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!



Meta: Building 7 (#105)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 105!

So, it’s been a while. Last semester, I finished my master’s degree in geography. Fun times. Life has been kind of hectic, and the blog has taken a hit because of it. One of my resolutions this year is to write more puzzles, as in 2017 I only wrote about 15 crosswords for this site and zero USC Puzzle Hunts. Puzzling means too much to me for me to have it sit to the side, and I hope to bring you more puzzles in the upcoming year that have that same nonsense I like in puzzles. I hope you’re ready for them.

This Thursday, I fly to MIT for my annual trek to solve puzzles at the Mystery Hunt. And, I figure it’d be a shame to go into the Hunt without a meta puzzle on the site. So, with that in mind, let’s have a meta.

Invoking the help of an MIT alumnus, for this twenty-first meta, I’m looking for a possible seventh theme answer that could be clued as “Popular candy bar (Boston)”. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow@gmail.com with your answer by January 20th.

If you’re going to be in Boston this next weekend, feel free to find me!

Happy 2018 everyone!


I Love Halloween! (#104)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 104! I’ve now published a numerical puzzle once a week for two years. And since this blog is three years one month old, I’ll say 2/3 ain’t too bad.

School is hard, but this Halloween theme is too good to pass up. I’m stunned there are still Halloween and Christmas themes left, so I’m glad I snatched one up.

I really promise I’ll have the Eclipse answers soon. Really I do.

Today’s puzzle is 16×16, a first for me, and I believe the first time I’ve ever had a 2×2 black box in the grid. Turns out, even by even is slightly tricky. There’s no guess why newspapers are 15×15.

Enjoy the puzzle! Feel free to tell me how okay it was on Twitter. I could use the followers.

Happy Halloween! Onwards to Thanksgiving!


Letters and Numbers (#102)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 102! Today’s puzzle is a quote puzzle, which I believe is the first of its kind for me. The quote itself is one I’ve known for most my life, as it was the final quote seen in the film that is shown above. I’m so excited that the quote was able to be broken down symmetrically, and the 17×15 puzzle today was able to contain it. The clues are a little more erudite than usual, which I kind of planned to match the theme material. I hope you enjoy!

Also, I should have the answer key for the Eclipse puzzle set ready by this upcoming Sunday, so if you’re still working on it, you have some more time! If you want any hints, feel free to email me!

Thanks everyone! Enjoy the puzzle!


Labor Day (#101)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 101! This puzzle is coming to you while I’m at Myrtle Beach for Labor Day weekend.

This week’s puzzle has a lot going on. I think it’s pretty damn funny. Hope you think so as well. If you don’t, you can get your money back.

Be sure to check out the Eclipse puzzles that were #100 here on the blog! You still have time to finish them!

Also, I want to thank friend-of-the-show Ben Smith for the glowing review he wrote about me for Crossword Fiend, which can be found [here].

Thanks everyone! Enjoy the puzzle!


ETA: The problem in the clue for 6D has been fixed. I actually noticed this mistake last Friday, but couldn’t do anything about it. I am in fact at Myrtle Beach for Labor Day weekend, and the campground I’m at does not feature wifi at the campsites. So, I’ve been unable to make the update. I finally was able to travel to a spot that did have wifi, and now the problem has been updated.

Total Eclipse (#100 and Variety Edition #3)


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 100!

Today is in fact #100 for Chris Words! We finally hit the three digit mark! To be honest, today’s puzzle set was not supposed to be what I was going to publish to commemorate it. Nevertheless, I’ll save that idea and use it for #105. I wanted to write this set, and there’s literally no better time than now.

I’ve written two Variety Editions already, and this set makes the third.

To quote the cover page:

On August 21st, 2017, the United States will be graced with a solar eclipse, and the path of totality will even cross through Columbia, SC, my own slice of America. With the insanity that is seeing a ring in the sky, we need to make sure we have everything ready to go when the day has come. What should I have when the eclipse happens?


And that is your question to answer for the next three weeks. Head over to http://uscpuzzlehunt.com/totaleclipse/ where you can find the PDF of the puzzle suite, made of 8 puzzles plus the meta. Also there is an answer checker, so that can confirm any of your answers.

If you find any errata, please email me at cking.gow(at)gmail.com, and I will post them in the area below.

For “Syzygy”, replace the word Matisse with Rousseau.

The answer in the answer checker for “Syzygy” has been corrected. The answer is 10 letters, and not 12 letters.

The last two packets have had 3 week deadlines, and that tradition will maintain this time. By September 8th, be sure to send me your final meta answer. While you’re contacting me, please let me know the successes/struggles you have with any puzzles. I love feedback, and I like giving hints, so there’s never a bad time to shoot me an email.

Also, there’s bonus points available for finishing this packet BEFORE the eclipse. Good luck with your speed.

I hope to be back with #101 soon enough. I will be at Lollapuzzoola this weekend wearing my Chris Words shirt, so please feel free to come say hi and tell me about your puzzling so far with this set! Really looking forward to a great weekend.

Hey, I made it to 100! Let’s see if I can make it to 200!


Sick, Dude! (#99.4)

PUZ [If you solve using PUZ, be sure to at least check out the PDF]


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 99.2!

Today’s puzzle comes from the Chris King archive. I’m sure those of you who write puzzles probably have puzzles sitting on your computer that you made for some special cause, and have seen very little light since then. Honestly, I’d love to solve some puzzles with some very specific targeting. Example, find the UVA Cavalier Daily from the last couple of years and enjoy some Charlottesville-specific clues by Sam Ezersky.

Anyway, today’s puzzle was made with a certain group at USC in mind. I told Twitter that if ten people liked my post, I’d share both the puzzle and the story. So, before you check out the story, solve the puzzle. The story is below, rot13. The link to the news article is not rot13ed.


Sbe gur ynfg lrne, V pbagevohgrq gb gur arjfyrggre bs gur HFP Ubabef Erfvqrapr Unyy, juvpu jnf zl ubzr ng guvf fpubby sbe svir lrnef. V jebgr n srj chmmyrf onfrq ba Ubabef Pbyyrtr fcrpvsvp guvatf, naq V ernyyl rawblrq guvf gval bhgyrg. Va gur snyy bs 2016, guvf unccrarq:

Daily Gamecock article

Ab bar tbg znwbeyl fvpx, naq gur vasrpgvba jnf pherq irel fbba nsgre guvf arjf gbbx cynpr. Ubjrire, gurer zvtug unir orra fbzrbar gung yvirq va gur Ubabef Pbyyrtr ohvyqvat gung fbyirq n chmmyr nobhg gur erprag bhgoernx nsgre univat gur prageny gurzr.

Fher, guvf frrzf yvxr n fgenatr guvat gb qb, naq qba’g trg zr jebat, V ybir gur Ubabef Ohvyqvat zber guna nalbar ryfr rire, ohg V guvax guvf vf n terng chmmyr naq va zl gbc 5 shaavrfg rire.

I hope you guys still like me. I’ve always enjoyed this puzzle, and I hope you do to. See y’all soon!


El Imperio Contraataca (#99.2)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 99.2!

So, I’m really looking forward to publishing #100 here on Chris Words, but today is not that day. Until I finally have it ready, I’m going to publish some 99s to fill that time in. Today’s puzzle is a nice clean grid with a theme that you might be able to figure out from the title alone. Hope you enjoy it!

Also, Paolo Pasco has a new crossword website! Hilariously called Grids These Days, sounds like it’ll be published every Sunday at noon PST, which is a timing mechanism I can get behind. We all collectively cannot wait for what this site is going to produce.

Also, within the next seven days, I’ll post my recap of the Indie 503! Going to be introspective and sarcastic. Be ready to relive glory days.

Enjoy the puzzle!