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67 puzzles by Patrick Blindauer
with Jeff Chen comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
677/21/20059/4/201922
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Patrick Blindauer

59 Daily crosswords by Patrick Blindauer

POW Wed 9/4/2019
SAGALTIMACAD
ILEOVERDIDONO
NFLVANILLALOU
GRABLIBELNUMB
LETINONDECIMAL
EDISONRABBLE
ONESMOAPLOY
CHOCOLATE
CARTRIVALTACO
CHASTELOSTIT
SAPROADMAPMAT
PISTACHIO
SCOOPORKAORTA
PEARLMTATOTAL
FORTESHYEVENT

★ I love letters-imagined-as-pictures themes, and I love ice cream. Given that PISTACHIO is my favorite flavor, how could I not give this one the POW!?

At first glance, there doesn't appear to be much theme material, since there are only two long entries. Not so! SINGLE, DOUBLE, TRIPLE, SCOOP, VANILLA, CHOCOLATE, PISTACHIO, OV, OOV, OOOV. Yes, they're mostly shorties, but placing any ten themers, no matter what length, creates so many problems.

Not only did Patrick figure out how to get the ice cream cones crossing the flavors, but he worked in so much beautiful fill. He kicked off the puzzle with triple-treat bang: ALFREDO GELATIN EDISON. With DECIMAL RABBLE COLUMBO ANOMALY in another corner — and the rest of the puzzle still to go — it was already a winner.

The only cherry on top would have been something to get rid of the pesky asymmetry. I'm not sure what you could do to balance OV, though. Patrick told me he wanted to put an actual cherry on top — a visual in the lone black square above OV. Oh, how I hope Joel and Sam and the digital team figure out how to do that!

A figurative AND a literal cherry on top? We'd be talking about Puzzle of the Year territory.

Bravo, sir! Patrick's been busy with a kid, so his NYT contributions have dropped off in the past few years. Here's hoping that he picks back up.

Mon 4/15/2019
CAMMAGADHERES
OREAGELEADERS
NRAGANGESRIVER
TENNISRACKET
RATESEPEASE
ARTEMISMIDDLEC
SODAHIRELEO
ASIRECALL
ZIPONYXTACK
ALDENTEGRAPHIC
PLAYRAEEINE
EASTERISLAND
DOLLARSIGNSNEA
ROBERTALETTAR
SHOTPARERSIRS

This puzzle belongs in the NYT's celeb series, and given a high ranking within it.

No wait, hear me out! Jill and I recently worked with an estate planner recommended to us by Sam. Everything was going normally until the planner asked us how we got his name.

"SAM DONALDSON?!" he said in a fanboy squee. "THE SAM DONALDSON?"

Then he got up and did a little happy dance. And screamed, "THAT GUY'S A ROCK STAR!"

He proceeded to tell us all about how Sam commands rooms, turning dull material like tax codes and legal loopholes into Vegas-like performances.

When he finished, Jill and I looked to each other in awe. It was like finding out your friend is secretly King of some not-so-small Polynesian island.

The celeb series works best when the featured person does a puzzle related to their profession or something they're well-known for. This one was perfect for a tax professor, the letters IRS reformed into the five other possible configurations. Solid wordplay.

Patrick and Sam did a great job selecting colorful themers, too, with all six possible combinations breaking the I R S sequence across at least two words. Perfect.

Not so perfect was some of the fill. Not a surprise, given the theme density. Stacking two themers in a theme-dense puzzle often makes the layout easier, but in today's case, I think it wasn't the right choice. Check out how GANGES RIVER sits atop TENNIS RACKET, for instance. With the black squares in the middle forcing a big NE corner, we get ERE and the audit-worthy SSR, just to start the puzzle.

Toss in SSTS EINE SRTA LBO (leveraged buyout), and I couldn't give it POW! consideration, no matter how fun the theme or its connection to Sam. Especially on a Monday — newb solvers shouldn't be forced to stare at both SSR and SSTS, wondering why crosswords hate normal people so much.

What a shame. Loved the concept, the themers, and the perfect timing / perfect person to pull it off. A bit more finesse and it woulda been a POW! contender.

Wed 10/17/2018
MAGICPATJOINS
ICALLESEUBOAT
TESLANIXVINNY
TSPPANCAKESAX
STAYSSANE
AURALFAITH
SCUBAAOLLOUIS
HENPANCAKENNE
ESTALEDGEHGTV
STJUDEGUERRE
ALEXASASTRYON
LAMPANCAKEJUS
AVIDSEEYARABE
DIMEALLINUCLA
YEARPLATEEKES

Jeff and Jim Cross Words! We've decided to run this feature on days where we have differing viewpoints on a puzzle.

PANCAKEs! I like pancakes. I like syrup. Three PANCAKEs, two syrups down the sides, what's not to like?

It is an interesting visual, but I spent a lot of time thinking about why this one didn't hit me very strongly. Not badly, just not very strongly. I did think the repetition of PANCAKE with three different definitions was fun. There haven't been very many repeated word puzzles in the NYT's history.

Was it the floatingness of the PANCAKEs, hovering above each other? Or the PAT of butter soaring sky-high like a UFO? With the PLATE at bunker level?

The syrup running down the sides was a nice touch. AUNT JEMIMA came immediately to mind. Not so much with HUNGRY JACK, though. I'm ashamed to say that I initially wrote in SIMPLE JACK. (That's the role within a role Ben Stiller plays in "Tropic Thunder." Ahem.)

And no syrup on top of the PANCAKEs? I would have loved to see the syrup brands starting from the top middle of the highest PANCAKE, then making a turn as they ran down the side. It'd have made AUNT JEMIMA look bizarre with AUNT running right to left before JEMIMA flowing down. But this is a Wednesday puzzle! Some craziness would have been great.

Overall, I thought it was a fun visual concept that didn't quite hit with its execution.

Sun 7/2/2017THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
NBCTVIGORSCRIMZAP
ALLIELANASHAMERICO
YOUREALLYGOTAHOLDONME
SOBERLYXERRANARACE
SEALGALLANTS
ALAABBACTAME
HINTATDRINKFEHLAS
ANDALEYOGIIDOSLIC
SEIKOSMACSEXILEMTA
LETTADAVINYLYAP
ELODSTDANLIE
TAVHANOIENGECHO
CLEELANDPLEAPREVIN
HAHMAINLUSHIONIZE
ELENRATAXCOCPSNOW
DARTSTEELGDS
HALFPIPEEARS
CLAMOREDALIRITCHIE
GOTTOGETYOUINTOMYLIFE
OARSEARLYSKISLOYAL
OTSSKILLTYPEETATS

What a great first impression! Love the visual of that "long and winding road" wending its way through the grid, separating it into two pieces.

I think this is just a tribute puzzle, listing out an assortment of Beatles songs, though? I strained for a long time to figure out what connected the themers — were they all car-related, which would tie to the hidden DRIVE MY CAR (see below)? Nope. Maybe all songs that talk about wandering? Nope.

Hmm, a shame. This ended up feeling way too loose, simply whatever six (seven, actually) Beatles songs could fit.

There are some technical merits. I did like many of the finds Patrick used to hide the DRIVE MY CAR letters. How could CLE be Harrison's successor? It's CLE(V)ELAND! The African antelope does some work today, hiding the back end of CLEVELAND. MELAN(C)HOLY was another neat discovery.

Others didn't work nearly as well for me, though. It took me forever to find the final R in DRIVE MY CAR because NEWS worked reasonably well for [Old movie theater lead-ins]. NEWS can be plural, right?

And other letters didn't go all the way through, like the Y of ABBAC(Y) dead-ending in the path. That's fine since it ran into a corner of the wall, but it's not nearly as fun as CLE(V)ELAND.

There were also a ton of compromises in the grid. I stopped counting after getting a bunch of SST, ETATS, AMO, LTRS, GDS, DRT, IMONA, etc., but it felt like they were strewn all over the puzzle. Granted, the construction is difficult — a bunch of long answers must be used, adjacent to the straightaways of the path — but when you fill those with stuff like GALLANTS, it's a suboptimal solving experience.

Patrick is one of the most creative constructors out there, and I loved the artistic value of the grid. Unique, fun, beautiful. I had many problems with the execution, though.

Wed 2/15/2017
MEDICAHABRATS
ACURASARAAGUA
CHERRYPITSTONI
SOLPEISENEGAL
HEARDHAD
BUTTERFINGERS
CARESSALTOLIP
AMIDPGADIOR
SITSNAGSCOTTY
HEADOFLETTUCE
ALLDIETS
JARRETTENOPTA
AVOWEARSOFCORN
ZITIACAIFELON
ZAHNMOWNSEEYA

Such a cool idea to have celebs co-construct crosswords! Huge fan of Jesse's roles in "The Social Network" and "Now You See Me." And Patrick is a great partner for a debut collaboration — one of the top puzzlemakers out there.

This is one avant-garde snowman. I've seen HEAD OF LETTUCE and EARS OF CORN in food-like-body-parts crosswords before, maybe even BUTTERFINGERS too, but none of them related to snowmen. Points for … originality? Not sure I ever would have thought of sticking LETTUCE on this horror movie fiend. I can't decide if sticking CHERRY PITS under a snowman's arms is hilarious, or incredibly creepy.

No long bonus entries, but some nice mid-length fill in NFL TEAM, CUTOFFS (perhaps the snowman is a nevernude?) and DARWIN. And some rare letters worked in with care — in JAZZ / ZITI / ZAHN — spices things up.

Such a smooth grid, something Patrick excels at. It was so smooth that I would have liked some more bonus long fill in exchange for a little more crossword glue. Taking out the black square between AGOG and ELITE is one way to do that. Shifting the block above TACO to the right is another option. These changes would make filling harder of course, but as long as the final tally of gluey bits was still reasonable, I would have liked to see that trade-off.

I'd also like to have seen the body parts in more anatomical order, starting with HEAD, to EARS, to PITS, to FINGERS. That would be much tougher to do, since HEAD OF LETTUCE's length makes it unsuitable for row three, forcing all the themers to be shoved tighter together toward the center — and less spacing is almost always a constructor's bane. But I think it would still have been doable.

Some great clues spiced up the solve:

  • MACS are decidedly un-PC types — IBM-PC, that is.
  • Neat that STENO anagrams to NOTES!
  • The (hated, vile) Cowboys are an NFL TEAM, but the Indians are not. Neat use of "cowboys and Indians."
  • Absolutely love the DIOR and RIOT clues Jesse mentioned above.

Nice kick-off to what hopefully will be a long series of these celeb collabs!

Sun 3/27/2016PITCH IMPERFECT
NICESHOTTORMENTACTV
OVALTINEAVIATORSOBA
DONTSQUEEZETHERICHMAN
ERNOSNOREAPURPLE
ERESNTHLSUTALL
WELOVETOSEEYOUSLIME
ALLRIENNRAPEDESTAL
GLORYSPIKEHEELSEMU
EINEATOMDRESALMA
DEIDRETHISDUBSFORYOU
DORMOSHEASIRI
OBEYYOURTSHIRTJESUIT
WAXESROEDREIENDO
IRAJEOPARDOUSINFER
ESCAPISMLEIRAIDRAT
THEFABRICOFOURVEILS
MIENNAERNARENE
BOTANYEYEVALCNBC
YOUDESERVEABAKERTODAY
ORDOENTENTEIMPEDERS
BEEFROSSSEANAILEDIT

PITCH IMPERFECT an apt title, hinting at advertising pitches with one word anagrammed. Some really fun results, DON'T SQUEEZE THE RICH MAN (Charmin) bringing up an image of a protesting Warren Buffett. A queen shouting THIS DUBS (Bud's) FOR YOU, the order to OBEY YOUR T-SHIRT (thirst), etc. = also funny. THE FABRIC OF OUR VEILS wasn't as amusing to me, and YOU DESERVE A BAKER TODAY didn't do a lot either. Humor is so subjective.

No touching!

Interesting that Patrick chose two McDonald's slogans: "We love to see you smile" and "You deserve a break today." With so many well-known taglines out there, I thought that was odd. It would have been awesome to get all McDonald's slogans, or all fast-food, which would have made for a super-tight theme. But it is hard to find slogans with an anagrammable word that still parses as a sentence, so a wide diversity would have been fine too.

Patrick gives us a few nice bonuses in long fill, NICE SHOT, and NAILED IT really singing in symmetrical spots. He otherwise sticks to mostly single-word entries (which tend to be more neutral than assets), but he does well with EXACTITUDE, the modern UNFRIENDED, ESCAPISM, and the delicious CANNELLONI. JEOPARDOUS is … a word. I can't imagine using it in lieu of "risky" or "perilous" though.

There's more gluey bits than I'm used to seeing in a Blindauer puzzle — I have a feeling it's due to the challenge of a 140-word Sunday puzzle; so tough to execute on cleanly. I've come to expect a little glue here and there from any Sunday puzzle, but it's nice if it doesn't come from the same areas: ERES, SEI, RIEN, DREI (deeper foreign words). AERO, ENDO, SNO (prefixes/suffixes). ERNO, IVOR, MURESAN (esoteric names). The concentrations made it tough for me to ignore everything.

Great clue for PEDESTAL, [Bust supporter] making fun of all the "bra" clues in crosswords. And I loved [Gray matter?] for BOTANY — think about the crossword-friendly Asa Gray!

A few rocky spots, but generally an entertaining result.

Wed 12/3/2014
PAPAALPHASJAM
ULANGIAMBIUFO
PARTYANIMALMRS
ASKSOVERTEAPOT
AIKENGENT
LEVEESALTOPIC
AVERSEBASEPATH
PENPANDATHE
INUNDATESUCCOR
STEERIRSLAHTI
COSTACCRA
KRAKOWUNLEADED
EELPENNYARCADE
YESEDITORAMEN
SLODEPOSESSNS

Baby panda squee! Fastball straight down the middle, a tried and true theme type but executed well. Initialisms have been done over and over again, so I think it's important to add another level of complexity to gain interest. Patrick uses a nice revealer, PANDA parsed as P AND A, to tie together four themers starting with P and A. This was familiar to me, since Mel Taub regularly constructs "Puns and Anagrams," also known as PANDA, so there wasn't much of a surprise factor.

I liked how clean the puzzle was. There were few, if any, moments where I slowed down to note gluey bits. Exactly what I'd expect from a veteran constructor with Patrick's chops. Even going back over it with a fine-toothed comb, all I could see in addition to the aforementioned IT HOT was SSNS, and I personally think that's a fine answer, as it's such a common abbreviation in high usage for HR and tax filing purpose. So smooth, like butter.

I could have used a little more snazz in the fill, though. I loved UNLEADED because of its clue referring to decaf coffee — what a colorful use of the English language — but there wasn't as much snappy material as I would have liked. BASE PATH is probably the best piece of fill in the grid, but its clue left me shrugging. "Separate" certainly can take the meaning of "a big space separated first and second base," but the clue felt like a real stretch. A BASE PATH connecting first and second feels accurate, a BASE PATH separating first and second feels like the wordplay / misdirection was awfully strained. It's too bad, it's such a nice entry in the grid.

I enjoy when constructors go for interlock. It's pretty neat how Patrick intersected PARK AVENUE and PARTY ANIMAL — and not at a dead-easy crossing like the A starting the second word, which will already be present given the theme. I didn't notice the interlock until I had finished, and it definitely added a little bit to my appreciation. Based on some comments over the years, I think Will values interlock more than I do, but still, it's kind of a neat little feature.

Sat 10/25/2014A SIGN OF THE TIMES
TRAPMMXLXTINA
RAREAIDEMORES
INTRANSITAMENS
XISLIONSRENEE
CPASPOKIEST
STROHSOATS
KUALAIRRITATES
IDIDNTCATCHTHAT
SENSUALLYERASE
MOABBSIDES
PIEJESUPEPA
ANDORDRANOOER
RADIIIONSTORMS
EPISCUPDOACTV
STETSSEANRASP

Contest week! Jim and I decided to keep everything quiet until the contest is over, including the grid solutions. I doubt we'd give anything away by publishing all the clues and answers, but this method better preserves the mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, this week is an appropriate time for me to delve into some of my favorite cryptological mysteries throughout history. None of these write-ups have anything to do with the contest, I promise (I'll put up a post summarizing how I solved it afterward, assuming I solve it). I simply like sharing my obsession with unsolved coded puzzles throughout history. And my posts will need to get shorter anyway, as a certain 13-day-old little dictator has grown quite strong. Won't be long until she starts pounding a shoe against a podium.

Cicada 3301

CICADA 3301

I only ran across Cicada 3301 a few months ago, as I was researching a topic for a book I'm mulling over. It's such a mysterious project that I'm not even sure how to describe it. Part puzzle, part sleuthing operation, part recruitment tool — but no one has a definitive answer for who's even behind it. Not even whether the goals of the organization are for good or for chaos.

Back in 2012, an enigmatic set of posts were released to lure in the cryptanalysts throughout the world. It looked like a "puzzle hunt" in the vein of The Game at Stanford or The MIT Mystery Hunt, but it came with connotations of higher-level consequences. Imagine a real live version of The Matrix, if you will, where Cicada 3301 was searching for Neo.

And the level of difficulty of the puzzles! I enjoy puzzle-solving, but when it starts to involve higher-level cryptanalysis, I find myself well out of my league. Simple Caesar shifts, Vigeneres, usage of primes in security keys, yes, but much of Cicada 3301 went well beyond. To make it even more interesting, whoever is behind Cicada 3301 wove in references from literature and philosophy, eliminating people who are one-track-minded hard-core programmers, looking instead for well-rounded individuals able to pull information from numerous areas of knowledge.

Some have claimed to have solved it, but reports are varied. I eagerly await an announcement of the "winner," except that whoever Neo is, he/she will likely remain as covert after discovery as the entire Cicada 3301 organization.

Thus ends our exploration of cryptological mysteries throughout history. Gur gehgu vf bhg gurer!

Fri 10/24/2014A SIGN OF THE TIMES
ORALEXAMSCRASS
REDCARPETZIPUP
GRADUATEDATARI
COMSYETXRATED
HUBASSENTSHOE
ATESTTREESYFY
REDEEMSERTA
TSELIOTTROUPES
ENNISANDALE
JAWSINKSTIMID
UZOLETITGOPTA
LANCESSEAFLIT
ELTONTURNLOOSE
PEONYGINJOINTS
SANKAITSABLAST

Contest week! Jim and I decided to keep everything quiet until the contest is over, including the grid solutions. I doubt we'd give anything away by publishing all the clues and answers, but this method better preserves the mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, this week is an appropriate time for me to delve into some of my favorite cryptological mysteries throughout history. None of these write-ups have anything to do with the contest, I promise (I'll put up a post summarizing how I solved it afterward, assuming I solve it). I simply like sharing my obsession with unsolved coded puzzles throughout history. And my posts will need to get shorter anyway, as a certain 12-day-old little dictator has initiated me into a CIA-level interrogation program involving roughly 0.75 hours of sleep per night. There ... are ... FOUR ... lights!

Kryptos sculpture

KRYPTOS

A lot of people have issues with the CIA and its operations, but one thing I think they did well was to create Kryptos, a sculpture incorporating a still unsolved problem in cryptography. I read about this in WIRED magazine a few years back, and I thought it was some sort of hoax — it was part of an issue-long puzzle contest, after all. But no, Kryptos is real, and only three parts of it have been cracked after 24 years.

Before learning about Kryptos, my interest in cryptology was only surface-level, mostly doing shallow reading about topics like the Enigma machines of WWII. But the article inspired me to go learn how Vigenère ciphers work, as well as to research other common encoding schemes which sculptor Jim Sanborn might have incorporated. If I had read this article earlier in life, perhaps I might have chosen computer science instead of mechanical engineering and American studies. I wonder how many young people it could inspire to go into tech and computer careers.

And I can't wait until the fourth piece gets cracked. It's so impressive that someone created a puzzle so difficult that the last part has eluded everyone. The title of "Best Code-breaker in the World" is still up for grabs.

Thu 10/23/2014A SIGN OF THE TIMES
CHARGESASHIMIS
OUTEATEMPANADA
ALTIMAMORTIMER
XKEELMRUEESA
MITOVENMITTS
OHPLEASEGAB
RITEMERVINBED
CHEDAYSAILAVE
SODOISANSISEE
BATCITADELS
INTIMATESTIM
DOEEOEHIEEEL
LIMITINGDMITRI
ESPRESSOOPIATE
DESERTEDSOILED

Contest week! Jim and I decided to keep everything quiet until the contest is over, including the grid solutions. I doubt we'd give anything away by publishing all the clues and answers, but this method better preserves the mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, this week is an appropriate time for me to delve into some of my favorite cryptological mysteries throughout history. None of these write-ups have anything to do with the contest, I promise (I'll put up a post summarizing how I solved it afterward, assuming I solve it). I simply like sharing my obsession with unsolved coded puzzles throughout history. And my posts will need to get shorter anyway, as a certain 11-day-old little dictator is screeching a long speech lauding the benefits of an autocratic society.

THE WOW! SIGNAL

Who among us hasn't wondered who else is out there? I've followed SETI for a long time, especially interested in the SETI at home project. Talk about a cool use of crowdsourcing. (As an aside, a friend of mine is behind another awesome crowdsourcing project, "Fold It," a computer game designed to get millions of people working on complex protein folding problems through the use of a game where contestants earn "points.") I constantly have to resist the urge to put SETI as fill in my crosswords, as I realize it's not something most people are familiar with.

So when I read about the "Wow! signal" a few months ago while researching for a book, I couldn't believe it wasn't more well known. A potential signal from outer space? A real-life "Contact" type of mystery! My wife and I just watched the new "Cosmos" narrated by Neil Degrasse Tyson, and given the grandeur of the known universe, it's inspiring to believe that perhaps the Wow! signal might have been a true artifact from another culture thousands of light-years away.

Was it a true signal, one of our own artifacts caromed off the atmosphere, some sort of hoax, or something else? It's unlikely we'll ever know. But along with the rest of the SETI believers out there, I eagerly await new results.

Wed 10/22/2014A SIGN OF THE TIMES
GILTADFATOMS
OBESPINACHXOO
PEEKABOOISEEYOU
FRAUXERAGIN
FINNSILERSEND
TANGOEDSAYINGS
FACETIME
UNCURLSCROLL
SEASANGRIANAE
AWRYTIMONCENT
SLUMPOTCALC
AROMASPONIES
FORYOUREYESONLY
TOFUMONETLEON
AMFMOZONEARTE

Contest week! Jim and I decided to keep everything quiet until the contest is over, including the grid solutions. I doubt we'd give anything away by publishing all the clues and answers, but this method better preserves the mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, this week is an appropriate time for me to delve into some of my favorite cryptological mysteries throughout history. None of these write-ups have anything to do with the contest, I promise (I'll put up a post summarizing how I solved it afterward, assuming I solve it). I simply like sharing my obsession with unsolved coded puzzles throughout history. And my posts will need to get shorter anyway, as a certain ten-day-old little dictator is just sneering at my offer to pay her a thousand dollars if she just stops crying.

THE BEALE CIPHERS

I was around 10 years old when my dad let me pick out any book on a trip to a local bookstore. Being the oddity I was, I selected Paul Hoffman's "Archimedes' Revenge," continuing my road toward true nerdhood (Granted, it does have a cool cover. Then again, one of its subtitles is "The Joys and Perils of Mathematics.") A chapter on The Beale Ciphers caught my attention in particular, what with the story of shadowy people and three coded maps leading to a fortune in buried treasure.

To make it even more interesting, after much (purported) work, one of the ciphers was solved! It employed a relatively simple code, using the Declaration of Independence as a key. That one leap of logic (no idea on how anyone would make that leap though) allowed the second message to unfold. I imagined myself back in that age, participating in the mad scramble of what might or might not have been a set of hints to finding a real treasure.

Are the Beale Ciphers real, or the work or a genius who figured out a way to make a bundle by creating an aura of mystery and tantalizing riches just out of your fingertips? Stories even link Edgar Allan Poe, the master of literary terror (if you've never read "The Cask of Amontillado" it's a must), to the ciphers. The evidence seems not to be conclusive, so it remains an enigma to this day. I feel a little bad for all the people of Bedford County who have endured decades of treasure-hungry prospectors of digging up their land. But if I were in Virginia, I'd be tempted to buy a pickaxe.

Tue 10/21/2014A SIGN OF THE TIMES
REMIXDIGSMARX
ELISAIRONOPER
HIGHCNANASAGA
MARATHONERSSTAT
ALOUSREQOLE
NATLMASSUNWED
ADOOVUMSEP
PARTNEROFWARNER
ORETREKAVA
SIGMAREIDSVEN
APUMPHJETTY
WHATPRISONERSDO
YOREANALTIEUP
ENDSDOLEEVADE
RESTASKSSELES

Contest week! Jim and I decided to keep everything quiet until the contest is over, including the grid solutions. I doubt we'd give anything away by publishing all the clues and answers, but this method better preserves the mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, this week is an appropriate time for me to delve into some of my favorite cryptological mysteries throughout history. None of these write-ups have anything to do with the contest, I promise (I'll put up a post summarizing how I solved it afterward, assuming I solve it). I simply like sharing my obsession with unsolved coded puzzles throughout history. And my posts will need to get shorter anyway, as a certain nine-day-old little dictator has launched chemical weapons against me (mustard gas, of course — other new parents, you'll know what I mean).

THE SHUGBOROUGH INSCRIPTION

As a kid, I was entranced by the quest for the lost ark of the covenant in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." As a teenager, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" captured my fancy once again by making me wonder if the Holy Grail indeed was discoverable. Tales of Indy doing his research and putting together esoteric bits of information to crack hidden codes throughout history made me want to become an archaeologist. (My first ever college class was in Archaeology 101. My eyes opened wide when Dr. John Rick walked in with a scruffy beard, lecturing in the same style as Dr. Indiana Jones — I think he got a kick out of doing that year after year. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had followed him to an ancient Inca dig rather than working for the department of astronomy that first summer.)

As an adult, I flew through "The Da Vinci Code" along with the rest of the world back in the early 2000's — the Holy Grail rears its possibility yet again. The mystery of the Grail has been bandied about for centuries, and so many people have done a nice job with fictionalizing the stories behind it. But who knew there was an actual code built into a monument in England, possibly encoding the secret location of the actual Holy Grail (if it actually exists)?

Even more compelling is the simple nature of the code. With just ten letters set into a particular pattern, plus lore surrounding the Priory of Sion's involvement, the Shugborough Inscription begs for an a-ha codebreaking moment. Yet in over two centuries, no one has figured out the true meaning. Is the secret still with the Priory, protecting the location of the holy artifact? Or is it an inside joke perpetrated by the builders, or is there some other explanation?

If there is a true answer, it has not been made known to the public. Even if it is some clever scheme to encourage tourism to this one town in England, this site is on my list of must-see places.

Mon 10/20/2014A SIGN OF THE TIMES
GADBROMGMTSP
APELETOUIAPU
SPLITSECONDXER
ENSURELITES
TOGAMINUTERICE
HUARTESERAPHS
ACTORSPAN
THEWITCHINGHOUR
HAIRLAPSE
OPTICALCORPSE
DAYTRIPPERLORD
ELROYOREGON
SEAPASSIONWEEK
SSNTOPCLUNYE
ATTSKYHESTEN

Contest week! Jim and I decided to keep everything quiet until the contest is over, including the grid solutions. I doubt we'd give anything away by publishing all the clues and answers, but this method better preserves the mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, this week is an appropriate time for me to delve into some of my favorite cryptological mysteries throughout history. None of these write-ups have anything to do with the contest, I promise (I'll put up a post summarizing how I solved it afterward, assuming I solve it). I simply like sharing my obsession with unsolved coded puzzles throughout history. And my posts will need to get shorter anyway, as a certain eight-day-old little dictator is giving me the stink-eye.

THE VOYNICH MANUSCRIPT

I love that one of my interests connects me to like-minded folks all the way back in the 15th century. Filled with curious drawings as well as cryptext, the Voynich manuscript was thought to be created during the Renaissance. It's been over a century since Polish book dealer Wilfrid Voynich unearthed it, but it still remains largely uncracked, despite the best minds all over the world to uncover its secrets.

And what secrets! Imagine what might have been discovered during that amazing part of history. From what we know, it likely covers topics from herbal medicine to astronomy to biology to even pharmaceuticals. Perhaps everything buried within the text of the Voynich manuscript has already been rediscovered by modern science, or has already been rendered obsolete. But what if the coded information contains, say, an easy way to prevent cataracts, bringing gigantic quality of life improvements applicable to those all over the third world suffering from the affliction?

What makes the Voynich manuscript especially compelling to me is that the C14 dating puts it definitively in the early 15th century — whether or not it contains useful information, it is definitely not a 20th century hoax. Sure, it could be full of failed attempts at alchemy or backwards medical treatments like the use of lead, but the possibilities are endless. Who'll be the first to learn the true messages straight from the best scientists and thinkers of the Renaissance? It makes me want to visit Yale for even a fleeting chance to inspect the original manuscript.

POW Sun 9/14/2014CELEBRITY SPOONERISMS
SPACEKAVAILSSCAPULA
LENORECATNAPWASHRAG
INVITEEULOGYATPEACE
CAINEPILLARFEYHEALED
ELLEGNATSBIGEARS
RIOSSERAEDYAOKS
LEESCIONSELESUNHIP
IRVINNISFIRTHBOTHER
NRAEGGNOGASIAMALY
GONERELITEDROOP
OLESGEREBOGGLESRPTS
SCOUTBOOLAKAYAK
USCMAAMSNELSONDUO
SHEENCLEATSEATNOANS
SUNNITOOTHWESTMYTH
RITTMIRALEERASE
EGOTISTLYSOLALGA
BYRNETACKPOEHLERSOUR
ROUTERSILOILONOLOSS
ARSENICNESSIEOPENTO
GETSANASTEEDSWESSON

★ So much fun, I didn't want the puzzle to end. Given my short atten — something shiny! — I tend to bog down on Sunday puzzles. Not today. I thought I knew what to expect from the title, but I didn't expect nearly so much entertainment from these clever spoonerisms of celeb names. BEER GOGGLES to GERE BOGGLES is pure gold. Strong base phrase, laugh-inducing kooky result; it doesn't get much better than that.

Sometimes I'm guilty of wanting Sunday puzzles to do too much. I have to remember that I'm not the average NYT solver. So many people leave the NYT Magazine out on the kitchen table, working on the puzzle over hours or even days (by themselves or with friends), and if the theme is too tricky or intricate (a "puzzle more for constructors than solvers"), it's not satisfying if they don't grok it. This puzzle is a fastball straight down the middle for that demographic; a known theme type, not too difficult, with a high degree of solving satisfaction. Even a couple of chuckles.

And check out how well-executed it is. Nine themers is good theme density, and there's a lot of strong fill. I wouldn't expect any less from these two veterans. I like how they break convention a bit. Note how the first themers are in row four? That's unusual, since putting themers in row three is the norm (that helps maximize spacing between theme entries). But they take good advantage of this arrangement in the NE and SW corners. Look at the juicy stuff: WASHRAG, AT PEACE, and the crazy GETSANA = GETS AN A. Now that's using your seven-letter spaces wisely. And a big thumbs-up to SPY-FI. I don't know if that's a term in common use, but I'm going to start using it.

Just like most Sunday NYT puzzles, it had a couple of rough spots. ALY/KIEL tripped me up pretty good, for example. AVY/KIEV sounded just as good, by gum! And as much as I liked OH HAPPY DAY! it caused a high level of fill constraints. Check out the pile-up of UOMO / UNHIP / RPTS / ORA / ANS. Perhaps another piece of long fill would have produced a smoother region. Or a set of cheater squares could have been employed to smooth things out. The rest of the puzzle is relatively smooth, so this concentration of glue stuck out a bit for me.

Finally, one of the nicest a-ha moments in a while. I could not for the life of me what [Polo grounds?] was talking about. I knew some trickery was happening because of the giveaway question mark, but it would not come until I had almost all the crossing answers. Great big headslap when I realized it was all about the (Marco) "Polo grounds." Beautiful stuff.

Thu 9/11/2014CHANGE OF HEART
MOOSEAGOPEACH
AVAILLEACURIE
TAKESPARTPRIDE
VIEAHSSEL
GREETERASNER
FOECADGLO
LOTBARONALOHA
ADAATTOSSFOX
BEGETHUNCHAVE
DHLPERGED
TRYSTSTATLER
BEERAWPOL
INTERFIREWATER
GORMETNNEMERY
DROIDAGAROXIE

It's rare for a NYT weekday puzzle to have a title, and this one was not only necessary but a perfect description. What a great theme concept, the middle letter of each across entry modified, thus given a CHANGE OF HEART. Patrick is one of the few constructors out there that pushes the boundaries like this. Even if the puzzle wasn't to your taste, I'd find it hard to deny that this one will be remembered. Trying out crazy new things is great for the crossword art form.

I stumbled upon the effectiveness of the "downs-only" approach once I figured out what was going on, but my solve of 20+ minutes makes Joon's sub-5 that much more awe-inspiring. I struggled mightily with the G of GERARDO, eventually guessing BERARDO. It would have been fantastic if the across entries could only have been one possible (wrong) thing, as that would have given some measure of "checking" each square, but to even achieve this level of what Patrick did is pretty incredible.

Frankly, I have no idea how he did it. The constraint of each across entry having to possibly be a different but equally valid word seems so constraining. It's a bit easier in that he's gone up to 84 words, thus being able to use shorter word lengths. But even then, to find such gems as TAKES PART / TAKE APART and FIREWATER / FIRE EATER is impressive. A quick software program to sort through a word list to find appropriate pairs could help there, but when you extend this constraint to the entire puzzle — wow, what an undertaking!

Finally, I find it so neat to hear about the collaboration and support Will and Patrick both mention. Will could have easily have said that Lollapuzzoola is a competitor to his ACPT so he'd prefer not to plug it, but he went out of his way to help publicize it to the enormous NYT audience. The thing I like best about the great majority of the crossword community is its exhibition of uplifting, positive qualities, and this exemplifies it to a tee.

Tue 10/15/2013
GRUBAILSJIHAD
LISAKNEEONONE
ATMSIFATSTATE
MACINTOSHHEXED
LIARCUR
TOXICMECHANIC
ADASHNRAGLO
MICKEYMOUSECLUB
PUTEEKNAOMI
MOCCASINTROPE
HUHUSES
SEDERMUCKRAKER
EVICTELLELOVE
GEEKSANEWEKED
ANTSYDAISSOLO

I've already gushed about the brilliance of PB, so allow me to tell a story about the awesome and funny ACM. Two years ago I finally worked up the courage to go to the ACPT, overcoming my nerves about going to a place where I hardly knew anyone. I got to the hotel and went down to the lobby, expecting to have to use my old trick of pretending I had important texts on my cell phone so I didn't look like that guy who can't even get the dog to play with him. But within minutes, ACM introduced herself and instantly, I had a friend to hang out with. I have so much fondness for the way she noticed the awkward guy in the corner and took steps to make him feel welcome. A lot of warmth in my heart for ACM.

Back to the puzzle, a fun Tuesday offering. I appreciate the fact that the theme is so consistent, a vowel progression of M?C, all with the same hard K sound. Consistency brings elegance, and I wouldn't expect anything less from these two professionals. I'm glad they decided to strip down their more dense version — constructors, take note of how thoughtfully they made their decision, trying out the more dense version but ultimately following the "less is more" philosophy (although five theme answers is still a lot!). Plus, doing so allowed them to incorporate some really nice fill including BASILISK, CAR SALES, JOSHUA, and a nice little CURTSY. More importantly, look how clean the fill is. When your worst piece of fill is IF AT, that's a clear win.

As Will mentioned, a lot of vowel progressions have been done before, so it's difficult to get acceptances unless there's some new twist included. I like the brainstorming that PB and ACM did, and although it didn't result in anything groundbreaking, maybe it will inspire someone else to do something completely new with a vowel progression.

Finally, I really appreciate ACM's comments about Scrabbly letters. Too often constructors get sucked in by the siren song of the pangram (including me, sad to say). Yes, it's kind of a cool feat because it's difficult to do cleanly, but it's mostly cool from the constructor's standpoint and not the solver's. Incorporating J,Q,X,Z's does spice up the puzzle (K's and V's to a lesser extent, IMO), but only if by doing so the puzzle fill doesn't suffer overall. Nice job of that today.

Wed 9/11/2013
JAFARUNITELS
AMORESCORELAP
WARMBLOODEDIKE
SSTIANDOZEN
MATERNITYWARD
PEYTONPASS
ATEAMPOOLGPS
CARDBOARDCUTOUT
ESSARTSPIETY
LETTADESTE
EXTENSIONCORD
AROMANENUFO
SAYCOLDHEARTED
EYETREVIXACTO
LSDSEEDETHER

I had to stop myself from squealing when I first met superstar constructor Patrick Blindauer at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament two years ago. We had a funny exchange of glances when his Puzzle 5 (usually the hardest of the tourney) was announced and people groaned, anticipating the combination of pleasure and pain. He's known for his devilishly hard masterpieces.

Patrick brings us a word ladder puzzle with a twist. Nice to see the progression go from a logical start to conclusion, WARM BLOODED to COLD HEARTED. Also nice that he found five snazzy phrases in which to incorporate the ladder. Slight deduction for CARD being a part of another word when WARM, WARD, CORD, and COLD are separate, because it's more elegant if all the theme entries work exactly the same. Consistency is one of the criteria many people use in judging a set of theme answers.

Look at the very high theme density: 11/13/15/13/11. It's hard enough to incorporate five shorter theme answers, and Patrick raises the difficulty level by choosing long entries. Note how he chose a 15-letter entry across the middle. Although it might seem like a central 9 or 11 would be easier, that would actually make the construction more difficult because the center row would need to have black squares at its ends. That arrangement breaks up the grid in a way which is hard to deal with in terms of overall black square placement. Try it if you're curious.

The high theme density requires there to be many vertical answers which cross two themers. The result is that virtually every subsection is constrained multiple times, making the filling process challenging. Most everywhere the fill is pretty good, although Robb NEN feels like an ORT (leftover bit). All in all a nice job considering the tough constraints.

Thu 7/25/2013
LENGHPSASPA
BEARUGDEPPTAB
SOSUMEOPERANY
MSHUSEORES
TRAPRABIDCRLS
EASYILLOBE
ASTOGOESOAIS
STILSUFOSNTCH
ANDYDENSSARE
MMOANTEGAR
KARESATYRLOPA
AGENCPUORE
PAMFARRHOVANE
UZIBRIESTELAR
TEXISLINETS
Sun 10/30/2011HOLLYWOOD FROM RIGHT TO LEFT
SAMEHEREOPAQUEPAILS
TRAVELEDMEDUSAELLIE
ANGELMANAGEMENTNITTI
GOINSPARRIBSENORAS
TETEMASTERGATO
SHAUNDORMSCALYMOVIE
SALADANEAPPIPEAMA
THELIGHTSTUFFMTSTES
SAXCAWTINLIKEJOLT
DOTYCOSIHAIRDO
PILATESOFTHECARIBBEAN
AGENTSVIALENDS
YUNGPIEDISHCGIMSG
CANTWOFANTASTICFOUL
UNOVOLEEYRESALOME
TAXIDRIVELEMAJTERSE
LOISARIOSIABET
FIENNESOERNACLCHAP
EDWINWEDDINGCLASHERS
SEIZEARETOOHYSTERIA
TASERMASONSSNEERSAT
Thu 8/25/2011
SENSEFOODBSMT
AMOURELMOAWAR
SCREAMEDATSISI
SEATOLINCISCO
YESLOSEARCS
NETCLOBBER
EASESSHESALADY
KNOWSHURTANIA
CONESTOGAICKES
ONADAREDAK
TILESPINESC
RAITTWEEPEXPO
OMNITROLLEYCAR
CIAOSAULDRECK
ASSNKYLESELES
Mon 3/21/2011
LPSAGLOWWATER
ORCLEASHAMORE
YOUBETCHARIGID
ABBABYALLMEANS
LEAGUEEIS
GAGAATESTS
RIGHTONBROTHER
BESOUKETOSS
AINTITTHETRUTH
ANTONYSTET
APPNEWAGE
DARNTOOTINASEA
BRIARSURETHING
LEONAENEROAIL
SATUPSASSYNEE
Thu 1/27/2011
MUSEJERRYRISE
INITATHOSINTL
DIRTYCHOKESTAY
STREAKYRAKER
TEESOLFALYNCH
DEMILUPETHO
ORTHODOXCHEW
ORTOYOWIEESSE
COURTCHESTER
HUNSOURNAPS
OSAKAMSNBCEEK
SMARTBAYAREA
MEETBROADCHUMP
MALISTEELESTO
MUTEPERRYMEOW
Mon 12/13/2010
JETSRISENMAP
ATOPRETINAILL
NETEARNINGSNBA
ESSENSLEET
SCUDSWASTEAREA
CASSIOHORN
ADOGRADERASAP
DEFINITEARTICLE
STANOSIRISULT
ISLEDEBBIE
WYATTEARPTRANS
HESSEERASE
ELKPLANETEARTH
ALEPOMELOSURE
TOWEXPELTEAR
Sun 10/17/2010FIGURE OF SPEECH
LISAASTINPERMACHEF
AGUATHANEACERBAUTO
WNBAHAIRSCONW8WITTY
NOWOODLESANTIINSET
CR8ALOGEZINE
HARKSW8UNTILDARKFDA
ANANIASSOHOTRAEDAWN
ICIESTATTENDDEDUCED
RENEMIRELESSSEER
LIFTEDW8STESTTUBE
BUCBEANALCALEEPSI
EPHEMERAP8ONPLACE
ANAPSRISOLAVFROM
MEFIRSTETHANEERIEPA
EXECUTEDIONEGRILLER
RTSB8ANDSWITCHTEENY
VASCOHEREATA
LIMITAONESMORESSRS
SK8BOARDERTIKKIBEAT
TEARSTLEOACEINIDDO
SAGAUSERSTERNSG8ER
Thu 10/7/2010
SSTHANTHEFARS
ILOVELAHIBACHI
DEVICESREBATED
EWALKSALEEOE
SHELHEAVY
SERTASTATES
SECTOHSKENOBI
IRRHEXAGONGOD
DOOWOPAPUMANE
ESWIPEPATTI
TIRESIDDO
SKAMOUNTAINS
INSPIRESALIERI
DETENTEEMERGED
EWINDERDESODE
Thu 9/2/2010
SLEEPPOLSORG
PACERASTIANTE
ALONETIDEGIRO
MALSIREFACED
SSESSORCAYREVE
LEONHSI
ROTORSPOTSLAG
MORFSDAERREWSNA
SPITEIREMADAM
DENOMEN
TFELOTTHGIRNOB
ALLINORCAORE
DOORTAMALORNE
AJARSTEPDAMON
SONPOOHSTATE
Thu 7/15/2010
PAWLIMPPASSTO
IPOLOCIICEPOP
ENTRANCEXENONS
REAIMADMIRER
SANTARILEGTOS
TSKTSKBASRA
YEWSAHHBALLOT
OXOWHYOATANO
GARDENSNLIWON
ALKIEONEILL
STASAHABAGENT
HISTORYDWEEB
ATONERFORMULAS
MILTIEENYAELP
ALIENSDENGRES
Sun 7/4/2010MAKING ENDS MEET
HAHASELCIDELSEEBBS
IMUSTJOULEMOMASLAP
COMPUTERRORESAUCARR
DEDUCESORTSANTI
GARRETTENGLISHEEPDOG
EMUNEERATILTFREAKS
LIMITEDITIONESTOP
SASVOLHAWTOPPS
BALIDAIPRIMERIDIAN
TREADMILLOPSRECCLE
RANCASENSITIVEOLE
USEAXLTIEONESEATER
SCIENCENTERRVSLUST
TODAYCEEVIARED
SHUTSPLACIDOMINGO
ORATORTWOAMNITEOUR
PERSONALITYPEVINROSE
UGLILIDSTAINTED
SEEDLINEGUARDIANGEL
ENNEEGGSOPINEREEVE
STERINSTPILEDYESES
Sun 3/7/2010COME TO ORDER
HEARTSGRAVESNOWWHAT
ALTHEARELENTPLICATE
SMOOCHUGLIERRANFREE
HOPSTILYOUDROPNEIMAN
OBOESTOKERBESTS
ALIGNEREIEPINAL
TENNISBELOWSUPERDEMO
EDKOCHKNITPERSLID
MASCOWESLOLRONONE
COWERKLUTZDEPOT
THEHINTMANGREENACERS
RONINALEPHKOOKS
YTDKINLEIGEERTAPA
TEESMOTSAGOAMATOL
OPRYMANIAFLOWWHISTLE
SAMPANODINCYNIC
SPATECRANIATECH
ARROWSAHOSTINTHEDARK
BIGLEADELOISEINATIE
LOUISVIITUNESMELODY
ERECTEDMERGESPRIZES
Tue 1/12/2010
LOBEAPPTARBYS
OKRAPAARHERON
COOTIEPIEALOHA
AKISSARESINOR
LARRYAMECHE
AFEWFAMILYFOOD
BARACKAMEN
EASYAOMSASSET
SCABASTERS
FOSSILFOOLARGO
AHCHOOPAIGE
TSARGASPVENTI
CUREDBOOTYMARK
AREWEBASEODIE
TEDDYAPEXMEGA
Thu 12/17/2009
ESSOABADRIED
LEESCATSOONYI
BAALCATPOSHER
ALLOUTNOAHSARK
LSDTRAIL
CAFFEOFTENAHH
OHARECLEMITOO
MOLESTORELIRR
MOLECOOPFLOSS
ATEGORDORENEE
NEATOPBA
TWOBYTWOANIMAL
RIVOLIDOGTCBY
ADELIEDOGLION
MERITSHYLION
Thu 11/5/2009
CRICAJOLEDMEG
LANAGESAGOADA
ENTROSESARERED
ADORERSSNAKING
RONIAESGENIE
CLASPSSASSECT
UPTHEOSTIA
THEINVISIBLEMAN
HOLSTANIMA
TALLLYSINANER
OPIUMSGTTERR
MONKEESSIBERIA
CLEANSHOUSEACT
ALASTEPINSLAE
TORADAPTTOEND
Thu 10/1/2009
SATCHELACTEDUP
INAPILEBROMINE
CATALOGCOMPASS
SOPRANOSPUT
EKGHELENHERE
TNIOPTSEWPARER
COLBERTSSRS
SBARROOUTATE
ISNTTUNEDIN
SPREEEASTENDER
LAINBERTHSAY
IMFPETERPAN
MELROSEAAMILNE
ELEANORPRICIER
SADNESSSKEETER
Sun 8/9/2009MADE FOR TV-MOVIES
BALBOATWANGSMASSES
ANTEUPGOIRISHEQUINE
GOSSIPGIRLINTERRUPTED
ESTIVALLOCAORE
PELESTEPILAFSMANOR
FLECKIMONITEDAM
FATHERKNOWSBESTINSHOW
TNTNIAREPRISEDARA
HOARSERANNAILIAD
APSOTEEIRTCARTE
GREYSANATOMYOFAMURDER
HELLOHRSOBIGODS
ALLEYSHEASARALEE
SATCHARCOALCABMAO
TWOANDAHALFMENINBLACK
PEELMENACESANER
PETRALESSORWDSYODA
OLETOOTINTENSE
SEXANDTHECITYOFANGELS
INALIEOSSUARYREGRET
TANAKASAIDNOLESSON
Wed 7/22/2009
AMMOTROTSACID
LOAFROXIEEDNA
EOJFRAZIERSPUR
PROTEMDREWLIT
HERODJEONAMATH
DIEDECAY
OJEBIDENOTERI
LAVASPENDTROD
ERASEOEJPESCI
PITASASH
EJOCOCKEROFUSE
NORNEINANUBIS
ALASSLOPPYJOES
CITEILLERIANA
TEENTSARSSTAY
Thu 6/18/2009
READSCAYSIPOS
ATARIOBOEMIRA
NURSESAIDAPEER
IDOSERTACOCOA
SENATESBARR
NAMETHATTUNA
HALOSIONSSIS
AMENTAPESSTNS
NIXMOPSUPSET
DELIVERYDATA
UMPSEMERGED
PATHSSALONOBI
ECHORUBIKSCUBA
THOMORESIDLER
EYREBETHLIDDY
Tue 6/2/2009
MICTONIIMPALE
INAIDIDNARNIA
SKILODGEGLIDES
SERESHORELEAVE
MYOPIAOMAR
EARPMARARF
SNOWLEOPARDJOE
TABMANAPR
ATESOPHIALOREN
BOYHUEATOP
YETIAGENTS
SPEEDLIMITROAN
CANADASRILANKA
ANDREWGALEOER
MESSRSSETSSNL
Thu 5/21/2009
ABCAGREEDCLUE
BROPUENTEHENS
BARNEYFIEFARCS
ANNESSARESOLE
BOWCOALMIEN
TORNOUTNYU
SNEAKPEKELIFER
AMATSCOURNITE
RYDERHAPPYFETE
OBISIMILES
SNOWCOENADD
CUBISMAEREMMA
ARALBORDERLIEN
BSMTARCANACAT
SEASYESMENELS
Thu 4/9/2009
JUDYCLADNOVA
OPIERUBEABEL
ATTSMINIMOZART
DOZINGBATRAMBO
DUMNORAS
CAROMSERENE
UTEBOOZYWONDER
JONISNIDEEAVE
OZONELINERSDIA
SLICERPSALM
BROWNARC
CRIMECOZYYOUNG
LIONSDOZENTROT
ANTIOOZEISSO
MESASPYSAAHS
Thu 1/15/2009
BEGORRASPRPAT
ARABIANESOBESO
JOSEPHINEBAKER
ASHYSUBLETS
EBBSEDEL
MANDARINORANGE
AKARENTDORM
YEOBREAKINHEP
ELMOZENOOTT
RAINRAINGOAWAY
RUINSAKI
SESAMESSLIM
STUMBLINGBLOCK
GALPALSSUREBET
TSKSOTAMASSES
Thu 10/23/2008
HOSOFTRIPTORN
ANTACIDITERATE
WEEPERSBERATED
KAPPASEMIL
FANTASYALOT
OVALSSPECULATE
BITSCIIFLARES
ISHPHANTOMRLS
STEELEOASPYLE
PARTYFOULSOHOS
OSSOATLANTA
ISAKVIAGRA
TELLALLBATSMEN
SPEEDEEENCHANT
PATSDRYNTHNOS
Mon 10/6/2008
ONEGLESDOLLARHBOZONE
POTROASTEUGENEEARLOBES
THEUNITEDSTATESOFAMERICA
NORRIPOSTEBB
SSTINGODWETRUSTAMS
EAUESCTEAACTYOWAAH
GREATSEALWISEBALDEAGLE
GAMMARAYSEVELSTEELDOOR
ONEALXEDYELLAERDOONE
Sun 6/29/2008TEN GRAND SURPLUS
LAPLATAAPESUITPENS
ECLAIRSROMANCEPEROT
SHOWMETHEMONKEYEDINA
TETRERASEGNUNEATER
EPSONTRIPLEKLUTZ
PORNOSTRAITOWIE
DRACULARICAUGANDANS
AFTERASKORTAMORREO
SEESNIDEPLANKAHEAD
MAIERMOIVOILA
WINKWINKSITUATION
ENOLAYINSHOAT
BARKTENDERESSENCTR
ATMDIRTAVERAGEJOKE
NOSEDIVEBRERPALMTOP
LESECOINEDABYSS
GUNKCONTROLUVULA
UTAHANEATACMESRBIS
ITMAYINFLATABLEKRAFT
LEERSDETENTEMINIBAR
ERSTSTYGIANATTESTS
Mon 6/23/2008
SANTAPACEACME
ALIENIBETBLIP
WINSOMELOSESOME
STATIRESBOGIE
TINHER
YOUDIDYOURBEST
SAMBAROUSTRHO
KLEEWIDTHPAAR
EINRILEDEATME
WESTILLLOVEYOU
ENDELS
SAGASHEATLENT
CLOSEBUTNOCIGAR
AIREARNOUPONE
BEETALANESSAY
Sun 5/11/2008DONE WITH EASE
JETSFANANGULARKALEL
ACETONEREPLETEAMINO
NOWEANSITUATIONZELIG
ONEPMTNUTPEROXIDE
SOSOGLAREDATWOO
NEHIORIGINALSCENE
ARPMANNERROLLOMAN
FEELINGSTATIONERSATZ
LUELLAYALELEADAGOO
ANKAINDIRACINQ
TEAMDUNCANSHEENGUARD
AUSTEMBEDSAZUR
SKADELONAAREEASTLA
UNICEFABANDONEDSHEEP
MEWSOCTANESLUECDE
PEATORCHESTRAOCTA
HCLRESONANTMISS
JUMPSEATBINGSODOI
ONYOUMINNESOTATWEENS
TIMORPREYSONTEABAGS
STYLESEASONSEMBASSY
Sun 3/2/2008FORWARD THINKING
KOOLBIDREGSCECILIA
ONLEAVEAROOMUNITING
ICETRAYINTRAPRUSSIA
ESSENELECTSSIDEA
DADDYSHACKCALMS
IOCMIATAGOODFATS
STARHAZERWEBBRIA
OHDEARDENIMJVDRIPS
LEGPARTYSEGERESTEES
DRESSHASTERESETS
ESSNIXEDDRINKSADO
SEESINSOLTIASLAN
SNATCHSAUTESPYBEANS
POPRUIZTHOSEOMENII
ALPEYESSWISSMIST
MILKDVDSOPTICSHE
EENIELOXPROFILE
GONNASHRINEASWAN
GOATEESSOAMIPUTITON
NUTTREEOSHEAIRONAGE
PRESORTASSNCOPYBOZ
Wed 1/2/2008
CHITALAPDSPCA
HOPISATLIIRON
AGONYIRANCONN
CLARINETFDA
HOTTUBABRASION
UNEMOTOCAT
LINEROLOISERE
CONNECTALLTHEOS
ENIDSOTOEARMS
SATOFOBEEE
FOSTEREDVERDON
ACHRELATIVE
UHOHIDLEENOLA
NOESDEANLENOX
ASSTARIDSWELL
Sun 12/9/2007SECRET SANTA?S HELPERS
ALFALFASACOSSGTFAS
SOIREESTRACUTAHALP
TWELFTHNIGHTRESOLUTE
EFFETEOPENAREARANEE
RAINYBTENDEFLEPPARD
STESFEASTMISSESS
ELOIAMORTEL
SELFREFLECTIVEELSOL
ATEASERENEEALIREF
MCVIPULLONABLEVAL
SHELFLIFEIFEELFINE
OILRELOISHALLOLDE
NNEEELATEAMEAGLET
GREETFLEXIBLEFLYERS
IDIEVRYAWOL
HEFDEMIHIRERECCE
IANFLEMINGENVSALLAN
STLEOINSOMNIAARDENT
TEALEONIGOLDENFLEECE
ORCWHOSORELPRESSER
OSESORTSTYEROSTERS
Wed 10/24/2007
LIMELAMBRIOTS
ASECALOEERROR
TALCTERRAFIRMA
HABEASCORPUS
ECASHNABSCPA
IAMSSASHES
JONGBULBLIENS
ARONABOVONENE
PADUAJUDOERST
ATOMICSHAQ
NEZMUSHRUSTS
ALEAIACTAEST
SEMPERIDEMNEAR
EPEESNEROOTRA
WARDSTRONNOSY
Wed 8/22/2007
SPATMIKADOAGR
URNSGUNNERROE
BOOKEMDANNOMEG
PRIESTVIASOSA
LANDSNEEDALIFT
OTTOVAARARAT
TESTWINGOPERA
ITSFORYOU
SAUDISWEEPICA
ELNINOENDNOM
LIKEAROCKELTON
FENDSROOLEOLE
INOPICKUPLINES
SEWINHERELEST
HENTOSSINARTY
Wed 7/4/2007
CHOPFONZCELS
LINAULEESUFOS
OASTRATATATTAT
STEROLLOVE
EATINSMOKELOU
SLSESTATESEON
GULAGENZO
HAPPYBIRTHDAY
SEMSCASES
OLEONDATESFEW
CLXKOOLSSTARE
SECSSOBERS
DIRTYHARRYIRAS
EVELEGGONROTO
NEMOESOSDEAN
Sun 6/17/2007REAR AXLE
LIBELSHEWSASKSTHEM
ANORAKARIACHIAHEMA
DANGCARROTSTALLORDER
IFSOTRICKDOWNTHEORY
DIABLEACHENLMENSA
AXILLAHAYESSESSION
SEMSSODIUMCNN
BREADANDBUTTERPICK
SEXTSARANOAKLOOSES
IPASSKABULDISSENT
DECTHETEMPOFDOOMARI
ENTREESSCREWOSLIN
STAINSVHSTULSASACK
BOOGIEWOOGIEBUGBOY
MOTURCHINRAFT
INHASTEPOSEDFOSSIL
SPOREALEERECTSANO
FAMILYSTYDINNERALTO
IPSOFACTOTHEJUNGBOOK
LEOSLAINSOSASIENNA
ERNEENCSARTYALLSET
Wed 5/16/2007
PISAATBATATAD
IDESCORPSRABE
TICKLEPINKICUS
TETEATETELAHTI
DYADAMINO
ARTISTTINMAN
LIONEXXONAERO
LAEOXXTEN
OTTSBOXOFRENE
TAHITILEERAT
ERICABAWL
HILLSSTAGEACTS
OHIOCHILDSPLAY
JONISELMASALS
OPENANTSYEMIT
Tue 10/31/2006
AERATEMODELA
RUINOUSHELIXES
CROSSREFERENCES
TETTADIVE
IKEABANDBUSES
CARLYLEAIMLESS
DOAGEN
PREAKNESSSTAKES
SUVOCTOPUSESL
SNIPSATYRTYCO
ALESMIRA
AREELSAPAKIRA
DAYLIGHTSAVINGS
ACETEETIMEGOP
MEDSTAYSINSTS
Wed 6/7/2006
AMIDSPREEAFBS
LANEHEAVYGILA
DISCLAIMERROOF
AMPLERPRESENCE
ANDYTEAKS
BURRSEMEERS
ATIEISOLDEIII
HIDDENBODYPARTS
ALEDOUSESCREE
MINTERITSME
UNWONSADO
NARRATESREFORM
JOIEELMERSGLUE
AMTSELENAOGEE
MISODAWGSDARK
Sun 6/4/2006OVERCHARGED
INAWESOSALESTOPPS
NASALIRALUCYFACEIT
SITTINGBULLIONSKEWER
TRIEDONDEIGNTHEATRE
RETMISSIONMANNERS
SEALAFUSSACRORES
CABOOSESAUNTPPP
RUNOFTHEMILLIONRANAT
ADEFERAIMATCHICAGO
MERITOLIOGOSSIPED
MOUNTAINPASSION
MRPEANUTDELANOISY
PARAGONGIJOETUENHA
STENONOTIONFORPROFIT
TOGNOSYSETSFREE
ADODALEAMISHFADS
DEPOSITIONSLIPEWE
OMITTEDRIPENGRANDMA
BEATATPONYEXPRESSION
EATERYINTOEGOTEMPT
SNERTCOHNSAWESSES
Wed 5/17/2006
BUTTINJARSUSE
BRAWNYABELNEA
CUBEDTOMATOZIG
LEILIRASIZE
PREGREENPEPPER
LASSOESELO
ANATSTOPMOMMA
CILANTROORONION
ENTREAMMOELLO
THOAWARDED
CHILIPOWDERSSE
ROVETREECPA
OVODICEDGARLIC
PEROMANODESSA
SLYEASYPETARD
Tue 5/9/2006
BASISPERTIMAC
ALOFTALEETOGA
DIXIEREVELEVER
HALGAMEENE
MIXAMAXIMIPODS
ONEDSLAPSANAS
MONASTICCEL
SWAHILIDELIMIT
IRAPENKNIFE
LOAFPIECEDNAS
INDIASTIRGRITS
BTUINONYOO
YALERELAYOMEGA
APTSADMSFEATS
NESTPEELFSTOP
Thu 7/21/2005
MUSTANGCATCALL
INERTIAUSHAPED
STRAINSSTRIPES
SIMPLECIPHER
ADOTRASMENTOR
LYNNPISAROE
EAUNOTARIZE
ZPVCSPLFUIFDPEF
BUCKAROOCTA
ARRINRESPAM
RESEWSIRASOVO
SHIFTALETTER
ROUTINESINATRA
ARRANGEENDLESS
TENSESTDESIRES

8 Variety puzzles by Patrick Blindauer

Sun 2/2/2014
ITCHPREPSSLOE
ARABEASELIEST
MISODISCOUNTED
SAPERTESTES
AGESPOTSEXIST
MERCINAHSNAS
RCADOMEMOPE
PRESBYTERIANS
VIEWLEERING
ANTWEDSGEORG
CARTEREDASNER
AITALLYSETE
ANCESTRIESNCAA
PEERSALVOHUGS
TOSSOLSENAPSE
Sun 5/29/2011
IFSLBJZORRO
HAUTARIDONEAL
HAMMERHOMENUDGE
MOUSEPADDESKS
ANNOPRIMARYHAP
ROTHEADOVERHEELS
GRETAALIIMACS
DOSHTSPEROT
SHIHSRTA
AIOLISWFTIT
CLUESHAIELOPE
HASTHEHOTSFORHAM
ESENOWTHENTERI
SHOOTFRESHAIR
DONHOHISANDHERS
INTOWAMERGIFT
ASHESELMEAT
Sun 3/21/2010
CHAINUP
DIAGNOSIS
AMTRAKDEPOT
CIVILDENOM
SLRESCSIRIS
CRYFROMTHETICKLED
LADIESSITARSTAO
ISEENOWCTRSCOLT
BLTICKESJAN
TOADFLAPINORBIT
APRRELIESHIDEHO
PERIODINATELEGRAM
COMBESAIALD
WHEELSOMME
ORGANHANDLE
TAKEAPEEK
DEALERS
Sun 10/4/2009
SPACECAMPNOCOMMENT
ERIECANALISOSCELES
METRONOMESHOTCLOCK
FLAEATALLOT
ERSDIFCEY
YEAMOLAR
AMHERST
AIMED
BAS
PACER
MACHETE
DELHIENT
NORINNDVD
GENIEEESTIO
STOPWATCHHOURGLASS
AABATTERYIRSAGENTS
DRESSEDUPSTAYSSANE
Sun 4/19/2009
TAJCAR
ALEROONEIL
HOTELDIMLY
AGENTAMBLE
CATSSARI
VATANO
IBEAMORCASPINON
CITGOPERCHINDIE
NEATELATENUTS
THECIVILWAR
LICHENCEOACESIT
ABOARDSSNNODULE
YMAMOWATLNEE
SCARESAABS
GETTYSBURGADDRESS
MEANIESUESARTRE
CELABESIX
Sun 11/2/2008
ZINGDAMPECLAT
IDOLUSERTOELESS
PINOCCHIOONTARIO
VATRAPJIMINY
CAWEDMERTOY
LUISZOAAXE
ETSCRICKET
OOHSVOLTAIRE
PUPICEIN
YIPEMONSTRO
ALOEEMI
PONDARACHNID
STABGEPPETTO
SUMOWHITESEA
BATMANCOLUMNCUB
ELAPSESTEREOAKA
GARNNWRED
Sun 8/10/2008
ANTIFUDD
STERNOTIREOF
STEVENSPIELBERG
MAOELIELIRA
ARCRESODGAG
YAKSTRANDSHBO
NASSAUAUDITS
DREWBARRYMORE
ETEEXAMSTEN
AFLLPSLCD
IISWOO
ETPHONEHOME
AUNTRANAMOKVAST
SPOUSEEYEELISHA
TOLDYAISRDANSON
INTENDLAGUNCORK
REESESLYEPIECES
Sun 2/24/2008
VISTA
PENCILS
BREYERSICECREAM
PROVERBCHARMER
LACESASHGOTTI
INKSPOSSUMSORTS
EDYHACKNEYEDALE
RIVIERASTREAKER
FAQSRAVI
HABITUEEPITOME
IRAHEYERDAHLBAR
LANETSHIRTSLTYR
TBIRDSPYNEATO
SISTERSTRIVIAL
CHEYENNEWYOMING
LANYARD
GEENA