Thursday, May 28, 2015

Care for a quickie? (Puzzle No. 3,365)

Will Shortz has persuaded the editors of the New York Times to give him the rest of the magazine section page that houses the variety puzzle.  Where there used to be a jump from one of the articles, every week there are now three more puzzles.  The first is a letter bank puzzle (Willz loves these) by Frank Longo, the second is a mini variety crossword by Patrick Berry, and the third is a logic puzzle by Wei-Hua Huang.

Patrick’s recent creations have included a miniature Rows Garden he called Hex Nuts and a version of his snowflake puzzles.  The logic puzzles will appeal to sudoku fans, and give them a different challenge just like variety crosswords do for straight crossword solvers.  If you remember the old Windows game Minesweeper, you’ll be interested in these.

It’s good to have puzzles that can be solved in a few minutes, while you’re waiting for the train or to take a break from some mindless task.  These little puzzles also can serve as an invitation to try out puzzles one doesn’t normally do.  How many cryptic solvers were born of the little 8 by 10s in the New Yorker?  And support for small formats can provide an entry point for new constructors; it’s a much less daunting task than filling a full-size grid.

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): hard

Agility factor:  low

This week’s cluing challenge (share your clues in the comments): TAPAS

Back with the solution and annotation on Monday: join us this weekend as usual for Sunday brunch.

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