Feels Like Christmas Morning (#14)


Welcome to Week 14, and Merry Christmas you wonderful old Building and Loan!

This week’s puzzle is probably my most ambitious puzzle yet. There are so many wonderful constructors out there who have all made wonderful Christmas crosswords, so it’s hard to write a new Christmas puzzle. LOTS of theme answers this week, and I think the theme is rather cute (in the Christmas sense of course).

Like I said last week, this is the last puzzle for 2014. My next puzzle (#15) will be online January 4th.

On Christmas Eve, be sure to visit erik agard’s site for a grand holiday puzzle. I had a partial contribution to the final product, but the puzzle was truly a collaborative effort.

Besides that, I’ll see you in 2015. Until then, I’ll be writing puzzles for this site, getting ready for Boston puzzles, and also getting ready for my own. Once you are in the puzzling world, you just can’t ever get out.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fortnight!


Themeless Three (#13)



Week 13 has arrived. Since times tables only go up to 12×12, we are now in uncharted territory. We will still press forward.

Today’s puzzle was the first themeless I really ever worked on. The original finished puzzle I had didn’t have the same desired fill I wanted. The NW and SE corners were kept the same, but the main diagonal was changed dramatically. Hope you enjoy it.

Next week is the Christmas edition, and then I’m taking a week off. We’ll still have a meta for #15, but it’ll just be a week after. I’m trying to put the “break” in “winter break”.


P.S. – For those who know, how do you lock a solution on Across Lite puzzles? I tried finding steps, and it appeared I had it, but the buttons I needed to hit were not there. If you know how to resolve this, please let me know. It should be noted that I use Crossfire / Mac. Thanks so much!

Cease To COEXIST (#11)


Rockefeller Tree Lighting

Week 11, so I will now bat for the cycle again with a new set of 5 puzzles.

Last week was a meta, so to explain the meta:

PNG010 2

We are looking for a traditional Thanksgiving food which is represented in this puzzle.

The theme answers were:

20A: Breakfast cereal with the mascot “I vant to eat your cereal!” [Start at 6] = COUNT CHOCULA
31A: Discussed [Start at 4] = TALKED ABOUT
47A: Celebrity whose filmography on Wikipedia actually lists her sex tape [Start at 3] = PARIS HILTON
55A: Company who sent their last telegram in 2006 [Start at 1] = WESTERN UNION

Using the title “Five Course Meals”, the number indicated in the clues was a signal to start at that letter of each answer, and take the five letters starting with the letter indicated.

This leaves CHOCU, KEDAB, RISHI, and WESTE. Wordplay people should pick up on that those four phrases are anagrams for words that proceed “potato”.


Since words for potato have been anagrammed, or cryptically “mashed”, the traditional Thanksgiving food in question was MASHED POTATOES. Those who said just “potatoes” were emailed about giving a better answer, and all those who did indeed came up with the better answer.

Six correct answers came in for the second meta, and John L. Wilson was the randomly selected winner. He will join Jon Delfin in a future section of the site. Stay tuned.

And for this week’s, something hopefully a little easier than the meta puzzle from last week.


Five Course Meals (#10)



Week 10 everyone! Since 10 is divisible by 5, time for a meta!

And since my second-favorite holiday is coming up this week, time to get in the season. I’m looking for a traditional Thanksgiving food which is represented in this puzzle. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow(at)gmail.com with your answer. I’ll accept answers all the way to noon ET on Saturday.

Also, I’d like to highlight another fellow South Carolinian, Ben Ingram. As you may know, Ben recently won the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. I’m a game show nut (see Puzzle #2 for evidence), and I’ve been following the ToC religiously for the last couple of weeks. I watched all three of the finalists in their original runs, and I cheered on Arthur and Julia SO MUCH during their original runs, and I wanted both of them to make the finals, but I really wanted Ben to take it all.

Why? Because as a Gamecock/math major/South Carolinian, it’s hard not to pull for the Gamecock/math major/South Carolinian. Ben is from Florence, SC, which is about an hour south of where I live in South Carolina (it’s a little more rural than Florence. Florence is where we go to get mall shopping done or to watch movies). And as a South Carolinian, it makes me extremely proud that Ben represented the state in such a gracious and appreciative way. South Carolina gets a certain “reputation” when it comes to our intelligence, which is why I state that these puzzles are made in SC right on the home page. Ben highlighted South Carolina in the best way possible, and we’re all mighty proud of him.

And let the record note that I knew the “Shakespearean Geography” Final Jeopardy which was a Triple Stumper for the contestants, and ended up being the only Final Jeopardy that Ben ever missed on all 13 appearances he was on. After thinking “Timon of Athens” and then “The Two Gentleman of Verona”, I landed on “Pericles, Prince of Tyre”. And then I realized, where the hell is Tyre exactly? Turns out it’s in Lebanon, so I’d like to think I would have written that answer down.


Too Many Cooks (#9) + BONUS


Welcome to Week 9!

This puzzle was inspired after watching quite possibly the most absurd thing ever put on TV. I like to think that this puzzle makes more sense than that video ever will.

Week 10 is the meta, and it should be straight-forward enough. That is unless you get the turkey coma.


[SPOILER ALERT: The following text refers to a specific clue in the puzzle]

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

So, while writing clues for this puzzle, the Internet led me to what is currently 10-Down.

“Cereal that in 1959 advertised in Life magazine with a crossword puzzle”

I think that clue is good enough. One could guess the cereal from context clues alone, but that’s not the fun part.

A little bit of researching has led to this discovery, a scan from Life magazine that features a full page ad that’s a crossword for the cereal.

As far as I know, this is one of the few cereal crosswords out there. And I know you love crosswords, so why not try to solve one of the finest (by default) cereal crosswords ever?


As you can imagine, the transfer from Life magazine ad to Across Lite was a little tricky. The numbering for the PUZ and PDF files are different than those used in the magazine, but that’s because my crossword software won’t let me clue 1-letter words, so you guys will just have to overlook that. Before solving the PUZ or PDF versions, be sure to look at the actual magazine clipping, just so you know what to look for.


Themeless Two (#8)



Welcome back, and welcome to Week 8.

The biggest development in the cross world (that wasn’t about French-American actresses) is the release of the Indie 500 guest constructor requirements. So it appears I have about two months to write a puzzle for the chance at a glorious $500 (!). I’ve had a puzzle idea in my back pocket for a couple of months now, and this might be the venue for it. And speaking of the Indie 500, will I be able to schedule another puzzle trip in for 2015? I’m already heading to Boston on MLK weekend for one pretty high-scale puzzle tournament, so can I do another? ACPT will be right in the middle of my spring semester, but this one will be taking a place about a month after I graduate, so the chance is still alive!

Damn, I’m going to graduate in less than a year.

Enjoy the puzzle!

Mass Hysteria (#7)



Halloween is come and gone, but I might have the last Halloween crossword of the season. It is November 2nd after all.

Speaking of Halloween crosswords of this season, Evan Birnholz. In his most recent post on Devil Cross, he released a new puzzle which was definitely one of the funnest puzzles I’ve solved in a while. And for those who followed his link to my site, then welcome to Chris Words!


Go-Cart Racing (#6)



Week 6 everyone, which means we start another cycle of puzzles. The cosmic ballet goes on.

Last week was a meta contest, so to explain the meta:


We are looking for an appropriate 9-letter word. The four theme entries are

17A: Gits and speeds off [1 5] = BURNS RUBBER
27A: Winner’s prize and crown [1 3 4] = LAUREL WREATH
47A: Noted German friar and reformer [1 4] = MARTIN LUTHER
62A: City and island of Miami-Dade County [2 5] = KEY BISCAYNE

With the word “and” appearing twice in the title “Think and Grin (and Mix)”, and the word “and” appearing in each of the theme clues, as well as the word “and” NOT appearing anywhere else in the clues, finding pairs was the idea.

The first word of each long answer is the first name in the listing of a famous comedy duo.

Now, using the numbers found at the end of the clues as indexes on just the names of the second acts:
ALLEN [1 5] = AN
HARDY [1 3 4] = HRD
LEWIS [1 4] = LI
PEELE [2 5] = EE

Anagram, as clued by “(and Mix)”, these nine letters and you get HEADLINER, the appropriate word to describe the comedians in the grid.

Six correct entries came in for Meta #1, and using the best method to pick a random number from 1-6, the randomly selected winner for this week is Jon Delfin. Mr. Delfin’s name will be the inaugural entry of an upcoming section of this site, so stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone who played Meta #1. I enjoy writing metapuzzles, and I look forward to putting a new one out every five weeks.

Until then, here’s this week’s puzzle. If your regionalism knows no bounds, then this puzzle is a salute to you.


Think and Grin (And Mix) – (#5)



This is my fifth week of writing this crossword blog. However, I’ve been writing puzzles for years now. In my first three years at the University of South Carolina, I have written three incarnations of the USC Puzzle Hunt, which is based on the MIT Mystery Hunt. Puzzlehunts are some of the most fun you’ll ever have solving puzzles, which is why I love writing them. And speaking of the Mystery Hunt, I’m going this year! I bought my plane ticket for Boston earlier this week. I cannot wait to be in the midst of it.

Every fifth week on this site will feature a meta puzzle. To quote directly from Matt Gaffney’s xwordcontest site,

“Each week’s puzzle will contain a sort of puzzle-within-a-puzzle (or “metapuzzle”) that you have to figure out once you solve the crossword. The answer to this metapuzzle will be that week’s contest answer word, and it is this word (or series of words) you must submit to enter the contest.”

That being said, I’m looking for an appropriate 9-letter word. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow(at)gmail.com with your answer. I’ll accept answers all the way to noon ET on Saturday.

And finally, the picture in this post has nothing to the crossword. The final question of a trivia night I played in recently, which earned our team $200, was the only one-syllable US state. Trivia fans will tell you that’s Maine, so I included a picture of the crossword-friendly home of the University of Maine, ORONO.

Well, that’s one cycle of my crossword blog. Stick around for the next 5 weeks, and we’ll do the same thing again.