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All my puzzle friends were tweeting this morning about Francis Heaney's crossword in the New York Times. I know Francis and know he has good taste in puzzles, so I thought I'd check it out.

We needed some things at the drug store anyway, so I walked down to Davis Square (15 minutes) to pick up those things and get the paper while I was at it. The paper seemed kind of small but I don't really know the NYT very well.

Got home, got ready to puzzle, and could not find it. The front page referred to an "arts and leisure" section, and I didn't have that. I got a defective Times! So, back down to the Square with my paper and my receipt.

I had bought one of two copies in the store - but BOTH copies were missing the same sections. Happily they refunded my purchase in cash. Walked over to the Indian grocery (turns out we needed coconut milk too) and they had complete editions of the Times - turns out about half the paper was missing from the drug store version! Verified that there was indeed a crossword in there with Francis's name on it. Got the bus home just so I didn't have to walk up the hill again.

Was it worth it? Yes! Not to spoil much, but this was a great theme. It wasn't one of the all-too-common "change a common phrase slightly" themes, but something where there was a real wordplay element going on in both directions. The real-world knowledge required was cleverly embedded in the grid (handy in two cases for me), which is always nice to see. Great job, Francis!
yomikoma: Yomikoma reading (Default)
Today I spent a happy afternoon
(plus bits of morning) walking all around
the streets of Boston, solving puzzles with
some friends. We four were playing in a game
called DASH (that's Diff'rent Area, Same Hunt).
Our team (STDP) had played in DASH
the first when it was held September last -
this was the second, and we had a ball.

Like then, this hunt consisted of a set
of puzzles, with the first given to all
the teams at once. The answer to
each puzzle lets you figure out the place
which holds the puzzle following. A bit
of walking will ensue in unknown parts
of town. Unlike DASH 1, there was no cost
for taking time to just enjoy the day -
the ranking is on solving time alone.
The sites are clued by numbers on a map
which changes in each city with a hunt;
thus all ten cities shared the puzzles and
the answers, simply walking different ways.
The final place provides a puzzle which
will take as input all the answers of
the hunt - a metapuzzle. Finally
a single answer's given and the teams
relax and chat and eat some food nearby.

I really liked that change - it meant we could
relax and see the sights - some lovely parks,
some fountains too, and, in the BPL,
some murals that were worth the trip alone.

There will be puzzle details in this cut. )

In general I'm very happy with
DASH number two and will be waiting with
impatience for the third one. If you want
to solve or volunteer to help put on
the next one, there is contact info on
the playdash website. Hope to see you there!


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