Also, huge congrats to my friend and editor at the Visual Thesaurus Ben Zimmer who, just yesterday, was announced as the new "On Language" columnist for the New York Times. Good to see some old media is still hiring.
But let's get right down to business shall we? Today's puzzle is a first for the BEQ.com blog: it's our first honest-to-God collaboration. Sure, there's been readers who've offered themes to me before, like Peter Abide from a few weeks back. But the above puzzle was the first to be co-authored, soup to nuts, with another puzzlemaker. Say hello to Manhattan's own Caleb Madison (pictured above with a huge fan of his). Caleb's a junior at Bard High School who's concentrating on the Classics. And when he's not making puzzles for the New York Times, he plays guitar and piano for the school's jazz band. Did you hear that? Making puzzles plural for the New York Times. Jeez. To put things in perspective, I don't think I could successfully solve a dot-to-dot let alone solve and/or make Times-quality puzzles when I was his age. I sure as hell wasn't studying calc or reading "The Prince." The kid's future's bright. If there's any BEQ.com reader who works for an admissions department, you'd be foolish not to snap him right up. Make him a "Godfather"-esque offer.
Anyway, sometimes I think Caleb is really 40 years old. He boasts he's seen 39 of the 46 Woody Allen movies. He's another hardcore fan of "The Wire" (his IM avatar is The Bunk, BTW). And he listens to music by acts that were long gone before he was born (read the '80s/'90s, look at the kid's shirt, f'r crying out loud!). In short: my kinda pop culture junkie. So, when Caleb pitched this theme to me, and I saw the theme was well in my wheelhouse, I jumped at the chance to make it. So thank you, Caleb!
Share the puzzle. New one on Monday.