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!