Puzzle 28: Freestyle 17. Always the master of my domain.

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 71
Mean word length: 5.80

High mean word length for this puzzle, as you might notice. Of course, as with all of my 16×15 freestyles, the expanded size is due to the entry running across the middle. (It proved a little more unwieldy to clue than I had originally anticipated when jotting down the answer for my seed list.) The semi-compartmental nature of this grid, though, made for a slightly less painful construction for a 16×15 grid. It also allowed me to fit in two more entries from the seed list, which were 1-Across and 56-Across.

If you haven’t quite believed me now about my willingness to add cheaters, NOW do you believe me? I needed the two cheaters on the top and bottom row, but I added the third pair just because I like the “triangle” look as opposed to the “L”-shaped look.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the tidbit at 41-Across… and it originally cost the company $35. (The student was later very generously compensated.)

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? Who’s that casting devious stares in my direction? Don’t you think we should have a “Law and Order: Jaywalking Unit”? Did Jesus Christ stay fit by going to Pontius Pilates classes?

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

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Puzzle 27: Letter Banks. These banks will hold your interest.

Last Friday’s Anagram Crossword solution

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Will Shortz introduced an interesting concept at the 1980 convention of the National Puzzlers League. The “letter bank” is the set of letters that comprise a particular word. In the example I gave “inside”, TENNESSEE consists of only the letters T, E, N, and S, so the letter bank for TENNESSEE is the word TENS (or SENT, etc.). What this puzzle is all about is determining the original words given the letter bank word and the length of the original word.

It was very fun to come up with these examples for you to solve; it took quite a lot of mental gymnastics. As you may infer from this website, I am enthralled with the ways letters can interact with each other to make words, and the ways words can interact with each other and can be manipulated to make other words. I presume you are too, if you’re doing the puzzles on this website.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 15 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! Let me know how you did! What did you like? What could I do better? Why deny the obvious child? Where do nudists keep their handkerchiefs when they’re not using them? What is a picture of a thousand words worth?

As always, share this link! Pass it around!

Puzzle 26: Freestyle 16. Don’t hurt yourself!

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36

The inspiration for this one, oddly enough, came from an episode of an Anthony Bourdain show (I watch any show he does on TV, by the by). The episode took place in the city referred to in the clue for 8-Down, and the slogan was mentioned somewhere in the episode. I immediately started to construct this puzzle while still watching the show. That, 17-Across, and 68-Across were the seeds for this one. 37-Across came from a scroll through the database for a fifteen with that particular middle letter, so I can’t really call it a seed. A mini-seed, perhaps. You could call 11-Down and 24-Down mini-seeds as well.

Because I didn’t want to just let it go without discussion, you might notice a small dupe in the puzzle. After I put the fifteens and the other seeds in place to start, I started from the top left (feeling like that would be the place with the most potential constraints) and worked basically counterclockwise around the whole puzzle. When I got to the answer in question, I found that the best entry that fit the pattern had a short dupe with one of the answers already in the puzzle. However, I felt that the entry was too valuable not to put in the puzzle and it wasn’t worth tearing out the other entry. So I left both in there. (Hey, I don’t want to just not talk about it and pretend I didn’t see it.)

My favorite thing I learned from this puzzle is the factoid in 23-Across, mostly because I FOUND ANOTHER UNIQUE CLUING ANGLE FOR THIS WORD! You have no idea how excited that made me feel.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? Honey, please, can’t you see you saved me? Wouldn’t you love to see a mosh pit form at a symphony concert? Do you ever look strangely at faces with beards and try to erase the facial hair in your mind to see what they’d look like without them?

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

Puzzle 25: Anagram Crossword. Order… I need order in this grid!

Last Friday’s Split Decisions Two Ways solution

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This is the rare puzzle that gets both the “crosswords” and “variety puzzles” category! Now, I’m not one to tell you how to do your puzzle, but the colleague to whom I gave this puzzle said, “Wow, this is definitely gonna be a pencil puzzle.” The object of this puzzle is to solve it like a regular crossword, except the corresponding entry in the grid will be the anagram of the answer to the clue. (No, I didn’t keep this one under 72 words.)

Don’t be surprised or frustrated if you find some clues more difficult than others… there is a definite reason to the degree of difficulty of particular clues as opposed to others. I’m not going to give away quite what it is, but see if you can discern what I was thinking during the cluing process.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 15 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! Let me know how you did! What did you like? What could I do better? Are you waiting for something… tell me, would you wait all night? Don’t you find the word “gumption” fun to say? Would a one-way intersection indicate a wormhole in space-time?

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Puzzle 24: Freestyle 15. It’s all the rage.

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.54

As I showed you a few posts ago, I have a standard shape that I start with when I want to construct a regular stacks-in-the-corners formation. I usually end up deviating greatly from that formation because, well, that’s how the vagaries of construction go. But the formation I started with actually remained intact this time: I wanted to go with a 70-word structure for this one, and all I ended up doing was adding the two pairs of cheaters.

Obviously, the genesis for this one, the only seed I started with, is at 1-Across. I did have a couple of mini-seeds: 48-Across and 56-Down. 38-Across, I guess you could say, was also a mini-seed.

I constructed this one about a month and a half ago… so this one is antediluvian as far as independent crosswords go. The way I go with this site is that I just pick the one I feel like running to match whatever mood strikes me. (I always have several to select from.) I don’t know why this one lasted that long in the pile before making its way to the top, because I really like this one, but that’s the way it worked out.

After solving, the intrepid solver in you may have noticed that I could have easily taken out the cheater squares above 56-Down and below 10-Down and easily still had a valid fill. I noticed that too (obviously), but 56-Down was one of my mini-seeds, so I decided I’d rather have that entry with the cheaters than not have that entry and not have the cheaters.

My favorite thing I learned from this puzzle is that 57-Across came up with the idea of the “zipper” first, but his “zipping” method didn’t really work out as well as the zipper we’re familiar with today. He did OK for himself with another one of his inventions, anyway.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? ¿Yo me frío o lo soplo? If there were a Quantum Physicists’ Club, would it only theoretically exist? What is the reason for there being a reason for everything?

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

 

Puzzle 23: Split Decisions Two Ways 2. The most fun you’ll have with four-way intersections all week.

Last Friday’s Two For One solution

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If you missed my first Split Decisions Two Ways puzzle, you can get it here.

Most every crossword has at least one seed entry, and this is no exception. My starting point was the square formed by the four words intersecting end-to-end somewhat in the middle of the grid. It was on purpose; I wanted a four-word square in the middle for no other reason than that I thought it would look cool. I guess it does, if I say so myself.

In this puzzle versus the first Split Decisions Two Ways, I wanted to make a conscious effort to have more interlock and less “cephalopod arms”, as I described it in the post on the first one. I think I achieved that goal here.

I included in my title to this post my original intention for the name of this puzzle — “Four-Way Intersections” — but I decided that I wanted to keep Split Decisions as a part of the title as homage to the creator of the original Split Decisions puzzle, George Bredehorn.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 14 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! Let me know how you did! What did you like? What could I do better? How do you measure a year in the life… how about love? Is lip balm addiction a communicable disease? Does Jack Frost keep his money in a snow bank?

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Puzzle 22: Freestyle 14. En garde!

Last Tuesday’s Freestyle 12 solution

Last Wednesday’s Freestyle 13 solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31

Before I get to anything else, you might have noticed (and if you didn’t, feel free to notice now) that there’s a new independent crossworder among the ranks. Go now and check out Lena Webb, and I know you will not be disappointed! You’ll find some very interesting reads there to go along with the cruciverbal exploits.

Well, back to the “normal” schedule, I suppose. Not a normal shape to this puzzle, though. But I can explain: this was intended to be a triple-10-stack without longer vertical answers in the corners, but my seeds dictated otherwise. I was fortunate enough to have two 10-letter seeds (13-Across and 17-Across) that I discovered that I could stack, so, instead of forcing anything, I split up the stacks in the upper left and lower right and took out a pair of blocks in the other corners to be able to fit another couple of good entries there. I had to count it several times just to make sure it was at 72 words; it doesn’t really look like it is upon first glance.

Besides 13- and 17-Across, I actually had three other seeds: 44-Across and 60-Across and 10-Down. The mini-seeds at 27-Down, 55-Across, 46-Down, and 24-Across came about during construction. Also, I hope you like the clues for 25-Across and 16-Across, because I particularly liked them myself (if I can toot my own horn for a bit).

Not that I’m particularly concerned with aesthetics, but I think here’s an example of how adding a pair of “cheater” squares can actually enhance the visual look of the grid: it actually looks like a couple of swords pointing into the corners. (There’s a “cross swords”/”crosswords” pun in there somewhere.) I had to add that pair for construction reasons, of course, but that is an extra little thing that pops out to me.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is that 10-Down won a Grammy for that album: I’ve liked this musician’s work for a while now, and I didn’t know that that album, or any in this musician’s discography, won a Grammy.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? One never knows, does one, when love comes along? Do S&M clubs appreciate the song “You Always Hurt the One You Love”? Did you hear the one about the cannibal who passed his brother in the woods?

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