Meta: Tall Order (#90)


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 90! This puzzle is coming to you live from Cambridge, Mass as it is Mystery Hunt 2017 weekend! If you are at MIT this weekend, let’s try to meet up! I’ve met a few of you (some for the first, some as a wonderful reunion), but would love to see anybody else.I’m supposed to be working on setting up HQ right now, so let’s cut to the chase.

For this eighteenth meta, I’m looking for an alumnus of MIT who would make a good seventh theme entry to this puzzle. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow(at) with your answer. I’ll accept answers all the way to late Saturday, January 21st. Note: Google was used as a primary source in this puzzle.

Bonus points for anyone who solves it at MIT before noon Friday. Prove to the world you have other things to do than get ready for Kickoff!

I’ll be back next time with pictures and anecdotes. It oughta be a good one!

Be sure to email me your answer!


Hsawaknow (#89)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 89!

Around a year ago, I wrote a tribute puzzle to Ernie Banks, and about two years ago, I wrote a tribute puzzle to Casey Kasem. Sadly, 2016 was a hell of a year, and I wanted pay tribute to the great Gene Wilder.

Last year, the 2016 USC Puzzle Hunt was all about Operation Golden Ticket a pseudo-espionage job involving five kids invading the chocolate factory. Today’s puzzle was written for the Veruca Salt round. The entire hunt took place before the passing of Gene Wilder, but I’m proud of the work I did with all those puzzles, and I like to think it was a great memorial to the man who had an amazing film career.

Today’s puzzle has an answer, and feel free to shoot me an email at cking.gow(at) with the answer to today’s puzzle.

Y’all, I’m heading back to Cambridge this weekend for the MIT Mystery Hunt! I’m really looking forward to it, and I hope to see some of you guys in person. And since my usual Chris Words entry would land smack in the middle of Mystery Hunt, next week’s puzzle will go live on Friday at 9am. So, in case you’re setting up your HQ and need something to do before Kickoff, we’ll be live.

Thanks everyone, and good luck solving!


Themeless Eighteen (#88)



Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to Week 88!

New year, new themeless. Lots of neat entries in today’s puzzle, and I hope you enjoy them. Favorite clues are 8D and 36D.

Also, you need to buy Food for Thought Crosswords by friend-of-the-show Erik Agard. I’ve got my copy, and I’m already 1/3 of the way done. And I promise, you won’t have to worry about counting calories when solving them.

Also, pick an easy resolution for the new year, like “solve more puzzles”. That way you won’t hate yourself when you realize working out isn’t fun. And a way to keep your new resolution? Buying Erik’s book.

Happy 2017 everyone! May she be a damn sight better than the old one, and may we all be home before she’s over.


Happy Chanukah! (#87)


Hanukkah Background Seamless Pattern

Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 87!

This puzzle is going live on sundown, December 24th, as we have our first non-Christmas holiday puzzle! All of the great dreidel puzzles have already been written, so I hope this simple theme was please you for the next 8 days.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a meta puzzle for my return, so let’s have a recap.

The answer to the puzzle is a good two-word alternate title for this puzzle, and the PDF reveals 20 5×5 puzzles, just like those NYT minis.

After solving them, it should be clear that one letter hangs off the edge of each grid. The following picture should hopefully take you all the way.


WHAT GOOD THINGS COME IN clues SMALL PACKAGES, and that is the answer to this meta.


For the return of CW, a good number of you all submitted the correct answer, and some of y’all got close with things like CENTER SQUARE, but didn’t see the next step. Altogether, 48 readers submitted the right answer. Congrats to those who got it! This week’s randomly selected winner was Kathy Johnescu. He will join Jon Delfin, John L. Wilson, Jim Quinlan, Eric Maddy, Andy Keller, David Cole, Roger Barkan, Patricia Miga, Erik Agard, Charles Montpetit, Steve Blais, Mike Ruslander, Matthew Breen, David Stein, Justin Weinbaum, and Tyler Hinman in a future section of the site. Congrats Kathy!

Thanks everyone, and have a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and any other holiday you celebrate around this time! Except for the Solstice one. That’s not a holiday. The fact you are looking at a website proves to me that you’re not attached to an agrarian culture.

See you in 8 days!


Square on the Nose (#86)

[Strong suggestion: solve using the PDF version]


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 86!

I’m glad I’m back for the holiday season, because as long time CW fans know, I’m a fan of holiday puzzles. Today’s puzzle is the fourth Christmas puzzle on the blog, and I’m a big fan of the final result. A special shoutout to friend-of-the-show Paolo Pasco for the title of the puzzle.

Be sure to solve and submit your meta answer for last week’s challenge, and I’ll be accepting answers until this FRIDAY, which is a slight change from my Saturday deadline. If you haven’t solved it yet, people tell me it ain’t bad, so I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

And in holiday videos: someone made an hour-long video that incorporates 400 different versions of A Christmas Carol throughout TV, film, radio, picture books, and more, and it is amazing. If you want to see Mr. T, Screech Powers, Sanford and his son, Matlock, and David Hyde Pierce doing a radio performance, this is the video to watch.

Thanks everyone, and have a great holiday season and a merry Christmas! Chris Words will be back with a new puzzle next week (hey, I’ve got to make up for some lost time)


Meta: Thoroughly Modern Minis (#85)

[No PUZ]


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 85! And, as this puzzle ends with a 0 or 5, it’s time for a meta!

Mini crosswords are all the rage, and there’s a great interest in solving puzzles in less than a minute. So, for your pleasure, a set of 20 5×5 crosswords for your solving pleasure.

For this seventeenth meta, I’m looking for a good two-word alternate title for this puzzle. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow(at) with your answer. I’ll accept answers all the way to late Saturday, December 24th.

Hey everyone. So, I’m back. This semester has truly been something else. The semester has been pretty taxing, as I’ve had a tough class schedule and have been preparing for my master’s thesis proposal. I have successfully passed that, but I still have a thesis due in the spring. I have no idea how it’ll affect my time at this site, but I’m worried that it’ll do the same thing that took place this semester. I’m genuinely upset that I wasn’t able to post more than I did, and I’m worried it’ll be the same thing next semester. Either way, I’ll be posting new puzzles throughout the winter break, and I look forward to being back with you guys.

Hope you enjoy the puzzles, and do send me your answers!


Periodic Updates (#84)

Additional Notes


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 84!

Today’s theme comes from well-known territory, but I think I’ve got a new twist I haven’t seen before. Kind of wonky grid, since 12/14/8/8/14/12 isn’t that common of a theme, but I do hope you enjoy it! If there is something in the theme you don’t quite get, be sure to look at the “Additional Notes” above.

Also, let’s all wish Adam Nicolle to the indie game! Looking forward to many installments from this high schooler.

Meta coming next week! Have a great week everyone!