Last Thursday's puzzle had two Z's in it. Same letter, but they couldn't have been more different! One I was proud of, while the other felt a little bit cheap.
Crossword writers love to mix it up by fitting as many of the four rarest letters (X, Q, Z, and J) into their grids as we can. Gives us a little jolt of puzzling joy.
That Z at the crossing of GORGONZOLA and SANZ is the one I'm proud of. Right there in the central area of the grid, where the awesomely-named cheese GORGONZOLA crosses the hilarious Horatio SANZ. That's a quality Z!
Let's compare it to the other Z, in the upper-left corner, where ZEN crosses ZAP. There's really nothing wrong with that Z, since both the words are interesting (who doesn't love a little ZEN, and ZAP! does send a little jolt through your mental system). But they're three letters long, so these words already appear relatively frequently in crosswords.
Plus they're locked away in that little corner, so the Z feels a little forced. Could've just as easily been TEN/TAP or MEN/MAP or YEN/YAP. I just went with the Z because...well, it was a Z.
I sincerely hope you dug both Z's in this puzzle, but I do wish every Z could be a GORGONZOLA/SANZ Z. It's jazzy and full of pizzazz in a way to which all crossword Z's should aspire.
What's your favorite Z-word in crosswordz? Tweet it to #beastxword and we'll zealously analyze it.
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