134. Puzzle Number FIVE

March 23, 2011

Like to experience the dastardliness of puzzle No. 5 at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament? Here’s the one I wrote in 2009, resulting in a “crash and burn” for the vast majority of the field (within the 30-minute time limit). Puzzle No. 5 is not a way to make friends.

Click here to download a PDF
Answer PDF

An interesting tidbit behind this puzzle is that Will Shortz called me the week before the tournament, saying he needed a replacement for the No. 5 he had in hand (not one I’d written). Luckily, I had some ideas around that I could fashion into a 17×17 and picked out a solid one, erring on the side of surefire rather than taking a chance on something wild.

When I e-mailed Will the finished puzzle two days later, one of the theme entries wasn’t working for him. I replaced it, reconstructed and reclued half the puzzle and sent the revision over the next day. After a bit of clue editing and some test solving over the weekend, a nasty No. 5 was ready to foist on the suspecting masses.

If you’d like to try all of this year’s puzzles, there are two ways available. And the price is a bargain at only $20, either way:

Solve ONLINE
Solve by MAIL (previous years are also available)

The cool part is that your puzzles will be scored so you can see how you stack up against the actual competitors.

Also, if you’d like to submit your contact info to get updates on next year’s tournament, CLICK HERE.

Don Christensen photo