GIP

Mar. 1st, 2011 11:09 pm
tablesaw: Burton Guster says 'Beer' in a seriously manly fashion, man. Because it's a man thing. Beer. (Beer)
I now have an icon for booze-related things. Made by [personal profile] entwashian!



Also, I made one for puzzle constructing, based on last week's Buttersafe.



I also updated my Duck Hunt icon, based "Schadenfreude Dog" from Aled Lewis's Videogames vs. Real Life series.

tablesaw: Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie from <cite>Labyrinth</cite> (Labyrinth)
The last thing I'm posting today is the crossword I mentioned two days ago. It's available as a PDF and Across Lite. The solution was scrambled just to avoid temptation: the unscramble code is "1417".

The theme is based on the username of the recipient ([livejournal.com profile] theashgirl), but know other knowledge of her is needed to solve. However, to make the puzzle appropriately geeky and "Whedony", there is a lot of trivia. I strongly advise using Google, friends, wikis, and any other assistance you can get your hands on while solving.

Like I said, I did this one pretty quickly, so it's not an ideal crossword. The regular cruciverbalists will notice some howlingly bad fills, that I let stand in order to showcase the Buffy words and get things done quickly.

The original post of all the gifts is here, and it includes an HTML version of the puzzle. (I think the HTML version is awkward to use, but it looked more impressive than just having a link to a PDF.) You can also see what everyone there is saying about it.
tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
When I left work yesterday, the Internet seemed rather calm. I was away for a few hours because [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan and I went to hear Mozart at the Hollywood Bowl using my firm's box seats. And when I came back, there was crazy.

A whole bunch of racefail from various SF fandom cons popped up, as linkishly summarized by [personal profile] coffeeandink. I haven't even had a chance to look at the WriterCon issues, because I've been reconstruct my blown mind after the mindblowingly idiotic statements made by [livejournal.com profile] arhyalon. I expect that [community profile] linkspam will be kicking into gear over it too.

Penny Arcade also took a dive into the "seduction community." Tycho offers some choice quotes like:
I'm fairly certain the purpose of this course is to make you a better predator of women. Check out their offers of "in-field training," as though you were going to hunt antelopes from a jeep in the Goddamned Savannah.
Gabe, on the other hand, apparently "decided to play devil's advocate" without doing a whole lot of research intot he topic, which was a bad idea. He finishes up saying
I'm a little worried that guys reading the site might take our discussion here as some sort of endorsement and I want to make sure that isn't the case. While some of their advice is probably fine I think the majority of it is really sleazy. Again, I can't blame guys for seeking out help. All joking aside though, I just want to make it clear that I don't think the seduction community is the place to go.
Emphasis mine, because although Tycho doesn't mention what started him down the rabbit hole, it may have been the recent massacre by George Sodini a deeply misogynistic man who regularly participated in "pick-up artist" seminars before taking two guns to a gym and then opening fire, killing three women and injuring nine before using the last bullet for himself.

Alas, a Blog has a collection of responses from "men's-rights activists, anti-feminists and other misogynists." (The original post includes a trigger warning for the quotes, and they are not for the faint of heart.) And these apologies for Soldini represent an extreme of Gabe's empathy. It's part of the reason, I try to divorce considering "intent" when it comes to things like this, because a person can ascribe a good intention or a seemingly reasonable justification to even the most heinous acts.

It's got me thinking about the nature of what "intention" is at all. Last year, [livejournal.com profile] adamcadre wrote about a psychological study investigating how we determine waht is intentional. I wrote a comment thinking about how intention intersects interactive fiction. In response, Adam wrote The Nemean Lion (Z-machine file, requires an IF interpreter to play), and I've been thinking about the last scene in this respect.



Meanwhile, there's also conflict in the world of logic-puzzles, where puzzle plagiarism has reared its ugly head, with Conceptis Puzzles, purveyor of soulless, computer-generated, mass-produced logic puzzles, appropriated the concept and presentation of Strimko for their "new" feature Chain Sudoku. [livejournal.com profile] motris and [livejournal.com profile] onigame (constructors of the eagerly anticipated and soon-to-be-released Mutant Sudoku, a book of hand-crafted, soulful logic puzzles) have weighed in.

Yes, even Sudokuland is full of the fail. I'm going to bed.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I just got an Amazon gift certificate as a prize for being on the first team to solve Mark Halpin's Short Story. That's really exciting.

With lots of help from [livejournal.com profile] selinker, my first Mystery Hunt puzzle for the year is looking good. Some formatting soon, then off to something new over there.

I also have two flats in the September Enigma I'm particularly proud of #45.

Possibly working overtime tonight. But maybe not.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
This has been a busy weekend. And I need to write about it quickly so that [livejournal.com profile] ladytabitha doesn't drop me.

Saturday was the puzzle party, and it was decidedly lackluster. I solemnly swear not to care about bringing things that are new and innovative. If necessary, I'll bring in something that's been done before and that takes me ten minutes to prepare. We could have used some of that.

One nice thing was that, since there were fewer puzzles, there seemed to be a bit more plain old socialization. Not everyone may have seen this as a plus, but I did. A lot of the discussion was with Eric Chaikin [link changed 6/22/11; original link to "http://www.sundancechannel.com/festival/profiles/index.php?ixContent=5769"], an irregular puzzle party attendee, whose movie Word Wars [link changed 6/22/11; original link to "http://www.7thart.com/wordwars/"] is hitting theaters now. It's a documentary following the lives of the nation's top tournament Scrabble players, and looks to be a combination of Crumb and Spellbound. Wrap your mind around that. It's playing in Silver Spring, MD, and it will be opening in New York shortly. Apparently, the success of the movie in New York on its opening weekend will dictate, how much it gets seen across the country, including in LA. And since I want to see it, I'm making you see it. Specifics on the NY opening when I get them.

But yesterday was much more eventful. Artistry and I planned to spend a day exploring a few local sites in preparation for the NPL Convention of 2005, which will be held right here in Los Angeles. Artistry has really wanted to do a big hunt on Hollywood Boulevard, and I was going to go along to listen to his ideas and offer new ones. [livejournal.com profile] cramerica was also interested, so we thought we'd meet up with him at another site we'd heard about, The Museum of Jurassic Technology.

This is a place I will recommend to everyone reading this journal, certainly. If you're in LA now, you should visit. If you're not, you should make it a point to hit when you're in town. Inspired less by the Smithsonian and more by the museums of earlier centuries, such as P.T. Barnum's American Museum. Most of the exhibits are of dubious import, consequence, or existence, and it takes quite a while to get used to things.

The first gallery is a grab back of information, including detailed information on Noah's Ark [link removed 6/22/11; original link to "http://www.mjt.org/intro/ark_1.html"] (which was, of course, "the most complete Museum of Natural History the world has ever seen"). One of the more famous items of the collection is the Human Horn, mounted on the wall.

Some collections are more straightforward, though still not precisely effable. "No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again" is a collection of unsolicited letters received by the Mt. Wilson Observatory in the period between the two world wars, explaining, in definitive terms, such mysterious as the composition of the moon, the location of God, and why that woman won't leave me alone. The Napoleon Library houses an collection of Napoleona so eccentric it might actually be Napoleona-ana. The art exhibits currently installed require the use of microscopes and magnifying glasses to make visible the works of art displayed on glass slides and within the eyes of needles. The back rooms of the museum are dedicated to an even more diverse subject matter. There are several celluloid dice from the collection of Ricky Jay, dioramas depicting antique stagecraft, and a gallery of three-dimensional X-ray images of flowers. The second floor features a Tea Room and a small theater showing short films.

And then there are several exhibits dedicated to curious persons or ideas, presented, in large part, without a clear concept of why these particular persons were chosen. The Delani and Sonnabend Halls are dedicated to the lives of Madelena Delani and Geoffrey Sonnabend, two very interesting individuals who have little in common except their proximity within the museum. The lights in the Delani room periodically darken, although none present could determine why. Another section is devoted to embodiments of the scholarly and theological writings of the 17th century Jesuit Athanasius Kircher. And one of the most stunning exhibits, "Tell the Bees: Belief, Knowledge and Hypersymbolic Cognition" provides examples and demonstrations of various vulgar medicines.

It was a fascinating place, and I do hope to prepare a puzzle handout to entice Krewe to visit it, although it will, undoubtedly, be much easier to solve than the museum itself.

[livejournal.com profile] cramerica, feeling ill, decided to not to continue on with us to Hollywood. I can only hope that he made it home safely and got much rest because today is his birthday, according to LJ. Hooray for him! On our way back to Hollywood, Artistry convinced me to stop at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to visit an exhibit they're currently showing: "The Secret Life of Sets: Set Decorators at Work" [link removed 6/22/11; original link to "http://www.oscars.org/events/set_decoration/index.html"]. The first floor features photographs of movie sets, sometimes accompanied by the decorators' notes, but the real show is on the fourth floor. Several, often major, pieces of actual set dressing, along with more detailed notse from the decorators, have been installed. It's a chance to get up close and personal with bits of the classrooms of Madame Trelawney and Remus Lupin, to see what Van Helsing's vision Dr. Victor Frankenstein's writing desk looked like, or lounge in the stylish apartments of Catcher Block and Barbara Novak from Down with Love. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area, but do yourself a favor and skip the first floor.

Then, Rwth called and invited us to see Coffee and Cigarettes. We tried to visit Hollywood before the showtime, but problems finding parking caused us to head for the theater first and try to grab some dinner. We met up at the Gaucho Grill and had a whole lot of meat, which we split. Then we walked across the street to catch the film. It's a bit uneven, as would be expected from what is actually a series of several short films, but there are an inordinate number of brilliant moments, and it's definitely worth catching, especially if you're a fan of any of its actors.

And after that, finally, we made it to Hollywood. I'd already seen it, of course, but this time I was looking at it with puzzle-design eyes. I wan't say much about it here, but this trip may have made it possible to turn a few puzzles meant for a touristy morning into a full-fledged event with a wow finish.

And now, the real adventure begins. The adventure of sleep organization!
tablesaw: A tablesaw in action. The blade disappears when it comes in contact with a hot dog. (Virtually Unscathed!)
(No, I didn't forget. I just didn't feel like finishing. Now I do, again.)

The green eggs held clues reading compass points, rag, every 24 hours, latest information, Personals,
Top Secret, commercial, and PICTURESQUE announcement. These clues led to the classified section of the April 11 Daily News. There, after a bit of searching, one could find the following ad under "Announcements":
PICTURESQUE landing site found! Cmdr. Grad flipped his space helmet!
The words "picturesque", "grad", and "space helmet" clued my graduation portrait from the University of California, Santa Barbara, which I attended wearing a toy space helmet under my mortarboard. By flipping the photograph around, the agents found a memo from the aforementioned Cmdr. Grad, accompanied by four photographs taken from the landing site. The memo mentioned that an alternate landing site was needed, as well as a means of directing aliens to it.

At the landing site, there was no egg, but taped to a pole was another photograph. This photograph was also from a nearby location, directed to the landing site. When the agents tracked down the source of this new photo, there was another photo taped to another pole. Repeating the process twice more led to a final photograph, apparently taken from among some trees. By taking the position of that last picture, the agents were situated to find the gold egg, which had previously been concealed from view.

Background and Construction
This was one of the first puzzles I came up with, and it went through a few changes. I'd been thinking about using a classified ad for a while. They have been used to great effect for things such as magic tricks, and I thought it would be fun to find something in plain site. Then, as I was walking around the neighborhood one day, I saw a sign for a lost dog. I thought it might be fun to use signs saying "Lost Egg" to lead solvers on a path through the streets by my house.

I decided to use photographs to direct solvers to the first "Lost Egg" sign. But as I got a clearer idea of the theme of the hunt, I decided that it would be better to do something with a landing site. Seeing my graduation photo made me think that the alien name "Grad" and the clue "space helmet" would be a good combination that would fit well in a short ad.

At this point, I was planning on using basic "Detour" signs to lead the runaround. It wasn't until I went out with my borrowed digital camera that I thought of using more pictures to direct the solvers. It clicked as a good idea, and it helped me finalize the route they'd need to follow.

Agents in Action
This was the first clue tackled by the agents, and so there was some prompting involved. When it was clear that they were thinking about a newspaper, I said, "You know I picked up the Sunday newspaper, if you think that would help." I had culled the classified section to get rid of unnecessary employment and used-car ads, but there was still a whole lot of space to look through. There were several agonizing minutes where the page was open to the right area, and I was staring right at the ad, but nobody else could see it. I probably should have dedicated more clue space to focusing on "Announcements", but eventually it was found.

I'm sure that many of you, reading above, thought that it would be a stretch for solvers to think of my graduation picture from that ad. It certainly wasn't for my parents, who immediately began quizzing me on where I had put that helmet. After convincing them that they didn't need the actual helmet, they began looking for he picture.

My cousin, who lives next door, definitely took the lead on this step, since she new the area the best. She very quickly identified the landing site from the given photos, and she, my other younger cousin, and K. ventured off to find it. More than any other puzzle, I was worried that the components of this one might have been taken or blown away, so I made sure to give them my cell phone in case they encountered problems.

After a little while, they called, confused as to what to do next. I talked them through the idea of using the picture as a detour method, which they generally had figured out, but they were still unable to find the next step. After taking care of some business, I ran off to meet them.

As I approached the second location, I got very worried. The girls weren't by it, and I couldn't see the photo. Thankfully, it was because, on my way there, they had found the photo, taken it down, and were already looking for the next location. I waved them on, and went back to headquarters. The agents did need some more cell-phone prodding to finally find the golden egg. I was told by K. that it had more than a bit to do with the three girls, still in pretty, pastel Easter dresses, not wanting to go too close to the bushes where the egg was hidden.

(This puzzle can't be solved by you at all anymore, so I didn't try. I am trying to find a good scan of my graduation picture, and if I find one, I'll add it to the entry.)
tablesaw: "The Accurate Tablesaw" (Accurate)
Step 2: Red CluesThe red eggs held clues reading assassinate, murder, physician, surgeon, sport on a plank, fortunate, beneficial, and inexpensive butt. Which suggested my copy of the game Kill Doctor Lucky [link changed 6/22/11; original link to "http://www.cheapass.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=CAG&Product_Code=CAG001"]. Inside, instead of the low-overhead, high-concept game we've all come to know and love, there were several pieces of paper.

First, there was an alien communication regarding Step 2: Drawing Crop Circles. Corporal Flerg has returned his notes to Ensign Dronn, making special mention of the section of the design that crosses itself like an X and explaining the concept earth crops to the young ensign. It's clear to see why this was needed, because also included in the box was a diagram of the prospective site of the circle. Finally, there were twenty-five pieces. (The agents' tetragrams were already cut, but that's difficult to do over the Internet. If you'd like to solve on your own, you can download an image in which the pieces have been randomly arranged and rotated.)

After correctly reconstructing the original crop-circle design, the agents used the clues in the alien communication to dig in an area in my backyard that corresponded to the place on the diagram where the X ended up. After going down a short way, they found the next gold egg.

Background and Construction
This puzzle was changed in probably every possible way before it was finished. Originally, I wanted the location of the golden egg to be located around the church down the street from me. But as Easter grew closer, I became worried about two things. One: The church would attract a lot of families. A lot of families means a lot of nosy kids. A lot of nosy kids means a higher likelihood that the egg might be located and messed with before the agents reached it. Two: I wasn't sure what parts of the church and its grounds would be accessible at what times. The spot I wanted to use (adjacent to a rosary of stepping stones around a garden of roses dedicated to Mary) might or might not be locked by the time the party got started.

At about this time, I decided to try to use the movie Signs as an inspiration for the aliens. It didn't completely pan out, especially since I couldn't locate a Signs-inspired font for the messages, but it did leave me with the idea of a crop-circle puzzle. While eating dinner at the local Chinese restaurant, I mused about the piles of mostly loose dirt in my backyard not being conducive to crops. From there, I thought that the idea of digging up my yard might be pretty fun, or at least surprising.

More on Puzzle Design )

I drew a 10x10 grid on graph paper, selected a good area for a 2x2 square to hold an X, then divided the rest of the grid into non-square tetragrams. Then I drew a loop. Then I cut out the pieces. Then I tried to figure out how to give information to make the placement of the pieces easy.

The grid I'd drawn just didn't want to be easy. I tried so many things, but nothing gave enough information without providing a shortcut to placing the square piece. I also had trouble fighting against the urge to turn the loop into a logic puzzle. There are lots of pencil-and-paper logic puzzles based on figuring out how a loop fills out a grid. I had to keep reminding myself what it would look like. In my mind, I saw Bartok quickly filling it out while Mel and Maria looked dazes/bemused/bored. I quickly shook it off.

Finally, I accepted that the answer would be to give the outlines of all of the pieces. To do this, though, I had to scrap the hours I'd already put into the grid and draw a new one so that, instead of only one square piece, there would be several. Karmically, once I had recut the tetragrams and drawn a new loop, the puzzle was satisfyingly difficult. Clarifying which pieces were "end pieces" by adding the dark borders made it easy enough for me to consider it complete.

I went into my backyard and took pictures of four patches of dirt, after digging them up a little bit and smoothing them with a rake. Then, I arranged them into a square, and lined up my prospective burying spot with the area that would hold the X piece. I overlaid the outlines of the pieces, and the puzzle was finally complete.

Agents in Action
This was the last communication found by the agents. In retrospect, I wasn't incredibly happy with the cluing, but things worked out satisfactorily in the end. My biggest regret was that "sport on a plank" was way, way too ambiguous for "board game", especially since one of my cousins is on a diving team. Regardless, they figured out that "killing" and "doctors" were important, so when my mother stumbled upon the box of Kill Doctor Lucky (conveniently laid on the top of a stack of boardgames), she immediately knew it was right.

I left the house to help the agents working on Step 3, and soon, I saw some agents wandering around my backyard with the diagram. When I found out they hadn't solved the puzzle, but were hoping to shortcut by finding loose earth, I sent them back inside.

Later, I found them digging. In the wrong place. They had solved the puzzle, but couldn't locate it in my backyard. I realized I'd made a foolish mistake. Although the diagram I have online is nice and colorful, clearly showing four different locations, the printed version, in black and white, isn't so clear. In my enthusiasm, in printing, I didn't realize how hard it would be to distinguish the sections. So the agents were using the main resource they had (two flower pots in one shot) and using them to orient the X. I clarified their locations, and soon they were digging in the right place. I had to do the ultimate excavation, though, since they were still a bit hesitant about digging in my yard.

So, though it had troubles, I liked this puzzle a lot, probably because I went through so much grief putting it together. But all of the wrinkles ironed rather well, and the hunt went on.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Step 1: Yellow CluesThe yellow eggs held clues reading: etching, hanging, holy men, up, down, staircase, illusion, and frame. These clues suggested the print of M.C. Escher's "Ascending Descending" hanging in my living room. When the framed picture was removed from the wall, a sheet of paper was found taped to the side. It was a communication from the aliens researching Earth: "Step 1: Gather Information". (Remember, for best results install Catharsis Cargo.) The instructions from Lieutenant Skit-Tee ask Cadet Grumk to find the information listed below, compress the findings using a set of formulae, then call back for further instructions.

To make sure that people didn't try to solve this by jumping onto my computer, I expressly told solvers not to use the "In-tor-net" in their research. The trick here, was that all of the information was findable within my living room, most of it on my coffee table. In fact, solving at home may be impossible because at least one item is definitely not on the Web, and another answer was taken from a cute, but outdated resource.

The formulae have been removed from the online version of the puzzle because they manipulated the numbers to create a phone number. Specifically, the phone number of a very appreciated journal reader, [livejournal.com profile] skitty. At my request, she had modified the outgoing message on her voice mail, giving the solvers a final equation. That equation led solvers to my next-door neighbor's house and to the golden egg underneath the decorative numbers of her address.

Background and Construction
The idea of coffee-table trivia came pretty early, and festered for a while. While looking at one of the books which would become a reference, I thought that a Calculatrivia-style quiz would be good, because it would help me narrow down the answers I was looking for around my house, and it would allow me to easily manipulate the answers into an answer-ish form. I collected answers as I cleaned my house. Anytime I found something that was interesting, likely to contain numbers, or that seemed appropriate for my coffee table, I would flip through it looking for some good digits. I collected a small list, and they managed work into the parts of the phone number very well.

Agents in Action
This was the third puzzle found, and it was found pretty easily. My mother and a young cousin picked up on what it meant pretty easily, and they directed my father to take down the picture. I was helping some people get Step Three started, and when I turned around, my father was swinging the print around, showing everyone (except himself, of course) the hidden sheet. Bartok looked at it and said, "Oh great, we're going to have to use the Internet for this one." Alarmed, I pointed out that actually, they probably didn't.

I lost track of this puzzle for a while, and so I can't tell exactly what happened. Most people were focusing on the other puzzles, but after a while, agents returned to it. A few tentative answers had been put in, but most were mysteries. As more people started working on the puzzle, people started to realize that they'd seen related objects before. You see, when DeB and Bartok got arrived earlier than everyone else, they amused themselves by looking at the strange and interesting items on my coffee table. So many of the questions seemed very familiar.

This was the last puzzle completed, and it ended with my mother reading off questions and having everyone else scour my coffee table for books likely to have the answer. When it came time to do the formulas, however, there were some problems. First, I had forgotten to bring a calculator. I thought I had one, but it turned out to be a remote control to a stereo system I never used. So there multiplication bits took a little while. Second, there were two typos in the formulas, causing two of the numbers to be slightly off.

A Digression on Puzzlers and Nonpuzzlers )

So, finally armed with the correct phone number, the agents called Commander Skit-Tee. It took them two calls to get the message correctly, but the directions and the number led them clearly down the street. It didn't take long for them to swarm onto my neighbor's yard and grab the egg.

(The puzzle can be solved without being in my living room, but I would say it's decidedly less fun. Anyway, the answers are available, regardless.)
tablesaw: A tablesaw in action. The blade disappears when it comes in contact with a hot dog. (Virtually Unscathed!)
There seem to be lots of people concerned that allowing two people of the same sex to marry each other will lead to people trying to marry dogs. But I don't think this is likely to be an issue. I mean, as I understand it, it's easier to adopt a child if you're a man living with a dog than if you're a man living with another man.

And a note to myself, re puzzles: Don't be afraid to be straightforward. Actually, that can be a note to anyone designing puzzles, although hopefully it's a lesson most have learned already (usually the hard way, at some point).

Commitment

Jan. 24th, 2004 07:05 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
April 11:

I'll be hosting an Easter Sunday party. It will feature a follow-up to last years Eggs Files Easter Egg and Puzzle Hunt. I'm going to plan ahead and maybe actually get some people to show up this year. The hunt will be a bit wider in scope, although the difficulty is going to be about the same, if not easier. I already know how most of it is going to work. There will be no teams this year, everyone works together, and he difficulty will still be geared to make it fun for my high-school-freshman cousin.

If I start planning this early, maybe more than five people will be hunting this time . . .
tablesaw: -- (Default)
So, what made me sad today?

As I was cleaning up, I found a double word square that I had quickly written for Wendy.

Yes, I'm a geek.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
  • I believe that the Bar exam should require that a prospective attorney understand the difference between tortious and tortuous. I mean, come on! Twice in two days?
  • I did finish the cryptic I was working on, now I need to figure out how to format it before the contest tomorrow.
  • Speaking of the contest, I should probably get in a little bit more training, just in case.
  • I'm having a barbecue on Monday. If I didn't send you an email it's because you're not in my city or I didn't have your email address in my book when I looked. If you want to come, let me know.
  • This space intentionally left blank

FriNYTX: 100 minutes. I think I forgot to turn off the timer when I finished.

Hgu.

Aug. 28th, 2003 06:51 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I am feeling much better today, thanks to a nap, warm clothes and chicken soup hastily purchased from Jerry's Famous Deli. I'm still tired, though, and I will probably be going to bed shortly after arriving home. At least that's the plan. I've got a crossword puzzle I need to finish, and it has an unnerving habit of grabbing my attention just as I'm winding down the day.

ThuNYTX: 8:15.
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
Yesterday, I didn't get to bed early like I'd planned because I got obsessed with writing a cryptic crossword for [livejournal.com profile] ifmud. A few days ago, there was some group-solving of the current Atlantic Puzzler. Only one clue, actually. I logged on after the group had solved it, and they challenged me to solve it on my own. I did, eventually, then discovered that they were so ashamed of their prolonged inability to solve that they'd wiped the memory of the conversation from the @recap commands. Silly.

The next day, I enlisted their aid in finishing up some cryptics from the NPL convention by [livejournal.com profile] saxikath and Mr. E, with much more time dedicated to the latter. Mr. E's Jumble cryptic, with clues that may or may not have wordplay missing or adding a letter, was hard on its own, and explaining it was killer. I still have a few left on that one, which I may need to foist upon the Mud again.

Later, unable to sleep, I foolishly decided to whip up a simple puzzle specific to the Mud audience. The grid was completed rather quickly, which I later found out was a problem. See, I filled the cryptic grid the way I fill a standard grid, trying to add words which were unusual or which looked pretty. I forgot, of course, that later I would have to come up with clever wordplay involving each of them. This led to some headaches later on.

Eventually I unleashed the puzzle, and gleefully watched as a group of four had at the clues. There were many tweaks to be made, as things went on, but I was sad that my faulty memory of one IF game forced me to tank one clue completely. That's what I get for not rechecking the source.

Anyway, if you'd like, you can try the final version of the puzzle. Be forewarned, though, that several clues require knowledge of Interactive Fiction, or the denizens of the ifMUD. Also, you should probably know how to solve cryptic crosswords.
tablesaw: A young Shawn Spencer learns proper saw technique from his dad. (Cartoon)
The puzzle has been formatted to the New York Times' specifications and is sealed into an envelope ready to be flown across the country. Wish it luck on its way.

What I've learned thus far:
  • There's an informal limit on the number of black squares allowed into a grid.
  • Many people don't know what emo is.
  • This is fun.
TueNYTX: 6:30. WedNYTX: 7:30. TueLATX: 5:15. WedLATX: 5:30. Oooh . . . pangram.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Yesterday was my cousin's graduation party, the ceremony having occurred on Friday night. It was a bit of a family rift, since there were two graduation parties going on at the same time, one here at my house, the other over in Redondo beach. As a result, families were mixing and matching themselves so as to be represented at both (and to avoid the subtle wrath of the graduates' mothers.) I went to the party of the cousin from whose parents I rent my house. I thought this was a good and logical idea.

I cleaned up my house and did some rearranging. I took out a leaf in my dining room table to open up some more space. I also moved a small table that I'd been meaning to relocate since I got the couch in. Now that table is behind the couch, instead not alongside it; This makes it much easier to walk around the couch.

As a service to my aunt and uncle, I allowed the front room (not the bedroom) to be invaded by the overflow of no-longer-8th-graders, all of whom, thankfully, were careful and used coasters.

At the party, talking with family members, some of whom I haven't seen for a while, my recent goals came in very handy. See, I wasn't the cousin who was working nights and living in the guest house in the back (although most partygoers agreed that it was a fine, fine pad), I was the cousin who was trying to get a play produced. To my shock and surprise, though, people were far more impressed that I was going to be submitting a crossword puzzle to the New York Times.

Watching people's eyes light up. )

It made me feel good. At this point, even if I fail horribly at getting a puzzle accepted, I've made back my investment on the whole thing.

Later on, [livejournal.com profile] wjukknibs was going to come over, but didn't. So he has to come tonight, BIOTCH! I need to show off my fancy clean room before it ceases to be either.

MonNYTX: 4:45; MonLATX: 3:30.

Some goals:

Jun. 5th, 2003 06:52 am
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  • Next IF Review will be Anchorhead, another game I started but neglected to finish.
  • I'm committing a one-act to the Ronin Ensemble, although I'm not clear what the deadline will be.
  • I'd like to submit a crossword puzzle to the New York Times. That'd be nice.
ThuNYTX: 8:15.
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Buy a celebratory platter of foodstuffs for actors.
Go to friend's birthday party.
Finish taxes.
Clean the house well.

Write a game for the sequel to SpeedIF Jacket.
Find places to hide eggs.
Finish Egg hunt puzzles.

Get a sofa(?)
Write up lots of experiences for LJ.

Thank God the play is ending on Saturday.

Egg me on.

Mar. 25th, 2003 10:27 am
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I'm considering throwing an Easter/Egg Hunting/Game Playing party on Easter. Nothing particularly Catholic, I just feel like having a party, and that's as nice a Sunday as any. However, there are some problems. First, I don't know if I really have any sort of clue what I would be doing, other than something with hidden eggs and maybe clues to where they are. Second, Wendy has informed my that, being galaphobic (avoiding parties), would avoid any sort of party with lots of people. So there's an incentive to make that day a party of two.

But are other people out there interested in such a party? If I could throw together something nice, I may just do and try really hard to get Wendy up.

The end.

Jan. 31st, 2003 10:18 am
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I've just worked an insane puzzle out of my system, and now I'm going to go to bed. I will not try to make any headway on The Mulldoon Legacy because that will keep me up past noon again. I may read through the new Enigma, but I will absolutely not research anything. I will not keep writing in this journal, either.

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