ODU Clue Quizzes New York Times Crossword Puzzlers
June 16, 2015
Old Dominion University posed a challenge to readers of Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle.
The clue for "85 Across" quizzed readers: "Sch. in Norfolk, Va." The answer was three letters long: O - D - U.
The Sunday crossword, which has been published weekly since 1942, is the world's most popular weekly newspaper puzzle, carried in more than 300 newspapers nationwide, and via an online app.
The crossword is created by freelance puzzle creators and has been edited by Will Shortz for more than 20 years. Designers make the puzzle increasingly difficult throughout the week, with the easiest puzzle on Monday and the most difficult puzzle on Saturday. The larger Sunday crossword, which appears in The New York Times Magazine, is an icon of American culture; it is typically intended to be as difficult as a Thursday puzzle.
This isn't the first time the University has appeared in the clues of a major crossword. The Tribune crossword, published nationwide and appearing in the Chicago Tribune newspaper, had the following clue in 2005: "This city is home to Old Dominion University," with the answer being Norfolk.
Another crossword connection to the University came to light courtesy of Phil Walzer, of the Virginian-Pilot, in his 2014 profile of Lynn Feigenbaum before her appearance in the 10th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, in New York.
Walzer noted that for her master's degree in humanities from Old Dominion University, Feigenbaum wrote a thesis, "Crosswords at a Crossroad," covering the origins of the puzzle, which had recently turned 100; as well as the succession of Times editors, and evolving tastes. Visit the Virginian Pilot Website to read Feigenbaum's story.
The Times puzzles have been collected in hundreds of books over the years from various publishers, most notably Random House and St. Martin's Press, the current publisher of the series. In addition to their appearance in the printed newspaper, the Times puzzles also appear online at the paper's website, where they require a separate subscription to access.