Thursday, April 28, 2022

Puzzle Fifty-Four: Schmear Campaign


Another puzzle from the vaults. There's a story behind this one that follows below beneath the PuzzleMe applet. Thanks to Steve Mossberg for test-solving. 

Congrats to Abide and benchen71, who won the most recent meta contest for "Don't Hold Your Breath." An explanation is posted on the X-Word Muggles forum.

Reminder: I have a collection of 15 9x9 midi puzzles called MIDI CONTROLLER available on a pay-what-you-want basis over on GumRoad. Big thanks to everyone who's already bought or downloaded it!    


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I submitted this puzzle to the NYT a while back, feeling very good about my theme set. They wrote back and explained politely that it was a nice puzzle but they'd run one with the exact same theme and mechanic by Jacob Stulberg  in 2018. I was horrified, as I'd even searched the XWordInfo database for the revealer to make sure no one else had done it (it did seem surprising that no one else would have hit upon it). As it turned out, Jacob, as I ultimately did as well, split his revealer into two entries, CHEESE and SPREAD, so my search for CHEESE* hadn't turned up his puzzle. (Searching for DEADCALM, the one theme entry we both used, would have turned it up.) Upon consulting with Steve, who test-solved the puzzle, we concluded that we must both have solved Jacob's puzzle and just not remembered it. Apologies to Jacob for the inadvertent plagiarism. 

The story doesn't end there, however. Some time after putting the puzzle aside, I was reading Ben Tausig's 2013 book The Curious History of the Crossword. On p. 33 he mentions a puzzle by Aimee Lucido, not included in the book, with the revealer CUTTHECHEESE, in which "a different kind of cheese [is] 'cut up'" within each theme entry. EDAM, for example, appears within NERDGASMS. So I owe an additional apology and acknowledgement to Aimee, who came up with this theme at least five years before anyone else!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Puzzle Fifty-Three: Don't Hold Your Breath (meta)

Isaac Moillon, "√Čole donnant les vents √† Ulysse"

The answer to this month's meta challenge is a four-letter word. 

Submit your answers before Tuesday, April 26 at 12 PM EST at https://forms.gle/Gq97R9XJNFz3Y1MP9.

Before you submit your answer, you can make sure it's correct by using this answer checker..

This month's contest winners will receive the highly coveted Lexicon Devil sticker. Did you know that you can buy a Lexicon Devil t-shirt with the same cool logo?

MIDI CONTROLLER is a pay-what-you-want zine of 15 midi puzzles for you to print and solve at home (or just solve via the included .puz files). Thanks to everyone who has purchased or downloaded so far!

.puz / PDF

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Puzzle Fifty-Two: Can't You See?

 


It's not uncommon in the crossworld to have a good theme idea and then to come across a newly published puzzle by someone else featuring the same idea, revealing they hit upon the same idea independently months before you did, or featuring an idea close enough to yours to reduce your puzzle's odds of publication significantly. Such was the case with last Friday's NYT puzzle by Caitlin Reid, which - spoiler alert - features a marquee entry / clue combo similar enough to a feature of this puzzle to mandate its publication here on the blog. They're still two different puzzles, so I hope that even if you solved Caitlin's puzzle, you'll give mine a spin. And if you didn't solve her puzzle, just solve mine first and you're good to go. 

Congrats to Paolo and Megarriffic, winners of last month's meta contest. You can see the leaderboard and read a writeup of the solution here on X-Word Muggles.

Lastly, I have a collection of 15 9x9 midi puzzles called MIDI CONTROLLER available on a pay-what-you-want basis over on GumRoad. Big thanks to everyone who's already bought or downloaded it!

PDF / .puz 

Puzzle Sixty-Five: Reality Check (meta)

  This Thanksgiving, why not introduce your family to the joy of meta crosswords? Maybe Uncle Mort will crack the code and win his very own ...