Dead tree solving - eco edition! 
Best of both worlds - paper and pencil/pen solving, but rather than curled up with the newspaper, you're curled up with your tablet/iPad/Android! Write, even draw, in the grid, directly on the screen. 

Perfect for rebus puzzles, like this one from a recent Thursday NYTimes puzzle. Use a stylus, for the feel of really writing, or just use your fingertip - it is remarkably easy and is your real writing... I filled this one out using my finger - the stylus is just there for show. (The rebus was MAN - as in TAXMAN at 54D...) If you would like to try it out, click on "About Me" on this page and send me an email.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Friend Indeed

A much overdue shoutout to my dear puzzle friend Jen.
While I met Jen through crossword puzzles and Rex Parker (thanks Michael), I know we would have been friends had we met some more "conventional" way.
Those of you who have been to this blog most likely know her as JenCT.  So you already know she raises chickens (and sometimes names them for her friends!), makes the most awesome bread I've tasted this side of France, rescues animals, gardens, volunteers at ACPT - I'm getting tired just trying to think of all the cool things she does.  What you may not know is that she has MS, and since it's been getting worst, has now turned her efforts towards procuring a van that can transport her and her eagerly anticipated service dog.
She is asking for help in funding this custom vehicle here: A van for Jen.

Help if you can!  (I am, as I want to make sure that she and her new pal have the wheels available to come by and visit often!)



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rebus, writeovers, and MEMEMEMEME

RebusToday's NYTimes Croswword Puzzle by Mr. Schoenholz was great fun, with my favorite xword contrivance, the Rebus!

Here is how my grid looked - in keeping with the theme, I rendered my rebi as tiny visages of Moi - I mean ME.  Love the way I can open up a palette, and draw whetever I want.  (An outlet for my inner artiste...)

The different thicknesses of the letters show either how unsure I was of the answer (light gray), or how many times I erased and re-entered.

Also, shout-out to my newest cousin, tiny ANOUK, who was 1 year old on Christmas Eve!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Handwriting- finally, a reason to own an iPad


In spite of many friends and colleagues sporting sleek & shiny iPads, I really could think of no good reason to own a tablet myself.
Until now...with my spanking new Google Nexus 7 tablet, I am happy as a clam, doing puzzles the old-fashioned way - writing and doodling directly into the grid.  Only I use my tablet.

It feels totally natural, and so much nicer than hunting and pecking on a faux keyboard.  You can use a stylus or not - believe it or not, using your finger works really well.  Even lumberjack puzzle-spouse can use his finger.
I use both - if I have the stylus handy, I write with it.  I found a nice one with a smaller, tapered nib than most - it is so much like using a pen!
But often, I don't even remember to look for the stylus - I just pick up the Nexus and get started.
(Works on any iPad, Kindle Fire, tablets like Google Nexus 7, Samsung, even Windows Surface tablet!)
See above for pics.  I will try and post a video of me solving at some point.


P.S. - Erasing is fun - makes you feel better about your mistakes, cause it's so easy to erase!)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Metamorphosis and Lunch

Brilliant sunshine and a warm fall day in New England -- the perfect setting for lunch and more... 
A few Rexvillians (mac, Sparky, JenCT), some spouses (Paul, Phil), a couple of German tourists (Michael & Silke), and a botanist (Sheila) or two rounded out the field for a delicious meal, a smattering of crossword gossip, and plenty of conversation about everything else.  It's a curious and marvelous thing that the internet has wrought, enabling such a meeting.

First, the menu: chouriรงo with Jen's fabulous bread, Phil's garden tomato salsa, beef bulgogi & chicken satay, and for desert, mac's perfection of a pound cake with fresh berries and Il Bacio ice cream (the best you'll ever have!). 

Now for ordinary folks, that would have been enough for a spectacular day.
But Jen, our in-house part-time lepidopterist, brought us all a little bit of magic...

A crystal-clear jewel of a chrysalis, with a soon-to-emerge Monarch waiting within.  She held it in front of the AC vents in the car during the 1-1/2 hour drive, to make sure it wouldn't emerge until just the right moment!

Neither words nor pictures can convey the wonder of seeing this happen before your very eyes.  But do click on more below and take a look.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Will!

Warmest wishes for your 60th birthday, Mr. Shortz, and many happy returns!
We were just coming back up for air after having spent 3 delightful weeks of playing tourguides and innkeepers to waves of friends from near and far, when what should appear in my Inbox but an email from Andrea Carla Michaels pointing me towards a seemingly endless slew of tribute puzzles.  And here I thought I was actually going to be productive this week...

Well, of course I can't resist, so beauty sleep be damned, full speed ahead!
Here are my musings and tags on the first 3 I tackled...from the King and Queen of Mondays, Tom Pepper and Andrea.
I'll post the others as I am able to steal time away.
At the right is the very apropos KUDOS I get whenever my puzzle is correct - a smiling Will!  Today he has even more reason to smile.

(Please click read more below to read my summaries on the 2 ACME and the Tom Pepper puzzles.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lollapuzzoola 5

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Lollapuzzoola 5, a set on Flickr (courtesy Bob Kerfuffle).
My first Lollapuzzola was a blast. It was a fun gathering of like-minded smart people who decided it would also be fun to do a few puzzles together.

Brian Cimmet was a Master of Ceremonies par excellence. The getting-to-know-you "People Bingo" game was inspired...you had to run around the room filling out a bingo card with things like "Someone wearing purple"; "Can name all six Friends"; Can speak more than one language"; Can make a sound like a fire alarm (make them do it)". Getting you entire card filled out with names earns you a prize. But of course, it was jsut fun to have a completely inane excuse to walk up to total strangers and strike up a conversation.

I liked that it was very relaxed - the rather loose time frames gave us time to talk with old friends and make new ones. Because face it, most of us** are there for the camaraderie, not to make it to the finals! A few other group games kept things loose and kept us from having our brains fried by the really challenging puzzles.

For the record, I am the 99th greatest crossword puzzle solver in the world*!
(I've decided that from now on, my ranking will be reflected by either 1) my most recent competition, or b) my highest ranking, whichever is highest...)

Oh yeah - Joon Pahk and Glen Ryan won!!!! Congratulations! See the official writeup at Brian's site.

*"World" in this context is defined as all the people that were at Lollapuzzola 5...a grand total of 122 folks!

** With the exception of some of you - you know who you are - who actually ARE right up there in the stratosphere...

 P.S.  Really liked that there is a Pairs competition - might convince puzzle husband to join in...
Only disappointment was missing out on some of the zaniness that I heard about from the previous years - maybe if we all clap really hard, they'll bring it back for next year!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chicken Paprikash and Crossword Puzzles

One particular clue/answer really got to me in today's NYT puzzle.  Now, this might not have anything to do with puzzle quality, but again, that's what's fun...something resonates sideways...
Anyhow, this evening, after a difficult and harrowing weekend, I finally sat down with a glass of wine and the Monday puzzle.  Phil was in the kitchen working on a stunning paprikash sauce, whose aroma was wafting through the house.  Then I hit 12D - Kitchen Magnet - A_OMA...  what serendipity!
Especially fun that in the opposite corner were SMELLY gym socks.
It was, in fact, a gourmet's delight, with ECLAIRs, Black-eyed PEAS, BAGELs, Chewing of the fat, BEL Paese cheese, OVO, Uncooked: RAW

Here's our clue-by-clue replay.  Thank you Andrea & Michael Blake.


Summary

Puzzle completion time

Solve time
Pause time
Total time
tita
10min:52sec
9min:16sec
20min:8sec
ralph
5min:10sec
No pauses
5min:10sec

ACPT results (based on time limit of 15min:0sec)