Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Puzzle Eighty: Word Worms #2

Word Worms entries come in two varieties: Across and Squirmy. Squirmy answer paths follow their colors. Clues are listed by color (BLUE and INDIGO share a slot).

Solve Word Worms #1 here. (The original Squirmy cluing format is a bit wrigglier.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Puzzle Seventy-Nine: Old Flames (themeless)

perennially relevant image

It's the beginning of a new year... or at least it was a month ago. To all the solvers out there, especially the meta solvers, thank you for solving last year's puzzles and for your kind comments. As for 2024, I'm in the position of having a real backlog of finished puzzles, but my life being so complex at the moment -- not in a good way, frankly -- that it's hard even to find the time to upload them and write brief blog posts. I really do want to get them out into the world eventually, though. 

A huge thanks to everyone who sent proof of a charitable donation in order to get my 2023 Puzzle Pack -- I received around $500 in receipts, which is great. Another benefit puzzle pack, for the most important cause imaginable at the moment, launched recently: Puzzles for Palestine. It's available with proof of a donation to one of the four charities identified on their site. 

As the editors note, however:

Your donations are truly appreciated, but right now, monetary support is NOT the most effective way to help Palestine. If you want your donation to have the maximum impact, we first need a permanent ceasefire and end to the bombing to ensure adequate material support can enter Gaza and unfettered access to all parts of the Strip can be provided to effectively distribute humanitarian aid. To that end, we encourage you all to write an email, send a fax, or place a phone call to your local and national Representatives and Senators, urging them to demand a ceasefire in Gaza now

Registration, limited to 150 slots, is now open for the inaugural Westwords Crossword Tournament in Berkeley, CA.on June 23. I'd love to attend in person, but that's a long way from North Carolina, so if my pair of Bay Area friends can't put me up, I'll be competing online (were it not for online tournaments, I wouldn't have gotten into competing in them at all).

I spent a lot of time during the last week of December trying to finish solving the book-length puzzle Cain's Jawbone in time to submit my answer by December 31st, the publisher's final deadline -- no prizes anymore, but correct answers get a confirmation email at the end of January. It's January 30 as I type this... and no email yet. I'm certain I know the right answer, and may just have introduced a typo filling out the form. Then again, if you so much as get two pages reversed -- which would be easy to do -- you're out of luck on the email. Maybe a lot of other people threw the same New Year's Eve Hail Mary as I did...

It's a brilliant, maddening, and entirely unique puzzle. I have some unresolved questions about the literary merit of the revealed novel, putting me in the unique position of having almost no one with whom I can discuss them without showing them the answer first, which would completely at odds with my own reading experience, as well as a serious faux pas given the publisher's request that successful solvers keep the answer secret. So if you too have finished it (or at least come within shouting distance of doing so) and want to chat about it in more detail, feel free to drop me an email. 

New themeless below -- one I'm very fond of. It's also probably very hard. Sometimes you gotta make a hard puzzle, live up to your blog's name and such (why did I give the blog a name that implies all the puzzles are really hard? They're not all really hard. I hope.)

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Puzzle Seventy-Eight: First Quarter (meta)

The meta answer is a six-letter word. Deadline is Tuesday, January 30 at 12 PM EST. Enter, and get PDF and .puz files, through the Crosshare applet below.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Puzzle Seventy-Seven: Peak Performance (meta) + 2023 Puzzle Pack Announcement

It's the last contest meta of the year. This one is reportedly difficult -- I'm thinking a Week 4 on the Gaffney Scale. And I'll try to be available to provide hints, but I'm going to be out of town... Hopefully solvers can trade hints among themselves? The deadline, in keeping with Crosshare's features, is 12 PM EST Thursday (not Tuesday), December 28. 

The meta answer is a six-letter name.

Please submit answers and contact info through the Crosshare applet below.

And another announcement:

The contest meta prize this year has been a Puzzle Pack containing the following:

One 22x21 Sunday-style puzzle
2-part puzzle hunt puzzle
One cryptic crossword
Two themed crosswords
One Marching Bands variety puzzle
One Something Different crossword
One Packing Crates variety puzzle
Two freestyle crosswords

And I'm now going to send it to anyone who emails a record of a donation to a charitable organization made between December 1, 2023 and January 1, 2024 to lexicondevillive@outlook.com. No specific dollar amount required. 

I would prefer that donations be to Doctors Without Borders or other organizations providing aid to civilians in Gaza, but I don't want to exclude other good causes. 

Thanks as always for solving.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Puzzle Seventy-Six: Forget the Past (meta)

I was excited to have a themeless puzzle included in this year's Boswords Fall Themeless League and to be interviewed on their Twitch stream back on the 13th. The season ended on Tuesday, so the whole set of puzzles is now available for purchase, and they are all excellent as usual (I've also had the pleasure of being a test solver this season). I also recommend the Boswords t-shirt, available at the same link. I just got one and the quality is top-notch.

I have another themeless coming out tomorrow from AVCX+, so keep an eye out for that too. 

This month's meta answer is a four-letter word.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: There's an unintentional dupe at 4-Down that is not meta-related, just a goof I don't have time to fix. 

Deadline to enter (use Crosshare link here and below to submit) is Tuesday, December 5 at 12 PM EST.

Two correct answer submitters will receive the LD Puzzle Pack 2023, a special set of unreleased puzzles.

.puz / PDF / Crosshare

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Puzzle Seventy-Five: October Quartet (midi-meta)

I can never resist doing a Halloween puzzle. If you're solving on November 1, just remember that the Halloween spirit lives in your heart all year long. You just have to believe in it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Puzzle Seventy-Four: Fall Out (meta)

 A little screw-up this month: this puzzle went live on Crosshare last Thursday, and was supposed to go out to list subscribers and appear on the blog at the same time, but other things intervened.

For efficiency's sake, please use the Crosshare solver below to view the meta prompt and submit answers as well as download .puz and PDF files. 

And I wanted to extend the deadline, but the answer is set to become public on Crosshare at midnight on Wednesday night, and I can't figure out a way to change that setting! 

So hopefully you can get this one by the above deadline. But if you want to email me before Sunday, promising that you didn't reveal the meta answer until you got it right, I'll try to get you in the running.

I do want to note that I have had serious time limitations on construction this year, and metas are harder to construct than regular puzzles. I have a backlog of standard puzzles to potentially post, but I can't promise I'm going to be posting monthly metas as I once did. I would really like to move into meta suites. I've been working on one for about a year. But those are HARD to put together. I'll keep you posted.

And keep your eyes peeled for my AVCX+ debut themeless sometime in the near future.

Puzzle Eighty: Word Worms #2

Word Worms entries come in two varieties: Across and Squirmy. Squirmy answer paths follow their colors. Clues are listed by color (BLUE and ...