Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Silicon Valley Puzzle Day - 2009

ganesh-t-s Guest post by Ganesh TS, about the cryptic crossword workshop conducted by him at Silicon Valley Puzzle Day 2009. He shares with us the workshop slides and the tournament crossword puzzle.

The workshop material is an excellent starting point for cryptic crossword beginners. Try out the tournament puzzle, use the comments section to discuss the puzzle and its solution. The official solution to the puzzle will be posted on this blog in a couple of weeks.

Cryptic Crosswords Workshop

We had the annual Silicon Valley Puzzle Day this year on Feb 7 - 8. 2009.
On Feb 7th, we had the workshop, which I repeated from the previous edition, albeit, with slight modifications to include examples from American cryptic puzzles. You can take a look at the workshop slides by clicking on the link below.


silicon-valley-puzzle-day-workshop-slides

 

Workshop Slides PDF

Tournament Puzzle

The cryptic crossword tournament was conducted on Feb 8th. The time limit for the puzzle was 30 minutes. To solve the puzzle, click on the link below.

 

puzzle-day-crossword

 

 

 

Puzzle PDF

Puzzle Clue Text

Across
5 It is wrong to box lithium and cobalt with a semiconductor (7)
6 Pay the check and pick this up (3)
8 Virginia’s loud cry on being sent back to the glen (6)
9 Norse god obtains unlimited halogen (4)
10 Absent sick (3)
11 Lose the right to turn away when rotated (4)
12 Reposed in conversation on the way (4)
13 Acrimony results when audit organization in the Orient gets rid of Pole (3)
15 In the alto, psalms are of the highest quality (4)
16 Mystery of the wail surrounding the unknown couple (6)
17 Actress Doris put off by the Spanish censoring (3)
18 Poison produced when electric current is passed through octane mixture (7)
Down
1 Call ERP software professional inside around 5 and rebuke (11)
2 Fiddler who may draw a bow (9)
3 Renovate old Japanese capital (5)
4 Reason for Capone to leave Roman country (follows notarial blunder) (11)
7 Is a certain insect disallowed in this secure area? (2-3,4)
14 Deal with revolutionary Henry marks the beginning of a historic period (5)

Discuss The Puzzle

Use the comment section on this post to discuss the tournament puzzle and its solution. Clues you liked most or found the hardest to solve, how long it took you to complete the puzzle (the tournament time limit was 30 minutes) or anything else about the puzzle. It would be a good idea to restrict yourself to 1 answer a day so that other visitors to the blog have a chance to participate in the action.

-------

The official solution to the puzzle will be published on Crossword Unclued in a few weeks. If you wish to keep track of further articles on Crossword Unclued, you can subscribe to it in a reader via RSS Feed. You can also subscribe by email and have articles delivered to your inbox.

36 comments

ROW said...

While on the commute to my office, I sometime try to peep on my friends crossword grid which she carries daily w/o fail. Let me tell you, I find it hard even to crack a single one.

Going by that this one seems to be purposefully built for tiros like me. :)

I got this at the first glance(not sure though whether it is correct)...I thought of ILL, MAD and OFF ...OFF seems most logical of the three.

10 Absent sick (3) : OFF

Shuchi said...

ROW: You've got that right!
You'll be able to crack more if only you persist! Thanks to Ganesh, he's got you trying :)

Rajani said...

My answer for today: (I'm a newbie, actually this is the only one I've solved so far :))
15A: In the alto, psalms are of the highest quality (4) TOPS (hidden word)

I am curious, did the tournament winners finish the whole puzzle in 30 minutes? Were they complete beginners or had some experience with cryptic crosswords?

Ganesh T S said...

Both OFF and TOPS are correct.

@Rajani:

As I had mentioned in my interview, no one managed to get all the 18 right within the 30 minutes.

We had 3 people getting 17 out of the 18 right. One of the top 3 entries belonged to a person who had never before solved a cryptic crossword puzzle in her life, and had gotten introduced to it the previous day in the workshop. I think the others had varying degrees of familiarity with cryptics (I remember that some of the participants had attended my workshop in the previous years too)

raghunath said...

Easy ones were:
6 Pay the check and pick this up (3)

8 Virginia’s loud cry on being sent back to the glen (6)

15 In the alto, psalms are of the highest quality (4)

13 Acrimony results when audit organization in the Orient gets rid of Pole (3) [Should know name of the US I.Tax orgn.]

17 Actress Doris put off by the Spanish censoring (3)

18 Poison produced when electric current is passed through octane mixture (7) Very Nicely constructed!

DOWN
2 Fiddler who may draw a bow (9)
3 Renovate old Japanese capital (5)
7 Is a certain insect disallowed in this secure area? (2-3,4)

I have put down the answer to most difficult of these easy ones:
7 Is a certain insect disallowed in this secure area? (2-3,4)
NO FLY ZONE. I hope this is correct as I have not solved 4 D.

Also to solve 5 A, 9 A, 11 A, 1 D.

Shuchi said...

7D: NO FLY ZONE is correct. This was one of my favourite clues in this puzzle.

4D is really clever too, I bet you'll have an "Ah!" moment once you crack it.

Rajani said...

Thanks for the tournament details Ganesh. It gives me a bit of consolation to know that I don't lag too far behind among the newbies. I'm impressed that someone who had never solved a cryptic puzzle before ended in the top 3.

With raghunath's answer I got a helpful "Z" in 16A, with that the solution fell into place. So my answer for today:

16 Mystery of the wail surrounding the un-known couple (6) PUZZLE
Definition is Mystery, wail=PULE, unknown=Z, couple is two Zs = ZZ
PULE surrounding ZZ.

raghunath said...

Shuchi,

I know 4 D is to with the Mafia, but am at a loss, although I have the corresponding AC clues.

raghunath said...

on second thoughts, Mafia might not be connected with 4 D. Could it be rationality?

Ganesh T S said...

RATIONALITY, NO FLY ZONE and PUZZLE are all correct solutions.

raghunath said...

Ganesh,

What's the Anno with Rationality? I could only figure out AL? From NOTARIAL blunder i get RATIONAL, but ITY, but this is from the hint in the brackets? Any background information of American Mafia involved?

Brajesh said...

raghunath, I think Roman country is ITALY, and you get AL (Capone) to leave from it, this means ITALY - AL = ITY.

One answer contribution from me:
2 Down: VIOLINIST

raghunath said...

Thanks Brajesh

Shuchi said...

Hi Ganesh, My own experience with the puzzle:

I was actually stuck with the little one 12A till the end. I kept thinking of LENT but that didn't fit with the wordplay. As it turned out, the solution was much simpler.

I also didn't spot the theme while solving. Only when all the answers were filled in did it dawn on me.

This is a great puzzle for beginners to whet their skills with. My compliments to you for creating it.

raghunath said...

My Answer quota for the day:

5 Across:
It is wrong to box lithium and cobalt with a semiconductor (7)

SILICON: [SI+{LI+CO}+N](Hope I got the Anno symbols corectly)
Wrong= SIN, lithium and cobalt = LI and CO elemental symbols.

Though the solution is correct, why should Wrong be combined with Li and Co, when the clue does not say so? Is the construction framed correctly. Or is it compiler's licence? I am a novice in solving CWs but am puzzled by the clue.

raghunath said...

My answer for the day:

1 Down. Call ERP software professional inside around 5 and rebuke (11) DISAPPROVAL

Soln: Call = DIAL, ERP software = SAP, professional = PRO, around 5 = V[ Silicon Valley]. Though I had the answer, I worked back the Annotation.

Brajesh said...

9 Across is probably ODIN ("Norse God") but I don't see the rest of the wordplay.

raghunath, 5 Across has the words "to box" in it, that means SIN contains LI and CO.

raghunath said...

Brajesh,

9 Norse god obtains unlimited halogen (4)

IODINE is a Halogen. Unlimited supply means to remove limits of IODINE, i.e I and E and you are left with ODIN.

BTW thanks for the anno on 5 Across.

Brajesh said...

Thanks raghunath. I had been thinking of chemical symbols for halogens all along. Your explanation makes it seem so simple.

thushar said...

i'd like to put down an answer,

11A Lose the right to turn away when rotated (4) SPUN (spurn - r)

Shuchi said...

Taking stock: We're at the halfway-mark now. Out of 18 clues, 9 are solved and 9 yet to go.

The ones remaining for solving are:

Across
6 Pay the check and pick this up (3)
8 Virginia’s loud cry on being sent back to the glen (6)
12 Reposed in conversation on the way (4)
13 Acrimony results when audit organization in the Orient gets rid of Pole (3)
17 Actress Doris put off by the Spanish censoring (3)
18 Poison produced when electric current is passed through octane mixture (7)

Down
2 Fiddler who may draw a bow (9)
3 Renovate old Japanese capital (5)
14 Deal with revolutionary Henry marks the beginning of a historic period (5)

raghunath said...

Shuchi,

Since we are reqtricted by the quota of one answer per day, mine for today is:

18 Poison produced when electric current is passed through octane mixture (7) ACONITE.

Symbol for 'electric current' in Science is 'i', hence OCTANE + I = ACONITE.

Anonymous said...

14 Deal with revolutionary Henry marks the beginning of a historic period (5) EPOCH.

The explanation: Turn around the word for "deal with" (COPE) and put it next to H (from Henry).

raghunath said...

8 Virginia’s loud cry on being sent back to the glen (6) VA LLEY.

Virginia =VA, LLEY <- [Loud Cry = Yell]. VALLEY = Glen.

Shuchi said...

6 remain now:

Across
6 Pay the check and pick this up (3)
12 Reposed in conversation on the way (4)
13 Acrimony results when audit organization in the Orient gets rid of Pole (3)
17 Actress Doris put off by the Spanish censoring (3)

Down
2 Fiddler who may draw a bow (9)
3 Renovate old Japanese capital (5)

Col_Gopinath said...

12 Reposed in conversation on the way (4)
LANE (Lain in conversation)

Chaturvasi said...

17 Actress Doris put off by the Spanish censoring (3) DAY

DAY (Actress Doris) after deleting EL (the Spanish) from DELAY (put off)

Brajesh said...

2 Down: Fiddler who may draw a bow (9)VIOLINIST (cryptic definition?)

raghunath said...

13 Acrimony results when audit organization in the Orient gets rid of Pole (3)IRE.

Income Tax Authority in USA is IRS [Internal Revenue Service] and hence is an audit organization. Substituting E[Orient] for S[Pole], we have IRE = Acrimony.

Brajesh said...

3 Renovate old Japanese capital (5) should be TOKYO. It's a "renovation" that is anagram of KYOTO, the old Japanese capital.

What is the theme???

Ankur Jain said...

Brajesh, the answers for across clues 5, 8, 16,17 make up the theme. See it now? :)

raghunath said...

6 Across
Pay the check and pick this up (3)
: TAB

Check in American Eng is Cheque [Br.]. Check is also to keep a Tab on someone/ something. You also pay the cheque and foot the bill. Hence, as my mind is spinning:

CHECK = TAB= CHEQUE= BILL... I cannot define this wordplay!

Shuchi said...

raghunath, I would simply call it a cryptic definition. To pick up the tab is to pay the check (cheque) or foot the bill.

raghunath said...

Shuchi,

What I am trying to get at in this particular clue is that, CHECK in the US is CHEQUE in BR. CHECK is also to keep a TAB and TAB in this case is BILL, and I suppose that in the US when you pay the CHECK, you pay the BILL!

raghunath said...

What is the status?

Shuchi said...

Looks like its all wrapped up. Congrats on a terrific group effort.

Let us wait for Ganesh to publish the official solution/feedback. A couple of weeks, as promised.