The greatest crossword puzzle ever made


Let’s take a break from all the academic waxing linguistical for a minute, and have some fun – this crossword puzzle was made by crossword puzzle writer extraordinaire, Matt Gaffney, on his blog, “Matt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest”.

At first it seems like a pretty ordinary crossword puzzle, but the black squares arranged in a diagonal in the middle of the puzzle are actually a meta element of the puzzle itself – if you solve all the clues correctly, those squares will also form an extra word – a common method of transportation.

Click the image for the full sized version.

The amazing thing about this crossword is the fact that the 18 clues involved in the ‘hidden word’ are all ambiguous – they can be solved using more than one word. However, these words have been brilliantly chosen – one word fits, and one word is made by appending an extra letter to the start or end of the word to form another word that also fits the original clue. For example, “rose” and “arose” are synonyms, and “lock” and “clock” are both words you’d associate with “a basic function of the iPhone”. Take the extra letters added when forming the clue’s ‘alternative’ answer, and the secret answer forms in the middle – “escalator”.

The best thing? The squares themselves look like an escalator. Genius.

A lot of thought goes into the creation of crossword puzzles – even though it’s perfectly possible these days to do it all on a computer – but this one is certainly one of the cleverest puzzles I’ve ever seen.