Monday, April 27, 2015

TETRIS MONTH: Puzzle #21: Tet Words

Before we get started on the final installment of "Tetris Month", I have some great news: I'm going to be published in Will Shortz's Wordplay! The puzzle in question is called a "Build-A-Pyramid", and after sending it in for submission way back in January, I got confirmation last Tuesday that's it's going to be published in the December 2015 issue! I'm so excited! Anyway, let's get to my usual weekly puzzle...


We conclude Tetris Month with a variant of an old favorite, Pent Words! If you need a refresher on what they are, my first one is here, and the second one is here.

For this puzzle, you must divide the grid into tetrominoes (they’re kinda like Tetris pieces, except-- wait, they're EXACTLY like Tetris pieces!) and put a letter in each cell. The rows, reading from left to right, will contain the words hinted at by the ACROSS clues. The letters in the pentominoes, reading left to right beginning with the top row, will form the words hinted at by the TETROMINOES clues; these clues are presented in no particular order. (In the example above, the rows spell out MACH, AIDE, and THAT and the pentominoes spell out the words MATH, ACID, and HEAT.) Use the Across answers to figure out where the tetrominoes go.

(Two answers per row)
1) Booby prize from Let's Make A Deal / Teri Garr's character in Young Frankenstein
2) The Matrix: Path of _____ / Chad _____ (web series which won an Official Star Wars Fan Film Award)
3) Mark or Shania / Failed video game mascot who's a boxing kangaroo
4) Jonathan Frakes' Star Trek character / Cartoon "Invader" created by Jhonen Vasquez
5) Playstation 2 RPG subtitled "Shadow King" / Surgery sites, briefly
6) _____ Delfino (Super Mario Sunshine setting) / Memorably crazy villain from Far Cry 3
7) Raccoon thief whose sidekicks are Murray and Bentley / Orangutan from Donkey Kong 64 who has no style, and has no grace
8) Laudatory poem / Luigi's Death _____ (Meme originating from Mario Kart 8)

* Failed video game mascot who's an "Acro-Bat"
* Hacker from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Super Mario 64 collectible
* PBS science series that debuted in 1974
_____ Runner (Brøderbund video game)
* Jaguar-masked fighter from Tekken
* 2011 first-person shooter made by id Software
* Lines up the crosshairs in [the answer to the clue directly above this one], e.g.
* Comix _____ ("Beat-em-up" for Sega Genesis)
* He played a mermaid-obsessed scientist in Splash
* Rock band who had a video game called Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child
* Last name of Doug Funnie's neighbor
* Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Princess Ruto, for one
* The title characters of The Lost Vikings, for example

Sorry for the overabundance of video game-related clues; clearly, I haven't learned my lesson about the fact that not many of my solvers are gamers! (Okay, I actually made this before Tetris Month started, but still...) Remember, as always, you're free to look up clues that are giving you trouble! Anyway, once you figure out what the FINAL ANSWER is, send it to either or and I'll put your name on a solvers list roughly two weeks from now. If you want, you can also use those email addresses to send me comments and feedback, or you could even send me the FINAL ANSWER to last week's puzzle (located here, with an easier version here). If you want a version of "Tet Words" you can print out, just go below the break for just that!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

EASY VERSION: Word Squares: Tetris Edition

It's been almost a week since I've posted "Word Squares: Tetris Edition", and despite the potentially confusing instructions, 8 people so far have successfully solved it. If you want to add to that total, but want an easier version to solve, just go below the break and print out the picture! Not only are the clues in order, you don't even have to mentally rotate the letters inside the Tetris pieces anymore! Oh, and sorry if the last Across clue for Grid #2 has part of the answer in it; I couldn't think of any better clues for that entry!

ANSWERS: Tetris Blockout

I'll admit it: that "Tetris Blockout" puzzle from two weeks ago ranks right up there with my "Flower Power" puzzle for being one of the hardest puzzles that I've made, and the low number of people who have solved it confirms that. I thought that last week's easier version would increase the number of solvers, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case. In fact, considering that no one has solved one of my puzzles in the second week since my third meta-crossword from last month, I'm starting to question if I should even keep doing easier versions if no one will solve it that way! I'll still publish the easier version for my latest puzzle later today, of course (since it's already made); I'm just questioning if I should continue doing so. At least I got some good news to share with you last Tuesday... but I'll save that for tomorrow. In the meantime, here are the few people who have figured out "Tetris Blockout"!
  • Eric Maddy **
  • Adam Weaver **
  • Paolo Pasco **
  • Grant Fikes **
  • Christian H.P. **
Now just go below the break for the answers, along with some solver comments and a story on how it turns out that this puzzle was just as hard to make as it was to solve (if not more so)!

Monday, April 20, 2015

TETRIS MONTH! Puzzle #20: Word Squares: Tetris Edition


This puzzle's inspired by the fact that it's impossible to create a perfect square using the seven Tetris pieces; if you try and do that, you'll get three extra tiles sticking out of a 5x5 square, like in the example above.

Fill in the squares below with the words hinted at by the clues. Each square has five words going across and five going down, thought it's up to you to figure out which direction they go. All of the words are five letters long, except for three words in each grid, which are six letters long. The six-letter words will have either its first or last letter sticking out of the grid. To help you, each grid has a set of seven Tetris pieces, or "tetrominoes", to be placed in the grid. Each tetromino has four letters already placed inside, but be careful, as some of the pieces have letters that are rotated in the incorrect direction, and it's up to you figure out the correct orientation (For example, the I-Block's letters in the first grid are rotated upside-down, thought the letters themselves stay in the same squares).

Once you're done, the letters sticking out of the 5x5 grids will spell out the FINAL ANSWER: the name of two related video game characters (one per grid and three letters each) whose names combine to spell out a six-letter weapon.

* "Airy" vocal music piece
* It comes after "November" in the NATO phonetic alphabet
* Horse _____ (infamous DLC for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)
* "Wonderfilled" cookies
* The solo artist who has the most #1 singles on Billboard
* Puppeteer Lewis who had to repeatedly endure "The Song That Never Ends"
* Robot girl from the Xenosaga series
* #, in music
* Groundhog, for one
* Purple dragon created by Insomniac Games

* Defunct oil company with a torch in its logo
* Azerbaijan's currency
* "You _____ Beautiful" (Joe Cocker song)
* Ingredient in a Reese's Fast Break
* Walter Bishop is always screwing up this Fringe character's name

* Japan's largest national trade union center (Hidden in VARENGOLD)
* Jack Narz-hosted game show that was instrumental in the 1950s quiz show scandals

* Its capital city is Apia
* The Binding of _____ (disturbing indie game)

_____ Center: Under the Knife (Nintendo DS game)

Once you think you know what this week's FINAL ANSWER is, send it to either or within the next two weeks and your name will be placed on a solvers list for all to see. You can also use those e-mail addresses to give me some feedback/comments/constructive criticism and/or send me the FINAL ANSWER to last week's puzzle (the version that's too hard is located here, while the version that's too easy can be found here). If you want a version of this puzzle you can print out, just click on "Read more" on this post to see it!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

EASY VERSION: Tetris Blockout

Boy, my last puzzle must've been just as hard to solve as it was to make, because so far, only 5 people have managed to figure it out so far (All of whom have managed to do so in the first day of its posting). Fortunately, I've provided an easier version below the break, as always, and included in that are easier clues as well as the Tetris blocks already being placed. Then again, considering that this week's FINAL ANSWER is one of the answers in the puzzle, I might've made this Easy Version TOO easy...


My first contest has come to a close! Unfortunately, there wasn't as many solvers for this puzzle as I would've liked (especially since no one solved it in the second week); apparently, not a whole lot of you are gamers. Oh well, I'll try to think of better prizes the next time I hold a contest! Anyways, below are the list of people who have solved this puzzle, along with the prize that they requested if they won:
  • Grant Fikes ** (Tetris Stackable LED Desk Lamp)
  • Adam Weaver ** (A Final Fantasy Game for iOS)
  • Eric Maddy ** (Decided to opt out of this contest)
  • Sam Levitin ** (Jenga Tetris)
  • Tyler Hinman ** (The answer to Clue #10)
  • Christian H.P. ** (The answer to Clue #10)
Tyler Hinman already won the first prize, and now one of the people above (excluding him and Eric) is going to win the second one! The winner is: Christian H.P! Congratulations! Now I have to give out two copies of the exact same game! What are the odds? Anyways, If you want to read the answers to this puzzle (and to see what the winners won, along with some solver comments), just go below the break to do so!

Monday, April 13, 2015

TETRIS MONTH! Puzzle #19: Tetris Blockout


This title works on several levels; not only does this puzzle involve "blocking out" parts of this grid, but it turns out there's a 3D variant of Tetris actually called Blockout! Anyway, let's get to the directions!

This grid is just an example; not the actual puzzle

This puzzle uses a 9x9 grid. When completed, the grid will contain 28 shaded squares appearing in the form of the 7 different Tetris pieces known as "tetrominoes". The shaded tetrominoes may be rotated (but not reflected) as needed and don't touch each other, not even at a corner. The example above shows an idea on how the blocks are placed, but be careful, as it's up to you to determine where the shaded tetrominoes go in the grid!

The 18 clues grid entries (9 across and 9 down) are given, but which clue in each pair yields the across entry and which one yields the down entry is, once again, up to you to determine (save for the first pair). Entries are placed into the grid, one per row and one per column, skipping over all of the shaded tetromino squares. For instance, in the example above, the last column contains four shaded tetromino squares, so the entry for that column will contain 5 letters, entered in order into the white squares. As an additional hint, the first square in the first row/column does not have a shaded square in it.

All of the entries in this puzzle are at least four letters long... except for one. So this week's FINAL ANSWER is the only entry in the grid that's less than four letters.

1) [ACROSS] The first name of a pink-clad Wacky Races racer... / [DOWN] ...and their last name
2) Pi'_____ Island (location in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team) / Someone who makes people happy
3) Voldemort's pet snake / Baymax's creator from Big Hero 6
4) Decahedron-shaped die used in many tabletop RPGs / Their debut album Wisconsin Death Trip went platinum
5) Annoy successfully (I may or may not have used this answer before in Puzzle #13) / Stretchy, like a waistband
6) Christ's first name in Latin / Cease to have the benefit (of), like an amputated limb (Anagram of LOU SEES)
7) "_____ you. It's been a long time, how have you been?" (GLaDOS' first lines in Portal 2. Please ignore the fact that part of the answer is in the clue itself) / Campsite shelters
8) Paintings by Pablo / Lt. Colonel played by Hiro Abe in Letters from Iwo Jima
9) Zelda or Midna, for example / Add-on to the end of a phone no.

I know a lot of these clues look tough, but remember that you're allowed to look up the answers if you so wish! Anyway, once you figured out this week's FINAL ANSWER, send it to either or before April 26th and you'll win a spot on the solvers list as well as bragging rights. Oh, and last week's puzzle is a contest with prizes to win, so using those same email addresses, please send me the FINAL ANSWER to that one as well before next Sunday, if you haven't already! If you want a version of this puzzle to print out, just go below the break to do so!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

CONTEST UPDATE: Clear Four Lines In A Row

In case you missed it, I'm holding my first contest (located here)! Like I said before, there's no easy version of this puzzle this week since it's a contest, but to make up for it, I'm giving one lucky solver any (reasonably-priced) video game mentioned in that puzzle (well, that or some Tetris-themed merchandise)! The first prize goes to someone who solved it in the past week (six solvers so far, with only one of them deciding not to participate), and the winner is: Tyler Hinman! Congratulations! I hope you'll enjoy your copy of... wait, revealing that will give away one of the answers!

Oh, and in case you haven't solved it yet, you still have a chance at the second prize, since the winner of that will be selected from all the solvers of last week and this week! As always, send your answers to either or to gain eligibility. Good luck, everyone!

ANSWERS: Super Sixes

Well, it's been almost two weeks since I published my "Super Sixes" puzzle (which you can still solve here, with an easier version here), so, as usual, it's time for me to reveal the answers! Before I do that, however, here's a list of people who have solved it. Surprisingly, I didn't get any solvers in the second week, so everyone gets two stars!
  • Eric Maddy **
  • Sam Levitin **
  • Grant Fikes **
  • Adam Weaver **
  • Walker Anderson **
  • Paolo Pasco **
  • Yossi Fendel **
  • Christian H.P. **
  • M. Sean Molley **
  • Tyler Hinman **
Now for the answers! Just click on "Read more" to reveal them, and even if you already know the answers, I'd still go below the break to read some solver comments!

Monday, April 6, 2015

TETRIS MONTH! Puzzle #18: Clear Four Lines in a Row (CONTEST PUZZLE!)


It's my first theme month! And to celebrate, I'm going to do something a little different; mainly, that to start it off, this first week's puzzle is a contest! And the grand prize is your choice of any of the video games mentioned in this puzzle, including the FINAL ANSWER! However, it has to be of a reasonable cost; I don't want to pay a ridiculous amount of money for the answer to clue #9 on SNES, after all! (Its downloadable version is fine, however) There will be two winners for this contest: one from the first week's worth of solvers, and one from the final list of solvers after two weeks. In other words, you have two chances if you solve it in the first week, but only one if you wait until the second week. If you don't want any of the games mentioned (or you just don't play video games), you can always ask me to replace the prize with some Tetris-themed merchandise, like Jenga Tetris. Oh, and because this is a contest, there won't be an easier version next week! So without further ado, here are the directions!

Place the Tetris pieces into the three 4x10 rectangles below to form out the answers hinted at by the numbered clues below. It's best to start by answering as many clues as you can and then placing the blocks, but be careful, because every single clue has something to do with video games, so if you don't know much about that subject, you're always free to look up the answers!

Three I-Blocks have already been placed in the grids; fill them out to score a Tetris! Oh, and the letters in those I-Blocks form the FINAL ANSWER: yet another video game!

  1. Early 3DS title that has a mode called "Bombliss Plus": 2 wds.
  2. Controllers for games like Zack & Wiki and Wario Land: Shake It!: 2 wds.
  3. The "Ultimate Musician" from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: 2 wds.
  4. Console that NiGHTS into Dreams... originally appeared on: 2 wds.
  5. Creator and original developer of the Crash Bandicoot series: 2 wds.
  6. Final Fantasy creators who merged with Enix in 2003
  7. The _____ Machine (Sierra puzzle game inspired by Rube Goldberg's contraptions)
  8. The latest installment in this RPG series is subtitled Sticker Star: 2 wds.
  9. Quirky RPG where Giygas is the final boss
  10. 1996 adventure game starring Christopher Lloyd that's a hybrid of live-action and animation
  11. Controversial publisher of the Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk series
  12. Female Tekken fighter who wants to build her own amusement park: 2 wds.
Once you think you've figured out the FINAL ANSWER, send that and the name of the prize you would like to win to either or before April 19th to be entered in the contest and put your name on the solvers listYou can also use those e-mail addresses to give me feedback and comments on my puzzle or send me the FINAL ANSWER to last week's puzzle (which you can solve here, with an easier version located here). If you want a version of this puzzle you can print out, head below the break for just that!

Sunday, April 5, 2015


It's been roughly a week since I've posted my "Super Sixes" puzzle, and so far, 10 people have solved it, seven of whom did so in the first 24 hours of this puzzle's posting! This also marks the first time the first week's worth of solvers passed the double-digit mark for a non-meta-crossword! If you want an easier version of this puzzle, go below the break for just that and print it out! Oh, and don't forget to send the FINAL ANSWER to either or before next week once you think you've figured it out!

ANSWERS: Meta-Crossword #3 (Block Letters)

It's been about two weeks since I've posted my third meta-crossword (which you can still solve here, with a hint located here), so it's time for me to reveal the answers! But first, a list of people who have solved it:
  • Eric Maddy **
  • Paolo Pasco **
  • Grant Fikes **
  • Adam Weaver **
  • Sam Levitin **
  • Christian H.P. **
  • Walker Anderson **
  • Tyler Hinman **
  • Dan Bowden **
  • Mom **
  • Yossi Fendel **
  • Lynn Sweeney ½ a star (She needed a lot of help figuring out the meta and FINAL ANSWER. Not helping matters was the fact that she, surprisingly, had never even played the FINAL ANSWER!)
  • M. Sean Molley *
Now just click on "Read more" for the answers, along with some solver comments and an anecdote on how scared I was regarding what I perceived to be a very hard puzzle!