Category Archives: Variety Puzzles

Puzzle 802: Anagram Crossword 11. These words are upset… be careful.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Be careful here… don’t solve this grid like you normally would! The instructions are in the document or the notepad. Solve the clues, but, before you enter each entry into the grid, you have to anagram it!


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Puzzle 750: Wordominoes 12. When are you going to come around?


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Variety is the spice of life. Round and round we go with another edition of Wordominoes!


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Puzzle 730: Anagram Crossword 10. How about 78 scrambled words with your Thanksgiving leftovers?


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Alert, alert! If you’ve recently started solving here, don’t solve this like a normal crossword. You’ll be seriously messed up if you do! Instructions are in both the PDF and PUZ files…


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 712: Split Decisions Two Ways 7. No red lights at these intersections.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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There was a little demand for a new one of these. I have a lot of fun making these, so I figured, “Why not?” A little spoiler and mea culpa in the white space that follows:

I can’t believe I didn’t see it, but there is a bit of a dupe in there. Not the same word, but close. It was way too late before I noticed it. I hope you’ll forgive me!


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Puzzle 697: Wordominoes 11. It’s three, three, three ways to form words!


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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I’m back with the world’s only puzzle format with triply checked letters that has a portmanteau name that refers to dominoes! (Let me know if it isn’t, and I will edit this statement suitably.) 10 x 10 seems like the right size for a grid, but, maybe if I’m in a certain mood, I’ll make a giant 16×16. I know my eraser would get a workout constructing that one. I’m on a time crunch right now with everything going on about our moving adventure, but everything should settle down in a few weeks (until our house-building adventure begins in earnest, anyway) when we get settled in our apartment. (It should not affect my output at all, though, so don’t worry about that.) Man, am I looking forward to that day.


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Puzzle 663: Anagram Crossword 9. There’s no fooling you.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


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It’s my first post since April Fools’ Day. I didn’t do anything too wacky, wild, or crazy, but I felt like I had to do something to mix things up at least. And mix things up I literally did. I admit that it doesn’t take me as long to write the clues for these grids, because the point of the puzzle is more the anagramming than the clue-to-answer thing that’s the case with standard crosswords. I thought briefly about creating a variant of these crosswords in which you have to anagram one word in each clue to make sense of it, then anagram the answer to put in the grid. That would be really nasty of me, and I’m not so sure it wouldn’t be a little unfair in some spots. Maybe I’ll have that as an option the next time I do one of these — you can solve the regular one, or you can solve the one with an anagram in the clues as well. Don’t mind me, I’m just thinking out loud.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 649: Wordominoes 10. I’m in a pretty cagey mood.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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If I could make a whole book of these Wordominoes, and I had the time to do this, I definitely would. As I say, I think, on every one of these posts (check out the past posts if you’re unfamiliar with these), I have so much fun constructing these. I don’t really like to toot my own horn, but I am rather proud of coming up with this puzzle form. If you’re a crossword constructor, or an aspiring one, I am gently urging you to construct one of these. I’m very curious about a few things here — curious what you would all come up with, curious what you think of the construction process, curious what your process would even be. Heck, I’m curious what the solving process would be myself, without knowing the solution beforehand. I have to dial my clue difficulty down a bit here — I’d estimate somewhere around hard Wednesday/easy Thursday New York Times level — because part of the puzzle is orienting the words and finding out which row and which column belongs where. I can’t make it unfair, you know.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 595: Move Over One, Will Ya? Pulling a double shift.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Oh ho ho, another variety puzzle curveball! In this one, I started with common two-word phrases. I took two letters in each word and shifted them either both back one position or both forward one position in the alphabet, then anagrammed the results into two new words. For example, given LEAKY EARNED, you’d shift two letters forward one position in LEAKY to get LEBLY, anagramming it to get BELLY, and you’d shift two letters backward one position in EARNED to get DARNEC, anagramming that to get DANCER. Thus, the common phrase is BELLY DANCER. I contemplated creating an “easier” version, in which I’d tell you whether the pair of letters go backward or forward, but I figured that might give away too much. The one thing I did to keep it from getting too challenging is that, in each word, both letters either go back one or go forward one. Never does one letter shift backward and one letter shift forward in a single word.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 585: Double Shifts. Shift into another gear.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the Harder PDF here!


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Happy Fourth to all my American solvers, and Happy Friday to everyone else! You can do lots of interesting stuff with anagrams, as you know, and as you know that I know. The reason this is called “Double Shifts” is because the principle of this puzzle is manipulating words twice. In this case, I’m taking common two-word phrases, anagramming each one of them, and replacing the anagrams with synonyms. The example I gave inside is DIVINITY SPUD: I took “dog treat”, anagrammed the words to “god” and “tater”, and changed them to their respective synonyms “divinity” and “spud”. It was harder than you think to find two-word phrases in which (a) both of the words have anagrams, and (b) the anagrams themselves each have rock-solid synonyms. The difference between the Easier and Harder versions is simple: the Easier version contains the lengths of each word in the object phrases, and the Harder version does not.

I never underestimate my solvers, and I don’t usually arrange by difficulty, but be forewarned: the last few of these are tough as nails. I will be very duly impressed with anyone who gets all of these, but I know you all are up for the challenge.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 579: Wordominoes 9. Give it a whirl!


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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I’ve said it more than once before, and I’ll say it again. These are really fun to construct. They organically develop from a seed entry (cage #2 in this case) more naturally than a regular crossword because there’s nowhere for answers to hide — there are no black squares and each letter, in each square, is a part of three answers. It’s a veritable tapestry made of letters.

If you’re relatively new here, and you like what you solve, you can follow this link here to get all my previous Wordominoes grids.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Tuesday!