Ink Well has been a great addition to the Reader, and I always have a good chuckle when I finally figure out the solution to the puzzle. But there are weeks when I've got every square filled in correctly, but I still don't get it. I see that all the Bs and Ws have been substituted for each other in the clues [Ink Well, May 11], but what does that have to do with "Developing Negatives"? I know that having to explain a joke kills the humor, but sometimes Ben Tausig is just too clever for me. Any chance of the Reader expanding the solution by including an explanation each week?
Ben Tausig replies:
Thanks for the kind words and my apologies for the opacity of "Developing Negatives." I realize that this was a tough one, so I'll explain: The letters B and W were switched throughout, in both the answers and the clues. Thus, for example, the clue for QUARREL was "Wicker" rather than "Bicker." This is a pun on B&W, an abbreviation for black and white, as in photographic negatives.
Solvers can contact me at email@example.com if they have questions about a puzzle or if they want to discuss strange linguistic phenomena, which very well may become themes for future crosswords.