Thursday, September 26, 2013

“C” is for “congratulations” (Puzzle No. 3,296)

Hooray for Hot and Trazom!  Today they published their 100th puzzle in The Nation.

In honor of the occasion, they created a special bar cryptic without any guide to where the answers go, other than showing you the location of all the Cs in the grid.

Not to scare you off though—this is actually a pretty easy(*) puzzle.  So easy that when I saw it, I decided to try a harder version of it first, and it still was easy.  As an extra aid to solvers, the clues are printed in the alphabetical order of their solutions.  I did a quick cut, paste, and sort; to take the clues out of that order and into a more or less random order.

While I can’t post that challenge version here, I can suggest that you veteran solvers randomize the clues yourself.  Print out a copy of the puzzle and take a pair of scissors to it until all the clues are on their own individual slips of paper.

You could even play a version of Crossword Golf this way.  Pick up a clue slip and try to solve the clue and place the answer in the grid.  If you can solve and place it the first time you look at it, count a birdie for yourself.  If you can’t solve the clue the first time or if you can solve the clue but can’t figure out where to put the answer, put the clue aside.  If you can figure out an answer just from the intersecting letters before you even look at the clue, count that answer as an eagle.  After you’ve been through all the clues once, go through them one at a time for a second time.  Any answer you place here counts as par.  If you need to look at the clue for a third or fourth time, that’s bogey or double bogey.

*–by design: Hot and Trazom want their variety cryptics published here to be non-frustrating.  That way, novice solvers will enjoy them and be encouraged to try out more variety puzzles.  As mentioned here a few times in the past, I’m entirely on board with that

Link to puzzle

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): very easy

Hozom’s comment: “Puzzle One Hundred” in which Hot and Trazom catch up on a variety of things including an update to their puzzle-solving instructions and volume 2 of their Puzzazz series.

Solution and annotation posted here Monday.  Join us this weekend for a rules exam with your Sunday brunch. 

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