The future of puzzle making still seems bright. Say hey to our latest guest contributor: Erik Agard. He just launched a new puzzle blog and I thought a guest puzzle might be just the ticket to help promote said venture. All right then, let's do this:
BEQ: So how you got into puzzles in the first place?
Erik: My dad's mom loved the New York Times crossword, and my mom's dad does acrostics, so it's always been in my blood. But the catalyst was David Stein, my high school's resident math genius and crossword nut. The first few puzzles I ever made were attempts to stump him. It never worked.
BEQ: Tell me a little bit about your puzzlemaking.
Erik: My first ever seed entry came in the middle of Comparative Government class in high school, when i realized, "holy shit, RADICAL MAOISM has LMAO in it!" (You can see a reworked version of that puzzle, titled "Belly Laughs," here. The original was filled with great entries like RE-SEE.) Since then, my mission has been to make puzzles that make people laugh as loud and as often and as in-a-crowded-room-until-everyone-stares-at-them as possible.
BEQ: What are you studying and where?
Erik: Girls (and, to a lesser degree, Anthropology) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Terp Nation!
BEQ: You've made a splash lately on the speed-solving scene. What's your solving schedule look like?
Erik: NYT, LA Times, The Cross Nerd, Inkwell, AV Club, Neville Fogarty, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, Merl Reagle, MGWCC, Jonesin', CrosSynergy, Post Puzzler, Newsday, the Celebrity puzzle in Puzzlesocial, Muller's Monthly Music Meta, Blindauer's monthly puzzle, working my way through the late '90s in the NYT archives, and, oh yeah, some guy named Quigley. Hope I didn't leave any out.
BEQ:That's a Feyeresque workout. How the hell do you know enough to solve that many puzzles? Hard ones too. I mean, when I was your age, I could barely successfully pick my nose let alone tackle an easy puzzle.
Erik: Practice. Also, I clear up brain space by instantly forgetting the names of people I have just met. If it makes you feel any better, I still get crushed by the Newsday Saturday Stumpers (and, every once in a blue moon, your Monday puzzles).
BEQ: Hey now ... Tell me about your website.
Erik: Wednesday is one of the hardest days of the week to get through, but it's also one of the ones with the least new puzzles. Glutton for Pun is my effort to fix that.
BEQ: Lastly, how'd you get the nickname "Slicks"?
Erik: From one of my favorite TV shows. (It is left as an exercise for the reader to figure out which one.)