MAD Puzzles

 

MAD Puzzles

Welcome to the MAD Puzzles page.  The page now has two sections of puzzles:

Gram Crackers

  • Puzzles:  Crossword puzzles with a modified (non-square) 11×11 grid; each ”Cracker Pack” includes two crosswords, an A and a B puzzle
  • Schedule:  New pair of puzzles posted every first Monday of the month (beginning Sept. 2010, through at least the end of 2011)
  • Difficulty:  Hard; essentially themeless crosswords and clued accordingly

MAD Crosswords

  • Puzzles:  Standard American crosswords, often 15×15 but grid size may vary
  • Schedule:  Posted on an irregular basis, less frequently than Gram Crackers; includes puzzles posted since the beginning of the MAD site
  • Difficulty:  Varies; the DOW (Day of Week) Scale is a guesstimate at how hard, from MON (easy) through SAT (hard)

All puzzles are available in Across Lite (.puz) and Adobe (.pdf) format.  Whenever a puzzle is added this page, I’ll post a message on the blog.


Preliminaries:

Software:
If you need software, get it here.  It’s free.
Across Lite – Litsoft site (v1.2) or New York Times site (v2.0) (v2.0 recommended)
Adobe Reader — Adobe site


Gram Crackers


Introduction:
  Here.
 
Note:   Gram Crackers come in a two-puzzle “Cracker Pack.”  The PDF version provides both puzzles, A and B, on a single page and displays them as they were intended to be solved.  The answer squares for the top and bottom Across entries in each grid are shaded, and clues for the shaded answers are provided in random order.  (The connection between the top and bottom Across answer in each puzzle will be clear soon enough but is for you to discover.)  The Across Lite version does not display the shaded answer squares (and I’d rather not add circles) and does add three black squares in each corner (aesthetically a distraction, but not something that should affect solving).
 
Recommendation
:  If you plan to print the puzzles, use the PDF version.  You’ll find both puzzles on a single page, which will save paper (and may even aid in solving if you solve the A and B puzzles simultaneously).  If you prefer to solve on your computer using Across Lite, for your first time at least, you may want to look at the PDF version to see how the puzzles are meant to be displayed.
UPDATE (11/1/10):  Beginning with Gram Crackers #3, the random clues for the shaded answers (top and bottom Across answers) are provided in random order within each puzzle, not across both puzzles together.  Look for some variations on this idea in future months.

Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #1
September 2010 (Monday, 9/6/10)

MAD GC #1A_grid     MAD GC #1B_grid
Puzzle Download:
PDF:  Puz A&B
or
Across Lite:  Puz A / Puz B
The first edition of Gram Crackers is ready and waiting.  Enjoy!

Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #2
October 2010 (Monday, 10/4/10)

MAD-GC-2A_grid     MAD-GC-2B_grid
Puzzle Download:
PDF:  Puz A&B
or
Across Lite:  Puz A / Puz B
HI!  The second installment of MAD Gram Crackers is here.  Solve away.

Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #3
November 2010 (Monday, 11/1/10)

MAD-GC-3A_grid     MAD-GC-3B_grid
Puzzle Download:
PDF:  Puz A&B
or
Across Lite:  Puz A / Puz B
The Gram Crackers keep on a-coming.  The November puzzles are here.  Get crackin’!

Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #4
December 2010 (Monday, 12/6/10)

MAD-GC-4A_grid     MAD-GC-4B_grid
Puzzle Download:
PDF:  Puz A&B
or
Across Lite:  Puz A / Puz B
You may notice a third shaded answer in each of the grids this month.  Something a little different.  Give ‘em a try.

Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #5
January 2011 (Monday, 1/3/11)

MAD-GC-5A_grid     MAD-GC-5B_grid

Puzzle Download:
PDF:  Puz A&B
or
Across Lite:  Puz A / Puz B

Simply for aesthetic reasons, you may prefer the PDF versions.  The AL grids are looking a little blocky this month.  Same solving experience, in any case.  Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #6
February 2011 (Monday, 2/7/11)

MAD-GC-6A_grid     MAD-GC-6B_grid

Puzzle Download:
PDF:  Puz A&B
or
Across Lite:  Puz A / Puz B

Gram Crackers may be lighter fare, but they can also be crunchy.  Here’s a pair for February.  Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #7
March 2011 (Monday, 3/7/11)

MAD-GC-7A_grid     MAD-GC-7B_grid

Puzzle Download:
PDF:  Puz A&B
or
Across Lite:  Puz A / Puz B

Gram Crackers:  betcha can’t have just one!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #8
April 2011 (Friday, 4/1/11)

MAD-GC-8A_grid     MAD-GC-8B_grid

Puzzle Download:
PDF:  Puz A&B
or
Across Lite:  Puz A / Puz B

You may notice a striking similarity in the grids for Puzzles A & B, and as you may suspect, that means trickery afoot.  So what’s up?  Here’s the deal, the note for the two puzzles:

Each clue number has two clues, one for Puzzle A and one for Puzzle B.  Which is which?  That’s for you to decide.

Siamese Twins for April Fools.  Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.  (Or not.)


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #9
May 2011 (Monday, 5/2/11)

 MAD-GC-9A_grid     MAD-GC-9B_grid

Puzzle Download:
PDF: Puz A&B
or
Across Lite: Puz A / Puz B

Matching grids again, but no Siamese Twins this month.  Back to the usual routine.  Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #10
June 2011 (Monday, 6/6/11)

MAD-GC-10A_grid     MAD-GC-10B_grid

Puzzle Download:
PDF: Puz A&B
or
Across Lite: Puz A / Puz B

Go get ‘em!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #11
July 2011 (Monday, 7/4/11)

 MAD-GC-11A_grid     MAD-GC-11B_grid

Puzzle Download:
PDF: Puz A&B
or
Across Lite: Puz A / Puz B

The July installment is here:  click and enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #12

August 2011 (Monday, 8/1/11)

     

Puzzle Download:
PDF: Puz A&B
or
Across Lite: Puz A / Puz B

Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #13

September 2011 (Monday, 9/5/11)

    

Puzzle Download:
PDF: Puz A&B
or
Across Lite: Puz A / Puz B

Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #14

October 2011 (Monday, 10/3/11)

    

Puzzle Download:
PDF: Puz A&B
or
Across Lite: Puz A / Puz B

Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #15

November 2011 (Monday, 11/7/11)

    

Puzzle Download:
PDF: Puz A&B
or
Across Lite: Puz A / Puz B

Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


new

Gram Crackers
Cracker Pack #16

December 2011 (Monday, 12/5/11)

    

Puzzle Download:
PDF: Puz A&B
or
Across Lite: Puz A / Puz B

Sixteen months, 32 puzzles, and the Gram Cracker series draws to a close.  Hope you enjoyed them.  For now, I am due for a break.  More puzzles to come someday, somewhere.  Till then…

Answer grid and comments.


MAD Crosswords


MAD Puzzle No. 1
1/1/10
 

John’s First MAD Puz
John's First MAD Puz
DOW Scale:  THU-
When I set up the site I created this Puzzles page, intending it for future use—that is, for some day when I have the time to make puzzles again.  But it seemed rather unsporting to have a Puzzles page without a single puzzle.  So after some late scrambling (cluing was in large part done during a drive to San Diego on Wednesday), you have a puzzle!  (No telling when the next will arrive.)  Hope you like the title–the staff worked round the clock for that one.

Answer grid and comments.


MAD Puzzle No. 2
1/13/10

SSA
SSA
DOW Scale:  WED+
Puzzle No. 2 has arrived.  Enjoy!

Answer grid and comments.


MAD Puzzle No. 3
3/3/10

Themeless
MAD Puzzle 03
DOW Scale:  FRI+
Puzzle No. 3 is here.  Enjoy.

Answer grid and comments.


MAD Puzzle No. 4
3/11/10

Themeless
MAD Puzzle 04
 
DOW Scale:  SAT
Puzzle No. 4 is here.  Enjoy.

Answer grid and comments.


MAD Puzzle No. 5
3/14/10

Standard Deviation
MAD Puzzle 5
 
DOW Scale:  WED
Puzzle No. 5 is here.  As you can see, it’s a Sunday-sized crossword titled “Standard Deviation.”  The preferred format for this one is PDF, since the AL version doesn’t have all the formatting you get with the PDF.  That said, a glance at the picture of the grid above will give you an idea of what the PDF looks like.  The notepad in the AL version has two additional clues.

Enjoy!
Answer grid and comments.


MAD Puzzle No. 6
4/22/10

Themeless
MAD Puzzle 6
 
DOW Scale:  FRI+
Last time I added a themeless, I was apparently off on my DOW Scale guesstimate of difficulty.  This one, I’ll venture to say, is a bit more of a challenge.  Hard for me to know, though.  You tell me.

Answer grid and comments.


MAD Puzzle No. 7
6/30/10

Themeless
MAD Puzzle 7
 
DOW Scale:  FRI
Thanks, if you’ve been waiting patiently for the next puzzle.  Here it is:  another themeless (which more often than not will be the type of puzzles I’ll be posting here), though somewhat bigger than normal.  Enjoy.

MAD Puzzle No. 8
7/16/10
 
What the…?!
MAD Puzzle 8
 
DOW Scale:  THU+
My highly irregular schedule for making puzzles continues.  Not to mention, my prediction about making more themeless puzzles may have been off the mark.  Time will tell.  In any case, MAD Puzzle No. 8 is here.  Enjoy!  (Or else!)

Info
Date Posted: 01 Jan 2010 @ 12:00 AM
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2011 @ 11:25 PM
Posted By: John Farmer
 

Responses to this post » (3 Total)

 
  1. [...] For the third and final day, we have a guest solver picked from our esteemed pool of Wordplay commenters. It’s John Farmer, who’s had 25 puzzles published in The New York Times. He also posts a new puzzle monthly on his Web site. [...]

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