PUZZLE: Unthemely #90

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DOWNLOADABLE PUZZLE: Unthemely #90 (PUZ) (PDF)

For the past eight months all of my income has been derived from the puzzle industry, with the exception of some monthly contributions to the household-expenses kitty made by my mother and condo-mate Sybil. I’ve had aspirations to be a full-time “professional puzzler” for decades but I don’t feel like I’ve made deliberate efforts to attain that particular status. It’s a life that I fell into by serendipity. The responsibilities of puzzle room development for Puzzah!, crossword construction for professional outlets, and program coordination for the National Puzzlers’ League drain my creativity. Working on the Unthemely crossword series is something of a busman’s holiday. The grid for Unthemely #90 sat half-filled on my desktop for over two months. Over the last two weeks I finally got around to finishing the grid and writing the clues.

On the subject of Unthemely crosswords, I want to remind you that my book Fresh Freestyle Crosswords will be released later this year. I recently received the first review copy and am very pleased with

PUZZLE: Rice Milk #25

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FIRST (6 6) / SECOND (4 2 6)

“For your Mother’s Day breakfast in bed,
I’ve beat eggs for a FIRST,” cried King Oed.
“As you eat, I will sing
SECOND‘ just like the King.”
“Too much ham,” was what Jocasta said.

Comments contain the answer to Rice Milk #24 and may contain other spoilers. For information on solving transposals and other “flat” (verse puzzle) types, visit the National Puzzlers’ League’s Online Guide to the Enigma.

PUZZLE: Unthemely #89

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DOWNLOADABLE PUZZLE: Unthemely #89 (PUZ) (PDF)

The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is about two months away. One of the highlights of this year’s evening entertainments is an Escape Room designed by Eric Berlin. I won’t be attending the tournament and I’m curious to see what Eric comes up with for this activity. Escape rooms are trendy at the moment and the label offers commercial value for a range of puzzle and game tie-in enterprises. Puzzle books based on escape rooms are being planned (Christopher Manson’s Maze could be a prototype of the genre) and “Host a Murder Mystery” box games are being re-branded as “Host an Escape Room.” Among business that offer escape rooms, there is a great variety in the level of theme, and by “theme” I mean physical and sensory immersive detail. This variety introduces an interesting question: what is the difference between an escape room and a puzzle activity that is inspired by the concept of an escape room? Different people would have different answers to the question based on experience and expectations. Participants of Eric’s ACPT activity may describe their experiences in various terms but I’m sure they will all have a great time.

PUZZLE: Rice Milk #24

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UNO (10) / DOS (4-6)

I’m an UNO in Cuba. My plan is
To hire farmers to make DOS Havanas.
To increase cigar yields,
They can train in my fields
By repeeling uneaten bananas!

Comments contain the answer to Rice Milk #23 and may contain other spoilers. For information on solving transposals and other “flat” (verse puzzle) types, visit the National Puzzlers’ League’s Online Guide to the Enigma.

PUZZLE: Rice Milk #23

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ONE (5 7) / DONE (12)

Politicians with clearness of throat
Oft dissemble, distort, and misquote.
When the pol with fine ONE
Utters claims steeped in DONE,
Give the more certain “dark-hoarse” your vote!

Comments contain the answer to Rice Milk #22 and may contain other spoilers. For information on solving transposals and other “flat” (verse puzzle) types, visit the National Puzzlers’ League’s Online Guide to the Enigma.

PUZZLE: Rice Milk #22

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LEFT (7 5) / RIGHT (12)

I’d been LEFT how to conquer store clerks
In a book that limns haggling’s perks.
So I shopped, made some deals,
RIGHT the clerks, got some steals,
Beat them all! (…or “the mall!”…either works).

Comments contain the answer to Rice Milk #21 and may contain other spoilers. For information on solving transposals and other “flat” (verse puzzle) types, visit the National Puzzlers’ League’s Online Guide to the Enigma.