Rock Group (#112)

[Actual Spoiler Alert] – Today’s puzzle is centered around the recent film “Avengers: Infinity War”, and this puzzle actually contains spoilers for that movie. If you have not seen the movie yet and are planning to soon, I’d suggest to not solve this puzzle until you’ve seen it. If you’ve seen the movie OR aren’t worried about seeing it, please enjoy this puzzle. Even if you have no knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I think this puzzle is still very enjoyable, and there’s a ton of non-plot fill that should tickle fancies. Proceed at your own pace.

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Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 112!

Not much to say here (sans the spoiler alert), except that there is a new charity crossword suite, Women of Letters. Edited by Patti Varol, if you donate $10 or more to one of the charities dedicated to women featured on the site, you receive a set of 18 puzzles! I have received my packet, and I have enjoyed the puzzles immensely. Support a good cause!

Next puzzle should be a themeless, not sure when it’ll come out. In the meantime, why don’t you follow me on Twitter? I recently had a tweet that was liked by Peter Sagal, so you know I mean business.




Ride Into the Danger Zone (#111)

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Danger Zone 2

Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 111!

Before I go into the meta answer, I hope you enjoy today’s 31×11 crossword. I’ve been sitting on this for a while, and ironing it out for a while, but I think the final result is nice, like a exhibition piece. I hope you learn something new from it!

Now to go over the answer:

I told you that brother has tessered, and now I don’t know where he is, and the puzzle’s answer is where he went.


The puzzle featured four clues labeled [Clue #1] to [Clue #4], which were SILENTCLOWN, HARDLYRACY, LOSEENERGY, and QBTEBOWETAL, while the central answer gave us the theme.

39-A [2018 Disney film whose title serves as a hint for solving this puzzle] = A WRINKLE IN TIME

While you did not have to see the film to enjoy the film, I certainly would recommend seeing it.

Hopefully looking at the different clues and noticing you needed to wrinkle time, you saw that each of the clues was referring to a word that is one letter away from the word TIME.

Silent clown = MIME
Hardly racy = TAME
Lose energy = TIRE
QB Tebow, et al. = TIMS

The four words edit each letter of the word time: Mime, tAme, tiRe, timS, and with that, you discover that brother has not tessered to a distant planet, but rather to or neighbor MARS, our answer. He reported that Mars is pretty cold, and there’s not much to do.


A few notes about the puzzle:
1) Apparently, it’s really hard to come up with a good clue for TAME that is 10 letters long and does not end with an E.
2) A few of you all submitted how odd the phrase QBTEBOWETAL looked, which make me happy. While I am perfectly happy with the phrase I picked, I also figured out I could have made the word CEOCOOKETAL, but the inclusion of Qs, Bs, and Ws was fine with me. Are there any more examples of 11-letter phrases that include a surname, a job description, and a reference to there being multiple ones? Feel free to let me know.
3) As I highlighted in the above grid, turns out the puzzle itself was on Mars, as all four corners of the planet were labeled.

Altogether, 122 readers submitted the right answer. This is, by far, the most number of correct submissions for a Chris Words puzzle, and I couldn’t be more excited that all of you submitted. If you were a first time solver, I sincerely hope you continuing solving the puzzles, it being a meta or not! Congrats to those who got it! This week’s randomly selected winner was Anna-Marie Ruoff. She 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, Tyler Hinman, Kathy Johnescu, Regina Cassidy, Tim Harrod, Laura Mendyke in a future section of the site. Congrats Anna-Marie!

Enjoy the puzzle everyone! Hope to have #112 soon!


Meta: Other Worldly (#110)

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Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 110!

Just as a heads up, registration for The Indie 500 is open, and you should definitely go! I will be there for my fourth consecutive appearance, and as a two-time winner at the event, I hope to make it a threepeat.

Today’s puzzle ends with a 0 or 5, which means we have a meta.

Help! My brother has tessered, and now I don’t know where he is! For this twenty-second meta, I’m looking for where he went. When you think you have it, email me at with your answer by April 21st.

Hope you enjoy the puzzle!


Additional Studies (w/ Chris Adams) (#109)

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Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 109!

1) Today’s puzzle was co-constructed with Chris Adams, who runs an indie puzzle site over at arctan(x)words, which you should already be checking out. This puzzle couldn’t have been made without his grid and majority of the clues. Paolo’s collab took 9 months from start to end, and this one took less than a week, so I think I’m getting better at communication.

2) Chris Words is fortunate enough to now have a new way to solve the puzzle! PuzzleMe, which you may be using already to solve Paolo’s, Will’s, and Evan’s puzzles, has helped outfit me with the same software! Unfortunately, due to WordPress reason, I can’t embed the puzzle into the post, but a link to the puzzle is at the top of the post! The program is very slick, and I am so excited that you will be able to solve the same way!

3) This week saw a great release in crosswords: the Queer Qrosswords collection. Headed by the great Nate Cardin, this collection of 22 LGBTQ+ themed puzzles can be yours by donating $10 or more to a worthwhile charity. I’ve already worked through a third of them, and they are some great puzzles with a great message. Support your communities today.

4) I swear, the Mystery Hunt review goes online this week. I’ve written a fourth of it already.

5) Good luck to all those in Connecticut!

Oh, and in tradition with the previous collab, the collaborator gets to pick a video that is must-see viewing, and Chris has chosen this.


Philly Fanatic (#107)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 107!

A straightforward 12×13 on this Tuesday for you. Shouldn’t be surprised to figure out what the seed entry was.

If all goes well, I’ll publish my write up about the Mystery Hunt in the next couple of days. I have opinions I’d like to express!

This puzzle is not an endorsement of the Eagles. Go Cowboys.

Have a great week everyone!


Wash Your Mouth Out (#106)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 106!

Disclaimer for this week’s puzzle: Everything about it is a joke, and nothing about this puzzle should be taken as advice or endorsement. That being said, I hope you enjoy it. I think it’s hilarious.

We had a meta puzzle two weeks ago, so let’s go over the results:

The answer to this puzzle was a possible seventh theme answer that could be clued as “Popular candy bar (Boston)” while using the help of an MIT alumnus, and there was six starred answers, which are highlighted in MIT colors:PNG105

17A- [*Power company in New York City (La Jolla, CA)] = CON EDISON
23A- [*Woodwind tuned to E flat (Helsinki)] = ALTO CLARINET
30A- [*Dismiss something as insignificant (Mill Run, PA)] = WRITE IT OFF
40A- [*Lou Gehrig’s portrayer in film (Bilbao, Spain)] = GARY COOPER
49A- [*English actress of “Gods and Monsters” (Washington, DC)] = LYNN REDGRAVE
61A- [*He played Lobo in “The Clash of the Wolves” (London)] = RIN TIN TIN

Hopefully Googling a few of these locations would lead you to the right answer, especially since Mill Run, PA would take you to the Wright answer: Each of these answer phrases begin with the homophone of a surname of a famous architect, while the city is home to maybe their most famous work:

CON – Louis Kahn – Salk Institute
ALTO – Alvar Aalto –  Finlandia Hall
WRITE – Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater
GARY – Frank Gehry – Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
LYNN – Maya Lin – Vietnam Veterans Memorial
RIN – Christopher Wren – St. Paul’s Cathedral

So, looking for a seventh entry, which fits the bill. By far, the most famous architect to ever graduate from MIT, and certainly in the top architects of all time, is I. M. Pei, who is the designer of Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library, the John Hancock Tower, and MIT’s Green Building. So, the candy bar that begins with name is PAYDAY, which is our answer. By the way, Building 7 is an MIT building which is shown in the cover of last week’s post.


A few of our submitters tried the candy bar AERO as a potential correct answer, which is heartbreakingly close. While AERO is a homophone of EERO, Mr. Saarinen who designed the Gateway Arch, (1) This involves a first name while the other theme entries used last names and (2) Eero Saarinen did not graduate from MIT. While he did design the Kresge Auditorium at MIT which I attended twice last weekend, he did not receive a degree from it. Sorry for those who came close, but you were SO on the right track.

Altogether, 53 readers submitted the right answer. Congrats to those who got it! This week’s randomly selected winner was Laura Mendyke. She 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, Tyler Hinman, Kathy Johnescu, Regina Cassidy, and Tim Harrod in a future section of the site. Congrats Laura!

Enjoy the puzzle everyone! Be safe out there!