Monday, August 29, 2016

PUZZLE #90: Family Reunions 2

PUZZLE #90
FAMILY REUNIONS 2

For this puzzle, just change the group of 10 words below into a "family" of different words (that is, words or proper names that all have something in common) by dropping one letter from each word and then rearranging the remaining letters. For example, if three of the initial entries are SMEAR, HATRED, and TURBANS, you could drop the E from SMEAR to get MARS, drop the D from HATRED to get EARTH, and drop the B from TURBANS to get SATURN, all in the category "Planets". Also, it should be noted that one of the answers consists of two words. (Maybe it's the MMA fighter in #9 that already consists of two words?) In case you stink at scrambling, you can always try sites like AnagramScramble.com to help you out. As an additional help, you can ask me through email to reveal the category for you, though it will cost you one of your four "hint stars" to do so.

Once you're done, the letters that have been deleted from each word will unscramble to spell out this week's FINAL ANSWER: a ten-letter word that also fits the category



Once you believe you've figured out the FINAL ANSWER, send it to either redhead64@chartermi.net or itsredhead64@gmail.com (though I'm more likely to check the second one) and I'll put your name on a solvers list once I post the answers in about two weeks. You can also use those email addresses to give me some comments and feedback (or get a hint from me in exchange for a "hint star", more details for that are on the sidebar to the right) or send me the answer to last week's puzzle, if you haven't already figured it out. If you have a printer and want to solve this puzzle on paper, just head below the break for a version you can print out!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

ANSWERS: Slot Machine

It's been two weeks since I've posted my first "Slot Machine" puzzle, and ten of you have solved it since then, including a couple who haven't solved any of my puzzles in a while! Turns out they forgot about this site, so I'll try to give them a weekly reminder until I finally set up that Patreon. (Apparently, that site can automatically email backers about when Creators update, so that's yet another incentive to sign up!) Anyways, here's that list of people who have all successfully solved it:
  • Mom **
  • Grant Fikes ****
  • Eric Maddy ****
  • Sam Levitin ****
  • YYW ****
  • M. Sean Molley ****
  • Tyler Hinman ****
  • Lynn Sweeney **
  • Adam Weaver ****
  • Giovanni Pagano ****
Now head below the break for the answers and some solver comments, if you're curious as to what they had to say.

Monday, August 22, 2016

PUZZLE #89: Word Squares: Projectors

PUZZLE #89
WORD SQUARES: PROJECTORS


There are a series of clues whose answers will fit into the provided grid, reading across and down. However, all of the answers are one letter too long to fit in properly, so each one must have either its first or last letter sticking out (or "projecting" out) of the grid. Once you're done, start at the top left and read the "Projectors" either clockwise or counterclockwise to get another word. In the example above, the Projectors spell out SAMPLE.

This week's FINAL ANSWER is the name of a Pokémon you can catch in Pokémon Go.


CLUES
* Bike without pedaling, say
* "Good _____!" (Charlie Brown's catchphrase)
* Prefix for "Galactic"
* "Better in Time" singer Lewis
* Eyelid application
* Television inventor John _____ Baird (Answer hidden in APOLOGIES)
* Actress O'Donnell who voiced Terk in Disney's Tarzan
* Pine (for)

Once you think you know what the FINAL ANSWER is, send it to either redhead64@chartermi.net or itsredhead64@gmail.com (though I'm more likely to check the second one) and I'll put your name on a solvers list once I post the answers in about two weeks. You can also use those email addresses to give me some comments and feedback (or get a hint from me in exchange for a "hint star", more details for that are on the sidebar to the right) or send me the answer to last week's puzzle, if you haven't already figured it out. If you have a printer and want to solve this puzzle on paper, just head below the break for a version you can print out!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

NO ANSWERS: Here's Some Brief Ramblings Instead

This is unusual; normally, the answers to the puzzle from two weeks ago gets posted here, but since I didn't have a puzzle two weeks ago, I don't have anything to post here! Well, not quite; I've been thinking about having some sort of email service that automatically reminds some of my regular solvers about when I post my latest puzzle, but as usual, I don't know how to do such a thing! If you know how I can set up a service like that, let me know through either emailing me or commenting on this post!

Oh, and this is officially my 200th post on this blog! Yay for me!

Monday, August 15, 2016

PUZZLE #88: Slot Machine

PUZZLE #88
SLOT MACHINE

Sorry I'm late! I forgot to schedule this one! Now let's get started!


In this Slot Machine, the Row answers are entered normally, from left to right in the order of the clues given. The Tumbler answers going down are entered in the same way, but all of the Tumblers have been "spun", meaning that the Tumblers' answers can start in any row and continue downwards. When a set of Tumbler answers hit the bottom of the grid, it continues at the start of the same column that it started in. There's also a "Jackpot Answer" that is comprised of the first letters of the first answer of each Tumbler. In the example above, the Rows spell out INN, TIE, and WOW, while the Tumblers spell out WIT, ION, and NEW, and the first letter of each Tumbler spell out WIN.

This week's FINAL ANSWER is the answer to the Jackpot.


JACKPOT
* Something that made its debut in the year this puzzle's author was born: ? wds.

ROWS
1) Suicide Squad member named after the Japanese sword she wields
    Cable network that airs reruns of American Ninja Warrior
2) Sandy golf hazard
    With "The", MTV reality show about the Prince of Darkness and his family
3) Like all prime numbers (except 2)
    15th-century prince nicknamed "The Impaler"
    Blues musician Muddy _____
4) Egg-shaped
    Swirly sweet on a stick
5) Micro machines?
    It frequently has a backup strategy: 1 wd. and a ltr.
6) Island country that's southeast of India: 2 wds.
    Actor Elba who voiced Chief Bogo in Zootopia
7) Barely make, with "out"
    It changed its name to Tokyo in 1868
    Emulated Rosie from WWII
8) 2002 Kid Rock song featuring Sheryl Crow
    Canadian one dollar coin
9) Suffix for "serpent"
    Female tailor (Insert reference to Rarity from My Little Pony here)
10) Yankovic and Gore
     Singing syllables: Hyph.
     Genetic chain (HINT: It doesn't start with a "D")
11) Egyptian queen with a famous bust (Get your mind out of the gutter!)
     Reward, archaically (Yeah, no one's gonna know this; just write down DEEM backwards)
12) "Shake _____" (The Cars song): 2 wds.
     Main character of Assassin's Creed: Unity (Anagram of the first answer in Tumbler #6)
     San Diego baseball player
13) They're inserted into Intellivisions
     U2 album featuring "Sunday Bloody Sunday"

TUMBLERS
1) Rugrats or Rocko's Modern Life, for example
    Color of an old-timey photo
2) Narrow passage of water
    Species of Arthur or D.W.
3) Sisters' daughters
    "I'm Like a Bird" singer Nelly
4) Spigot for suds
    The Incredibles character who can turn invisible
    Escalator part
5) Mess up
    Tom or Schwarzenegger from True Lies
    Erykah who sang "On & On"
6) Late You've Got Mail director Ephron
    Blood-collecting heart parts
    Infamous '70s horror/art film based on a book by [last answer in Tumbler #13]
7) Sister of Yakko and Wakko from Animaniacs
    Moscow citadel
    Cotillion ball honoree, for short
8) Birds whose heads can rotate 270 degrees
    _____ Craig (Scottish island) (Anagram of ALIAS)
    Clothes, slangily (HINT: It rhymes with a '90s bottle cap fad)
9) Rotation point in a lever
    "Fat _____" (Sum 41 song)
    =
10) Suffix for "bowl" or "pan"
     Big _____, California
     That squiggly line seen in words like "Piñata"
11) Grape juice for adults?
     Joined forces with someone
12) The Spirit cartoonist Will who has a comic book award named after him
     Last word of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
     Rice-A-_____ (The San Francisco Treat!)
13) In medias _____
     Spots for saunas
     Masochistic Marquis who wrote The 120 Days of Sodom: 2 wds.

Once you believe you've figured out the FINAL ANSWER, send it to either redhead64@chartermi.net or itsredhead64@gmail.com (though I'm more likely to check the second one) and I'll put your name on a solvers list once I post the answers in about two weeks. You can also use those email addresses to give me some comments and feedback (or get a hint from me in exchange for a "hint star", more details for that are on the sidebar to the right). If you have a printer and want to solve this puzzle on paper, just head below the break for a version you can print out!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

ANSWERS: Link-Letters 2

It's been almost two weeks since I've posted my second "Link-Letters" puzzle, as well as almost one week since I pretty much poured my heart out on all the things related to this blog that have been eating at me. I did get some replies to that post, but unfortunately, not much of it seemed to help. For instance, Grant Fikes said that "I wouldn't know where to begin to get a signal boost and an enduring readership. For now, just interact with the puzzle community a lot and keep posting content.", but I don't know exactly how to interact with the puzzle community outside of the people solving my puzzles, and even then, I still don't know what to do with the people who haven't solved in a while, either.

At least I made a step towards fixing one of my problems; starting with tomorrow's puzzle, I am now going to try to use a test-solver more frequently to see if my puzzles are too hard or not. You might know him: Joseph DeVincentis is Grant's regular test-solver, and he's tested out a couple of my puzzles before, so hopefully, his input will decrease the difficulty a tad for my puzzles!

Now with all that out of the way, let's see the people who have figured out that "Link-Letters" puzzle which could've benefited more from a test solver:
  • Grant Fikes ****
  • Eric Maddy ****
  • Mom ****
  • Lynn Sweeney ****
  • Debbie Benford ****
  • YYW ****
  • Adam Weaver ****
Now head below the break for the answers! Nobody commented on this specific puzzle, so instead, I've included a couple messages sent to me regarding last week's post.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

ANSWERS: Patchwords (And Some Ramblings)

Before we get to the answers to the "Patchwords" puzzle I made in celebration of my sister's wedding, I just wanted to discuss some things:

Firstly, I have a link to my Paypal account on the top of the sidebar to the right, and so far, absolutely nobody has donated even a penny to it. So since Paypal is clearly not working out yet, I'm thinking that maybe I should explore alternate possibilities of revenue, like Patreon. The problem is that if I did join Patreon, I wouldn't know where to begin! What would I say in my reason for being on Patreon? What kind of goals and rewards should I include? (Outside of none at all; I don't want to name names, but there are fairly successful Patreons out there that don't reward their backers or produce anything of note, and those tend to be... well, let's just say they know about the "Wounded Gazelle Gambit" and leave it at that) I know that Grant Fikes has a Patreon, but I probably shouldn't copy his rewards outright; I know this blog was heavily influenced by his, but that would be a little too on-the-nose, so to speak. If I do decide to join Patreon or somewhere similar, I think I'll leave my Paypal button there in case someone wants to pay me for a one-off commission or something.

My second quandary is about having people stay on this site: I've had more than a few people solve my puzzles, but also more than a few people who haven't solved any of my puzzles in a while. (Case in point, only six people have solved my latest puzzle so far, half of whom I know in person and was present when they solved it) Are the puzzles too hard for them? Are the clues too esoteric? Are they too busy with other things? Did they just plain forget? I was thinking of having a survey or something like that, but once again, I don't know what I should ask on it or who I should give it to.

Another question I have is this: How do I promote this blog? I don't belong to any social networking sites (Deviantart doesn't count, and even if it did, I haven't updated my profile in years), mostly because I don't want to risk coming in contact with unreasonable, short-tempered, "Everything Is Offensive"-type people. I've had a couple meta-crosswords promoted through Matt Gaffney's site, but I don't think that's going to happen anymore. I was thinking of making a TVTropes page for this site, but somehow, I fear that it'll be ignored and/or die out quickly. Are there any other possibilities that I'm not thinking of?

I want as many people as possible to respond to these questions plaguing me, so let me know what you think either through email or commenting on this blog. And because I want as many readers as possible to look at and reply to this post (and because my puzzle buffer is completely empty as I write this), I'm taking the week off, meaning that there will be no new puzzle tomorrow. I'll most likely have one next week, so look forward to that!

Oh yeah, that "Patchwords" puzzle! Here's all the people that solved it:
  • Eric Maddy ****
  • Grant Fikes ****
  • YYW ****
  • Alex & Eric Milton ****
  • Sam Levitin ****
  • Lynn Sweeney ****
  • Mom ****
  • Debbie Benford ****
  • Adam Weaver ****
Now head below the break for the answers, as well as something involving this puzzle you might have missed!

Monday, August 1, 2016

PUZZLE #87: Link-Letters 2

PUZZLE #87
LINK-LETTERS 2

The answer to each clue on the left side of this puzzle's grid goes in the squares to the left of the first black bar, and the answers to each clue on the right goes into the squares to the right of the second black bar. Then a single letter (the "Link-Letter") goes in the square in the middle to complete a single word that reads all the way across. For example, if the two words are CON and ACT, you can put a "T" between them to get CONTACT.

Once you've filled out all eight rows, the central letters will spell out two four-letter words reading down. Add a letter between those two words in the red square to get this week's FINAL ANSWER: The name of a well-known musician


And here are the clues in text format, sorted by the rows they appear in from up to down:

1) Game show prop with "Bankrupt" wedges / Directional keyboard symbol
2) Paid athletes / Like a kitten trying to stay awake
3) "Deshi Basara" from The Dark Knight Rises, for one / "Oh, what's the _____?"
4) They have a Y chromosome / Austin's friend in the name of a Disney Channel sitcom
5) Stopover for tired travelers / Pennies
6) It calls itself the "Biggest Little City in the World" / Had ham, e.g.
7) Piece of fabric / Turn a record on the turntable
8) Cow's call / Total Recall actress Sharon

Once you think you know what the FINAL ANSWER is, send it to either redhead64@chartermi.net or itsredhead64@gmail.com (though I'm more likely to check the second one) and I'll put your name on a solvers list once I post the answers in about two weeks. You can also use those email addresses to give me some comments and feedback (or get a hint from me in exchange for a "hint star", more details for that are on the sidebar to the right) or send me the answer to last week's puzzle, if you haven't already figured it out. If you have a printer and want to solve this puzzle on paper, just head below the break for a version you can print out!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

ANSWERS: Pent Words 6

Before we reveal the answers to my sixth "Pent Words" puzzle, I've got some business to take care of: last month, I held a contest involving a picross puzzle, but the winner of that contest, Edderiofer He, hasn't replied back to me. Since I don't want the prize of a picross book or video game of the victor's choosing go to waste, I've decided to select a different winner for that contest! The new winner is... Sam Levitin! Congratulations! I'll email you as soon as possible, and make sure you reply back to me to let me know what picross book/video game you want!

Now with all that out of the way, here are the people who solved "Pent Words 6":
  • Grant Fikes ****
  • Adam Weaver ****
  • Eric Maddy ****
  • Sam Levitin ****
  • Lynn Sweeney ***
  • YYW ****
  • Debbie Benford (with help from Mom) **
  • Joseph DeVincentis ****
Now just head below the break for the answers as well as some solver comments!

Monday, July 25, 2016

PUZZLE #86: Patchwords

PUZZLE #86
PATCHWORDS

Boy, was this weekend an eventful one! After all, my sister Alex just got married last Saturday! Since this was such a momentous occasion, I've decided to make this week's puzzle sort of a tribute to Eric, the man that my sister married! I've had a FINAL ANSWER related to the groom already in mind, but none of the puzzle types I've posted on this blog so far seemed to work for it, so I've opted to do it in the form of a word search.

Believe it or not, this isn't the first word search related to the wedding that I've made; a month before the wedding happened, I was commissioned to create a word search for my sister's bridal shower. To tell the truth, I actually wound up using a web site that automatically makes word searches; all I did was add a list of wedding-related words and chose a heart-shaped grid. But don't worry, not only is this word search completely handmade (er, keyboard-made), it's also not a traditional word search! Read on to see how to solve it!

Each of the words hinted at by the clues below can be found in a continuous line in an irregularly-shaped "patch" inside the grid. (To make a patch, just draw a thick line surrounding all of the letters in the word) The line that each word takes goes vertically and horizontally, but NOT diagonally. Each letter in the grid will be used exactly once, and none of the patches overlap.

Once you've completed the puzzle, combine the two patches that don't have corresponding clues to get this week's FINAL ANSWER: One of the groom's all-time favorite TV shows


CLUES
* HALF OF THE FINAL ANSWER
* THE OTHER HALF OF THE FINAL ANSWER
* Board game where you remove ailments from Cavity Sam
* Dreamworks movie featuring a song called "The Snail is Fast" (yes, really)
* Emulate a lifeguard
* "Food, Glorious Food" musical
* Ghouls and goblins
* The Good _____ (Pixar movie)
* Greek letter before beta
* High gear on a car, probably
* _____ Jack (Cartoon Network series returning this year)
* Last name of Chuckie from Rugrats
* Lightning's companion
* Many a character from DC or Marvel
* Merging together
* Naruto or Sasuke, e.g.
* Organ-playing figure "of the Opera"
* Pikachu's fur color
* Power wielded by the Jedi
* Rock opera by The Who featuring "Pinball Wizard"
* Super Mario _____ (video game that introduced Rosalina)
* The lion is the king of this habitat (even though it lives in the grasslands...)
* Use a credit card
* The Wild Thornberrys network
* Wookie or Ewok, for one

Once you believe you've figured out the FINAL ANSWER is, send it to either redhead64@chartermi.net or itsredhead64@gmail.com (though I'm more likely to check the second one) and I'll put your name on a solvers list once I post the answers in about two weeks. You can also use those email addresses to give me some comments and feedback (or get a hint from me in exchange for a "hint star", more details for that are on the sidebar to the right) or send me the answer to last week's puzzle, if you haven't already figured it out. If you have a printer and want to solve this puzzle on paper, just head below the break for a version you can print out!