Easiest Version (with enumerations):
Harder Version (without enumerations):
Insane Version (with vowelless clues):
This weekend is the time of MIT Mystery Hunt, a competition featuring what are surely some of the toughest puzzles in the world to crack. So in that vein, I’m offering something pretty challenging myself: a vowelless crossword. If you’re new to this, it’s a crossword where the answers have had their vowels removed. Thus, if you have the answer BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, you would enter it as BRCSPRNGSTN in the grid. Helpful hint: I’ve also removed Y as well. All 20 other consonants, however, are fair game. If you like vowelless puzzles, Peter Broda and Frank Longo have made a bunch of these which you can check out at the respective links.
I’m giving you three solving options today. One is the easiest version with enumerations for answer lengths, spaces, and hyphens indicated in the clues — for instance, the answer BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN would be enumerated in a clue as (5,11), and FULL-TIME JOB would be enumerated as (4-4,3). This version is also the one provided in the solving widget for this post. The second version is tougher: it’s the same puzzle but with no enumerations. Both of these two versions will be difficult no matter what, but again, the one with enumerations is the easier of the two. If, however, you are craving an extreme challenge, then feast your eyes on version three: it’s the same puzzle but the vowels have been removed from the clues as well. Feel free to try that one, but I expect that it’s insanely difficult, like a 5 or a 6 on my four-spice rating scale. In fact, I’m now debuting a new Devil Cross spice rating: Inferno! Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
For those of you attempting the Insane version, here’s something else to keep in mind: there are some common words out there that have only vowels, like a, I, and you. But I wanted to retain the same number of words in the clues in all versions. Hence, if you run across an @ symbol, that’s an indication that there’s a vowel-only word in the clue at that particular spot.
Enjoy the puzzle. There will be a new one on January 24.