Tag Archives: split decisions

Puzzle 573: Split Decisions Two Ways 6. Just try and cross me.


Last week’s Two Minus Three solution

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I’ve been asked about when I was going to put up another one of these Split Decisions Two Ways grids. So, lucky for those who asked, I like constructing these… so here’s another one! (If you’re not familiar with these, or, by some chance, the original Split Decisions format, go through my post history of these at this link.) It’s just a pencil, paper, and a lot of erasures and write-overs to construct these things. The main impetus for how these grids get expanded, pair by pair, from the central answer is twofold: one, to make certain that it’s a unique overall solution, and two, to add more letters to certain word pairs to give the solvers a little nudge. (I bet you’re not used to my giving you a nudge in any puzzle I write!)


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 363: Split Decisions Two Ways 5.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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I’ve had a few people ask about the Split Decisions Two Ways puzzles, so I’m back with another one! If you’re not familiar with the original Split Decisions puzzle, created by the great George Bredehorn and passed down to the also great Fred Piscop (who creates them for the New York Times variety page occasionally), it’s a crossword that involves pairs of words that differ by only two consecutive letters; you’re given the letter pairs only and the puzzle is to figure out the pairs of words from the letter pairs. My version gives a bit of a twist to it, as the “split decision” boxes are to be read both across and down. Don’t worry, there are instructions if you don’t know what I’m talking about! Here’s a history of my past Split Decisions Two Ways posts if you find this one intriguing…


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!

Puzzle 199: Split Decisions Two Ways 4. When you come to a fork in the words, take it.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!

WHAAAAT? No standard freestyle crossword today? Surprise! Well, actually, I got an email message through the website saying that they liked these puzzles and hadn’t seen one in a while. I guess that message stirred something in me, because I did something I hadn’t done in a LONG time on this site, and that’s making a variety puzzle instead of a crossword. If you’ve missed the first three (which I won’t blame you for having done, since I published the last one in the Reagan administration), here’s a link to them. I’ve been on a roll with freestyle crosswords for a … long … while, so I guess it’s good to break up the landscape every once in a while, no?

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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

Puzzle 59: Split Decisions Two Ways 3. Look both ways before you cross the words.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!

If you missed the first two SD2W puzzles, you can find the first one here and the second one here.

I love constructing these puzzles. I have almost as much fun building them as much as building regular crosswords. I could genuinely write a book of these. It’s fascinating to start at one central entry and see just where it goes before it’s hit the edge of the grid. (I have to set borders to these grids beforehand, because the grid “skeleton” would go on and on if I didn’t.) The process to make sure it’s a unique solution is a little slow, but very important — I don’t want to leave the solver with any doubt that they have the one and only right answer.

If you’ve never seen Split Decisions puzzles, check out the link I provided in my first SD2W puzzle (link above) for an example — these are like the original Split Decisions but, as the name indicates, each of the “splits” works across and down instead of just along one direction. The directions are all included in the PDF.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 35 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

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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 12: Split Decisions Two Ways. There ARE two ways about it… four, actually.

Last Friday’s Split Ends solution

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You may be familiar with the Split Decisions puzzles that have appeared in the New York Times and elsewhere. A fine example can be found on Evan Birnholz’ site here. I’ve done a similar thing here but with a little twist… the letters where the “split decisions” happen are to be read two different ways across and down. You’ll see in the instructions if you aren’t quite familiar with this type of puzzle.

It’s easy, with a little help from the Interwebs, to find pairs of words that follow this constraint of differing only by one pair. It’s even not that hard to find two pairs of words that differ by the same four letters in two different ways as in this puzzle, thanks to the magic of the Interwebs. I even figured out a neat formatting trick to draw the grid and the “split” squares conveniently. The painstaking part was to make sure that this grid had a unique solution. That’s why you’ll see some parts of this grid that branch out like cephalopod arms — some of those “arms” were necessary to make a unique solution.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to Freestyle Puzzle 7  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? Do you think that pro football players have fantasy office worker leagues? How can SpongeBob SquarePants own his own home on a fry cook’s salary? Woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand… whose wine? What wine? Where did I dine?

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