Thursday, August 15, 2013

Puzzling on the road (Puzzle No. 3,291)

A business trip to the West Coast, directly followed by vacation in Nantucket.

What does the well-prepared puzzler pack?

  • Mechanical pencils: no worries about finding or emptying a sharpener, or pencil points breaking in transit 
  • A nice new book of cryptics, preferably spiral bound
  • Puzzazz on the iPod (Hot and Trazom have a book available on Puzzazz)
    (note there was a bug fix release issued this week) 
  • Reservations for a hotel with a business center where the puzzles from the FT and Sunday Brunch can be printed.
  • But no sudokus: they’re available all over the place, from free newspapers to airline magazines
Nor do I need to pack The Nation puzzle number 3,291; I finished it on my mid-day walk today.

Link to puzzle

Degree of difficulty: Easy.  A very smooth solve, not even any iffy bits of fill or other turbulence on the way.

Hozom’s comment: “Fairly Unique?” in which Hot and Trazom bring up the possibility of clues that could reasonably yield two or more different answers.  We learn that they’re a particular risk of homophone clues, and that reversal clues can have this problem if the constructor isn’t careful to be clear with the indicator.

Of course sometimes the ambiguous answer is a feature, not a bug, such as in the famous “Clinton Elected/Bob Dole Elected” puzzle constructed by Jeremiah Farrell and published in the New York Times in 1996.  Willz talks about it in the video below.

Network permitting, I’ll be here this weekend with some California cuisine for Sunday brunch.  See you then.

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