Sunday, May 31, 2015

ANSWERS: Squeezed in the Middle

Well, it's been about two weeks since I've published my "Squeezed in the Middle" puzzle (and adopted my new "hint stars" system), so it's now time for me to reveal the answers! Before I do so, however, I should let you know that I just sent three different puzzles with this format to be published in GAMES Magazine yesterday, so wish me luck in that endeavor! That being said, let's move on to the solvers list:
  • Eric Maddy ****
  • Adam Weaver ****
  • Grant Fikes ****
  • Paolo Pasco ****
  • Sam Levitin ****
  • Tyler Hinman ****
  • Lynn Sweeney *
  • Christian H.P. ****
  • Mom ****
  • Debbie Underwood ****
...So  it looks like Lynn Sweeney was the only one to spend some of their hint stars, so she gets one star next to her name instead of four. Now, just click on "Read more" for the answers to this puzzle, along with some solver comments and pretty pictures!

Monday, May 25, 2015

PUZZLE #25: Building Fences


Enclose each oddly shaped field with the required word by writing the letters on the spots ("Posts") along the boundaries of the field. Words may be entered in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Since each "field" shares portions of its "fence" with its neighbors, you will find as you go along that parts of your next word may already be filled in -- a fine clue for you! As a help, one of the answers has already been supplied to you.

Once you've completely filled in the grid, the outermost "Posts", reading clockwise, will spell out a question that will lead you to the FINAL ANSWER.

  1. Slide a credit card through a reader
  2. Gruntilda or Bayonetta, for example
  3. _____ Full o'Nuts
  4. "_____, punch, it's all in the mind..." (lyrics from PaRappa the Rapper)
  5. Rainbow Dash's favorite apple drink
  6. What the Grim Reaper represents
  7. Playstation 4 launch title directed by Mark Cerny
  8. The Others actress Nicole
  9. "I before E, _____ after C"
  10. Brad who voiced Metro Man in Megamind
  11. Former talk show host Dick
  12. The Legend of Bagger _____
  13. Charlie or Jackie
  14. Supernatural actor Collins
  15. Street Fighter combatant with stretchy limbs
  16. Macbeth's title
  17. Nickel or dime
  18. Crash Bandicoot 2: _____ Strikes Back
  19. Head of France?
  20. Electronic music genre that originated in Detroit
  21. Humorous poet Ogden
  22. Sports org. that includes the New York Cosmos and San Antonio Scorpions
  23. Bo Sheep's sister from U.S. Acres
  24. Stay _____! (1996 adventure game published by Sierra)
  25. "I Feel _____" (#1 song by the Beatles)
  26. Grill food under (not above) a heat source
  27. _____Life (Iowa-based software and health company... and now you know why I chose to reveal this specific clue!)
  28. It's to the right of "B" on an NES controller: 2 wds.
  29. When doubled, Jessie J song featuring Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
  30. Turtle from Rocko's Modern Life whose catchphrase is "I'm nauseous, I'm nauseous...": var.
  31. Montana city that is NOT pronounced like a certain body part!
  32. Manipulating the elements like Aang and Korra, say
  33. Type of pickle that sounds like Tommy's brother from Rugrats
  34. Board game also known as "Reversi"
  35. It's above the third and fourth controller slots on a Nintendo 64
  36. The Carolina Reaper, compared to other chili peppers
  37. Gabe's friend in the webcomic Penny Arcade
  38. Natural inclination
  39. _____-Dee Productions (The Office and Parks and Recreation production company)
  40. Actor Alan and his son Robin
  41. Teacup from Beauty and the Beast
  42. Crack, like dry lips
  43. 1983 musical written by Melvin Van Peebles (also slang for a boxing victor)
  44. Like entrances accessible by wheelchair users
One you believe you've figured out the FINAL ANSWER, send it to either (the main email for my home computer) or (the main email for my tablet and whenever I'm not at home) and I'll put your name on a solvers list once I post the answers in roughly two weeks. Remember, if you're stuck and don't want to look up any of the answers, you can always use those same email addresses to get a hint from me (more details are on the sidebar to the right). Feedback is appreciated, and don't forget that I'm still accepting answers to my previous puzzle (an original creation called "Squeezed in the Middle"), so make sure to send me the FINAL ANSWER for that one before next Sunday if you haven't already! Oh, and as always, the printable version of this current puzzle is below the break!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

ANSWERS: Sudokurossword

It's been roughly two weeks since I've posted my sudoku-crossword hybrid, so now it's time for me to reveal the answers! Keep in mind that I originally posted this puzzle before I changed the usage of stars, so until next week's answers are posted, it's still two stars for solving it in the first week, and one star for solving it in the second week. Now with that out of the way, here are the people who have solved this puzzle:
  • Adam Weaver **
  • Eric Maddy **
  • Sam Levitin **
  • Grant Fikes **
  • Lynn Sweeney **
  • Tyler Hinman **
  • Christian H. P. **
  • Debbie Underwood **
  • Paolo Pasco **
Now head below the break for the answers! You'll also see some solver comments and captioned pictures as well!

Monday, May 18, 2015

PUZZLE #24: Squeezed in the Middle

Before I get to this week's puzzle, I'm going to explain the new system that's going to be in effect starting today. Before now, I gave the solvers one or two stars depending on whether they solved a puzzle within the first week or the second one. Well, I'm going to change those stars into something resembling the hint coins found in the Professor Layton series of puzzle/adventure video games. Each potential solver starts off with four stars next to their name, and if you want help on solving the puzzle (be it an alternate clue or a nudge towards a right answer or whatnot), you can email me using the same email addresses that you use to send me the FINAL ANSWER, and I'll provide you with a hint as quickly as I can, but at the expense of a star. So someone who solved it after two hints will get two stars next to their name, while someone who solved it with no hints gets all four stars next to their name when I post the solvers list. I doubt anyone will use these "hint stars" for this first week (especially since looking up the answers is still allowed), but they may prove useful when it comes to any harder puzzles that'll pop up in the future. So without further ado, let's get to my latest puzzle!


For this puzzle, you're going to sandwich together words (entered in the white rectangles) by surrounding it with a letter on each side, one at the beginning and one at the end, making a new word in the process. Once you're done, the extra letters you've added in the "crust" (the brown squares) will spell out a two-word phrase. In the example above, the words URN, RAT, and OVER become BURNT, IRATE, and GOVERN, and the letters in the brown squares, reading down, spell out BIG TEN. However, to make things trickier, the "Wholes" will be in no particular order, so it's up to you to figure out which one of the "Centers" it matches up with!

Once you've filled out everything, the letters in the brown squares, reading down, will spell out this week's FINAL ANSWER: the name of a video game series

1) Pretentiously showy
2) Part of WPM
3) Maltese money
4) Actress who once played Poison Ivy
5) Fanged beast from the original Warcraft
6) Small movie segments
7) West Wing underling

* Cell with dendrites and an axon
* Football player that's black and white and gray all over
* Internet browser used in the Nintendo Wii
* Joan of Arc, for one
* Poison ivy, e.g.
* Solar event that's featured in the logo of NBC's Heroes
* What the British call a flashlight

Once you think you know what this week's FINAL ANSWER is, send it to either (the main email for my home computer) or (the main email for my tablet and whenever I'm not at home) 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 (regarding either this puzzle or the new "hint stars" system) or send me the answer to last week's puzzle, if you haven't already solved it. If you have a printer and want to solve this puzzle on paper, just head below the break and print out that picture!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

UPDATE: Sudokurossword (and the End of Easy Versions)

It's been about a week since I posted my sudoku-crossword hybrid, and so far, an impressive 9 people have solved it. Usually, this is where I put an easier version of the puzzle... but starting today, there will be no more easy versions! I came to that decision after asking my solvers whether or not I should continue with them considering that no one has used them in quite a while. Their responses are below the break, in case you're curious as to how they answered; you might get a hint or two as to what I'm replacing the easy versions with. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that I've already adopted a new system to replace the easier versions starting with tomorrow's puzzle, where it'll be explained in more detail. Hope to see you then!

ANSWERS: Which-Way Words

It's been about two weeks since I've published my first collaboration puzzle (which you can still solve here, by the way), so now it's time for me to reveal the answers! Before I do that, however, here are a list of people who have successfully solved it:
  • Grant Fikes **
  • Eric Maddy **
  • Sam Levitin **
  • Christian H.P. **
  • Lynn Sweeney **
  • Adam Weaver **
  • Mom **
  • Tyler Hinman **
Now just click on "Read more" for the answers and some solver comments! (but no pictures, unfortunately; the clues and answers didn't exactly give me much to work with...)

Monday, May 11, 2015

PUZZLE #23: Sudokurossword


This next puzzle is inspired by a dream that one of my occasional solvers, Lynn Sweeney, had back in February; after a while making other puzzles, I've finally gotten around to making it! I meet her in person regularly, and the dream in question involved me creating a sudoku puzzle (I taught her how to solve some sudoku puzzles, you see) and somehow transferring the numbers from there to a crossword puzzle. Read on to se the results of that dream!

This puzzle comes in two parts: The first part is a sudoku, which you solve normally (the numbers 1-9 appear once in each row, column, and 3x3 box). The second part is a crossword, but the numbers in the numbered clues have been replaced with coordinates; each coordinate lines up with a box in the sudoku grid. For example, if the coordinates say E3, you look in row E and in column 3 in the sudoku grid below, and you'll get the number 5. So that means that the coordinates E3 in the sudoku grid translates to 5-Down in the crossword grid. If you want to really challenge yourself, you can skip the sudoku entirely and try to fit in the crossword answers without knowing where they're supposed to go, but I wouldn't recommend that.

Once you're done, unscramble the shaded squares in the crossword to form the FINAL ANSWER: A ten-letter word

A8) Act as a muse again
B5) Mussolini and others
B7) Director DW and actress Melanie
C9) Avoids, as a question on a touchy subject
D4) Director of the upcoming film The Hateful Eight
E9) Covered with 5-pointed shapes, maybe (Anagram of RED TRAINS)
F6) Pacific, Atlantic, and Mountain
G1) Creators of Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive
H2) Shone, like sparkly stuff
I3) Whip-wielding prosecutor from the Ace Attorney series

Once you figure out what the FINAL ANSWER is, send it to either or and I'll put your name on a solvers list in two weeks or so. You can also use those email addresses to give me comments and feedback on this puzzle, or you could send me the answer to last week's puzzle, if you haven't already. If you want a version of this puzzle you can print out, just click on "Read more" below!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

UPDATE: Which-Way Words

It's been about a week since I published my first collaboration puzzle, "Which-Way Words", and 8 people so far have solved it, seven of whom have managed to solve it within the first day of posting! Normally, this is when I post an easier version, but it's been a while since anyone actually used an easier version, and I'm starting to wonder if I should keep doing these or adopt a different system entirely! I already have another system in mind (something like the hint coins in the Professor Layton games), but I want to know from you guys if I should continue making the easier versions or not. You can either leave a comment on this post or email me at either or to let me know what I should do next.

I don't want to leave the space below the break empty, however, so for this post, I'm going to provide a BONUS: a version of this puzzle with co-author Paolo Pasco's original clues, which may or may not be easier than the clues in the original version (For the record, I asked if I could change most of his clues, and he let me do so). Just click on "Read more" to see what kind of clues he initially had to offer!

ANSWERS: Tet Words

It's been about two weeks since I posted the final installment of "Tetris Month", called "Tet Words" (which you can still solve here, along with an easier version here), so now it's time for me to reveal the answers. Before I do that, however, here are a list of people who have solved this puzzle:
  • Adam Weaver **
  • Eric Maddy **
  • Grant Fikes **
  • Paolo Pasco **
  • Lynn Sweeney **
  • Christian H.P. **
  • Sam Levitin **
Now head below the break for the answers, along with some solver comments!

Monday, May 4, 2015

PUZZLE #22: Which-Way Words (Collaboration Puzzle!)

Before I start this week's puzzle, I have some disappoingting news for you: I'm not going to be published in Will Shortz's Wordplay after all! Yeah, sorry for hyping you up last week, but last Friday, I got an email from the magazine which said that Wordplay was going to be cancelled due to low sales, and that the current issue (Spring 2015) was going to be the final one. Dangit. And after I told everyone I know about the good news, too! On the plus side, any puzzles that I sent to them are now allowed to be sent to other magazines, so watch out, GAMES Magazine! Now, back to a Very Special Puzzle...


This puzzle is a commission! ...kinda. You see, one of my regular solvers, Paolo Pasco, came up with this puzzle in mid-April and asked me to collaborate with him on it. He did most of it (including the FINAL ANSWER), and I provided the graphics and changed most of the clues. If you're interested in doing a similar collaboration, you can always email me about it, and if you have a Paypal account, you can use that to commission a puzzle from me! (Provided it's not too objectionable; see sidebar for more info) With all that out of the way, let's see what kind of puzzle Paolo and I cooked up!

Each "Whole" word in this puzzle is made up of two smaller words (known as "Arrows") that both start with the same letter and go in opposite directions from each other. The letter that starts both words goes in the shaded square in the middle. In the example above, the two "Arrows" are KRAMER, which is in the arrow pointing left and is read from right-to-left, and KING, which is in the right-pointing arrow and is read from left to right. Put the two words together, and you'll get the "Whole" word, which in this example is REMARKING. Both the Arrows and Wholes have numbered clues, but for the Arrows, you'll have to figure out which word goes in which arrow.

Once you're done filling everything out, the shaded squares, reading down, will spell out an eight-letter word. Surprisingly, this is NOT this week's FINAL ANSWER! The actual FINAL ANSWER is a two-word phrase made out of that eight-letter word, each word starting with the same letter and going in opposite directions, like the Arrows in the main puzzle.

1) Buick blemish / Joe _____ (Lousy David Spade movie that's somehow getting a sequel this year)
2) Bad day for Caesar / Coffee that you actually want cold?
3) Mosey along / Trajectories of softballs or stories
4) Hogwarts's, once translated, is "Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon" / No _____ Sky (Upcoming Playstation 4 game)
5) Run together? / Volcano name that appears in way too many crosswords
6) Covered with a certain circus canvas / Word following "Beer" or "Spinal"
7) Give out / Run out, like time
8) Gollum's "precious" / Utterly loathed

1) Gum brand that may come in "Layers"
2) Gets off the fence
3) Solve an anagram, say
4) Footstools frequently tripped over by Dick van Dyke
5) Gazelle, for one
6) Like over 1,300 of Edison's inventions
7) Film technique that turns hours into seconds: 2 wds.
8) Doing a package postman's job

Once you think you know what the FINAL ANSWER is, send it to either or and I'll put your name on a solvers list about two weeks from now. 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 this puzzle you can print out, just head below the break for just that!

Sunday, May 3, 2015


It's been a week since I've published my "Pent Words" variant known as "Tet Words", and so far, 7 people have managed to solve it. I don't know if anyone still wants the easier versions I put out around this time, but on the off chance that you do, just go below the break!

ANSWERS: Word Squares: Tetris Edition

Well, it's been two weeks since I've posted my Tetris-ified version of "Word Squares" (which you can still solve here, with an easier version here), and after the relatively low solver count of Tetris Month's first two puzzles, I was surprised with how many people solved this one, especially since I was worried that some people might get confused by the directions. Anyway, here's a list of people who have solved this puzzle:
  • Grant Fikes **
  • Eric Maddy **
  • Paolo Pasco **
  • Adam Weaver **
  • Lynn Sweeney **
  • Sam Levitin **
  • Mom **
  • Christian H.P. **
Now for the answers! Just go below the break to read them, along with some solver comments to read!