Monday, September 28, 2015

Puzzle #20 Solution (Placeholder)

This is a placeholder post for the solution to Puzzle #20, which will be posted next Tuesday. Feel free to discuss the puzzle in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Puzzle #19 Solution

RG2015.19 Hardest/Harder - Solution

RG2015.19 Easier/Easiest - Solution

Apologies for such a late post. I've been falling behind so much on puzzling in general, solving along with constructing, and I honestly just forgot about posting the solution until now. I hope to get better at posting the solutions in a timely manner.

You may be wondering when the next Indie Puzzle Round-Up will be posted. The sad thing is I haven't been keeping up with solving too much lately. I've checked out on some subscription stuff and I did the first few Wall Street Journal dailies to see what that was like, but I haven't been solving nearly enough to post a proper recap. Still great stuff there, as usual, so be sure to head over to the sites listed on the blogroll if you want some high-quality puzzling.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Puzzle #18 Solution

2015.18 Hardest/Harder - Solution

2015.18 Easier/Easiest - Solution

B2 was the seed entry - been on the list of possible seeds for a while, and I happened upon a nice clue for it recently, so that explains its usage in the entry. I was surprised to find just how popular B2 is - this infographic shows that it's first or tied for first for the most popular liquor in fifteen states across the US. Also surprised to see it was first produced in 1984 - I hadn't ever heard of it until about five years ago, and its popularity has apparently skyrocketed since then, so hopefully it wasn't too much of a toughie for you (though I think the lack of the E in the second word may have caused some struggles).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Puzzle #17 Solution

RG2015.17 Hardest/Harder - Solution

RG2015.17 Easier/Easiest - Solution

This may have been the best puzzle of the bunch this year so far. At the very least, I think Row B is the best Row I've dropped in a while. B1 was the seed, and I was very fortunate to be able to include B2 as well (with a colorful Row A answer as well). I realize it was a bit car-heavy, what with Row D and the entry at I2, so I apologize to non-drivers.

The puzzle recap takes a back seat, however, to saying a few words about Merl Reagle, the legendary constructor who passed unexpectedly last Saturday. I never was able to meet Merl in person, even though I did trek to the ACPT for a couple of tournaments, and only had brief interactions with him over e-mail. I'm now regretting I was unable to know Merl better, based on the accounts of other crossworders that had the pleasure of having a long friendship with him.

But I feel indebted to Merl for blazing a trail for independent puzzlers and I've tried to implement the elements of his business plan as I've forged ahead in my puzzle career. For instance, where I have had the negotiating power, I've retained rights (or at least a portion of them) to my puzzles, something that I took from Merl's playbook so to speak. These sorts of considerations create an ecosystem whereby the puzzle constructor can break free from the chains of traditional media and work independently. In many senses, Merl was the original "indie."

Aside from his business savvy, he was a master humorist who imbued his crosswords with his rich personality. If you were stripped of an author's byline prior to solving, you'd still probably figure out it was a Merl puzzle by the time you hit the first theme entry. That's the mark of a true auteur, and his basic philosophy of a puzzle as primarily an entertainment is something I try to keep in mind at all times. In this regard it's difficult to find a constructor that hasn't been influenced by Merl.

The world of puzzles was lucky to have such a presence, and it now has a chasm without him in it. Rest in peace, Merl.