Contest and Schedule for Next Week

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We hope you enjoyed all John’s puzzles from last week, which are fully contained in this PDF. If you solved the complete set, Grandmaster Puzzles would like to reward you with a copy of the seminal reference “A Dictionary of 4,573 Crucial Cross Words and their Clues”, coauthored by John Bulten. This out-of-print 1987 work was the first crossword dictionary we know of to rank words using the methodology now standard for “The New York Times”. All copies will be personally signed by J.B.!

To obtain your copy, simply enter the proper product code (read: the answer to the hidden puzzle) in the applet below before midnight, April 19th (three weeks from today) May 3rd May 17th, so that we can verify your address via email. Solvers will also be recognized in a later post.

As with our first Hidden Contest, this is a challenge of logic and observation. We’ll be adding hints here each week until the close of the entry period.

Hint 1 (4/5/2015): It’s all good, but I recommend 138956247.

Hint 2 (4/12/2015): To obtain the product code, simply follow the correct instructions in the correct order. A review of other puzzlemaster debut weeks may help out.

Hint 3 (4/19/2015): Following the example of other puzzlemasters here, John tried to leave his mark on these puzzles. After finding out what that means, you are looking for an answer with one word followed by several numbers.

(4/26/2015): No extra hint today, but we’re sharing the official solution packet for the week’s puzzles which may be useful.

Hint 4 (5/3/2015): You are looking for a single element in common across all of the puzzles. It may be easiest to find this by looking at the solutions that include shading (BACA, Slithersweeper, and Tapa).


Next week will be a regular variety mix with puzzles from six authors.

  • furudo.erika says:

    I enjoyed solving Prasanna’s statue park patron bonus puzzle. Nice theme and good flow. If there was a Fave? button for it I would have pressed it.

  • Giovanni P. says:

    Three hints, and this one is still quite tough. I’ve got an idea of what I should be using here, but the application of the things is proving tricky.

  • James McGowan says:

    I’ve found a list of ‘obvious’ things, and a group or two of ‘hidden’ things (unfortunately not from all of the puzzles), but I’m still staring blankly. I’m used to hunts where you know when you’re on the right track, but I haven’t reached that point yet.

    • John B says:

      You’ll know when you’re on the right track! I appear to have misjudged the difficulty of solvers finding the right track, but we had enough test solutions to consider the challenge to be fair.

      As I see it, it does indeed involve a list of obvious things and a group of hidden things. You should be able to solve the meta from your solutions to the 6 puzzles, while (as is typical for a meta) the framework given in the beginning and ending schedules should also be consulted if assistance is needed. Hint 1 refers to the obvious things there. Hints 2-3 refer to the hidden things in the 6 puzzles. It was my view that upon consulting the solutions the hidden things could be identified readily, and then a little wordplay should get you most of the rest of the way. Most everything involved has been done before in similar puzzles; and if you notice what every other puzzlemaster has done during debut weeks, one way or another, that will also help.

      I hope the solution will still be enjoyable and I trust that any execution deficiencies, such as my not being available as much as I’d like, can be forgiven.

  • FoxFireX says:

    Finally!! I can move on with my life now, and try to catch up on all the weeks of my boys lives that I’ve missed.

    Kidding. That was a very well crafted meta, and finally solving it definitely provided that rush that we’re all here for. At the same time, I also don’t really feel bad for not seeing it earlier. That was tricky indeed. Most impressive to see our newest puzzle master truly bending these grids to his purpose. Kudos!

    • Giovanni P. says:

      Congrats on the solve, and thanks for the hints on how to solve it–they’re greatly appreciated.

  • Aaron Chan says:

    Now that the contest is over, I would want to know about how to solve this. All I managed to do was to find a certain block of cells associated with the author, but that’s about it.

    • FoxFireX says:

      Lbh arrq gb svaq n oybpx juvpu vf gur rknpg fnzr fvmr, funcr, naq bevragngvba va rnpu bs gur fvk tevqf. Gurer jrer n pbhcyr bs cynprf juvpu guerj zr bss, orpnhfr vg frrzrq yvxr vg zngpurq n fvatyr vavgvny irel jryy, ohg gur pbeerpg oybpx unf obgu yrggref, obgu W naq o, pbzcevfrq bs avar pryyf. Bapr lbh’ir sbhaq gur oybpx va rnpu tevq, lbh’yy cebonoyl or noyr gb svther bhg ubj gb cebprrq jvgu gur tvira vafgehpgvbaf, ohg vs abg, V’z unccl gb funer.

      • Aaron Chan says:

        V unir sbhaq gur WO oybpx va 5 bs gur 6 tevqf. Gur Ananb YVGF vf ryhqvat zr. V nyfb unir ab vqrn ubj gb cebprrq nsgre gung.

        • ghirsch says:

          Vg frrzf gb or hcfvqr qbja va gur yvgeb vs gung urycf. Jurer vf vg va gur svyybzvab naq fhqbxh?

        • FoxFireX says:

          Sbe gung bar, vtaber funqvat naq fbyivat. Ybbx ng gur qnex yvar tebhcf. Lbh’yy unir gb gnxr frireny tebhcf gbtrgure gb znxr gur pbeerpg sbez, ohg fhpu n tebhcvat bayl rkvfgf va bar cynpr.

          Nsgre gung, lbh fubhyq raq hc jvgu ahzoref. Vs lbh qba’g unir ahzoref, lbh’yy arrq gb svaq n irel onfvp jnl bs pbairegvat gurz. Guvax N1 Fgrnx Fnhpr. Gura, pbzovar gur ahzoref va vqragvpny pryyf npebff gur funcrf sebz rnpu tevq. Lbh’yy gura arrq gb pbaireg fbzr bs gurz onpx gb ahzoref. Lbh’yy svther bhg juvpu barf.

        • FoxFireX says:

          Naq abcr, fnzr bevragngvba rirel gvzr.

        • Aaron Chan says:

          V tbg n svir yrggre jbeq, naq sbhe yrggref gung V guvax arrqf gb or pbairegrq onpx. Gur jbeq frrzf gb fhttrfg gb pbaireg va n pregnva jnl, ohg abguvat frrzf gb or tvivat gur evtug nafjre ba gur nafjre ragel.

        • Carl W says:

          This is actually a reply to Aaron’s post further down (from “May 29, 2015 at 2:58 PM”), but that post doesn’t seem to have a “Reply” link in my browser for whatever reason.

          V jnf nyfb fghpx sbe fbzr gvzr ybbxvat ng n svir-yrggre jbeq gung nccrnerq gb qrfpevor n pbaarpgvba orgjrra ahzoref naq yrggref. Gung jnfa’g gur evtug gnxr ba guvatf. Cnl cnegvphyne nggragvba gb gur uvqqra vafgehpgvbaf zragvbarq cerivbhfyl urer. Bar va cnegvphyne fubhyq uryc lbh pbzr hc jvgu n fvk-yrggre jbeq vafgrnq.

          I hope that helps.

        • Aaron Chan says:

          Still not getting it. I suck at this mystery hunt type stuff.

        • FoxFireX says:

          Jung vs V fnvq vg jnf n fvk yrggre jbeq naq guerr ahzoref? Gur fvkgu yrggre unf fbzr cbffvoyr nzovthvgl, ohg bar vagrecergngvba tvirf gur evtug nafjre.

        • Aaron Chan says:

          Gheaf bhg V jnf gelvat gb hfr W jura V fubhyq unir orra hfvat F nyy nybat.

  • Swaggy P says:

    I know the answer but still don’t understand hint 1

    • Roger Strain says:

      I believe that referred to gur avar vgnyvpvmrq cuenfrf gung perngr gur vafgehpgvbaf sbe gur chmmyr, fpnggrerq nzbat gur jrrx’f cbfgf. Gung jnf gur erpbzzraqrq beqre gb ernq gur vafgehpgvbaf va.

  • Carl W says:

    Thanks for the help, FoxFireX. With the hints given, I had found everything I needed, but hadn’t combined it all properly, and your extra tips in the comments gave me the nudge I needed to put it all together.

    I too feel like I’ll finally get some mental peace now that I don’t need to worry about this contest solution anymore!

    John, thanks for the excellent debut week, and the fun meta-puzzle.

    I did spend a lot of time looking for information in places where there just plain wasn’t any. Even before the hidden contest was announced, some of the more elaborate puzzle themes and titles from the week stood out to me as if there was something more to them that I was missing. When the contest was announced I thought “Oh, that explains it!” and kept trying to read hidden information from those parts. It’s funny how hard it can be to let go of the wrong track even when it’s not working out…

    With hints 2&3 I knew what I really needed to be looking for, but couldn’t find it anywhere. With hint 4 I finally found all the hidden pieces, but as I said above, I failed to complete the final step without the help from FoxFireX.

  • egrieg says:

    Ok maybe somebody can help me… is ist correct that i am lookimg for N 3k3 oybpx gung unf obgu w naq o ng gur fnzr gvzr evtug? Gur bayl cynpr v sbhaq gung ybbxf erzbgryl yvxr gung vf nyzbfg va gur gbc evtug pbeare bs gur onpn, naq ortvaf jvgu noo va gur gbc ebj. vf guvf gur evtug oybpx? Vs fb, v pnag snaq vg va nal bgure chmmyr, ohg v nyfb unir abg sbhaq nal bgure oybpx gung pbhyq cbffvoyl or w naq o. Am i completely wrong??

    • Roger Strain says:

      Gur funcr lbh arrq unf avar pryyf, ohg vf abg n fdhner. Gur pbagragf bs gur pryyf nera’g gur fvtangher, gur funcr bs gurz vf.

      • egrieg says:

        Thank you so much! That was the hint i needed! I dont know why i made that assumption, maybe i solved too much sudoku lately 😉

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