Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 posting schedule

The year of the vowel
courtesy Wikimedia Commons via copyleft,

Happy New Year!

I started Magic Word Square in mid-2008—more than 7,000 posts ago—to explore the fun of mixing words, letters and logic. I hope you enjoy solving these puzzles at least as much as I do creating them. As always, I invite your comments—please let me know what you think!

As the title indicates, 2016 will be the year of the vowel here at Magic Word Square. For the entire year, all words and phrases in all daily puzzles size 8x8 and larger will contain all five vowels A, E, I, O and U. Whenever the puzzle is a hidden word puzzle, instead of the usual anagram giving you the letters in the hidden word, instead I’ll give you what amounts to a letter equation. For example, if the hidden word is ISOBUTANE, instead of the anagram OBTAIN, USE, I’ll give you AEIOU +BNST instead.

For consistency, most hidden word puzzles will use these equations. So a 6x6 puzzle hiding the word OUTLIE down the diagonal will be written as AEIOU -A +LT.

So your first job with hidden word puzzles in 2016 is to figure out what the letters in the word actually are.

Here’s the 2016 posting schedule.

  • Monday: 6x6 Word Sudoku puzzle
    The words used to create the 6x6 puzzles don’t contain all five vowels—there aren’t any English words of six distinct letters that do, as far as I know. So instead every 6x6 Monday puzzle this year contains at least four vowels. And you’ll get a mixture of classic, diagonal and hidden word, instead of all classic.

  • Tuesday: 5x5 or 7x7 Word Sudoku puzzle
    New this year—because I finally figured out how to construct them! As you know, Sudoku puzzle sizes are normally not based on primes; the internal boxes (rectangles or squares) have width and length, and the outside dimension of the puzzle is the product of these two integers. Relaxing the requirement that the internal shapes be rectangular boxes removes the restriction. All the 5-letter words contain at least three vowels; all the 7-letter words contain at least four, and some contain all five. Again, you’ll get some classic, some diagonal and some hidden word.

  • Wednesday: 8x8 Word Sudoku puzzle
    All 8x8 puzzles are AEIOU, but many have a few more twists. Some of the words you’ll uncover are longer than 8 letters—but all the words contain 8 distinct letters. You’ll use a Qudoku grid, copying the letters from the solved 8x8 Word Sudoku puzzle into the quote grid to spell out the longer word. (There aren’t 52 words of exactly eight (distinct) letters that also contain AEIOU. I had to stretch things a bit. You'll find some French, some Latin, and a bunch of longer words or phrases that use the same 8 distinct letters--and nothing else.)

  • Thursday: 9x9 Word Sudoku puzzle
    All the 9x9 puzzles use words containing all five vowels. Classic, diagonal and hidden words varieties will mix it up.

  • Friday: 10x10 Word Sudoku puzzle
    All the 10x10 puzzles use words containing all five vowels. Classic, diagonal and hidden words varieties will mix it up.

  • Saturday: Swifty Sudoku

  • Sunday: ‘Punnish’ Word Sudoku puzzle, and sometimes a 12x12 Word Sudoku puzzle
    All the 12x12 puzzles use words containing all five vowels; all are hidden word puzzles. But for these large puzzles I’ll supply anagrams instead of letter equations. (They’re hard enough without the extra bit!)

A Swifty Sudoku puzzle spells out a hopefully very bad adverbial pun named after (and loosely based on) the wonderful children’s books about fictional character Tom Swift. The series authors hardly ever used the verb “said” by itself. A Swifty pun takes Tom’s speaking style to the max on the absurd scale, as in:

Parsley, sage, rosemary," said Tom timelessly.”


Let's go for another gallop," Tom recanted.

Solve the individual Word Sudoku puzzles and place the circled letters in the corresponding numbered quote grid to spell out the pun. Then groan aloud!

A Punnish Word Sudoku puzzle set spells out a more general pun; our theme this year continues last year’s “Never die” puns—as in:

Old lumberjacks never die, they just split.”

I’m omitting the state and President series in 2016 because I’ve gathered a new round of these fun puzzles into a book on Amazon.

So in 2016, I’m posting about 500 Word Sudoku puzzles, mixing in new sizes, some new twists and worse puns.

And lots and lots of vowels. About 200 words contain all five vowels, and every daily puzzle’s word contains at least three.

I look forward to your comments: Please let me know what you think.

A note to those curious about how I construct these puzzles...I use a combination of Crossword Compiler, MaaTec Sudoku and a number of my own programs to construct, double-check and adorn (such as the Qudoku circles and the second diagonals).

I highly recommend Crossword Compiler for anyone who wants to make crosswords or Sudoku puzzles of the standard sizes--and that's just scratching the surface of what Crossword Compiler can do. I can't live without an accompanying (separate) program WordWeb Pro. And did I mention the extensive word lists that come with the grid filler? Anyone serious about constructing virtually any kind of word puzzle should be using Crossword Compiler.

MaaTec constructs prime grid sizes (5x5 and 7x7) and constructs standard size puzzles with nonstandard internal shapes. I use it to double-check that the beginning grids of my 5x5 and 7x7 Sudoku puzzles have unique solutions. It's quite simple to use and can provide beginners with simple, small Sudoku puzzles to learn how to tackle bigger puzzles--and ones using words!

A second note to those of you wondering: Is that really a word? I use the marvelous online dictionary OneLook as my general judge: If it's in OneLook, I use it. If it's not, I sometimes choose to use it anyway, but not very often.


All puzzles and text contained in this blog are copyright © 2008-2016, David H. Thompson. All rights reserved.
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