A Slow Day at the Restaurant – The New York Times

THURSDAY PUZZLE — I’m really enjoying all these new voices in the Crossword. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate our veteran constructors, but I see it as similar to the Scouts song “Make New Friends”: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” There’s room for everyone, and new constructors reveal new perspectives on things.

Billy Ouska makes his New York Times Crossword debut, and he diligently worked with the puzzle editors to polish his puzzle, not giving up when he received feedback. I believe that’s the key to getting published. Listen to what the editors are telling you, setting aside ego or any perceptions about their feedback that might be negative. Their job is not only to evaluate puzzles for publication (and remember, they can only run seven each week), but also to assist those whose contributions have potential. If you don’t take feedback personally, you can learn a lot about construction from them.

On a separate note, Wordplay wishes those who celebrate a very merry Christmas.

14A/15A/56A. I feel like the clue and answer at 14A is the cruciverbal equivalent of what writers call “foreshadowing.” The “Piece by Puccini” is an ARIA, and the “Lover of Giorgetta in Puccini’s ‘Il Tabarro’” in LUIGI. The setting is the SEINE.