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I have been playing lately with crossword puzzles, and I have been looking at what makes them hard.
As far as I can work out, there are multiple possibilities.
a) They can be hard, because of tricks in the architecture of the puzzle (words running into blank spaces, words running off the edge, puzzles with two or more letters in one or more boxes. Words with no letters in one or more boxes)
b) They can be hard because the vocabulary used is obscure. For example you might have temporarily forgotten that the Morin Khuur is a two stringed instrument which is the national instrument of Mongolia, or more likely you never knew that. Including obscure words is a easy way to make what could be a fun puzzle impossible. There are now some words, which because of their usefulness in constructing puzzles, have become "crosswordese", Words like ESNE (a laborer or man of the lower classes among the Anglo-Saxons, often a slave) gets used a lot. So much that the New York Times crossword once clued it as "Slave to Crosswords?" So do words like OLEO (margarine, or a mixture of butter and margarine), APSE (a semicircular church recess), ETUI (a small purse often used to hold sewing supplies), ASTA (film dog of the 1930's), ELSA (Princess in Disney's Frozen - could also be ANNA),. and many others show up a lot more often in crosswords than they do in English conversation.
c) They can have a lot of Punny clues. A question mark after a clue is often used to signal a pun. So if I had to clue the word FISH, for example, I could clue it as "Perch or sucker", "Aquatic animal", "Aquarium denizen", or I could make it a lot more obscure perhaps cluing it as "Bass, for one" which could refer to a musical instrument or an animal, or "Porgy and Bass" or "Net gain?" or even "Catch a few rays?"
Here a simple word, can turn into a difficult-to-solve clue because of the pun. Similarly ASH, could be clued as a shade tree, or as the residue of a fire, or as a cigarette remnant. Each of these definitions could be turned into a pun, for example for the cigarette definition I could clue it as "It could be dropped from a camel?" given that Camel is a brand of cigarettes. I should note that with the single exception of the puzzle Traveling Around (which turns on them), I have mostly tried to avoid using punny clues.
Anyhow, I thought I would play with different ways of producing crosswords. For a crossword to be considered classic, it should be symmetrical (often with rotational symmetry), it should have no words less than 3 letters, and every letter should appear in exactly 2 words. Most of my puzzles meet these rules, but not always.
Each of these crosswords have been written so that from the completed grid a single word or short phrase can be extracted, which means I can use them with ITSTOOHARD. Not all of the puzzles are original (though most are). Where I have used an unoriginal puzzle, I will of course provide full information about the source, and where you can get others of that creator's puzzles.
Everything ends May 26th at 11am (GMT). The contributor level for all games is set to 1. I am using SGTools with the rules that an entrant must not have been VAC banned and must have activated all gifts. If these rules cause a problem for you, please let me know.
Also, I don't really care if you do not play your wins, but I do care deeply if a game does not reach 5 entries, so if you are one of the first five to solve something, and you wouldn't mind seeing that game in your library, then please enter the giveaway. You can always choose to remove your entry later (once 5 people have entered it). This is particularly so with the hidden secret giveaways.
The puzzles are:
If you get through them all, you can always go to I solved them all - Is there a special prize for that? - Note you do not need any hidden or bonus puzzles.
Additionally, there are some secrets:
Each solve has at least one or two good games (18pts+) and some smaller games. The prizes for this event include:
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Extended Edition
Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut
The Invisble Hours
Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition
The Inner World
Winds of Trade
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Super Trench Attack
Industry Giant 2
Knights and Merchants
Learn Japanese To Survive! Hiragana Battle
Fault Milestone one
Vzerthos: The Heir of Thunder
After Rain: Phoenix Rise
Suits - A Business RPG
Zombie Flick - Bloody Mary
Simple Story Alex
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More like this?
1) Once you have completed the grid: a number of the across answers share an unusual property.
2) Not All That Obvious
1) The clue at the top is actually literal. Roughly half the clues are legitimate clues. Half the clues are rhymes
2) Example, if the clue read "Massive" and you were looking for a 7-letter word, then the answer could be "Mammoth", or it could be "Passive"
1) You should be looking at a 15 character clue that resolves to a one-word answer
1) It's this or that
1) Some squares have more than one letter in them
1) There is a cipher involved.
1) Once you have finished the grid, and are thinking about the extraction: Think of how a bishop might approach this.
1) You can find all of the hidden giveaways without solving any of the crossword puzzles
2) Hidden Giveaways 1 and 2 are hidden on specific other puzzles (one on each of two of the other puzzles). Hidden Giveaway 3 is hidden on this page.
3) Hidden Giveaway 4 cannot be found until the very end of the event.
4) There are no hidden giveaways on either Like the Earth or on That Which is Concealed
5)All of the hidden giveaways occur on puzzles that I have created.
1) You may have to put it all together
The long delayed Traveling Around puzzle has finally been posted on 5 May.
Congratulations to SeNs666, to dobeduck to Beridok, to SoulNibbler, and to Xartyx who have finished the entire event.
As of 08:30 GMT on 14 May
Like the Earth has been solved 21 times
That Which is Concealed has been solved 18 times
Poetry has been solved 12 times
Cross Wits has been solved 9 times
Bullion has been solved 11 times
Why Are There So Many Songs About Rainbows? has been solved 13 times
Switcheroo! has been solved 10 times
Traveling Around has been solved 9 times
7 people have solved all of the above
6 people have found hidden giveaway one
7 people have found hidden giveaway two
12 people have found hidden giveaway three
5 people have found hidden giveaway four
5 people have solved the hidden secret crossword
I am bad at crosswords since I am not proficient in English. The event and crosswords does look interesting though. Best wishes on the event. ^_^
Seems an interesting concept, however there is only one game on that list I would like so won't be giving this a go.
I completed the Like the Earth crossword and Im not sure if im missing something but I have spent more time glossing over the crossword looking for something unusual than I did to complete it. Its probably very obvious too >.<
I will post a hint.
Thanks I don't know how I overlooked that haha!
The shadowrun: return's next and previous hyperlinks are the wrong way around also btw :-)
Thanks for that, I have swapped the Previous and Next hyperlinks. Sorry about that.
Solved Like the Earth. I love the jigsaws but this is fun too <3
Honestly, not that big a fan of crosswords, which might be strange coming from someone that did 3 crossword events here. :P
Still going to check them out though. :)
I don't think I have the time to solve them all as I would need to run to my friend to print these.
Can we at least have info what crossword = what games?
Oh nevermind. I see that this crosswords use english that I think is too advanced for me.
Good luck to everyone!
I love crosswords, I might give it a try when my exams are over, even though English isn't my first language.
Good Idea! :)
Solved the first two three for now, I'll give a try to the others in the next days.
In the fourth one I can't seem to get a "one-word" solution from what I've got; it's giving me headaches.
The fifth is giving me headaches too.
I've yet to try the others.
I realize my English knowledge is really limited when it comes to this kind of puzzles. Still, I'm gonna try to solve them, maybe after a few days break. ;)
If you have solved it correctly, you should be looking at a 15 character clue that resolves to a one-word answer.
Got it, I had them, but I couldn't see the right order right away. ^^"
Edit: solved the others too, haven't found any hidden ga yet, still missing hidden GA 1 and 2, 4 and the hidden crossword
Bump for two done.
Thanks for this, it's good fun so far. I've done four for now, and that's plenty. I'll be back tomorrow for the others!
doing crosswords is hard, but doing crosswords in a foreign language... 🥺
Great puzzles! thanks for this :)
The clue for 15 Across in Switcheroo looks off.
Fun puzzles so far!
It has Bad Rats, now i need to find some time to do the puzzles.
No clue what to do for the poetry crossword, but it looks interesting
If there aren't more solvers soon. I will provide hints for Poetry.
I guess I'm stupid because even with the hint I can't figure out the "like the earth" puzzle. :(
Second hint added
2nd one solved.
Additional Hints have now been posted.
Hey.. I just solved the Earth riddle and was greeted with an sgtools gate. That'll be the end of the trip for me on this event. I assume the other puzzles also have a gate, right?
EDIT: Although I've read (most of) the event post, I must've missed that part. Anyhow, cheers for the puzzle man..
Yes, I did say "Everything ends May 26th at 11am (GMT). The contributor level for all games is set to 1. I am using SGTools with the rules that an entrant must not have been VAC banned and must have activated all gifts. If these rules cause a problem for you, please let me know."
May I ask why you are not comfortable with SGTools? I have met a few people who (for example) won the same game twice in one day, and got stuck (which is one of the reasons that that is not a rule I enforce). But if you are struggling with one of these rules, then these things are usually resolvable.
The introduction of an external site to log in just rubbed me the wrong way from the start. Yes I know about the "API Steam does the work" and all that about data etc but it just didn't sit well with me and I never logged in it. Your expectations/rules for the participants to follow are fine, I have no issue with them and I would pass and it would be ok if the site had such a system, but as it is, it makes me want to stay away. Some past experience with puzzles (that took quite a while to solve only to bump at the door) where people didn't mention that they used them and I wasted my time, doesn't help either, in getting over this.
I enjoyed your puzzles in the past but I guess I'll be sitting this one out (or maybe solve the crosswords for the fun, depending whether time permits).
Bump for solved all except hidden secret bonus crossword and traveling around.
It has been a real pain workwise, and while I had hoping to post Travelling Around on Tuesday. It will not go up until tonight.
I hope you enjoyed it.
solved all puzzles, the event is really deep and enjoyable, thanks!
This comment was deleted 2 weeks ago.
Wow either this is harder then I expect or am just dumb and blind lol Stuck at the first one for day now
It was fun thank for the puzzle~
This comment was deleted 1 week ago.