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Author Topic: 19 black squares  (Read 1964 times)

Alex Maione

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19 black squares
« on: February 05, 2010, 07:45:40 PM »
Today's NYT's puzzle. By Joe Krozel. Is that some type of record?

sonofagun

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Re: 19 black squares
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2010, 10:23:46 PM »
Nope. I believe it's Kevin Der. 16 blocks.

Alex Maione

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Re: 19 black squares
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2010, 11:16:08 PM »
Crazy. It was a great puzzle too. nicely clued except for the esoteric stuff you have to put in to make everything fit...

DougP

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Re: 19 black squares
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 01:48:15 AM »
Yes, it was an excellent puzzle! Joe Krozel has done 3 puzzles with 19 black squares. And Kevin Der holds the record with an 18-block puzzle.

Check 'em all out here:

http://xwordinfo.com/Density.aspx


jorkel

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Re: 19 black squares
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 11:02:41 AM »
Thanks for enjoying the puzzle, folks.

There was a nice little Bonus interview on the "Wordplay" movie DVD with Manny Nosowsky and Joe DiPietro about constructing the first 19-block puzzle.  I think Kevin Der said that was his inspiration for constructing his 18-block puzzle.  There's a nice interview with Kevin on JimH's old blog:  http://www.xwordblog.com/2008/08/kevin-g-der-the-new-champion.html

I talk a little about the construction of my first 19-block puzzle here:
http://wordplay.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/work/#more-1509

I'll just reemphasize a point I made in that interview that the key to achieving clean fill is to be diligent about reranking one's wordlist.  In fact, even if you have a messy wordlist, you can still clean up the portion that's needed for any puzzle you are currently working on:  If you're using Crossword Compiler in manual mode, word-selection menus will come up for each position in the grid:  just right-click on any word in the menu, and a banner will come up which will let you change the rank.  After you change a few word ranks in your menu, just click on the "Score" header and that menu will be resorted with the new ranks.  (Alas, I stray, but hopefully it's a useful tip).

Regards,
Joe Krozel

Alex Maione

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Re: 19 black squares
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2010, 02:05:12 AM »
Touching on Joe's response: What the heck are word scores anyway? I compile using CrossFire, and it gives me a Word Score, Grid Score, and Final Score. What in tarnation do all those things mean??

jorkel

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Re: 19 black squares
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2010, 06:37:57 PM »
@db0255 ...

I'm not familiar with the CrossFire software;  I've always used Crossword Compiler to construct puzzles, but the principle behind grid-filling software is probably the same:  that the constructor pre-assigns a number -- usually from 1 to 99 -- to each word in the word list.  Then, when the software is invoked to fill a grid, it will first try the words with the highest ranks (or word score) and work it's way down to lower ranks until the first successful fill is achieved.

Perhaps someone familiar with CrossFire might chime in to elaborate on those other scores you mention;  they don't appear to be universal.
-Joe

 

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