Happy New Year everybody. Let's make it a good one. But first, a look back at some of my favorite puzzles from 2014.
Top of the list, no doubt had to be all of the puzzles that came from the Great Last Minute ACPT Replacement Puzzle Weekend. Yeah, sure it was hell trying to come up with a Will Shortz-approved "bitch mother" puzzle for his acclaimed tournament. Only the seventh puzzle theme was accepted! That meant there were six that weren't Shortz-approved. No matter, it was my most fertile and creative stretch of the year. You can solve the ACPT puzzle by buying a copy here. Or just read about the whole situation here. That puzzle was a doozy, no doubt. Now, two of the rejected themes found their home in the AV Club. Those two were "Draw Swords" (my favorite puzzle that I wrote this year) and "Adjusting Downwards." Get your copies here, Or better yet, get a subscription.
Two rather tough puzzles both somewhat variations on the same theme, were "Check Your Privilege" and "Orange Is The New Black." Both were written with the title first, then making the theme fit the title. "Orange," I think, proves that there's still plenty of brand spanking new themes out there yet to be made (Thanks to Francis Heaney with that one).
In terms of "-?" wackiness, I think these were some of my best. "G-- D--- It!" had a couple two three answers that made me chuckle again whilst pulling this list together (always a good sign). From a technical perspective, I liked the fact that all the transformations were completely different in "Baby Talk." I had the theme for "Battle of the Bands" waiting in the wings for years, and then suddenly the aha moment happened and a puzzle was born. Yes, puzzle makers have aha moments too. And, finally, why more people aren't trying to do puzzles like "W," I'll never know.
FINAL ANNOUNCEMENT! This is the last time I'm going to mention the 2014 BEQ Winter Drive. Thanks to everyone who chipped in to keep the site chugging along independent, strong, and free. For just a $10 tip, you can feel good about supporting your favorite indie puzzlemaker, and as a thank you I'll send you some bonus puzzles: Two Sundays (a themed and a themeless) as well as a Marching Bands. Also, one randomly selected donor will get a copy of three of my books and some subscriptions to various other indie puzzle sites. My oh my. But like
Journey Europe sang, "it's the final countdown," so if you're on the fence, best to act now.