Solution, if you get really stuck
Start your engines, everyone: today marks the inaugural Indie 500 Crossword Puzzle Tournament! So much time, preparation, blood, sweat, tears, and words have gone into this project over the past fourteen months, and it’s finally here. I’m stoked as all get-out.
I’m down here in Washington, DC with Vicki; my fellow tournament co-founders Erik, Peter, Neville, and Andy; and a bunch of nerd friends who seem to think puzzles are fun enough to jet on down to the nation’s capital and chill with us (and they’re right). I won’t be posting any immediate updates here — I’ll be too busy helping to run the show — but you can follow the standings on this sweet-looking Leaderboard. I’ll post some updates on Twitter every now and then using the #Indie500 hashtag, so be sure and keep an eye on that, and come follow me and say hi while you’re at it.
In honor of today, I’ve created a variety puzzle called a Checkered Flag. It’s sort of like a regular crossword mixed with a Rows Garden puzzle: the answers read either across or down, but they run in a zigzag formation instead of in neat horizontal and vertical rows and columns. The overall effect is that your “across” and “down” answers (or Zigs and Zags, as I call them) cross each other at two squares rather than one. The instructions are in the PDF files, and I’ve given you three versions of the same puzzle with varying difficulty. The Easiest version lists the Zig and Zag clues in the order they appear in the grid. The Harder version tells you if the answers are Zigs or Zags, but their clues are listed alphabetically. The Hardest version lists all clues alphabetically. If you take on the Hardest version but it’s proving too difficult, no problem — the other two versions should have you covered, and there’s a solution link above. There’s no online solving option for this, so you’ll need to print it out.
One more reminder: you can still order the Indie 500 tournament puzzles for solving them at home, and we’ve just launched our long-awaited meta suite, the Indie 500 Meta World Prix! You can order both of them here and we’ll e-mail them to you as soon as we can.
That’s all for now. Good luck to everyone competing today, and thank you to everyone for all your amazing support in helping us get this crazy brainchild of ours off the ground.
Update, 5/30/15 @ 8 am ET: I realized that in the Hardest version, the orientation of the solution can be written in two ways, where all of the Zigs can instead be Zags, and vice versa. I’ve marked the new PDF to say that the first listed clue in the Hardest version is a Zag answer to be read down. Solvers at home likely wouldn’t have noticed this issue, but the people at the tournament will notice that I printed out a bunch of copies without that qualifier, so …… adventures in puzzling!
THE INDIE 500 CROSSWORD TOURNAMENT IS IN ONE WEEK! SIGN UP NOW. MY GOD, YOU GUYS, THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
Two other things related to the best crossword tournament in Washington DC on May 30: first, we will be releasing our meta suite soon, so stay on the lookout if you’ve purchased yourself a copy (and if you haven’t gotten it yet, just head right to that link above; we’re offering it on a pay-what-you-want basis, but with a minimum request of $1). You don’t need to be a tourney competitor to solve the suite, but it’ll be a fun challenge regardless. Second, if you’re coming to DC next weekend for the Indie 500, be sure and stick around the area for the annual Post Hunt on Sunday, May 31. It’s a team puzzle-meets-scavenger-hunt event around the city with some very tough riddles. I did it last year with Vicki, Erik Agard, and Andy Kravis, and had quite a good time despite getting a nasty-as-all-hell sunburn.
About today’s puzzle: I’ve been waiting for three years to drop the clue for 1-Down. I’m not kidding. My first crossword ever accepted for publication in Ben Tausig‘s Twenty Under Thirty originally had that answer and clue, but they got left on the cutting room floor when I needed to revise the grid. The answer has not appeared in any of my puzzles since, and because it’s a short entry, I never went out of my way to drop it into a new puzzle — but I resolved to use that clue at the first chance I got. Then, the answer showed up in my first draft of last week’s puzzle! Better yet, despite the three-year gap between my submission to Twenty Under Thirty and now, I still couldn’t find anyone who had used that clue previously. I was all pumped to go ahead and show it to the world and then…..I had to cut it again. I had a disastrous repeat of a separate answer in the grid, which forced me to get rid of it. So, enough was enough: I made 1-Down a seed entry today. Yeah, it’s an easy-ish clue relative to the rest of the puzzle, but I don’t care. Totally worth it!
Enjoy today’s puzzle. I’ll see you next week at the Indie 500, and yes, I will be publishing a new puzzle on that day.