(Photo credit: Point21Gigawatts)
Today’s a 70-word themeless, and I’m throwing some super-spicy clues at you. Just to let you know: I have almost no familiarity at all with 25-Across, but as part of being the random lucky winner of my “In the Name of the Father” contest, Jeffrey Harris picked it to be a Devil Cross answer. So if it’s a tough get, don’t blame me, blame him! All I did was agree to it and build the entire crossword from that entry. I mean, I obviously bear no responsibility in this situation whatsoever.
Other crossword news: Lollapuzzoola 8 is coming in two weeks! And yes, I will be there. So should you.
Non-crossword news: you see that picture above? On Thursday night I got to take participate in what was seriously the most epic choral concert ever. The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performed the live soundtrack of “The Fellowship of the Ring” — or as I call it, the Lord of the Sings. The audience went nuts at just about every opportunity: when the heroes battled orcs, when the late great Christopher Lee made his first appearance, when the adult and boy sopranos nailed their solos, and even when the orchestra played a simple, 10-second reprise of the main theme at the very beginning of the second act. There was even a costume contest where the winner would get a golden ring from Steven Singer Jewelers (this Gandalf won it). Aside from the awesomeness that was singing (okay, shouting) a Dwarvish war chant, my favorite moment had to have been when the audience erupted into simultaneous laughter and applause when Sean Bean uttered his now famous “One does not simply walk into Mordor” line. I doff my cap to you, Philadelphia meme generators.
I actually saw this same concert four years ago at the Ravinia Festival near Chicago, and I remember having a great time then too — but I don’t recall the audience being nearly as enthusiastic as this one. It helps that the “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack is already cool to begin with; I can’t imagine I’d have had gotten nearly the same joy from performing the live soundtrack to, say, “Batman Forever” ….. alright, maybe I would have, if the audience booed as often as they cheered on Thursday. But the whole experience made it clear to me that the live music had a special way of connecting the audience to the story. It’s one of the reasons I dig that choir big-time. Here’s hoping we do that show again next year.
Anyway, fun stuff. Enjoy today’s puzzle — there will be a new one on August 1.
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!