Puzzle #5 – Seamen

Sailor Boys

Let’s talk a little bit about puzzle difficulty. Those of you who have been following along with the difficulties (they’re tagged at the bottom of posts) may notice that I’ve overhauled the system. There’s been some discussion on Facebook and elsewhere about my perceived difficulty being a bit of an understatement. Sorry y’all – it’s just meant to be a guideline based off of how challenging I think it’ll be based on my perception and test-solver feedback. I hope the new system is both accurate and vague enough to work across the board. I’m throwing out words like “easy” and “hard” since those are pretty definitive and going with things like this puzzle’s rating: “challenging” (whatever that means). If this doesn’t fix the problem, we’ll regroup in a few weeks and I’ll classify everything by Greek letters. :)

This is a name-heavy puzzle – if you haven’t started it yet, you’ve been warned.  You might guess that 37-Across inspired this puzzle’s theme; you’d be right. I came up with a 15-letter alternative to 18-Across, but I just couldn’t make the symmetry work. (Have a guess at it in the comments?) I’m still happy with how it turned out, theme-wise. Watch out for the chain of linked clues in the fill. I think it’s much more fair than when you get two clues linking to each other with no other info. Is there a War on Linked Clues brewing, or am I safe? Thanks for coming back for more this week – don’t forget to share the puzzle.

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11 Responses to Puzzle #5 – Seamen

  1. JanglerNPL says:


  2. jpahk says:

    looks like you got all the good ones. there’s various WHITEs but you already have two “color” seas. the only other theme candidates i can think of are MILKMAN DEAD and obvious toponyms (VITUS BERING, ROALD AMUNDSEN, etc.). there’s also the interesting reverse toponym case of HIKARU SULU.

  3. Erik says:

    tough NW corner. there’s something i really, really, really like about this puzzle, but i can’t put my finger on it.

  4. Norm says:

    A fair number of names but all get-able from the crosses. Pretty easy, all in all. Hate to nitpick, but isn’t the clue for 28A “Like Jordan, but not Jeff” a borderline violation of construction rules since “JEFFREY” is in the grid (and right above it at 28A)? There are so many other names you could have used, and John/Jed/Jake/etc. would even have retained the alliteration.

    • Neville says:

      Wow; very fair point that I hadn’t noticed – good spot, Norm. Yeah, that repetition isn’t great. (I think that a puzzle yesterday – maybe Newsday? – pulled something similar. That doesn’t excuse me, though, Norm!)

      • Norm says:

        Really minor. It’s not as though it gave one an advantage in figuring out either answer. Even with 24A (my parenthetical incorrectly repeated 28A — so I can make the “same” mistake) being a name I didn’t know, it was obvious in its own right from a few crosses. Nice theme by the way. Didn’t catch onto it until I was done. I need to remember to look at the titles ….

  5. Andrew Feist says:

    I like these Linked Clues, because they are in fact clues and not just “See 25-Down”.

  6. Steven says:

    Why do I get the feeling I inspired 32-Across?

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