Puzzle #99 – Red Balloons

Reminder: Lollapuzzoola 7 is next weekend in Manhattan. Go to there.

Confused about this week’s puzzle? Here’s a hint, ROT13’d: onyybbaf vf n ireo.

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12 Responses to Puzzle #99 – Red Balloons

  1. mathgrant says:

    I had to cheat liberally to get through all those random proper nouns and stuff that I would have had no chance in Hell of getting otherwise. Are there seriously people with a huge enough memory bank for random crap like Doctor Who actors and New York Knicks that can solve this without Google or anything? O_O;;;

    I need puzzles with fewer letters in them. Those are less daunting. Pent Words only has 100 letters to deal with; try that. Kappa

  2. Giovanni P. says:

    Oh, I was a bit afraid when you previewed the grid on Twitter. I wasn’t expecting that though. Nice work.

    @mathgrant: Such is the nature of the crossword I’m afraid. No one will know everything, but hopefully the crossings or other entries will give you an idea about what is required.

    I like Neville’s crosswords because they hit that sweet spot of pop culture and colloquialisms that falls right in my wheelhouse. I still do have to look up stuff here and in other puzzles from time to time, but I’m not left to wallow in obscurity as much as I might in say, a Times puzzle. That’s for a different audience than me though, so it’s appropriate. Different strokes for different solvers I suppose.

    Thanks Neville. Looking forward to #100.

  3. clay says:

    That whole middle section was a pointless gimmick. Boo!!!!

  4. Jim says:

    I quite disagree with clay and mathgrant for a couple of reasons:

    1) I know nothing about Dr. Who, yet the crosses were totally fair, so I inferred. Had he clued it an easier Matt, it would not have been interesting. “Dr. Who” is a pretty damn big deal… so even though I don’t follow it, I now appreciate that I know this bit of trivia.

    2) I NEVER EVER watch basketball, but once I got CAR- I knew the answer. Why? Because I have ears and occasionally listen to the news- where he is often a topic of discussion.

    3) To “boo” someone who offers his clever work at no cost to you is just plain rude. It’s an absurd, but clever puzzle (see 11-Down). Neville has every reason to celebrate his 99th puzzle by having fun with it.

    Thanks Neville. Very much looking forward to your next one.

    (on a side note… Acrosslite filled in red marks for me when I turned on the cheats for the center section… it makes it really funny… because it looks like a bunch of red balloons in the center! I’m assuming that was unintentional… but still…)

    • mathgrant says:

      I never meant to imply the puzzle was bad; I was merely commenting on how much I suck at it. I actually thought it was well done. I would like to rebut your point about getting those particular answers from the crossings, though, by adding that I never got the crossings! I had maybe 10% of the grid, maybe even less, filled in on my own brainpower. ._.;;

      • Jim says:

        New York Times releases a puzzle that’s perfect for you then… it comes out every Monday.

  5. jpahk says:

    at least you guys got to *see* the clues for MATT (i’m guessing smith of doctor who?) and CARMELO (well, there’s only one CARMELO—but he’s very, very famous). i was using only the down clues, and tried very hard to make TANGELO fit there once i had _A__ELO.

    i admit that the stacked 15s were the reason i tried this downs-only, but it was a fun solve anyway. i’m not sure i quite “got” the theme even once i had all the squares correctly filled in (except for square #47, where i unsuccessfully tried T), but it made sense once neville hinted that i should think of the second word of the title as a verb.

  6. Jeff G. says:

    I thought the difficulty level was just right. Had to look up a few, but I always like to learn some new things with a puzzle. I agree that Neville’s puzzles have the right balance of pop culture and other items. The Red Balloons were a nice extra treat to celebrate puzzle #99. Looking forward to #100 and many more! Thanks Neville!

  7. sandirhodes says:

    C’mon! RED balloons into this huge part of the grid! It’s just one word – red – that has expanded in all directions. Like a ballon. Sheesh.

    When I first saw the grid, my first thought was OMG! A QUINT stack! I had almost everything filled in except the center section before I finally got it. I had been looking for a 4-letter word that repeated in the theme answers to make new definitions. I was prepared to be awed by the brilliance of it all. But imagining the grid as a skinny 3 in the middle that has blown up is cool too. Tying it in with your post number and Nena is awesome, and contributes to the rating (10A you-know-who would be proud!). Is the stack a cheat? No way. It’s an attribute.

    Nice puz.

  8. Frank says:

    I’ve an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed

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