Wordy Wednesday 158: Crypticrostic

WORDY WEDNESDAY #156
SECTION SIX 15 (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:
Anthony Bailey **
Benjamin Smith **
Giovanni Pagano **
Jack Bross **
James Sinnett **
M. Sean Molley **
Bryce Herdt **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin **
yyw **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #157
DIV IDE DIN TOT RIP LES 3 (hint)
As of this writing, 7 people have solved last week's puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers 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 #158
CRYPTICROSTIC
This puzzle contains a word suggested by patron Anthony Bailey. Support me on Patreon at the $5 per month level and solve the monthly Patron Puzzle for a chance to suggest a seed word for a future puzzle, or at the $20 per month level to suggest one seed word every month!
The answer is a 7-letter word.
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

A Sacha Baron Cohen character and a Stark are in a row __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                                       03 45 15 25 39 20 23 
Disperses jazz vocalists? __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                          16 11 43 13 28 21 33 04
Good master of ceremonies for word game __ __ __ __ __
                                        32 05 12 18 08
Hides badly after play on words is penalized __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ 
                                             22 38 30 44 41 19 26 40
Magician's skill is marginal, we hear __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                      10 02 34 07 31 09 42
Verily, a hoodlum hides an oaf __ __ __ __ __
                               35 27 17 24 37
Video streaming site has no time for enchantress __ __ __ __ __
                                                 06 29 14 01 36

COMING NEXT WEEK. . .
* Two more Foxgeryptics!
* Patron Puzzle #24, which will be delivered exclusively to Patreon supporters ($5 or more per month), is Cryptic Crossword Plus. If you found the cryptic clues in this week's puzzle too easy, you might have slightly more difficulty when the answer to the wordplay portion of each clue includes an extra letter!
* Something big is coming on May 1. . . .

Until next time, yappy solving!

Wordy Wednesday 157: DIV IDE DIN TOT RIP LES 3

WORDY WEDNESDAY #155
PENT WORDS 31 (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:
Anthony Bailey **
Benjamin Smith *
Giovanni Pagano **
Jack Bross **
James Sinnett **
M. Sean Molley **
Bo Green **
Bryce Herdt **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin **
yyw **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #156
SECTION SIX 15 (hint)
As of this writing, 9 people have solved last week's puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers 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 #157
DIV IDE DIN TOT RIP LES 3
This puzzle contains a word suggested by patron Jack Bross. Support me on Patreon at the $5 per month level and solve the monthly Patron Puzzle for a chance to suggest a seed word for a future puzzle, or at the $20 per month level to suggest one seed word every month!

*__    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __
            ^        ^        ^           ^        ^
 __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __    __ __    __ __
         ^        ^        ^           ^        ^           ^
*__ __ __ __ __ __.   __ __ __    __ __    __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __
   ^        ^           ^           ^           ^           ^        ^
 __ __ __ __ __,   __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __
         ^           ^           ^        ^           ^        ^           ^
 __ __ __ __ __ __ __   “__ __ __’__    __ __ __ __ __    __ __    __ __.”
      ^        ^           ^        ^           ^           ^

__ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __
01 02 03    04 05 06    07 08 09    10 11 12    13 14 15    16 17 18    19 20 21    

__ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __
22 23 24    25 26 27    28 29 30    31 32 33    34 35 36    37 38 39    40 41 42

__ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __
43 44 45    46 47 48    49 50 51    52 53 54    55 56 57    58 59 60    61 62 63

__ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __
64 65 66    67 68 69    70 71 72    73 74 75    76 77 78    79 80 81    82 83 84

__ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __
85 86 87    88 89 90    91 92 93    94 95 96

Use a guillotine __ __ __ __ __ __
                 42 16 09 60 04 35
Period of a man’s youth __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                        03 73 53 81 95 32 63
It may be geodesic __ __ __ __
                   14 84 52 19
Ghosts ‘n ____ (1985 video game) __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                 25 61 10 46 37 51 76
Newspaper-dispensing item __ __ __ __ __
                          56 06 36 79 40
Rainy season near the Indian Ocean __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                   65 67 45 77 57 50 86
Record company founded in Detroit __ __ __ __ __ __
                                  17 87 24 70 91 68
Artificial brain of sorts: 2 wds. __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                  02 66 88 20 62 43 55 29 83
Quilted ____ (toilet tissue brand) __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                   38 64 05 85 31 22 90 92
Sitting on a horse, for example __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                15 80 96 78 27 39 93 47 58 28
Two-way radios, colloquially: hyph. __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                    33 01 11 72 34 18 89 07 49 54 75 13 41 
One responsible for an online site __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
                                   74 44 48 59 12 82 08 26 30
Word in the name of many Razzie awards __ __ __ __ __
                                       94 71 23 21 69

COMING NEXT WEEK. . .
* My most cryptic Wordy Wednesday yet. . .

Until next time, yappy solving!

We interrupt the usual puzzles to promote Super Plexis on Kickstarter.

(Edited on 2017-04-15 to fix the link to the Kickstarter.)

This is NOT a sponsored post, and I am NOT a developer of this game. What I am, however, is an avid fan of Super Plexis. I want to see this game succeed, and if I can persuade even one of my readers to support it, I will have accomplished something.

If you are a reader of this blog, you are almost certainly a fan of puzzles. The puzzles on this blog (both logical and lexical) can be printed out and enjoyed at your own pace. However, I am also a longtime fan of action puzzle games, games like Tetris and Dr. Mario which challenge the player to think on their toes. Ever since playing a demo of Tetris Attack (which has nothing to do with Tetris) on a hotel room TV when the game was brand new, said game has been one of my absolute favorite action puzzle games of all time. I have also played two of its follow-ups, Pok√©mon Puzzle League for Nintendo 64 and Planet Puzzle League for Nintendo DS. A small developer called Medley Studio is working on a game called Super Plexis which promises to take the fast-paced gameplay of Tetris Attack and improve it in many ways. This isn't some crappy knock-off like "Rhythm Heaven-Fever" for iOS; this is a genuinely awesome game, which I have been very excited about ever since I started beta-testing it last October. They currently have a Kickstarter running, and they're 30% of the way to their goal of $6,000.

If you own an iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), then you don't have to back the Kickstarter on completely blind faith; you can download the demo of Super Plexis for the low, low price of free. I've ranted against the freemium business model before, but this game is designed much differently than typical freemium games. The monetization is through short ads at the end of every round of play. (Hey, it's less invasive than having ads show up over the game, especially in a fast-paced game where you don't want to tap ads on accident.) For in-game currency called Lumina that can either be purchased for about $4 or earned through playing the game a lot (you get 1 Lumina per block you clear, and you get bonus Lumina for earning Experience Points and leveling up, or completing certain objectives in Adventure mode), you can block those ads forever. You can also use that currency to unlock new characters, new skins for those characters, new block skins, and new icons to use in multiplayer mode. Aside from the characters you unlock (who are, at least hopefully theoretically, balanced with the two you have from the start) and the ad blocker, everything you buy is purely cosmetic and gives you no gameplay advantage. You're not buying energy that will only last you a short period of time like in most freemium games, which are designed to milk whales out of thousands of dollars; you're buying things you permanently unlock. Overall, I think Super Plexis approaches the freemium model in a way that has earned my goodwill and my money. Don't own an iOS device? An Android version is reportedly on its way, and if the Kickstarter reaches its $20,000 stretch goal, they promise to port the game to Nintendo Switch(!!!). Also, you can learn more about the game by following the Medley Studio Twitch channel, and watch the game played live (or watch the VOD's of past streams).

The Super Plexis Kickstarter page gives you a ton of information on the game, so I shan't reiterate much of it here. If you're familiar with Tetris Attack already, the main differences to be aware of are as follows:

  • You can swap blocks vertically now, in addition to horizontally.
  • In Tetris Attack, you can only build up a chain by having blocks that were above cleared ones fall and themselves clear upon landing. In Super Plexis, in addition to this tactic, now called "chain combos", you can now clear groups of 4 or more blocks in rapid succession to extend the size of your chain combo. This tends to be a much faster way to build a chain combo, but is uses more blocks, so there's a trade off.
  • In Super Plexis, as with the garbage blocks in Tetris Attack, the dead blocks are transformed into normal blocks by clearing normal blocks adjacent to them. Only the dead blocks immediately touching the cleared blocks get transformed, but if you clear a group of 4 or more blocks next to the dead blocks, you'll transform deeper layers of dead blocks. This mechanic, like the mechanic above, gives more value to clearing 4 or more blocks at once than the mechanics of Tetris Attack do.
  • Blocks clear much faster, especially the dead blocks, in Super Plexis than in Tetris Attack. Having many garbage blocks on your playfield in Tetris Attack can result in it taking several seconds for the animation of them transforming into regular blocks to finish, giving you plenty of time to make a garbage chain (which is easier than a regular chain and an essential survival skill). Garbage chains in Super Plexis are much, much more difficult, as all garbage blocks transform in approximately one second.
  • Players now compete to deplete each other's health. When your blocks reach the top of the screen, you're in danger of losing health; losing all of your health makes you lose the game. Clearing chain combos sends dead blocks to the opponent, filling their screen up faster. Health can be replenished by clearing randomly-appearing health blocks (the more cleared at once, the greater the health boost). This creates some fantastic tension as one player stats losing a bunch of health, as opposed to in Tetris Attack, where one player just loses in an instant because their blocks hit the top.
  • Players can now select from multiple characters with different stats and abilities. Some are defensive (Vulmir uses bombs to clear blocks and turn dead blocks into normal blocks; Aria clears all blocks of a single color), and some are offensive (Cleff deals direct damage to the opponent; Macktooth freezes many of the opponent's blocks for a few seconds so they can't be cleared or moved, even by gravity). Wromp's ability to slow down time is a hybrid of offensive and defensive, since it both increases the time frame in which you can extend a chain combo and decreases how frequently you take damage from hitting the top.
If you haven't played Tetris Attack, the above stuff will be gobbledygook, at least without more context. So here's a brief overview of the gameplay.

Super Plexis presents the player with a stack of blocks like this:
(I'm stealing one of their screenshots, because I'm lazy and fair use is a thing.)

Blocks continuously spawn from the bottom of the screen, pushing the stack of blocks up towards the ceiling. If the stack hits the ceiling and nothing is done about it, the player will start losing health. To prevent this, the player must swap blocks up, down, left, and right to make horizontal and vertical matching lines of 3 or more. The instructions take great pain to point out that, unlock the match-3 games which have flooded the mobile market which are clones of Bejewled, you can swap blocks even if they don't produce a match; you can move blocks freely. You can even swap a block left or right with an empty space, which is great for leveling out a lopsided stack like the one pictured above.

The primary skill in this game is in forming chain combos. The concept is easier to explain with a video than with text, so I shall pilfer their short video demonstrating the concept:
There is a very improvisational nature to making chain combos in Super Plexis; rather than having to plan out the whole thing in advance, you can get the chain combo started and extend it as it it detonates. It takes much practice to get the skill down, but when you do, it feels highly rewarding. (Can you match my largest combo of 40 links?) As mentioned above, clearing more than 3 blocks at a time (whether through a line of 4 or more blocks, or through two or more lines at the same time) will extend your chain combo as well, giving you unprecedented freedom to make chain combos

The main mode is the versus mode, which can be played online against a human or offline against the AI. There is also a practice mode where you try to survive for as long as possible and play for a high score, and an adventure mode in the works where you solve puzzles and accomplish goals to progress. The available levels provide a good teaser for what's to come in future updates.

Every dollar pledged towards the Kickstarter will help make the game better, but larger pledges earn larger rewards. You can even leave your mark on the game for $75 and commission a custom portrait for online versus, or pledge even more to suggest custom block skins, custom challenges for Adventure Mode, or even custom characters. If you can't afford a $75 pledge, you can still get great stuff like the game soundtrack and Shop Tokens to buy stuff from the shop without Lumina. Whatever you can afford, I hope you can join me in supporting this excellent game.

Wordy Wednesday 156: Section Six 15

WORDY WEDNESDAY #153
ANACROSSWORD 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:
Anthony Bailey **
Benjamin Smith **
Giovanni Pagano **
Jack Bross **
James Sinnett **
Adam Weaver **
Bryce Herdt **
Chris Hendricks **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin & Jonathan **
yyw **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #154
HEX PATHFINDER 8 (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:
Anthony Bailey **
Benjamin Smith **
Giovanni Pagano **
Jack Bross **
James Sinnett **
Adam Weaver **
Bryce Herdt **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin **
yyw **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #155
PENT WORDS 31 (hint)
As of this writing, 10 people have solved last week's puzzle. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers 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 #156
SECTION SIX 15
This puzzle's grid has six rings and six sections. Each ring contains a series of words placed end to end, reading either clockwise or counterclockwise; all the words in a given ring will read in the same direction. Ring 1 (the outer ring) contains six answers that read clockwise; the starting spaces are numbered in the grid. Clues for the answers in the remaining rings are given in order, but their starting points and direction are for you to determine. The sections (separated by the heavy lines radiating from the center) will help you place the inner rings: in a given section, each ring segment contains all but one of the letters in the next segment outward. In other words, a section's outermost segment contains six letters; the next segment inward contains five of those six letters in some order; and so on, until only one of the original six letters remains.

Arrange the letters in the six starred spaces to form the final answer, a 6-letter word.
Ring 1
1 Harbor a grudge against
2 Wise
3 Game franchise featuring Ryuta Kawashima: 2 wds.
4 They might involve conspiracies
5 Normal
6 "You're kidding me!" 2 wds.

Ring 2
* Makes like a bear in winter
* Got bigger
* Popular dip for tortilla chips
* ____ pollution
* Period during which electric service is interrupted

Ring 3
* Magic: The ____ (popular trading card game)
* One of 50 on Old Glory
* Smith's partner in firearms
* Disney duck dressed in green

Ring 4
* In accord with moral law
* Less elevated
* Golden ____ Bridge (San Francisco landmark)

Ring 5
* Corpse eater in Arabic mythology
* Ugly item featured around Christmas

Ring 6
* Andy of "15 minutes of fame" fame

COMING NEXT WEEK. . .
* What's a 7-letter word for "Ghosts ‘n ____ (1985 video game)"?

Until next time, yappy solving!

Wordy Wednesday 155: Pent Words 31

WORDY WEDNESDAY #152
CODEWORDS 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:
Anthony Bailey **
Benjamin Smith *
Giovanni Pagano **
Jack Bross **
James Sinnett **
Adam Weaver *
Bryce Herdt **
Ryan Faley **
Sam Levitin *
yyw **

WORDY WEDNESDAY #153
ANACROSSWORD 10 (hint)
As of this writing, 9 people have solved this puzzle from last week. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers 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 #154
HEX PATHFINDER 8 (hint)
As of this writing, 9 people have solved this puzzle from last week. Haven't solved it yet? Here's an easier version. Send your answers 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 #155
PENT WORDS 31
This puzzle contains a word suggested by patron Anthony Bailey. Support me on Patreon at the $5 per month level and solve the monthly Patron Puzzle for a chance to suggest a seed word for a future puzzle, or at the $20 per month level to suggest one seed word every month!
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, 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 Emulates a boxing referee, perhaps / "I ____ You Dance" (Lee Ann Womack song)
2 Pinky's partner / Planet that's one astronomical unit away from the sun
3 Virtuosity / Publicity piece
4 Sage / Luke Skywalker's father
5 Candies often bought around Easter / ____ of Home (cooking magazine)
6 Tear to pieces / Amalfi Coast's country
7 Like a memorable tune / What M&M's do in your mouth, and not in your hands
8 Stop sign color / Novelist Salman
9 Like Pepe le Pew / It may be pierced
10 Small waterfall / Attempt

PENTOMINOES:
* HALF OF THE FINAL ANSWER
* THE OTHER HALF OF THE FINAL ANSWER
* Windows ____ Player (Microsoft application)
* Wait ____ Dark (1967 thriller)
* ____ and bounds
* A Japanese dog breed
* Novelist Wharton
* "Mo ____ Mo Problems" (The Notorious B.I.G. song)
* Item worn by a chef
* Kiosk
* Was brilliant
* Capital of Western Australia
* Singer Miley
* One of 32 in Monopoly
* Military trainee
* Skedaddle
* Detested
* Evil organization in G.I. Joe
* Use Tinder, perhaps
* Black and white sea creatures

COMING NEXT WEEK. . .
* What's an 8-letter, two-word answer for "Game franchise featuring Ryuta Kawashima"?

Until next time, yappy solving!

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