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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fun and Games!

A few weeks ago, I used the power of NetFlix to snag myself a copy of Patrick Creadon's Wordplay--which for those of you who don't know is a fantastic, highly enjoyable documentary about the high-stakes world of crossword puzzle competitions--my interest in crosswords has really come back. Of course, it only took about five minutes for me to remember what killed that interest in the first place: The fact that I am not very good at them.

Seriously, I've only managed to finish one newspaper crossword puzzle in my entire life, and that was last week. It's annoying, because while I like to think I'm pretty good at throwing around a hefty vocabulary, they never seem to write clues geared towards my... well, let's just call it a "specific" brand of knowledge.

And that's what brings us to tonight's fun-filled installment of the ISB, where I attempt to put everybody on a level playing field! I spent the better part of the day crafting my own puzzle, specifically calibrated to the things you've read about on this very blog. Check it out:

(Click for a larger, print-ready version)

This is, of course, nowhere near any sort of standards that you'd find in a print puzzle, what with the fact that it lacks any sort of symmetry whatsoever and tends to involve a lot of answers that have something to do with someone getting punched in the face. It is, in fact, a lot closer to the crosswords my pal Tim and I used to make up on notebook paper to kill time in high school, which tended to revolve around in-jokes and references to--I swear this is true--Martin Lawrence's triumphant caper epic, Blue Streak.

Also of note, in a few places, you'll notice that the clues are denoted by blue letters instead of black numbers. This is because I'm almost as bad at making crossword puzzles as I am at doing them, and forgot to label a few spaces when I finished up the grid, and didn't notice them until I was going through writing the clues. For the sake of my fragile ego, though, let's just pretend that they're, I dunno, bonus points or something.

And yes, I'm well aware that labeling crossword clues with letters is pretty self-deafeating. And there's one clue that, well, you'll see when you get to it. Deal with it, homies!

Anyway, grab a pencil, print one off, and get ready to kill about five minutes. It's Clue Time!


1. Mine, specifically.
4. Probably the best super-hero comic in the universe.
8. Simon Stagg's trump card: The Orb of __!
9. Balent's often-nude sorceress.
13. Bill the Thrill.
14. Glass, of This American Life fame.
15. The Punisher's war.
16. The future's most hideous savior.
20. Superman's opponent in a 1978 special.
21. The Legion's authority. (Abbr.)
22. Everyone's favorite TV Detective! (Initials)
23. Ze greatest fightair in ze world!
25. Amazons, Wildstorm style.
26. An Ivy League school, or John Ostrander's late wife.
27. News organization regularly scooped by the Daily Planet.
28. Blue Blazes! It's the most way-out hero of 'em all!
32. George Tarleton's acronymic codename.
34. Krypton's sun.
37. A commonly-heard phrase regarding mind-blowing events where Batman, auto parts, or bear-fighting are key factors.
39. A degree of experience, to the Order of the Stick. (Abbr)
42. Serpent from The Jungle Book.
43. 5th-dimensional pest control, useful every 90 days.
44. Prefix with "cop," or anything that needs a bit of mechanical mayhem.
46. Vampire-hunting Federal Marshal of dubious character.
47. Monster-hunting Nextwave heiress.
49. Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli's look at a war-torn NYC.
51. Argon or Krypton to Rex Mason.
52. The crazier of the two Bobs of Silver Age DC.
56. Stephen Strange, informally.
57. Shorthand for Batman's oldest ongoing.
58. One half of the team behind Sexy Lady Ultron.
59. ___ Brande, 31st Century financier.
61. Danny and Luke when they're on the clock.
66. Peter's love.
67. Deceased bandmate of 10-Down.
68. Daredevil, to Foggy.
69. Like Kara, Streaky, or Comet.
70. Dave Campbell's is pretty popular.


1. Tokyo's most badass high school.
2. Zeta beam destination.
3. Bad, Sad, or Mad.
4. Owner of a pair of nuclear underpants and one devastating head of hair.
5. The richest girl at RHS.
6. Station where you'd likely hear 14-Across.
7. Automotive weapon, or the act of hitting someone with it.
10. Wu-Tang producer who scored Kill Bill.
11. Solomon Stone's touch of class.
12. The King.
16. Information displayed on a screen overlaid on the user's view. (Abbr.)
17. Bone-shattering Brave and the Bold artist.
18. The Punisher, to his friends. If he had any, I mean.
24. Manhunter's Chase, informally.
BLUE CLUE A: Genre of Housewives at Play. Or, y'know, Tarot.
28. Konshu's satellite.
29. A crushing wall or pit of quicksand.
30. See 34-Across.
31. Luke Cage.
32. Sterling or Mignola.
33. The Go Man, as seen in Teen Titans.
35. Rocky star of Marvel Two-In-One, to pals.
36. Jennifer or Bruce.
37. "Fear not, Sif! For the Odinson shall strike down ___ frost giants with mine Uru mallet!"
BLUE CLUE B: The guardians of continuity in the Marvel Universe (Abbr).
BLUE CLUE C: Chief rival of 41-Down.
40. Comedian known for being a fucking badass.
41. Superman's girl friend.
43. Art practiced by LaRusso, Armorr, and Oyama.
44. Ed Brubaker's radical AIM splinter group.
45. Yeah, I totally messed up on this one and misspelled it. It's DESRUCTO, but it should be "DESTRUCTO," Lex Luthor's Super-Dog. I'm really not very good at this, apparently.
48. The living fascist apiary.
49. With "art," the design style seen in Batman: The Animated Series.
50. Mine, in general.
53. Ogre's lament.
54. Reed's college roommate.
55. Deaf assassin sent after Daredevil. Or, what a duck's quack doesn't do.
BLUE CLUE D: Conan's curse.
BLUE CLUE E: Avoided being seen.
BLUE CLUE F: Eye-themed Ghost Rider foe who got the crap kicked out of him by Zarathos.
60. Parker's boss, to friends.
62. Saturn Girl's power.
64. Queen of Faeries.
65. Luda's stomping grounds (Abbr).

Hope you guys have fun with it. As for me, I'm thinking of taking up Sudoku.


Blogger Jon said...

I don't understand, you didn't put enough squares in 4 across for "Birds Of Prey"


2/11/2007 2:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...while I like to think I'm pretty good at throwing around a hefty vocabulary..."

I statement I will contest based on your overuse of the words awesome, badass, radical, and the fact that this very post scored a reading level of only 7.1 in Microsoft Word.

2/11/2007 2:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A statement I will contest I mean.

2/11/2007 2:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above comment has to be the longest crossword clue I've ever read.

Is the answer oil?


2/11/2007 10:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

70. Dave Campbell's is pretty popular.

"MOM" doesn't fit.

2/11/2007 11:16 AM

Blogger Jeff said...

3 down and 33 down are all that stand between me and victory!

curse you, sims!

2/11/2007 12:06 PM

Blogger Luke McKinney said...

Groovy to branch out, but if you're making a crossword PUT THE NUMBER OF LETTERS AFTER THE CLUE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Reading clue then going to count the number of spaces slows the whole thing down to a terrible crawl.

Because, you know, somebody doing a crossword is obviously in a hurry.

2/11/2007 12:22 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

25-Across/16-Down and 33-Down are holding me up.

19-Down and (for some reason) 4-Across took a while.

43-Across was definitely the best clue, and I was convinced 51-Across was either "arm" or "leg." :)

2/11/2007 12:39 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Er, sorry — 4-Down was actually the one that held me up.

2/11/2007 12:40 PM

Blogger Michael Strauss said...

If the internet was a competition, Chris, then I've gonna have to declare you the winner.

Extremely hungover on a Sunday afternoon, my printer was springing into action before I got down to reading any of the clues. This was exactly what my coffee needed riding shotgun. Plus, it gave me cause to shout 54 down and D down back-to-back. Good times.

After answering 18 and 32 down, I just went right ahead and filled in 32 across before reading the clue because, really, what else was gonna go in there? Glad to see I was right.

One complaint though. For 31 down, neither "badass", "awesome" nor "Sweet Christmas!" fit in that space.

2/11/2007 1:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

4 is too long for NEXTWAVE and too short for NEXTWAVE AGENTS OF H.A.T.E.
I'm stumped.

2/11/2007 2:20 PM

Blogger David said...

Great, you made me lose my afternoon, I haven't done my paper, and I still don't know who the Go Man is...

2/11/2007 4:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, that's a possibly.

Nextwave merits a indubitably.
must be something else.

2/11/2007 5:24 PM

Blogger SallyP said...

Oh Chris...what have you unleashed?

2/12/2007 9:22 AM

Blogger Zeke said...

I love what you did with the top and bottom rows, Chris -- and I seem to be the first one to catch it (or at least to catch it and say so). What do I win?

- Z

2/13/2007 2:53 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Zeke: No prizes, but I'm glad somebody mentioned it. I thought it was pretty clever.

2/17/2007 2:51 AM


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