Monday, June 22, 2015

Puzzle #13 - Solution

RG2015.13 Hardest/Harder - Solution

RG2015.13 Easier/Easiest - Solution

B2 was the seed entry here. It wasn't the easiest seed to work with, as C2 was one of only a few possibilities going under that entry. Using it at B1 wasn't possible, either. Then I ended up tearing up three or four rows towards the bottom of the puzzle as a few entries weren't turning out to be all that accommodating. So overall this was a challenging grid, and I went a little tougher on the clues, too. How did it suit you?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Puzzle #12 - Solution

RG2015.12 Hardest/Harder - Solution

RG2015.12 Easier/Easiest - Solution

For the second time in four years, I made it to the finals of the Minnesota Crossword Puzzle Tournament. For the second time in four years, I took second place. Congratulations to Carl Voss, who thoroughly dominated the final themeless puzzle (constructed by Victor Barocas), and handily beat myself and third-place finisher Mike Weepie.

It was a fun time, and the itch of competitive speed solving seems to have returned. I hadn't competed in a tournament since Lollapuzzoola in 2013, but apparently I shook the rust off enough to lead the room going into the finals. I've booked my flight for August to return to Lollapuzzoola this year; now, mind you, I don't expect to get anything close to a top finish there, as some serious speed solvers will be present there. My approach this year was not to "rush" - i.e., make sure the grid is completely filled in, double-check questionable crossings, etc. - and that seemed to work, so I'll approach Lolla in the same manner.

The most important thing, especially when you're in the speed-solving purgatory that I'm in (that is, good enough to qualify for the expert/highest solving division, but nowhere near the top 10-20 solvers that actually have a chance at making a major-tournament final), is to just have fun. The stakes are already very low, so just enjoying the experience, meeting some fellow puzzlers, and solving some great puzzles are the things I most cherish about these tournaments.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Puzzle #11 Solution

RG2015.11 Hardest/Harder - Solution

RG2015.11 Easier/Easiest - Solution

Clue/entry pair at B2 was the seed. I was a little worried that I was a little too sports-heavy in the top half and a little movie/pop culture heavy in the bottom few rows; I hope I didn't inconvenience solvers too much if I probed a bit to much on individual knowledge weak spots.

I had the opportunity to solve the Indie 500 puzzles over the weekend and was really impressed by the quality of the work presented there. It was a shame that I couldn't make the tournament in person (too far, money, etc.), especially so because the puzzles were so enjoyable and I respect each of the constructors greatly. It's a fool's exercise to pick the best of the bunch, because they all were so good, but I will say that Neville Fogarty's stumper had the quintessence of a  Puzzle 5 at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament - a puzzle that puts up great resistance, even when the theme is uncovered. Great stuff there. And as a constructor, I really appreciated both Peter Broda and Finn Vigeland's puzzles from a technical standpoint. I won't go any further and divulge any particulars of the puzzle - to keep with the tournament runners' wishes - just to say that you should order them right now. $10 well spent. Here's the link to purchase: Indie 500 (Click on the Register tab and scroll to the bottom)