Patreon update!

As of this writing, 6 Patreon users are pledging me a combined total of $35 per month. Once I've reached $50 per month, I'll post 2 Wordy Wednesday puzzles on the fifth Wednesday of any month with five Wednesdays, allowing all of my readers (patrons and otherwise) to enjoy extra puzzles! By becoming a patron, you'll get early access to all of my Wordy Wednesday puzzles, plus access to exclusive puzzles, so I hope you'll consider pitching in.

Special thanks to Marquis2007 for coming through with some awesome foxger artwork which now adorns the left side of my blog. If you love cute foxes, but hate puzzles, you might consider commissioning Marquis2007 to draw something rather than becoming my patron. Also, you'll probably want to never visit this blog again, because very little of its content is foxes, and most of its content is puzzles.

* Wordy Wednesday #51 will challenge your cryptogram-solving abilities!
* Patron Puzzle #1, which will be delivered exclusively to Patreon supporters ($5 or more per month), is a large Bricks and Mortar puzzle. Veterans of Penny Press publications (including the short-lived Will Shortz's Wordplay) may be familiar with Bricks and Mortar, which are normally 18x18 in size; this one's 24x24, and features 50 8-letter words for your solving pleasure!

Until next time, yappy solving!

Wordy Wednesday #50 update and a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT

PENT WORDS 10 (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. **
Edderiofer He *
Giovanni Pagano **
James McGowan **
Mark Tilford **
Peter Abide **
Ryan Faley **
Tim Harrod **
Sam Levitin **

Wordy Wednesday will resume next month, but first, I have a major announcement. . .

I plan on keeping the Wordy Wednesday series free for the foreseeable future, meaning everybody in the English-speaking world can enjoy a weekly dose of words without paying me a dime. However, if you would like to give me a monthly token of your appreciation, you can get some rewards! Let me explain. . .

While websites such as Kickstarter allow fans to pledge money one time to support one big project, with Patreon, you can pledge ongoing monthly support for someone who creates content on a regular basis. You get to choose how much money to give me every month: $1, $5, $42.01, whatever you think Wordy Wednesday is worth to you. In return, you'll get some nice rewards:

  • For $1 per month, you'll be recognized as a patron on this blog every time you solve a puzzle.
  • For $3 per month, you'll get early access to Wordy Wednesday puzzles.
  • For $5 per month, you'll get one bonus puzzle every month!
  • For $20 per month, you can almost boss me around and suggest words that I should include in future Wordy Wednesday puzzles! (Note: this reward tier is currently limited to two patrons, so hurry while supplies last!)
Your monthly pledge will put a smile on my face, and maybe even encourage me to write extra puzzles! For example, if my patrons pledge a combined $50 per month, I'll post TWO Wordy Wednesday puzzles on the fifth Wednesday of a month which has five Wednesdays! This coming July will be the first such month, FYI.

If you want to support me, or just read more detailed information, CLICK HERE to go to my Patreon page!

I hope to get your support. See you in June for Wordy Wednesday 51!

Wordy Wednesday #49 and #50 update

It's been two weeks, so time to unveil the answer to the hidden puzzle. If you still wish to solve it yourself, please go here. Here are the grids I received for the Words Without Friends game. Their scores are as follows:
James McGowan 521
Christian H.P. 504 *
Mark Tilford 437 *
Jack Lance 408
Adam Weaver 375 *
Giovanni Pagano [no score] *
Ivan Koswara [no score]
John Bulten [no score] **
Note: Ivan Koswara solved half of the hidden puzzle, but didn't find the instructions on how to extract the final answer. I'm giving him credit for 0-star completion.
Since I got so few solutions, I've decided to forego the random drawing: ALL solvers of the hidden puzzle (Adam Weaver, Christian H.P., Giovanni Pagano, John Bulten, and Mark Tilford) receive a signed copy of the last issue of Will Shortz's Wordplay, and ALL scores of over 350 (James McGowan, Christian H.P., Mark Tilford, Jack Lance, and Adam Weaver) get booby prizes!

PENT WORDS 10 (hint)
10 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 51 will be posted soon, but at the present moment, I'm setting up. . . something. Expect an official announcement next week! (Those of you who follow me on social media may already know what it is. . . .)

A question about Ripple Effect (AKA Ripple Play)

I don't know if Erich Friedman's Math Magic allows user-submitted problems (otherwise, there might be way more problems than just one per month), but this problem is really nagging at me, having written some Ripple Effect puzzles recently for Grandmaster Puzzles. (Will they be used? Time will tell.)

What's the smallest rectangular Ripple Effect puzzle with a unique solution and no givens such that there's at least one region of size n? Does such a puzzle exist for every n? Here are examples for n=1,2,3,4,5:

Special thanks to Luke Pebody for supplying the solution for n=4, and Bryce Herdt for a solution for n=5 (which was obsoleted by Luke, but nonetheless helpful). What about for n>6?

Puzzle 618: Proof of Quilt 12

I wrote this puzzle last year for Grandmaster Puzzles, but Thomas Snyder doesn't really care for Shakashaka puzzles, so I've decided to finally post it here (just to prove my blog's title hasn't completely decayed). The last time I posted a large puzzle of this type, a reader helpfully provided a URL to play it online, and since I helpfully already had a plaintext version of the puzzle saved, I was able to generate such a URL myself. Play this puzzle on PUZ-PRE here!

A while back, I alluded to some changes in my life. I'm not quite sure what's going to happen; my computer hasn't been moved out yet, and it might end up staying here after all. This might mean more Wordy Wednesdays; I have a puzzle written that I don't think will be suitable for any other outlet (and will probably be Wordy Wednesday 51), and I really don't want to stop on a number like 51 if I can help it!
(click to enlarge)

Wordy Wednesday 50: Pent Words 10

FRAMELINKS 2 (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. **
Edderiofer He **
Frances Noga **
Giovanni Pagano **
Izak Bulten *
Jack Lance **
James McGowan **
John Bulten **
Kou T. *
Lewis Chen **
Mark Tilford **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin **
Tim Harrod **

4 people have submitted scores of over 350 points for last week's puzzle. You have one week left to submit your score (or improve your existing one) and be entered to win some Pokémon cards as a booby prize.

Remember where I said that I got out of having to write an actual puzzle? I lied! There's actually a hidden puzzle here! So far, only 1 person has managed to find and solve this hidden puzzle: John Bulten! He will be receiving the actual prize: a signed copy of the final issue of Will Shortz's Wordplay! There will not be an easy version posted of this hidden puzzle; knowing the hidden puzzle exists is your easy version. Send your solutions to the hidden puzzle to glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com within the next week to be eligible to win another prize package!

Whether you enjoyed Words Without Friends or not, I hope you will enjoy this bonus puzzle I crafted. (There's no hidden puzzle here.)

Using the first rack of letters, form an English word 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, take the next rack of letters, and then play a new word using 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. When you're finished, all 60 spaces in the grid will be used.

All words in my solution appear in Official Scrabble Players Dictionary Fourth Edition, the newest one I have. Aside from a few two-letter words and a former trademark (which I didn't realize isn't a trademark anymore), all words in my solution should be familiar to the typical English speaker.

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 Gallows ____ / Howard Thurston's area of expertise
2 Printer paper purchase, often / ____ lizard
3 Fairy king in folklore / Use eBay, perhaps
4 Like the god Odin / Not above
5 Student at a military school / New ____, India
6 Drinking implement / Prices
7 Walk with confidence / Dance move
8 Dog voiced by Kevin Bacon / Annie Hall director's surname
9 Controlled, as a horse / Border
10 Time of fasting, for some / Border

* Beginning
* Move an inch
* A bad way to be buried
* Divine Comedy poet
* Prop for Yo-Yo Ma
* Taxonomic group between class and family
* Make up (for)
* It looks like a duck, but doesn't quack like a duck
* They protect broken bones
* Upright
* Getting older
* It glows in a fire
* Common piece of computer hardware
* Used up
* Flooded
* A Great Lake
* Play for time
* "Carol of the ____"

A Young Mag is Gone

It has come to my attention that Will Shortz's Wordplay, the first puzzle magazine in which I have ever gotten published, is being discontinued due to poor sales. I am ever grateful to Eric Berlin for turning my random conversation with him about my new puzzle type Pent Words into an opportunity to be published, and to Ian Livengood for his helpful correspondence, and I hope that I might get published in another magazine using the knowledge and skills I've gained. In the meanwhile, I have decided to offer a compilation of 14 unpublished Will Shortz's Wordplay submissions:
1 Double Trouble
2 Framelinks puzzles
1 Flower Power
1 Letter Perfect
4 Pathfinders
3 Pent Words
1 Snake Crisscross
1 Something Different
The ZIP file includes all 14 puzzles and their answers, in the formats they were originally submitted (with the exception of the redaction of my mailing address). I release these puzzles under a pay what you want model: if you think they're worth something, send me some money via PayPal at glmathgrant[at]gmail[dot]com.

So, what of my future? Where will my puzzles appear next? There's Games World of Puzzles, but I could never figure out whether people take that publication seriously or not; it has somewhat a reputation for errata and reprinting puzzles, and the newest incarnation doesn't seem to offer the "Laundry" and "Eureka" sections where readers report broken puzzles. Oddly enough, despite being a bit of a gamer, I don't want games and puzzles in the same magazine if I can help it; I'd rather get my games from BoardGameGeek and my puzzles from a magazine filled to the brim with wordplay and logic goodness. At least Games finally figured out that you shouldn't have your answers section in the middle of the magazine, especially when the last page of it faces the first page of some article someone might want to read. They have some writers' guidelines, but given how the rest of the site looks, I cannot be guaranteed that it's up to date (does Games World of Puzzles have fake ads anymore?). Plus, many years ago, I submitted a Masyu without even the courtesy of a rejection letter, which is very discouraging, and I don't yet have the hubris to expect a response if I submit something again.

I've always liked the idea of writing a Sit & Solve book for Pent Words, but I'm not sure whether Puzzlewright Press is reachable, given that a colleague with much higher standing than me pitched a Sit & Solve book without getting a response for over a year, and that their Twitter account has been very stale. I might have a better chance of getting a book of my puzzles published via the Kickstarter route that David Millar took for his Paranormal Puzzle Pack.

Until I find another publication venue, here's to hoping that Thomas Snyder gets adjusted soon, so my logic puzzles can once again be enjoyed by the world.

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