Schedule for Next Week

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All the Fillomino puzzles from last week can be found in this PDF.

This next week will feature a variety mix, all from Grant Fikes. Specifically, we will have:
Monday: Slitherlink
Tuesday: Cave
Wednesday: Round Trip
Thursday: Skyscrapers
Friday: Fillomino
Saturday: Cross the Streams (LITS)

The bonus puzzle for our high-level supporters will also be a Nurikabe by Grant Fikes.

  • Jonah says:

    I’ve been pretty disappointed after reading some of Grant’s comments on Twitter on Friday. I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to respond—boycotting a work because you don’t like the creator’s opinions never struck me as the most effective form of protest.

    Here’s what I’ve decided: this week I’ll actually time myself on the daily puzzles. For every minute I spend, I’m planning to donate:

    • $1 to the Ferguson Public Library.
    • $1 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
    • $1 to the Eric Garner Family Support Fund.

    If Saturday bankrupts me, at least it’s for a good cause. I welcome others to make similar pledges, and I’m open to hearing recommendations for other causes too.

    • drsudoku drsudoku says:

      Being out of town at a conference has made it hard to respond to this at all. I’m quite mindful of the mixed feelings here, but I also try to separate a person’s work from a person’s politics unless the two are really related.

      The world, unlike this puzzle site, is not always a logical place. The news from Ferguson and New York and elsewhere has been truly saddening. There are no simple answers to these problems, and at this moment when emotions are high I don’t want to overreact to something that has happened outside the umbrella of this site.

      Grant told me I could make the decision to continue to publish his work or not. We will continue to run his puzzles. But at Grant’s request, we’ve also decided we will be donating all of his compensation to charity this month.

      I appreciate your creative solution, Jonah, to your concerns and welcome others to engage in both constructive dialogue and actions.

    • Grant Fikes Grant Fikes says:

      My greatest fault was letting a colleague’s impassioned Tweets let me forget that complex opinions and 140 characters don’t mix. I admit that the use of “I preferred when” rather than “I preferred the news coverage when” may have marred my message; still, it saddens me that said colleague, who blocked me on Twitter, might never read my follow-up Tweets that clarify things a bit. There’s a reason I distance myself from liberals more than from conservatives: while both oversimplify things at times, liberals are infamous among their opponents for jumping to the conclusion that people are bigots, and have no other reason than that for disagreeing. Are they all like this? I’m certain they are not. But some are, and it does not help them in any way. It is entirely possible that my colleague is being guilty of this, but I have no way of empirically proving that I’m not racist, so he could also be right. You will have to be the judge.

      I had a fan e-mail me today to vouch his support for me and say that he hopes I return to puzzle-writing soon. I will quote one snippet: “Well, I know you’re a hell of a lot more intelligent than that. One cannot summarize someone’s character in one tweet. I’m sure those in the puzzling community can see through this mess that you’re going through.” I hope you will agree that my character is not summarized in one poor choice of words induced by a 140-character limit. I know for certain that if I see my colleague’s byline on a puzzle in the future, this incident will in no way hamper my ability to appreciate the puzzle’s cleverness for the puzzle’s sake.

      I want to return to puzzle-writing soon, but I don’t feel ready to publicly announce such a return until I feel I’ve had a chance to rectify this crap first.

    • Carl W says:

      Ah, I hadn’t seen any of this thread earlier, so I was wondering what you meant by “an expensive week” in your comment on Monday’s puzzles. That makes a lot more sense to me now.

      I want to commend you for your creative and positive response. Something like that achieves more for good than anything negative like a boycott could. (And how about that for fortuitous timing—Grant’s Monday puzzle is themed “Stay Positive!”).

      At first, I was worried that your pledge included Grant’s *giant* Pentominous that was emailed out as a bonus at the same time as this week’s puzzles. For me, a dollar-per-minute pledge on a puzzle like that could cause serious problems for my bank account.

      Anyway, good luck with the solving this week. I’m certain that every minute and every dollar will be well spent.

      And Grant, I hope your break from puzzle-writing isn’t permanent. If nothing else, maybe a pause will let Thomas catch up a bit on his backlog of puzzle submissions from you.

      • Jonah says:

        Yeah, even if I could shade one cell per second and spend no time on the logic, that would come out to $160 total for the giant puzzle. I don’t think I can include that one in the pledge at my current income bracket.

      • Grant Fikes Grant Fikes says:

        Thanks for the kind words, Carl. Like you, I appreciate and applaud Jonah’s attitude of trying to do something positive rather than a boycott. In a sense, this decision gives me more benefit of the doubt, more of a chance to rectify the situation and clarify things before I get punished for being the worst human being on the planet. I don’t applaud my colleague’s decision to boycott my puzzles, obviously, but as a libertarian I respect his right to make it. A boycott is form of speech that should be kept free, after all.

        As I said above, I want to return to puzzle-writing, but not until I can feel reasonably confident that I’m not the pariah of the entire puzzle community. I declared that I was quitting because I felt that my byline is of negative value and nobody would want my puzzles anymore anyway. Now I realize that one person does not make up the whole community, and I should let the market (in this case, Thomas Snyder) decide the value of my byline rather than one random person; I am extremely grateful that Thomas made the decision that my puzzles are still worth publishing. Still, it would be too insensitive to let my colleague’s opinion roll off my back without first putting in a good faith effort to rectify any wrongs I’ve done.

        • Jonah says:

          I don’t think anyone is suggesting you are the worst human being on the planet, Grant.

          This is one of the hardest things about fighting prejudice: everyone has this vision of racists as cartoon villains. But that’s not how it works at all. Look at literally any time period in history and you’ll find plenty of bigotry, but very few monsters.

          You said some things that bothered me, and I still think your priorities are totally in the wrong place. But that doesn’t make you History’s Greatest Monster, and it’s not enough to stop me from following a writer whose puzzles I’ve been solving for almost five years.

  • Andrew Brecher says:

    One of many, many reasons why I spend as little time on Twitter as I possibly can.

    • Grant Fikes Grant Fikes says:

      If I recover from this PR nightmare (and quite frankly, I could probably write the most eloquent forgiveness-worthy words in the history of the world and still be the scum of the earth in some folks’ eyes), I’ll be joining you in the not-using-Twitter thing.

  • Grant Fikes Grant Fikes says:

    Dear puzzle community,

    Consider this my attempt at a formal apology for the drama my actions ignited. It is up to the individuals reading this to decide whether I’m am innocent man, an unforgivable racist, or somewhere in between, and whether to continue solving my puzzles or not.

    As some of you know who have seen my Twitter recently, I made the mistake of letting a colleague’s impassioned Tweets get to me, and I voiced a rather controversial opinion with what I consider now to be a poor choice of words. Despite said colleague declaring a boycott on my puzzles, I have been blessed to have several people stand up for me in some capacity, whether they believe I was entitled to my opinion or whether they believe I made a misstep but shouldn’t let that misstep stop me from writing puzzles. I am grateful to Thomas Snyder for separating the Art from the Artist enough that he had no qualms about publishing my puzzles, and to Jonah for proposing the far more productive solution of donating money to charities to right my wrongs rather than to stop enjoying my puzzles. People enjoying my puzzles is one of the reasons I stay alive.

    The first thing I heard about Ferguson was that businesses were afraid of being damaged if the cop is acquitted; the second thing I heard is, bam, those businesses got damaged because people are idiots who think taking action against uninvolved parties will cure everything. When a guy in my Twitter feed declares solidarity with the Ferguson protesters, can you blame me for feeling riled? If he’d said he condemns their behavior but agrees with their message, my feelings probably would have been different. Does this excuse my actions? Probably not. But it does explain them.

    This is the sentiment I wanted to convey, but couldn’t convey in 140 characters (and shouldn’t have even tried to): I’d rather constantly hear about one tragedy (Trayvon’s death) than about two tragedies (a death and a not-at-all-peaceful protest). During the Zimmerman trial, Zimmerman was portrayed as the big evil majority oppressing the poor African-American minority, and I didn’t learn until after it was all over that Zimmerman himself is Hispanic. I personally, however, do not see this misrepresentation as nearly as much of an injustice as the riots that happened in Ferguson, which as I’ve already mentioned hurt parties who were uninvolved in the injustice which was being protested against.

    As mentioned above, Thomas Snyder will be forwarding my compensation for this month to a charity. I personally neither know nor care which charity he will choose (he could even choose the charity of Thomas Snyder); I just consider not having the money myself to be my fine for my mistake.

    I recently announced my hiatus from puzzle-writing. With this and the other things I’ve written in this comment thread as my attempt at rectifying the situation, I feel that I am ready to end my hiatus. I will, however, no longer be active on Twitter; the only Tweets you will see there will be ones posted from other applications (such as when I plug my puzzle on my Facebook page, or when I start streaming on Twitch).

    I look forward to supplying you with more puzzles.

    Grant Fikes

    • Jonah says:

      Honestly, I feel like I understood you pretty well with those tweets, because the longer explanation doesn’t change anything. I still think you’re completely wrong, but I’m not really interested in getting into a political argument on a puzzle blog.

      • Grant Fikes Grant Fikes says:

        As a human, I have the right to be completely wrong. Humans have never agreed on everything, so the odds are that every human is completely wrong about something. I’m just glad to be on friendly terms despite this.

        God bless. 🙂

      • drsudoku drsudoku says:

        Jonah, I pretty much agree with your whole response here. I was quite surprised and disappointed by Grant’s tweets, and the greater detail does not change my own response to them. But I recognize that people with different life experiences can see things differently and I’m here to build a community of logical puzzle solvers, not try to proselytize people into sharing my political views.

        I’ve never met Grant personally, but from my many interactions with him, from certain themed puzzles he has made, even from the charity effort he led off his blog two years ago, believe he has a good moral core. His concerns may be entirely misplaced in some instances, but I don’t see a need to punish him for his particular politics/world view here.


        I didn’t name a charity. Over the last decade (since having real jobs), I’ve personally donated primarily to MSF (Doctors without Borders). Given their valiant work against Ebola this year, I intend to put the funds to this worthy and hopefully apolitical charity.

        • Grant Fikes Grant Fikes says:

          Oooh, Doctors Without Borders. I’ve seen Speed Demos Archive raise money for that in some of their ever-popular gaming marathons. I was almost hoping you’d punish me by picking some super-political charity more related to the wrongs I’ve perpetrated, but that’s a good choice, too. I mean, it was yours, which is really all it had to be. 🙂

          I really can’t thank you enough for giving me the opportunity for continue flourishing in the realm of puzzles. I hope this week’s puzzles provide much more entertainment than any of the other crap going on in this comments section. 🙂

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