Monday, October 26, 2015

Puzzle #22 Solution

RG2015.22 Hardest/Harder - Solution

RG2015.22 Easier/Easiest - Solution

B1 was the seed, which then enabled a couple of especially long entries at C2 and E2. Those can be fun, especially because 16 letter entries are rare in standard crosswords, what with the conventional size of a grid is 15 letters long. But that has the downside of necessitating short Row entries like B2, which goes against one of the more endearing qualities of Rows Gardens, that they avoid the short 3-, 4-, and 5-letter entries that generally make up 75% of a standard crossword. Hopefully the trade-off here was worth it.

Puzzle #21 Solution (and a Sandwiches recap)

RG2015.21 Hardest/Harder - Solution

Row A was the seed on this puzzle; I originally planned to clue him in reference to "teaming up" with LeBron James in 2015...but I didn't want the clue to be too much of a stretchy misdirect, as I ended up going with a clever clue at B2. So I just clued it straight. 

Thanks to everyone who submitted an answer to the Sandwiches contest! There were 73 entries, all of which correctly tabbed TOOTHPICK as the correct answer. Congratulations to Jamie Kroening, who was randomly selected as the winner of a free one-year subscription. 

For those who would like more of these puzzles, I'm honestly not quite sure of the future direction I'll take with the format. I would like to explore it deeper (I actually came up with a spin-off of the Sandwiches format before I originally wrote the first one, so stay tuned for that), but it's not likely that I'll be doing many of these, at least in the near future. 

One thing that solvers pointed out as a drawback was the use of some short fill that tends to be overused in standard crosswords, and I totally agree with this criticism. It's one of the best traits of a Rows Garden, that typically the shortest entries are six letters long, and you don't get bogged down with the 3- and 4-letter entries that most crosswords are rife in. 

I like having a meta element tie things together in a Sandwiches (and constructing the first one, I found it was not too difficult to pull this off. Much harder task in a Rows Garden, for instance). So I would envision that the size of future Sandwiches are variable and will be sized in order to accommodate a meta answer of some sort. I like the rectangular shape of the grid (to keep with the sandwich theme), but don't be surprised if future puzzles are 11 or 13 letters tall rather than 9, as was the case in the debut puzzle. 

Thanks again for all those entered - I really appreciated all the feedback. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

New Variety Puzzle Format: Sandwiches (And a Contest!)

I've been tinkering with the idea of a new puzzle format for a few years now, and I think I hit upon something that I can sink my teeth into, so to speak. It's called "Sandwiches," and you can try your hand at it by downloading the PDF file below. Instructions are included with the PDF.

I would like as much feedback as possible for this debut, so I made it a contest which requires you to e-mail me (wink-wink) in order to enter. So feel free to include your thoughts and comments regarding the format. I had a couple test-solvers give initial feedback, but the amount of people that have actually solved one of these is still very small, so I do appreciate any commentary you have.

As mentioned in the PDF, I will do a random drawing of all the correct entries I receive by the end of the day next Monday, October 19th. One lucky entrant will have the choice of a free one-year Rows Garden subscription or a one-year AriesXword subscription.

Hope you enjoy the puzzle: DOWNLOAD "SANDWICHES"