Monday 16 December 2013

Script Readings

First up, peep this. Andrew Ries is relaunching his fantastic Rows Gardens series, and a lot of solvers are pretty jazzed about that. It's subscription-only this time around, but it's pay-what-you-like. I still have to decide how much I'm going to donate. No matter what I pay I know they'll be worth more.

Anyway, response to the last vowelless was good, so there's another this week.

Plus, I enjoy making them.

Cluing is fairly straightforward, for one. The challenge is to be concise and workmanlike rather than diabolical and nutty. I do enjoy writing tricky clues, but doing a whole puzzle's worth can be exhausting. Cluing a vowelless is a nice break from feeling pressured to come up with an original sneaky clue for 70+ words. Ordinarily, writing clues by paraphrasing the first sentence of their Wikipedia articles would be a cop out, but when you need easy clues for long phrases then eschewing things like [Warm summer?] in favor of [One with uncanny mental arithmetic skills] is probably a good idea.

Also, the grids are neat to make, because you're working with sprawling wide-open white spaces yet you can cram fun entries in like they're going out of style. If not fun, at least long. I wanted the challenge in this one to arise from deceptive entries rather than tough clues. The last one turned out pretty tough, I think, so I softened the clues a fair bit here and tightened the grid a bit to eliminate the need for sub-par entries to hold the thing together. I still wanted there to be a bit of a mental workout required, though, so I deliberately selected entries, where possible, that either have been considerably shortened by the removal of the vowels or begin with vowels.

***If you don't care about numbers or crossword construction, skip ahead to the puzzle. Otherwise, read on.

I've been going script-crazy lately and have been enjoying working with perl to generate stats on wordlists and puzzles and to weave words in weird ways (the results of these experiments forthcoming, hopefully). So, to begin construction on this one I wrote a little number in perl to find all 15-letter vowelless entries and sort them by both the quotient and the difference of the full length and the vowelless length. 20- and 46-Across were way up there on the list and seemed like good seeds. Stacked the other 15s around them, threw in the long crosses, and filled corner by corner. Did a little post analysis as well, and was pleased to see that while the average entry length in the grid is 6.67 (that's unremarkable for a vowelless, but freestyles are usually around 5.5 to 6.5), the average length of the full answers (not counting spaces or punctuation) is just over 11. Great success! The two most shortened answers are 0.4 and 0.47 times their full length, by the way. Guess which ones.

More words, crossed and otherwise, next Tuesday

NOTE: Once again, Y is not a part of any answer, full or vowelless.

Puzzle: Vowelless #3
Rating: XW-14A
Difficulty: Easier, but still hard
PDF (with enumerations)
PUZ (with enumerations)


oeuftete said...

Vowelless crosswords and perl, 2 of my favourite things. Loved last week's, BTW.

Bananarchy said...

Cheers! I dig the name

e.a. said...

that was easier. plunked down 20a, 50a (sigh), 32d. some really great fresh fill in here.

jefe said...

I don't know my music (also am really tired), so I got stuck in the lower left. Thought 53 was "un-" instead of "de-"; couldn't figure the first and third letter of 47. 36 was all crossings but I googled it and and I do know the piece, lol. 18 and 20 were great entries!

Bananarchy said...

Thanks fellas!

Anonymous said...

Haven't tried the puzzle yet, just saw it. But I'm guessing the phrase for 14d is 'point source'.

Bananarchy said...

That's a helluva guess