This is the crossword puzzle thread

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Two puzzles, in fact! I just got my copy of the book the other day, and it was interesting to see (as someone who'd never before published a puzzle) how B.T. edited the clues. I think maybe a third were changed in some way: either easier, harder, or livelier. In retrospect, I think I probably had a few too many synonym clues -- which weren't necessarily easy (I tried to make it tough by using words with multiple definitions), but may not have been particularly fresh or interesting.

jaymc, Thursday, 1 September 2011 15:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

cool!

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 1 September 2011 15:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Heard ADIA just now for the first time ever maybe in the supermarket. Now I just have to go and listen to "ELLA in Berlin."

Yesterday's Times had a celebrity co-constructor, a one-time Jeopardy contestant.

Looking forward to receiving my copy of that Penguin book later this week.

I heard her POLL my mayne (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 5 September 2011 15:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

Weirdly I had just seen Dana Delany's Battlestar Galactica episode last week.

*ter jacket (jaymc), Monday, 5 September 2011 19:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm trying to remember: was she the third contestant when Andy Richter beat Wolf Blitzer?

I heard her POLL my mayne (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 5 September 2011 20:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

tyler hinman puzzles are always so fucking sporty

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 17:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

Has this been linked to before?
http://www.slate.com/id/2145623/

I heard her POLL my mayne (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 September 2011 18:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

IIRC, that's from Gaffney's book -- which is definitely worth a read.

For what it's worth, I use a software program to create a grid, and websites to help me come up with fill -- but I don't maintain a word list, ranked or unranked, like many constructors do.

*ter jacket (jaymc), Thursday, 8 September 2011 20:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Which program do you use, or is that a trade secret? :)

I heard her POLL my mayne (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 September 2011 21:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

I use a freeware program called Crossword Master (for Mac). I emphasize: this is just for designing the grid. No bells and whistles at all.

I do have a copy of Crossword Compiler, which is the industry standard, but only on my work computer, because it's PC-only. I basically use it when I need to convert the grid to a PDF or other file format (PUZ, CCW) preferred by publications. If I had it at home, where I do my constructing, I'd probably take advantage of some of the advanced features.

*ter jacket (jaymc), Friday, 9 September 2011 00:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thanks. I was wondering about that because I have a Mac at home and it had seemed to me that the standard program being PC-only would force most constructors to be PC-based. I was actually meaning to ask some people at Lollapuzzoola but I forgot. What about the new format BEQ and Crossynergy use, the jpuz?

I heard her POLL my mayne (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 9 September 2011 02:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

I haven't heard of that.

There's also a Mac-compatible program called CrossFire that a lot of constructors like. I have the free demo version, and it seems pretty good.

*ter jacket (jaymc), Friday, 9 September 2011 13:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh yeah, I had heard of that one.

Amy R is always pushing .jpz (no 'u' sorry for earlier misspelling) http://www.crosswordfiend.com/blog/2011/04/18/tuning-spork-jpz/. You need to use a different program to solve with called Crossword Solver aka Puzzle Solve). Most of the speed solvers don't like it because it doesn't have certain convenience features AcrossLite but it seems there is some legal and financial reason constructors have been switching over.

I heard her POLL my mayne (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 9 September 2011 14:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

Huh, I will check it out.

*ter jacket (jaymc), Friday, 9 September 2011 14:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

Man, Friday and Saturday puzzles both killed me this week.

Agent Double O POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 10 September 2011 04:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

Today's puzzle had a nice gimmick that wasn't too hard to get. People did end up talking a lot of crap about it.

Agent Double O POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 September 2011 00:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

I've always wondered, when constructors are creating a puzzle, they mostly work horizontally and try to munge the vertical words afterwards, right?

Leee, Lord of Wtfomgham (Leee), Monday, 12 September 2011 03:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

Theme answers are always placed first, and those tend to be mostly (but not always) horizontal. Otherwise, I work one section of the puzzle at a time, placing both Across and Down words before moving on to the next part of the grid. It's hard for me to imagine there being any value in working in only one direction, without knowing if the crosses are viable.

*ter jacket (jaymc), Monday, 12 September 2011 14:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

There is some explanation of this in Patrick Berry's Dummies book, I believe

Agent Double O POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 September 2011 14:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

Full title: Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies. I see it recommended all the time as the book to read about puzzle construction. Seriously.

Agent Double O POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 September 2011 15:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

Fascinating.

America's Test Hitchens (jaymc), Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

Really? I wanted more.

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 September 2011 13:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wait, I just clicked through to see the mark up more clearly. Pretty interesting.

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 September 2011 13:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

What do you think of this? http://ericberlin.com/?p=4101

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 15 September 2011 04:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

I've never done the USA Today puzzle, only know it by its poor reputation. That post is fairly damning!

America's Test Hitchens (jaymc), Thursday, 15 September 2011 13:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

Never did it either. There is a funny quote about it from Jon Stewart in Wordplay

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 15 September 2011 14:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

lol at that divided grid (linked from that eric berlin post)

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 15 September 2011 15:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that was even worse than using the answer in the clue.

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 15 September 2011 15:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

Today BEQ mentions the Patrick Berry book and posts a link to a video of Mike Selinker giving a talk about crossword construction.

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 15 September 2011 16:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

One of these days I'm finally going to study up on my NA and European rivers.

Leee, Lord of Wtfomgham (Leee), Sunday, 18 September 2011 19:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

Which river missed you up?

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 September 2011 20:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh, nothing in particular, just something that I've always been meaning to shore up. (ARNO? ELDO? EHRE?)

Leee, Lord of Wtfomgham (Leee), Sunday, 18 September 2011 22:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

ELDO? Do you mean EBRO?
EHRE? That's the German word for "honor," don't know the river
As for ARNO, I think the most important thing about it is not to confuse it with Thomas ARNE, composer of "Rule, Britannia!"

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 September 2011 23:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

Today's Jonesin' puzzle, "Juggler's Blues," is awesome: http://groups.google.com/group/jonesin-crosswords

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 20 September 2011 14:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah nice! thanks for the recommendation!

symsymsym, Tuesday, 20 September 2011 15:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

nice. i always do jonesin' in my local free weekly, but the puzzles are consistently 2 weeks behind the online version (or whatever gets posted at crosswordfiend).

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Tuesday, 20 September 2011 18:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

This week's Jonesin' wasn't bad either.

When I Stop Meming (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 28 September 2011 15:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Joon Pahk is everywhere!

An Outcast From Time's Feast (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 15 October 2011 02:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

OK, Patrick Berry's contest this week in the NYT? Pretty amazing.

A Lip in the Blandscape (jaymc), Saturday, 22 October 2011 18:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Didn't even try the metapuzzle until a few minutes ago. Pretty cool.

An Outcast From Time's Feast (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 22 October 2011 21:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wow, lots of people entered that contest. http://wordplay.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/drawing-contest/

For the record, we received 4,763 entries in the contest, of which 4,576 were correct.

An Outcast From Time's Feast (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 13:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

Here I will admit that, before I figured out the "fill in the circle" bit and just had a bunch of scrambled letters, I thought the "leader" was "Justice Scalia."

A Lip in the Blandscape (jaymc), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 14:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

Ha, before I did that my first guess was "Judas Iscariot" but I couldn't figure out how that was going to play and couldn't think of anything else.

An Outcast From Time's Feast (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 25 October 2011 14:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

jaymc, I have an idea for you: for November 11, 2011 you should write an "eleven" themed crossword. oh wait

Miss Piggy and Frodo in Hull (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 12 November 2011 03:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Sorry.

I did the Patrick B. puzzle package that come out end of last year but never got most of the metas. Have until Valentine's Day I guess. Have since taken a break from doing regular-style crosswords and have focused on cryptics instead but I probably need to switch back soon.

I Don't Believe You've Met M. Bébé (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 15 January 2012 18:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Just did this month's Patrick Blindauer puzzle which had a good twist.
http://www.patrickblindauer.com/play.html

Why Does Redd People Never Want To Blecch? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 March 2012 20:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

So I wrote a tiny search engine for The New York Times crossword - spanning 15 years worth of clues and answers as a little weekend project. There are 432,205 clues from Oct 23rd 1996 to the end of 2011.

http://donohoe.tumblr.com/post/18789743183/nytimes-crossword-search

mookieproof, Tuesday, 6 March 2012 00:39 (2 years ago) Permalink


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