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Author Topic: Sample puzzle (LOOK INSIDE!)  (Read 4424 times)

Todd G

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Sample puzzle (LOOK INSIDE!)
« on: January 11, 2009, 10:51:49 AM »
Hello again, everyone.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather be talking about puzzles than business plans or licensing or residuals.  Puzzles are the fun part!  Even more fun is creating puzzles that people like to solve.  So I decided to take the bull by the horns and create a sample puzzle.

I tried to follow Roy Leban's excellent suggestions, while adding in as much of my own personality as I could (while trying to end up with a puzzle that would be fun to solve).

A few points before I get to the puzzle:

  * I chose a state that hasn't already been taken.  So no worries if you've started in on yours.
  * You, like the end customer, will have to figure the state out for yourself.  I did hide the name of the state, with an obscure clue as Roy suggested.
  * I made a couple of references to other states in the puzzle using the format [XX], where XX is the postal code for that state.  Thus, [AL] would refer to the Alabama puzzle, [AK] to Alaska, and so on.
  * The thematic entries have no wordplay, just info relevant to the state.  Also, no compass directions, rebus entries, or OREO
  * One of the clues refers to circled letters.  Unfortunately, the circles didn't map over to the Across Lite file.  So I'm enclosing a grid below with the circled letters indicated.

I think these are the relevant questions we should focus on:

  1. Is this the kind of puzzle we're looking for in this volume?  And if not, why not?
  2. Is this the kind of puzzle solvers will enjoy as part of a bound set?

So give it a try!  I hope it leads to more puzzles...that's the fun part.


Mike Peluso

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Re: Sample puzzle (LOOK INSIDE!)
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 01:19:17 AM »

Speaking strictly for myself, your puzzle is just about the level of difficulty that I had in mind. As for the fill and the clues, I'm not skilled enough to comment from an editor's standpoint. However, as a solver, it was fun to do.

With the constructor vs. solver debate going on, I'm really not sure how this would play out. The puzzles need to be fun and challenging for the constructor, but at the same time need to fill a niche among solvers....which is stating the obvious. How do we identify the solving audience who would most likely respond to this kind of puzzle book? It's clear that we all have our ideas, and many of them are quite divergent. Is our audience the same audience who does the NYT and LAT regularly? Early week? Late week? Sunday? Are they going to be looking at a real challenge with lots witty tricks and clues, and or will they want a fairly straightforward fill that will test, but not tax, their United States geography skills will still providing a pleasant solver's experience? I'm inclined to think it would be the latter, but that's just the opinion of one constructor with only a couple years' experience.

I think we need to be very clear with one another that nothing is cast in stone here. Do those who volunteered for a state HAVE TO get a puzzle ready to go? No. If more than one person has volunteered for a state, whose puzzle will be selected and how will it be selected? At this point, that vehicle has not even begun to be put into place. Is AAA our main focus as an avenue for the puzzle? Not at all. Will top-notch editors need to be recruited to ensure the quality and consistency of the puzzles? Most definitely! Is profit the main engine for this project? For some, yes. For others, no. Will we need to come to an agreement as to whether this will be for profit or for fun? Yes. Will coming to that agreement be easy? Hell, no! :-) Etc, etc, etc....

The bottom line is that what absolutely has to be done is a consensus among all of us (via electronic media, no less!) on these and several other issues. If there is anybody out there who has even the slightest idea how to do that, let us know!! Because I'll be the first to admit I wouldn't have a clue how to do that. I'll be happy to continue collecting data and opinions, and disseminating them, but the skill and know-how to "herd the cats" into a cohesive unit with a singular sense of purpose would definitely NOT be within the scope of my expertise.

So I'll admit I've done a lot of talking with no solutions. It will take a meeting of brilliant organizational minds to pull this off, someone with the ability to "herd the cats". I hope he/she/they is/are out there.

Mike Peluso


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Re: Sample puzzle (LOOK INSIDE!)
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 01:35:45 PM »
Just to comment on Todd's puzzle specifically -

It was quite fun, and the surprise of the circled letters was very nice indeed.  I might suggest asterisks or something to indicate the theme answers - I had expected 17 and 64 Across to be theme answers.  There were still 4 long theme answers, plus the circled letters bonus, so in the end my misperception had no effect on my solving.

The puzzle was a little too easy.  That can be solved at the level of the cluing I think.  The vocabulary was all fair, which contributed to its easiness (and that's a compliment - no obscure words). 

The [XX] style clue at 1-Across would be better if it were a more obscure reference (and that might be how Todd would intend it in final form).  Something like "Puzzle 24 city where..."  Or perhaps not.  Perhaps that would give away too much about Puzzle 24?

I enjoyed it and would like to see more puzzles in this vein. 

Edit to add: The clue for US Open winner is wrong as written.


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