Beekeeper Crosswords

Themed Puzzles from Beekeeper Labs

Puzzle #113: “The Good Earth”

Posted by on September 9th, 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)