Puzzle #1 – First Things First… and Second

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for crosswords. Welcome to my new puzzle site – I’m posting a new puzzle here every Friday. You see those two buttons at the top of the post? Click one to download the puzzle. For more on the file formats (and much much more), check out the FAQ. If you’re not a regular puzzle solver, don’t be completely thrown by the “easy” category for this puzzle; it might still be hard for you. If this is the case, I recommend using the .puz file because you can easily configure it to check your answers as you go. (That’s right – you can solve from the comfort of your computer without printing, if you like.) NB: Matt Gaffney has informed me that if you’re in Firefox, you should probably click “save” instead of “open” if you’re getting the .puz file… unless you like random ASCII characters. You can also select Across Lite as the program to open with, but that can be tricky.

This puzzle’s the first one here, so I tried to make it pretty straightforward – don’t want to scare anyone off just yet. But just because I think it’s easy doesn’t mean it is – so please take my categorization with a grain of salt. Harder puzzles are ready to run here in the coming weeks; you’ve been warned. I thought this would be a nice first puzzle; hopefully you caught on to the theme quickly. Your thoughts? Feel free to spoil anything you want in the comments. I look forward to reading what you’ve got to say so that I can write better and better puzzles. (But go easy on me – it’s not just this site’s birthday. It’s my birthday, too!) Plus, there’s a star rating system at the bottom of this post. Go ahead and judge away down there.

I hope you’ll come back each Friday for a new puzzle. In the mean time, check out some of the indie puzzles I’ve linked to in the sidebar on the right. Each of those fellows have had a hand in inspiring this site in one way or another, so give ‘em a click when you’ve got a minute to spare. And if you want a reminder to come back each week, you can follow me on Twitter or like this site on Facebook. Or you can write it on your calendar, just like I do. Click here for the puzzle’s solution – thanks, Jeanie! You’ll see the button layout at the top now has a solution button.

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29 Responses to Puzzle #1 – First Things First… and Second

  1. I really enjoyed your puzzle – loved the theme! I am not a bit prejudiced! Happy Birthday! Love, Mom

  2. Katherine says:

    This may not be a problem for regular crossworders, but I had to download Across Lite to solve it in a .puz. You can get it here: http://www.fileinfo.com/extension/puz

    So excited to solve it! Happy birthday!!!

  3. Jeanie says:

    Sorry, I guess I should’ve left my comment here: Do you have the solution posted somewhere?

    • Neville says:

      Jeanie, I hadn’t even thought about that! Thank you so much!

      The .puz file will confirm when you’re right with a happy pencil icon, but that’s no good if you’re a print-and-play solver. I can’t get a nice image here at the office, but I’ll have one up this afternoon – by 3PM EDT at the latest.

      Also, I just clicked the link to your site. I’ve never been there before, but I can see already that I’ll be spending a lot of time there!

      • Jeanie says:

        Thank you, Neville, for posting the solution and for visiting my site! I appeared on Jeopardy! in March and am now focusing on crossword puzzles. I was a rookie at the 2010 ACPT, and a blogger there inspired my own blog.
        I post my times on Dan’s blog, but I didn’t want to post this one until I was sure I didn’t have any mistakes. And I am a pen-and-paper solver. ;-)

      • Neville says:

        Very nice! I’m an avid Jeopardy! fan myself – some people here can attest to my 60-comment Facebook threads full of remarks each night. I was on a Back to School Week episode myself back in 2000. Hopefully you fared a little better than I did :)

        The link’s now up there at the end of the post… but here’s another right here. I’ll neaten it all up for next week’s post so that you can just click a button and have it pop up. Thanks again for the note! (Also: I made it to Dan’s Not-a-Blog? Awesome!)

  4. Al Sanders says:

    Nice puzzle, Neville, thanks for posting! Looking forward to future Fridays.

  5. Andrew Feist says:

    Didn’t grok the theme until I was done. Also I don’t remember my old advertising, apparently. Otherwise, well done!

  6. Scott Hoover says:

    Enjoyed the puzzle. I was struggling a bit before lunch (I kept wondering what dimple-related keepsakes babies might make…), but a burger and frozen yogurt removed the cobwebs and all became clear. Looking forward to more puzzles. Also…I watched a few “Fool Us” segments. You are right–should be required viewing for Puzzles students.

  7. brucesutphin says:

    Fun puzzle Neville. I didn’t see the theme until I was done, but enjoyed it when I did see it. I added your puzzle to Dan’s blog, I hope he (and you) don’t mind. Happy birthday and I look forward to future puzzles on the site.

  8. Kyle D. says:

    Thanks for the cool puzzle! Good luck with the blog.

  9. Norm says:

    Came here via Matt’s place. Your professed penchant for current names and pop culture may keep me from taking up residence, but we shall see, At least, I’m forewarned, which I appreciate. Nice puzzle today, although I though 56A was kind of weak as far as “second” was concerned.

    • Neville says:

      Thanks for giving it a shot, Norm! I may have overstated those things a little – it’s just more than you’d find in your paper puzzle, so I hope you’ll come back :)

  10. janie says:

    happy birthday, neville — with wishes for many, many more!
    and what a great way to get the festivities in gear. that was one sweet puzz! as al, suggests, you’ve given us another reason to say tgif!

    ;-)

  11. Katherine says:

    Sackman and I have completed it! I needed some help from him, but I appreciated knowing about the (rot13) ZPQYG since it was one of the few he didn’t know.

  12. Happy B-Day! Took me a few seconds, but got it done and fully grokked. Just tricky enough a theme to elude me until partway through, and only a couple of TV references tripped me up :). Looking forward to the next one.

  13. Neville says:

    In re 27A: He’s so much perkier than George Costanza! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTSdUOC8Kac

    Thanks for the birthday wishes and your thoughts on this inaugural puzzle – it’s always great to get solver feedback – especially from some of the pros here. See you next Friday!

  14. Dave says:

    Thanks for the puzzle Neville. I’m pretty sure that I figured out the meta, but when will you print the answer (or is there a way to get it now)?

    • Neville says:

      Hi, Dave. Not so much a meta here – it’s just that each of the five longest across answers has two words, and each can be preceded by the word “first” (as clued by the title). so the first part of each theme entry is a “first,” as is the second. But you’d already figured that out, I’m sure.

      So I guess to answer your question – I’m spoiling that right here, right now! :) It’s not so much a meta answer as it is just a plain old theme, so it’s there for you to discover on your own. But if you think you’re missing something, feel free to ask here in the comments.

      • Dave says:

        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I’d definitely consider the answer a meta. I’m already looking forward to Friday.

      • Neville says:

        Fair enough, then! :) See you next week, Dave – I’m looking forward to it, too!

  15. Peter Broda says:

    Happy belated birthday, Neville, and thanks for the fun puzzle!

  16. Jeff G. says:

    Happy belated b-day! Enjoyed the puzzle. Sorry so late to comment, I saw Matt’s shout-out on MGWCC, but was on vacation. Looks like I’ll have puzzle #2 to keep me busy now. Thanks for sharing!

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