ERIE, CO – The crosswords editor for the Erie Times-Gazette Picayune has entered a full-blown creative crisis regarding the solution for 21 Across on this Thursday’s puzzle.
“The most obvious word to place there would be ‘eels’, but for the life of me I cannot do it again,” said Eli Aneto, who has included the word in Monday’s and Wednesday’s puzzles already. “There’s also the problem of what clue to use if I do.”
“Snake-like fish”, “electric fish”, “elongated aquatic vertebrate”, “Hospital Food band”, “Moray”, and “Emergency Escape Lighting System (abbr.)” are among the clues he has used in the past six months.
Close to the center of the puzzle, 21 Across forms a juncture for four pivotal words in the Up columns.
“It just ended up that this is the last part left, and it’s the first time in years I’ve been able to have “Urkel” in the answers. Without ‘eels’ I’ll need to either remove Urkel as 14 Down, or else find a combination that works where the ‘e’ in ‘malarkey’ meets up with the second ‘e’ in ‘eels’.
Facing a deadline of 11 PM, Aneto must choose whether to go with a more obscure choice, or rework the puzzle outward from ‘malarkey’ and ‘equinophobia’.
“That would be such a shame, because this puzzle, if done right, could be a high point in my career.”
Aneto claims that this will be the first crossword puzzle in modern history to include more than ten 7-syllable words such as ‘establishmentarian’, ‘arteriosclerosis’, ‘necrobestiality’, and ‘magnetoluminescent’.
“Aside from the repetition, I just can’t let such a mundane word choice sully my masterpiece.”
The Times-Gazette Picayune is published in the business center of the Holiday Inn Express off of Frontage Road, and has a circulation of 75.