Tuesday 4 March 2014

No Vowels Til Brooklyn

I think I also used a variation of the Beastie's classic for my post for the week of the 2012 ACPT. Real original. By the way, if any of my FB friends were wondering about the story behind my profile pic (you probably weren't, but humour me): it was taken during a performance of "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" at the 2013 Regina Band Swap and one my rare moments at the mic. I'm shouting one of the five syllables of the shout chorus, but I'm not sure which. Band Swap is a super cool event where about 35 musicians from the local scene get assigned randomly to quintets (with hardly any consideration given to the instrumentation) and are given 24 hours to learn and then perform a 20 minute set of randomly-selected cover songs. All ticket sales go to charity and the several-hundred person venue has sold out every time. I've participated in every Band Swap to date, and it's one of the highlights of my year. New musical relationships always arise, and you discover talents you never thought you had. My bands have played, among others, "Mambo #5", The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind", "The Weight", Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi", Rihanna/Calvin Harris' "Hopeless Place", Radiohead's "Creep", and "The Log Driver's Waltz" (Canadian readers will know what I mean).

Anyway, moving right along, there's a big event this weekend and I'll be there. Come say hi! Solvers of the special ACPT puzzle I wrote last year will know that I'm tall, have long hair and a soul patch, and wear glasses. Now you know too. Also, I'll be wearing a name tag that says "Bad Motherfucker" (actually they wouldn't print that for me, so it will say "Peter Broda").

Lastly, this week's puzzle. Return to form this week with another vowelless. Big clusters of black squares in this one, but still plenty wide-open in true vwllss fashion. I started by putting together the top stack in a 14x14 grid. I was fully prepared to throw symmetry out the window for this one, as it seemed unlikely I'd be able to make a fillable grid pattern given the constraints on the black squares terminating some of the down crossers. However, I found that putting the top stack into a 15x15 (which explains the black bars on the NE and SW sides) opened things up enough that I had few constraints in the bottom half. However, after searching through the hundreds of possibilities for the bottom stack and picking my favourites, I found that I needed to tighten the center a bit by adding a bunch of cheaters to get something resembling a clean fill, which explains the thick staircase pattern. In short, this puzzle, like so many before it, was brought to you by a lot of dumb luck, computational firepower, and hours of mucking about without a clue what I'm doing.

That's all for now. I'm at a hostel in Montreal at the moment, and heading out to eat a poutine and see some live jazz in a few minutes (those may be stereotypical things to do but that's literally what I'm going to do), so I'll leave it at that. Super excited to catch up with my cruciverbal friends this weekend and hopefully meet a bunch of new solvers. I'll be at the bar any time I'm not solving.

More words, slurred and otherwise, this weekend.

NOTE: As always, Y is not a part of any answer

Puzzle: Vowelless #8
PDF (no hints - harder)
PUZ (no hints - harder)
PDF (with full answer lengths given - easier)
PUZ (with full answer lengths given - easier)
Full Answers


Anonymous said...

Interesting concept that really doesn't work. Because the nature of the answers are so foreign the crossings really don't help at all. As such, it simply becomes a test of figuring each answer individually. The problematic nature is further demonstrated by the struggle to understand an answer even after cheating and having it filled in for you. Appreciate the effort, but a failed experiment in crossword variation for me.

Bisch said...

Tons of fun. Love the quadruple stacks--except maybe for "trades straight across," all brilliant entries. I hope the vowellesses keep coming.

Bananarchy said...

Bisch, thanks, glad you dig em. Perhaps TRADES STRAIGHT ACROSS is more of a local idiom? I hear it often and for whatever reason I like the sound of it.

Anonymous, sorry it wasn't your cup of tea. I'm never sure how far I can push the vowelless format, and perhaps this time I went too far. They're difficult by their very nature, and the wide-openness of them compounds this. However, I've noticed that in others (notably the work of Frank Longo) the difficulty is mitigated by the use of a lot of common, pedestrian, workmanlike, or at least simplistic and non-idiomatic entries. I find those entries kind of boring, but also realize that they have their role.

At any rate, thanks for the feedback!

jefe said...

14:39 here.
A bunch of the long acrosses were gimmes, but there were a few unfamiliar terms I got hung up on (2D, part of 45A, which I wouldn't have gotten but for the dupe hint, and a couple others which I should've gotten quicker, but it's before noon).
Cluing was straightforward though, so the puzzle was fair.

Howard B said...

Anon, this is not an easy variant to break into cold, and these are challenging. If it doesn't work for you, that's cool. Not everyone likes every style.

I have not heard of TRADES STRAIGHT ACROSS, but now that I have, I kinda like it too.

Great weekend, Peter. Hope you enjoyed the even as well.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't like vwllss either, but I keep coming back.


Doug said...

Loved it. My favorite, and starter, was 2A.