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Bill Clinton pens NY Times' crossword puzzle

A New York Times crossword puzzle bears the creative skills of the former US President.

art and culture Updated: May 08, 2007 20:19 IST

Former US President Bill Clinton has a new pastime far from fund raising for worthy causes -- designing a crossword puzzle for The New York Times. Clinton wrote the clues for an online crossword puzzle published this weekend by the Times, filled with puns, pop culture references and plays on words.

The theme of the puzzle is "Twistin' the Oldies," with clues seeking updated versions for baby boomers of musical hits by artists such as Neil Sedaka and Carly Simon. In an editor's note, Times' puzzle editor Will Shortz wrote: "The clues in this puzzle are a little more playful and involve more wordplay than in a typical crossword. You have been warned."

Shortz told Reuters the Times gave Clinton the puzzle grid and the theme, and the former president provided the clues. Shortz said he did very little editing. "I wanted it to be Clinton's voice, not my voice," Shortz said. "I touched up a few things here and there, but basically what President Clinton wrote for the clues is what appears in the puzzle.

"His clues make you laugh out loud," he added. "He's got a flair for this." Answers will be posted the weekend of May 11, the Times said. A known crossword buff, Clinton appeared in the 2006 movie "Wordplay" about devotees and an annual puzzle convention.

Since leaving office in 2001, Clinton has worked as an advocate for international relief efforts; launched the William J Clinton Foundation which, among other efforts; is trying to make HIV and AIDS drugs more affordable; served as a spokesman in such health efforts as fighting childhood obesity, and organised the Clinton Global Initiative to help fight poverty, disease and climate change.

Most recently, he has been campaigning on behalf of his wife, US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in the 2008 race for the White House. For puzzle buffs who needs a helping hand, the answer to the updated Sedaka song appeared to be "Waking Up is Hard to Do," while the Simon hit becomes "You're So Veiny."