Tuesday 14 January 2014

Berry Picking

Today's grid might look a little familiar to NYT solvers. I was so enamored with Patrick Berry's wonderful Friday puzzle that I decided to try my hand at filling his grid, albeit with a few small changes. Well, at least one big change: mine is vowelless. No way was I going to be able to even approach Berry-smoothness in the center of this one using regular old entries, but I figured I might have a chance with a vowelless. While the variant certainly presents a few of its own unique challenges to the constructor, filling wide-open spaces is considerably easier sans vowels. Fewer letters = more possible crossings, for one thing. Plus, you get a lot more words ending in less-common letters, since words with -BE, -KE, -PE, -QUE, and -VE endings lose their E. Oh, and of course you no longer have to worry about Q needing a U. All of these factors and more add up to give you a lot more freedom when filling, which is one reason I like the format. Anyway, I was able to get a pretty smooth middle in place, so I figured I'd up the challenge a little bit and remove the single blocks breaking up the vertical stacks on the left and right edges. All in all I like the way this one turned out. Less stunt-y than the last vowelless, but much cleaner. I'm pretty confident that most solvers will know all but maybe one (lookin' at you, 46-d) answer in this one, which is important in this format.

Anyway, you know the drill: no Y in any of the full answers or the grid entries, puzzle provided both with and without letter enumerations, etc. Get to it!

More words, crossed and otherwise, next week.

Puzzle: Vowelless #5
Rating: XW-14A
PDF (with enumerations)
PUZ (with enumerations)


Howard B said...

OK, this was awesome. Thanks!
Answers I still couldn't parse after solving:
Pretty good, by my (modest) standards!

47-A had me laughing/groaning. Roll your own word for that one.

e.a. said...

hoooomygod i actually finished this one. under 10 minutes, too. great cluing.

Bananarchy said...

Mission accomplished.

jefe said...

16D was a gimme, or rather it would've been if I had spelled it correctly!

Faves: 1D, 7A, 24D, 25D.

Indeed, unfamiliar with 46D, but was able to infer the 3rd consonant despite incorrectly guessing the vowel.

Bananarchy said...

Hey, those were my faves too! And yeah, I went easy on the 16D clue knowing that spelling would be the challenge there. Had to triple check that one myself!