Hear Me, Hear Me!
This is where I’ll offer up commentary ranging from pithy to pissy. I’ll probably stick to puzzle news most of the time, but you never know when a mini-essay, book review, or general rant may occur.
If you want to see the books I've written, take a look at my Bookshelf.
LOLLAPUZZOOLA 6: Word, Nerds, and Birds (NO BIRDS) Declared a Triumph
We had our biggest turnout yet for the best crossword tournament on a Saturday in August. People began with some getting-to-know-you Bingo, followed by 6 terrific crosswords, fun group games hosted by Todd McClary and Francis Heaney, and a spectacular finale in which Al Sanders had his first tournament win in 28 years. It took the ACPT 16 years to reach the number of participants we had, but of course we owe a great deal to that tourney and its founder, Mr. Will Shortz (who stopped by for a while to observe and cavort, like he has for all 6 LPZs). Special thanks to all of the volunteers/judges who make the event possible. Find us on Facebook for a bunch of pictures and comments.
ACPT Constructors Announced
And I'm one of them. Full roster here.
In crossword tournament news:
LOLLAPUZZOOLA 5: Amanda Goes Express
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4th, 2012 in NYC
All Souls Church: 1157 Lexington Avenue (at 79th St.)
For more info and to preregister, click HERE.
Musical Puzzlefest Winners Announced!
Out of 208 participants this year, there were 67 correct answers. Here are the 13 prize winners, who were randomly selected with help from random.org:
$100 gift card winners: Mike Weepie & Jeffrey Harris
$50 gift card winner: Al Sanders
"Easy Breezy Crosswords" winners: Pete Mitchell, Erik Agard, Robert Hartford, Gregory Clark, Avram Gottschlich, Barry Haldiman, David Cole, Parker Lewis, Ed Brody, and Giovanni Pagano
Peter Gordon also won a copy of my crossword book, but he volunteered to let somebody else's name be drawn.
Congratulations! Thanks again to everybody for supporting this ongoing puzzle experiment!
On the 16th of September my life changed for the better. With family and friends present, I exchanged vows with Rebecca Young at Chandler Hill Vineyards in Defiance, MO (just outside St. Louis). That's right: we got married in Defiance.
Meet Me in St. Louis
In case you haven't heard, I moved to St. Louis this week to be with my fiancée, who just started her teaching career with a 5th grade class in Wildwood, MO. We lived in NYC over 12 years, so we were both ready for a change, and STL was the logical choice: Rebecca grew up there and both of my parents are from there so we have lots of family in the area; we met there right after college; it's a big midwestern city with lots of options when it comes to food and culture. Not quite the variety of the Big Apple, but it's no podunk town with only diners and a museum of local artifacts. We're thrilled to be back and excited to both reconnect with old friends and to make new ones.
Lollapuzzoola 4 Declared a Carousing Success
It's hard to believe that this webpage is a year old, but it's true: last year at this time I wrote up my first blurb about a crossword tournament hosted by Ryan and Brian of bemoresmarter.com fame. Little did I know that Ryan would be stepping down and Brian would ask me to step in for the 4th year of the event. But he did and we managed to pull it off somehow. We had a stellar bunch of puzzles, I thought (available for At-Home solving for $10; scroll to the bottom of this page before August 14th) but it isn't even about the puzzles, or the snacks, the pizza, and the ice cream, it's about the sense of community. Of being in a room full of people who enjoy the same thing, who know the difference between an anagram and a palindrome, and who sure do laugh a lot when they get together.
Me & Steve in the WSJ
I constructed the WSJ xword today with my buddy, Steve Salitan. It's called "Mixed Company" and here's a link to the "blog" (really just a bulliten board) and the pdf (http://blogs.wsj.com/puzzle/). Editor Mike Shenk always cranks up the clues, so it's a toughie (it's hard for me to say since I already know all the answers!). TGIF!
Lollapuzzoola 4: Crosswords Take Manhattan
I'm pleased to announce that I'll be cohosting a crossword tournament with Brian Cimmet on August 6th, 2011, in New York, New York (The City So Nice They Named It Twice).
For more info and to preregister, visit BeMoreSmarter. Hope to see you there!
"Modern" Crossword Released for Solving Pleasure
Insprired by a recent Letter to the Editor over at the Washington Post, Tyler Hinman made some Classic Crosswords. Inspired by Tyler, I have made my very own "Modern" Crossword. Here it is as a .puz file, and here is a pdf (solution). Enjoy!
NYT puz by me and Steve Salitan today (3/21/2011)
Watch out for this Salitan fellow. This is merely the first of many puzzles he'll have published, wait and see. Also, thanks to his wonderful wife Valerie for contributing the best entry in the puzzle (34-Across). Project Blackhawk is now operational.
My Band Launches a Website
My band "Summer & Eve" has posted 7 weekly videos on youtube and we just launched a website, too. summerandeve.com - Check it out!
Puzzlefest Winner Announced
(Bonus Puzzle/Hints Released)
Well, the time has come pick the winner of my Summer Puzzlefest. 180 people participated and I got a mere 14 correct answers. The solvers who completed it correctly are Peter Gordon, Jeff Louie, Ross Beresford, Pete Mitchell, Foggy Brume, Dan Katz, Dave Sullivan, Todd McClary, Jill Palmer, Leslie Billig, John Wilson, joon pahk & Alex Boisvert, Steve Tolopka, and Eric LeVasseur. Congrats to all of them for thinking like me!
The randomly selected winner of the $250 Barnes & Noble gift card, a copy of all the books on my Bookshelf, and the titlle "Winner of the Summer Puzzlefest" is ... Foggy Brume! Everybody else who sent in a correct answer will receive a copy of my latest book, "Crossword Word Search."
Everyone who hasn't sent in a correct answer yet, don't worry: I'll be emailing a bonus puzzle later today to help with the meta-puzzle, along with a text file of instructions for all of the regular puzzles. Use them to get me the final answer before March 1, and I'll send you a free puzzle book if you do.
Thanks to everybody who helped to make this Puzzlefest a success!
Me in the NYT (1/27/2011)
I constructed the crossword puzzle in the New York Times today. You can see the puzzle here (subscription required) and the answer here. You can read the crossword blogs about it, too, if you're into that sort of thing: Rex Parker, Wordplay, and Fiend.
The two puzzles I worked on the most at the M.I.T. Mystery Hunt this year were "Forsaken Fortress" by Seth Kleinerman, Steve Nagy, and Aaron Dinkin (a diagramless with three embedded answers) which you can try here and see the answer to here, as well as "Clues and Coordinates" by David Speyer (also a diagramless, this one to be plotted on an 80-sided figure - no really -, see the answer here. The Meta puzzles impressed me, too, especially the ingenuity of this one. That's a wordplay wonderland. If you were a hunter, which puzzles were your favorites? Drop me a note and tell me which one's I should highlight in more detail.
2011 M.I.T. Mystery Hunt:
Mario Makes Marry (with Princess Peach)
The 2011 MIT Mystery Hunt took place this past weekend, and boy, was it amazing. The structure, the puzzles, the performances, the events, and the portals were all fantastic. On top of that, my team won! Congrats to my fellow Codex team members - that was some fancy solvin' (and backsolvin'). Now we get to write the hunt next year, which will be an incredible amount of work and (I'm sure) very rewarding.
The hunt itself had our hero, Mario the plumber, losing his bride at the altar and traveling through five themed worlds that consisted of a group of puzzles that each had a final answer. All of the answers in each round combined somehow to produce a meta-meta answer and unlocked a final runaround that had teams operating Mario through Skype and using his Puzzle Ups to battle robots and save the princess. Some puzzles had three answers, some answers were reused in multiple metas, and most solvers got very little sleep and ate very poorly as they immersed themselves in pure puzzling pleasure all weekend. HERE is a link to the puzzles in case you want to check out the levels of insanity that we were (happily) subjected to this year (click Call in Answer at the top of the puzzle pages to see the answers).
(For those of you wondering about my personal announcement, check out 46:30-47:30 in the video of my band below.)
My Band @ Joe's Pub (not a puzzle)
In case you missed it, here's a video of my band performing at Joe's Pub on 1/12. We're called "Summer and Eve" and we sing a variety of comedy folk songs (a couple of songs are Not Safe For Work or Kids).
Summer Puzzlefest: Final Month to Join the Party!
It’s my pleasure to announce my latest Puzzlefest:
“I Know Where I Was Last Summer”
I’ve constructed a handful of crossword puzzles (9 crosswords and one diagramless, to be precise), each one leading to part of a larger puzzle, which leads to a final answer. Solvers can submit their final answers anytime before February 1st, 2011. A Grand Prize Winner will be selected from the correct entrants by random drawing. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card, a copy of all 15 published puzzle books on my Bookshelf, and the coveted title “Winner of the Summer Puzzlefest.” 25 runners-up will also be selected to win a copy of my latest book, "Crossword Word Search."
The Puzzlefest itself has a travel theme, and the difficulty level is around Tuesday/Wednesday NYTimes level. Extracting the final answer will be a little trickier, though, so be sure to put on your thinking caps for that part. I'm uber-excited about sharing these puzzles with everybody, and for a sample of the kind of thing I like to do, please enjoy my free monthly puzzle (available on the Play page).
To order, simply click on the Summer Puzzlefest button on the right and make a payment of only $9.99 via PayPal. I'll email you a pdf of the Puzzlefest, which you can then transfer to paper via your favorite printing device. Order now to be one of the first to try my latest Puzzlefest.
Thanks for reading. I promise that none of my Puzzlefest clues will be this long.
"AARP Word Search Puzzles" by Dave Tuller
If you think from the title that "AARP Word Search Puzzles" is going to be full of stodgy old puzzles about dentures and broccoli soup: think again.
Dave Tuller has pulled out all the stops on this one, providing solvers with some of the craziest word searches I've ever seen. I happened to edit this one, so I got a sneak peek at some of the insanity that Tuller has cooked up: "Black Hole" puzzles, in which the entire central area of the grid is missing (the words meant to be found extend into that area, and the central area contains a quip when you're done, too); puzzles in which the word list is missing (only the word lengths are given); word searches whose words don't go in a straight line (they may twist in on themselves or bounce off of mirrors placed all over the grid); there's even a jaw-dropping finale that requires people to solve in every possible direction, turning their books sideways and upside-down to finish. The leftover letters in the grid spell out a quote appropriate to the theme, as well, which really shows how much thought and effort went into making these.
Due to be available on October 5th at a Barnes & Noble near you, "AARP Word Search Puzzles" makes all other word search books look tame by comparison. Highly recommended.
Signs of the Times
Sometimes I see signs with issues. I take issue with these issues, and I also take a picture. Here are 10 pictures I've taken of NYC signs with issues:
(Mouse-over to see the captions)
My niece got some "A is for Apple" cards, except they are all animals. Any guesses what Q was?
(mouse-over graphic at left)