Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 38! Hard to believe that I’ve written eight themeless puzzles now. My expertise lies in themes and metas, so I’ve been pleased in how my themelesses have come out. Hope you enjoy them!
Just a few of announcements:
1) Chris Words is proud to announce that we have a logo!
It was made for me by a good friend of mine, and I look forward to having this properly display on the website, as soon as I figure out how to do that on WordPress.
2) If you haven’t already, please subscribe to this blog. I want to make sure you get up-to-the-minute updates on crosswords that get posted weekly. The subscribe link should be found on the taskbar on the right side of this blog.
3) Finally, I mentioned last week that a was going to an escape room. Well I did. And we didn’t win.
Besides me, there were three friends who have been a part of various USC Puzzle Hunt (two of which who were on winning teams), and six other people which include two groups we didn’t know, and one group that consisted of girls younger than 13. We played a room called “Queen City Bank Heist”, which involved protecting a diamond from thief.
I was pleased with a lot of things that the room offered, but was disappointed in a couple of things. One early setback was that me and another member of my small group were split off from the rest of the group and confined in a cage thing with very little to work on, and had to communicate to our team members through a rickety communication PA thing. Overall, this one step lasted about 10 minutes, which would bite us at the end.
The other huge setback was [some things changed to not give away spoilers for web crawlers] at one point we received a device that played a long message that culminated in the message “look beyond the sun”. We knew that message would probably get us a key that would send us to the next room. However, it was not obvious AT ALL what that sun was. We ended up using some hints, and somehow we found a faint circle drawn on a wooden supporting post in the room, which had the key behind it. I don’t think there was an exact clue that mentioned that, and the room was only lit by a blacklight, so finding this circle at all was a miracle. After the failed the event, another member on the team kind of questioned it, to which the overseer commented “My room, my sun”. In the puzzling world, this is called “Guess what the puzzle writer was thinking”, and is bad.
He let us know we were basically 92% the way through, and that the only room we didn’t get to featured one of the badass elements that was never seen during the 2013 MIT Mystery Hunt (you can take a guess what it might be).
According to a chalkboard out front, the record stands at 53 minutes with hints. The room is listed as hard, but there is a difference between “difficult” and “a stretch”. I think we suffered from a couple of setbacks involving “a stretch”, and that hurt us at the end. Also, if 53 minutes with hints is the record, you might want to look at tweaking some parts.
Also, no word puzzles. Some riddles, but no real logic, word, or trivia puzzles. Really, it was as if The Riddler hosted Legends of the Hidden Temple (of which I would watch every episode, just wouldn’t want to be a part of. That also kind of sounds like the Crystal Maze, but not really).
In conclusion, my team did have fun and we do plan to come back. We’ll probably pick one of the easier rooms not because of the difficulty, but because we’re hoping for fewer logical leaps. I’ve trained my boys well on how to write puzzles and metapuzzles, so they have a sharper eye that the average bear. Unfortunately, we just didn’t beat the room in time.
That’s it for me today. Enjoy the puzzle!