Beekeeper Crosswords

Themed Puzzles from Beekeeper Labs

Archive for September, 2009

Puzzle #115: “Sad to Say”

Posted by on 23rd September 2009


Sad to say, I have nothing to say about this puzzle.

Title: Sad to Say
Difficulty: Wednesday
Download: Across Lite or printable PNG (w/ solution)

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Puzzle #114: “A View to a Keel: The Pirate Puzzle, Episode III”

Posted by on 17th September 2009


Ahoy, mateys. In case ye be forgettin’, September 19th be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Like always, we beekeepers bee celebratin’ with the rest of the scurvy crew, by givin’ ye a special pirate themed crossword puzzle. Now, if ye be sailin’ in from foreign ports, ye should take heed — this be no lily-livered classroom puzzle. This be a fearsome barrage of crossed words such as ye’d find in yer favorite newspaper, if’n ye weren’t using it to line yer parrot’s cage. So take a plunge in to the sea of piratical puzzling and see if ye have what it takes to swim with the sharks.

If ye be hankering to sample our other forays into these treacherous waters, chart yer course to “Talk Like a Pirate” and “The Pirate’s Revenge”.

Title: A View to a Keel: The Pirate Puzzle, Episode III
Difficulty: Wednesday
Download: Across Lite or printable PNG (w/ solution)

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Puzzle #113: “The Good Earth”

Posted by on 9th September 2009


Occasionally people ask how long it takes to make one of these puzzles, and I’m never quite sure because I build them gradually over the course of several days. This time around, I went ahead and timed myself. The rough numbers are as follows:

  • Generate theme concept: 3 days (not full time)
  • Turn theme concept into a set of theme phrases: 30 minutes
  • Generate grid and fill around those theme phrases: 1 hour
  • Write clues: 4 hours

Total: 5 1/2 hours plus a few days thinking about theme possibilities. I could have grabbed a ready-made grid from a library somewhere and used any one of several programs to automatically fill it in half a second, but the results would reflect the lack of human effort and judgment. I could also churn out clues in 5 minutes by using a library of canned clues, or 1 hour by simply being less creative, but much of the art of a good puzzle is keeping the clues fresh and original. (Opinions may vary on how well I succeed at this.) Some puzzles definitely take longer: I always allow at least 8 hours just in case. And, of course, a really complicated theme can get arbitrarily difficult to develop and/or fill.

Title: The Good Earth
Difficulty: Wednesday
Download: Across Lite or printable PNG (w/ solution)

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Puzzle #112: “Craving Chicken”

Posted by on 3rd September 2009


This puzzle proved to be rather more difficult to finish than I expected. You see, most crossword constructors maintain large lists of potential fill words that they’ve gleaned from all over, often prioritized by quality and “liveliness”. And, inevitably, some words creep in that aren’t actually words at all. This is typically no problem — since you are carefully choosing which words to put in the grid, you just notice that bad word in your list and get rid of it. What you don’t want to do is discover this dud after you’ve already written clues for 3/4 of the puzzle. In extreme cases, you can sometimes fudge it (i.e. “flys” isn’t a normal word, but there is a band called “The Flys”). However, the right thing to do is to laboriously rip out 2…7…15 words — however many are required — and replace them with alternates that actually produce a proper valid fill. You then quietly weep over all of the lovely clues you crafted for all of the lovely words that are no longer in the puzzle.

So it goes….

Title: Craving Chicken
Difficulty: Thursday
Download: Across Lite or printable PNG (w/ solution)

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