Sunday, November 5, 2017

PUZZLE #18: Play Again (and last week's meta results)

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Hello, solvers!

Last week's meta was a layered one. 31 solvers sent in the correct answer-- but how did they do it? Let's find out!

In this "Stranger Things"-themed puzzle, solvers were prompted with "Researchers of this grid have discovered the existence of an alternate dimension, which some have called the Upside Down. The scientific world is abuzz-- but there's rumors that they also discovered something else in the puzzle. What did they find?" In doing the crossword itself,  two things became clear:

  1. The bottom half of the grid is a mirror reflection of the upper half. More tellingly, though, the down answers in the bottom half of the grid had to be flipped (indicating that this is the Upside Down), as were the clues for that section of the grid (at least in the pdf).
  2. Two answers (COME THROUGH and ONLY CONNECT) had starred clues.

So, where to go from there? Nudged by the two starred answers, solvers noticed that the "normal" side and the "upside down" could be connected. When certain letters are added between the two halves, words are created in the Down direction that work equally well for the given clues. More specifically:
[Common means of getting to work] could clue CAR or CARPOOL
[Operating smoothly, say] could clue WELL or WELL-OILED
[Place to crash] could clue BED or BEDROOM
[Place to grab lunch] could clue CAFE or CAFETERIA
[Beat a retreat] could clue RUN or RUN AWAY
[Chap] could clue GENT or GENTLEMAN


The added letters, as shown above, reveal the PORTAL that connects our dimension and the Upside Down (and, incidentally the meta answer). It was a big part of season one, but I've only seen two episodes of the latest season. So, I don't know how relevant it still is, but whatever. Also, I'd like to extend a thanks to all the entrants this week, for not spoiling the new season. What a courteous bunch you all are. Of those entrants, this week’s winner is... Nathaniel Lee! Congratulations, Nathaniel, and thanks to everyone who sent in comments. They’re very much appreciated.

Smaller puzzle today; I've been busy at school, so here's a lil' grid with a lil' theme. I really like it though, and I hope you do too.

-Paolo

Friday, October 27, 2017

PUZZLE #17: Highway to the Stranger Zone (CONTEST)

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Happy Friday, solvers! I know a Friday release doesn’t follow the normal schedule, but you’ll see the reason for its odd timing.

I wrote this puzzle to coincide with the release of season 2 of "Stranger Things," and I’m very excited to share it with you now. And it’s a meta contest! You should know the metapuzzle drill by now (and, if you don’t, click here for a refresher), so let’s just get started.

URGENT: Researchers of this grid have discovered the existence of an alternate dimension, which some have called the Upside Down. The scientific world is abuzz-- but there's rumors that they also discovered something else in the puzzle. What did they find?

Just FYI, the .pdf has an extra thematic element. I’d recommend you at least look at it before solving.

When you have the correct answer, send it to pascopuzzles [at] gmail [dot] com. One randomly-selected solver will win this week’s prize, a free copy of a forthcoming puzzle project I’m working on, which I’ll send on its release date. Plus, they have the option to suggest any word for me to use in a future puzzle (within reason, of course). Send in your answers by 8:59 p.m. PT on November 4, 2017, for a chance to win.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be watching the entire new season working on college applications.

Best of luck,
-Paolo

Sunday, October 22, 2017

PUZZLE #16: Jumpscares

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Hello, solvers!

We here at Grids These Days are very into the whole Halloween deal, so here's a puzzle in the spookiness spirit. I myself had to take several breaks when constructing this puzzle, because I would just spook myself out so much. Hopefully the same doesn't happen to you. Enjoy the solve!

NOTE: The next puzzle will go up this Friday (10/27/17) instead of its normal Sunday date. It's also a meta contest, so be aware of that as well

-Paolo

Sunday, October 15, 2017

PUZZLE #15: Alternative Music

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Welcome back, solvers!

Got the inspiration for this puzzle while procrastinating on YouTube, so I switched to procrastinating on Crossfire and made the grid you see right here. After you solve the puzzle, check out a few of my favorite examples of the revealer right here. (SPOILERS, of course, so make sure you solve the puzzle before you click through the links)

Hope you enjoy!
-Paolo

Sunday, October 8, 2017

PUZZLE #14: Themeless 5

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Welcome back, solvers!

My test solver said the grid looked "a little wack," and I can't say I disagree. There's a reason for the wack-ness, of course, but you'll just have to solve it and judge for yourself. Sorry, also, that my posts are getting shorter-- college application season is in full swing, and I'm waist-deep in essays to write. I think I have enough of a backlog to maintain a once-a-week schedule at least until the next school break, which is promising. Thanks for bearing with me through this-- hopefully the puzzle quality doesn't dip because of business getting in the way.

Enjoy the solve!

-Paolo

Sunday, October 1, 2017

PUZZLE #13: Slide Effects

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Happy Halloween month October, everyone! Time to take in the fall scenery, go hogwild with pumpkin spice everything, and plan out Halloween costumes! I, for one, am excited to be rerunning last year's costume, because I'm a #responsible, #conscientious student who lets nothing go to waste.

Themed puzzle today. Like the last themed puzzle I did, I tried to crank up the theme density. Lemme know how this one panned out!

-Paolo


Sunday, September 24, 2017

PUZZLE #12: Themeless 4

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Welcome back, solvers!

72-word grid today, pitched a bit easier than your average themeless. Eagle-eyed solvers will notice that 50D has a different clue in the pdf and puz files. Apparently puz files have limits on clue length, so I had to do a quick rewrite there. Also, no points for guessing which entry I started with-- you know it was 52A. By this time, you should know that pop culture deep cuts are extremely my bag. (And, if you haven't seen the work referenced, I recommend you check it out.)

Also, new crossword site alert: I Dreamed A Theme. The title alone gets it points in my book, and the puzzles aren't too shabby either. Check it out!

Hope you enjoy!

-Paolo