzle "Double Digit Inflation" was the first to be published in the Wall Street Journal, which now has a crossword as a weekly feature.

Nosowsky has worked to encourage new puzzle constructors to the field, particularly through contributions to In one article, he argued for the importance of "sparkle" in a puzzle's construction. He is recognized for clever, sometimes misleading (though "fair"), clues for puzzle entries. Examples include "Browning piece?" for ELECTRIC TOASTER and "Northern air" for O CANADA. His cleverness extends to his themed puzzles, as well. A student of Latin, Nosowsky once produced a puzzle in which common Latin phrases were changed by one letter: QUID PRO QUO became QUID PRO DUO with the jocular clue, "You scratch my back and I'll do the both of us?" In the same puzzle, TABULA NASA was clued as "Blackboard for rocket scientists?" and others followed in a similar vein.

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