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Wordy Wednesday 49: Words Without Friends

WORDY WEDNESDAY #46
TABLETOP MATH (answer)
It's been three weeks, so time to unveil the answer to this puzzle. If you still wish to solve it yourself, please go here for the puzzle, or here for hints. Here's a list of people who solved it:
Adam Weaver **
Bryce Herdt **
Edderiofer He *
Jack Lance **
James McGowan **
John Bulten **
Lewis Chen **
Mark Tilford **
Ryan Faley *
Walker Anderson **
And the third contest winner is Ryan Faley! Congratulations!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #47
BIG HELTER SKELTER (answer)
It's been two weeks, so time to unveil the answer to this puzzle. If you still wish to solve it yourself, please go here for the normal version of the puzzle, or here for the easier version of the puzzle. Here's a list of people who solved it:
Adam Weaver **
Bo Green **
Bryce Herdt **
Christian H.P. **
Edderiofer He **
Giovanni Pagano **
Izak & Penni Bulten **
Jack Lance **
James McGowan **
John Bulten *
Lewis Chen **
Mark Tilford **
Peter Abide **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin **
Tim Harrod **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #48
FRAMELINKS 2 (hint)
14 people have solved last week's puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your solutions to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to appear on the solvers list and be recognized for your puzzle prowess. Good luck, solvers!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #49
WORDS WITHOUT FRIENDS
This game of word solitaire is inspired by Solicross, and allows me to get out of writing an actual puzzle! Yay!

You have 16 turns to score as many points as possible by building words on the grid. Start by taking the first 7 letters from the LETTER LIST. Form an English word using two or more letters, and place it reading across (from left to right) or down (from top to bottom) in the grid, with one of the letters covering the shaded cell. On each successive turn, cross out the letters you used and replace them with the next letters from the LETTER LIST, and then play a new word using some or all of those letters. As in Scrabble, you can play at right angles to a previous word (either incorporating a letter from it or expanding it) or parallel to a previous word, but must adjoin some previous word; adjoining letters must always form words in crossword fashion, and all letters used in a single turn must be part of a single word.

Every turn, you score for the words you made on that turn. The score for a word is the sum of all the numbers it covers (whether those letters were played on that turn or not); multiple words formed in a single turn are added up together (with shared letters counting twice). If you use all 64 letters within 16 turns, give yourself 50 extra points.

All words will be checked against the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary Fourth Edition, the newest one I have. (Take note: this is the bowdlerized edition!) Nine-letter words will be checked against m-w.com; proper names, abbreviations, and the like are forbidden.

All solvers who score at least 350 points will be entered to win a silly booby prize. (We're probably talking Pokémon cards here.) All solvers who score at least the median number of points will be entered into a second booby prize drawing. Send your finished game (with a score of at least 350 points; a picture of the finished grid and a list of words formed each turn should suffice) to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com. You may submit multiple times during the next two weeks; only your highest score will be counted. Have fun!


Wordy Wednesday 48: Framelinks 2

WORDY WEDNESDAY #46
TABLETOP MATH (hints)
It's been two weeks, and the number of solvers for this puzzle has increased to 8. The second contest winner, chosen randomly from among these solvers, is: Lewis Chen! Congratulations! As promised, here are some hints for this very difficult puzzle, including a word search with all of the game names in it. Solve within the next week to be entered to win signed copies of the Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 issues of Will Shortz's Wordplay!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #47
BIG HELTER SKELTER (easier)
15 people have solved last week's puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your solutions to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to appear on the solvers list and be recognized for your puzzle prowess. Good luck, solvers!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #48
FRAMELINKS 2
Fill in the empty squares in the diagram with the given letters to form common words. Arrange the letters in the 8 shaded squares to form the final answer word.

AAAA B DD EEEEEE GGG HHH IIIIIIII LL M NNNN OOOO PP RRRRRRR SSSS TTTTTTTT WW YYY

Grant's Review Corner: Volume 12

In this episode of Grant's Review Corner, I review the entire freemium model of gaming. Okay, so this is more of a rant than a review, but my feelings have been fermenting in my mind for quite a while, and in the wake of Nintendo offering not one, but two freemium Pokémon games (a move which is making a boycott seem severely tempting right about now), I feel the need to pitch in my two cents on this genre (as opposed to my 99 cents).

The freemium business model sounds good on the surface: you get to play a game for free, and only pay money if you want to. It's akin to the shareware model in that way, where you play a demo of a game, and then you can pay for the full game. Everett Kaser Software has run on the shareware model since the 1990's, and as I've let on before, I derive enjoyment from his games, somehow. What's good in theory, though, isn't always good in practice, and the freemium model is no exception. I hold the freemium business model in about as much esteem as Richard Dawkins holds religion, or David Morgan-Mar holds Monopoly.

Wordy Wednesday 47: Big Helter Skelter

WORDY WEDNESDAY #45
PENT WORDS 9 (answer)
It's been two weeks, so time to unveil the answer to this puzzle. If you still wish to solve it yourself, please go here for the normal version of the puzzle, or here for the easier version of the puzzle. Here's a list of people who solved it:
Adam Weaver **
Bo Green *
Bryce Herdt **
Edderiofer He **
Gavriel Hirsch *
Izak Bulten *
Jack Bross **
James McGowan **
John Bulten **
M. Sean Molley **
Mark Tilford **
Peter Abide **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin **
Tim Harrod **
Walker Anderson *

WORDY WEDNESDAY #46
TABLETOP MATH
A shockingly low 5 people have solved last week's puzzle. As mentioned before, this puzzle is a contest; the first contest winner, chosen randomly from the first week's solvers, is: Adam Weaver! As promised, there will not be an easy version of the puzzle this week. However, note that I only promised not to post any hints after one week; I said nothing about two weeks. Yes, this puzzle contest will run for a third week! I didn't exactly plan on this, but I want to see more people solve this puzzle. Enter to win signed copies of the Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 issues of Will Shortz's Wordplay!

IZAK BULTEN HAS A BLOG NOW!
My blog's youngest reader would like to direct you towards his new blog, where he may also be the youngest word search constructor on the Internet. Maybe he should submit that record to RecordSetter. . . . :)

WORDY WEDNESDAY #47
BIG HELTER SKELTER
My tribute to Brendan Emmett Quigley's Helter Skelter puzzles in Will Shortz's Wordplay. Every answer starts at the indicated number, and then moves in the direction of the next number (but may or may not stop there). The direction of the last answer is to be determined by the solver. Rearrange the letters in the shaded spaces to get the final answer word.
[Editorial note: I recently learned that BEQ had a Marching Bands Kickstarter that I didn't notice because I don't follow his blog all that much. (I guess a super-difficult themeless crossword puzzle every week isn't my thing.) I'd consider backing a Helter Skelter Kickstarter, especially if the puzzles were bigger than 8x8 (or a single puzzle that's the world's largest Helter Skelter). I want to see what BEQ could do with longer entries! I mean, sure, there are lots of unches, but there are also lots of over-checked letters and interesting overlaps.]

1. Former Disney CEO Michael
2. ____ of passage
3. Language of Bangkok
4. Character who sings, “What's going on?”: hyph.
5. Spar on a ship
6. Sulu portrayer
7. Lends a hand
8. Drill ____
9. Exit
10. The Hills Have ____ (Wes Craven film)
11. “Nobody doesn't like” this dessert brand: 2 wds.
12. Islamic ruler
13. Give a new moniker to
14. Stat: abbr.
15. Billy Joel song which opens, “You have to learn to pace yourself”
16. Snake
17. Ripped
18. California ____ (claymation singers in 80's ads)
19. See clue 20
20. Word 19 and Roy, for example
21. The Road to Wigan Pier author George
22. Erroneous
23. Game played with a strum bar and fret buttons: 2 wds.
24. Three-line verse of Japanese origin
25. Sword of Japanese origin
26. Consumed
27. Notorious 50's quiz show: 2 wds.
28. Family surname in Beethoven
29. Hardships
30. Sullies
31. Quarterback ____
32. Happen consequently
33. Will Shortz, to Will Shortz's Wordplay
34. Set up, as a new computer program
35. Life and ____
36. First song sung in Beauty and the Beast
37. Fantastic score for Nicklaus
38. Real ____
39. El primer mes del año
40. Extend a magazine subscription
41. Dihydrogen monoxide, to a German
42. Impatient
43. ____ toast
44. ____ Wednesday (if you think the answer is WORDY, you overestimate the author's vanity)
45. There are none of these on a bald head
46. Jamaican music genre
47. Tab, for example
48. Tropical tuber
49. Breaking Bad substance

Wordy Wednesday 46: Tabletop Math

WORDY WEDNESDAY #44
BONZA 4 (answer)
It's been two weeks, so time to unveil the answer to this puzzle. If you still wish to solve it yourself, please go here for the normal version of the puzzle, or here for the easier version of the puzzle. Here's a list of people who solved it:
Adam Weaver **
Bryce Herdt *
Edderiofer He *
Gavriel Hirsch *
Jack Bross **
James McGowan **
John Bulten **
Mark Tilford **
Peter Abide *
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin *
Tim Harrod **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #45
PENT WORDS 5 (hint)
A number of people have solved last week's puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your solutions to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to appear on the solvers list and be recognized for your puzzle prowess. Good luck, solvers!

REDHEAD64'S OBSCURE PUZZLE BLOG!
As my hiatus from Wordy Wednesday draws near, it is becoming increasingly important to notify my readers that there are other sources of puzzles on the Internet, so they won't suffer as much withdrawal. Ryan Faley's latest puzzle is part of a Tetris-themed month, and includes a prize giveaway, as well, so head on over if you're up on your video games (or are willing to use search engines). :)

WORDY WEDNESDAY #46
TABLETOP MATH
(no PDF this week)
This week's puzzle is a contest! The winners of this contest will each receive signed copies of the Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 issues of Will Shortz's Wordplay, in which I had the honor of being published. Unlike previous Wordy Wednesday offerings, there will not be a hint or an easy version of this puzzle next week; all solvers within the next two weeks will get two stars by their name on the solvers list. There will be two winners; one will be randomly selected from the first week's solvers, and the second one will be randomly selected from all the other solvers from the first two weeks combined. Thus, solving during the first week will give you two chances to win, and solving during the second week will give you one chance to win.

On International Table Top Day (April 11, 2015), customers at the local game store divide into groups and talk in code. . . or at least, that's my interpretation of what's going on. Why couldn't it be something I'd understand, like International Math Day? (Answer is a board game, but not one of the 40 games depicted in the collage below. Click here for the full collage, since Blogger thinks it's prudent to shrink my 4458x2542 pixel PNG's which I worked so hard on making.)

Changing life circumstances.

While I shan't go into the specifics of what's happening in my life, there will be a lot of changes around here. My Internet access will become much more limited; I'll be able to access e-mail from my phone (so keep sending me your puzzle solutions), but I will try to use whatever time I get on my computer and on the Internet more professionally (meaning getting logic puzzles ready for submission to Grandmaster Puzzles; with limited computer access, it's far easier to write a ton of logic puzzles on paper than to write word puzzles without access to Nutrimatic, OneLook, and QXW). Thus, this blog will be a lot less active. I plan on cutting off the Wordy Wednesday series at installment 50 (which will obviously be a Pent Words and be posted on May 6). I will try to give some awesome things away in the meanwhile, so stay tuned as I give this series the send-off I believe it deserves.

Some of you may be watchers of my weekly Can't Stop tournament streams on Twitch. These will come to a complete halt for the time being. I hope that some of my regular watchers and co-commentators (such as Pepster) might be able to keep the tradition up so all the Can't Stop fans can get their weekly dose of commentary. Open Broadcaster Software is completely free and very usable, so I recommend downloading that. This was easily one of the highlights of my week, and I'll miss it. (The upside of this is that I'll have more time for the biweekly game nights at PrimeTime; maybe some interaction with 3-D people will do my soul some good.)

I give my gratitude to Joseph "/dev/joe" DeVincentis for his amazing test-solving contributions, as well as to Craig "Gabby" Kasper for being an amazing brother in Christ and not merely a genius with puzzles. But most of all, I thank my mother for believing in me all of these years; I have often felt that, as someone with Asperger's, I would be best off humanely euthanized (and certain entities on the Internet haven't helped), but my mother clearly thinks differently, and perhaps none of my puzzles would exist without her.

Wordy Wednesday 45: Pent Words 9

WORDY WEDNESDAY #43
BONZA 3 (answer)
It's been two weeks, so time to unveil the answer to this puzzle. If you still wish to solve it yourself, please go here for the normal version of the puzzle, or here for the easier version of the puzzle. Here's a list of people who solved it:
Adam Weaver **
Bryce Herdt *
Christian H.P. *
Giovanni Pagano *
Izak Bulten *
Jack Bross **
Jack Lance **
James McGowan **
John Bulten **
Mark Tilford **
Peter Abide *
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin *
Tim Harrod **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #44
BONZA 4 (hint)
7 people have solved last week's puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. (This easier version is even easier than last week's easier version, because these are hard, apparently!) Send your solutions to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to appear on the solvers list and be recognized for your puzzle prowess. Good luck, solvers!

WORDY WEDNESDAY #45
PENT WORDS 9

In this puzzle, you must divide the grid into pentominoes (regions containing five cells each), and write a letter in each cell. The rows, reading from left to right, will contain the words hinted at by the ACROSS clues. The letters in the pentominoes, in reading order (left to right starting with the top row), will form the words hinted at by the PENTOMINOES clues; these clues are presented in no particular order. (In the example above, the rows spell PLANT, SHARE, and BITES, and the pentominoes spell the words PLANS, TREES, and HABIT.) Use the ACROSS answers to determine where the pentominoes are.
ACROSS (two answers per row):
1 The Happy Prince and Other Tales author / Word in the title of a Bee Gees hit
2 Notable Jeopardy! contestant / Divided
3 Game associated with the Russian folk song "Korobeiniki" / Jekyll's sociopathic alternate personality
4 ____ pack (Ghostbusters gadget) / Surrounded by
5 "No Dogs ____!" (song from Snoopy, Come Home) / ____ Lanka
6 Leave the workforce, perhaps / Covered with greenery
7 Leonidas, for one / Coming-out party honoree
8 Tribute / You put your tires on these
9 Baby who's only a few weeks old / Word following "Bronze" or "New"
10 Sleeveless garment / Biblical figure with a riddle

PENTOMINOES:
* HALF OF THE FINAL ANSWER
* THE OTHER HALF OF THE FINAL ANSWER
* Papal crown
* Buddy of The Beverly Hillbillies
* Below
* Distributed cards
* ____ 2 (cult classic horror flick set in Nilbog)
* Put a stop to
* Bulbous vegetable
* Relocates
* "Smoke on the ____" (Deep Purple song)
* Droops, as a dying flower
* Small flies that bite
* "When ____ Eyes Are Smiling"
* ____ Booth (2002 movie)
* The Mets and the Nets, for two
* Trims the ends off of, as an apple
* Hoaxes
* Greek letter shaped like a triangle
* Adult insect

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