April 06, 2006

If you want to check your work

Here's my solution grid for the Starbucks tiebreaker puzzle (which I assume was constructed by Patrick Berry and edited by Will Shortz, though there was no byline on the PDF). Where there are two letters in a circle, one of the letters from each down answer should be dropped (e.g., 14 Across, "Hammer," is RAM after the H and O are dropped). You can obtain the blank grid and clues here (thanks for posting it, serendipity).

The dropped letters, read in the numerical order of the Down entries, spell out the final question, of course.

I'm sure I could have solved the puzzle on my own, but 80% of the grid was filled out cooperatively with my talented teammates, Marty Howard, Vic Fleming, and Bonnie Gentry. It was a treat to have a puzzle so challenging that it lent itself to group solving—I can't imagine doing that on a standard daily puzzle, which I can finish more quickly by myself.