Tuesday, May 1, 2018

"Start Date," by Paul Coulter

Constructor's Comments

A few months ago, I noticed that the year 2018 lent itself to theme entries.  There are several long ones that start with TWENTY, and EIGHTEEN WHEELER makes a nice 15.  For the specific date, March and May are best for phrases, while FIRST provides many possibilities.  I checked the databases and was glad to see this hadn't been done before, say with a date in 2010.  I hope solvers have fun realizing the theme as the date unfolds.  Thanks to David Steinberg for providing the opportunity to run this on the exact date.

I've had a lot of free time since retiring from teaching, and even more since I stopped playing soccer.  For over fifty years, it's been a huge part of my life, from youth to high school to NCAA to adult leagues.  After playing three years for my college, my first postgraduation job was coaching the new women's varsity team.  I've been fortunate to play all these years without serious injury, but recently I've had to admit my knees are shot, so I've hung up the cleats.  Now, I fill a great deal of recreational time constructing crosswords.

Editor's Comments

When Paul sent me this theme, I was putting finishing touches on the last few puzzles for April.  So I told him that although I liked the idea, he'd have to construct the whole puzzle in just two weeks so I could have it ready in time for my deadline.  Paul embraced the challenge, not only designing a workable grid around four 15-letter entries but also keeping the vocabulary smooth enough for the early week.  Oh, and did I mention he was done with a first draft of the fill just hours after I approved the theme?  That's some next-level turnaround speed!  My hat's off to Paul for making everything come together . . . at the drop of the hat.  (Sorry—couldn't resist the bad pun!)


  1. MAY I be the FIRST to congratulate you on a great puzzle. A real gem! (ONYX, not OPAL).

    1. Thanks, Mark. Mayday! I didn't even notice until your comment that the first one starts MAY I!

    2. Ditto what Paul said—thanks, Mark!