Are Words Failing You?

  • Posted October 15th, 2007 at 8:00 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Fun

I’m not one of those natural-born puzzle solvers that can complete the Sunday New York Times Crossword in under three minutes. Quite frankly, I have enough trouble completing the Monday Crossword.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working with the gurus at the New York Times on an experiment to help people like me. What would happen if we combined the puzzle-writing genius of the New York Times with some of the recently-launched Search Assist features of Yahoo! Search? You’d get this.

We’ve learned a great deal from Will Shortz and his crew of cruciverbalists (including the meaning of that 15-letter word). For example, I never stopped to consider the fact that crossword developers generally abide by a rigid set of rules guiding construction, including:

ny-times-crossword.jpg

    1. Diagonal symmetry: The pattern of black squares should look the same when rotated 180 degrees.
    2. All-over interlock: The black squares do not cut up the puzzle into separate, distinct sections.
    3. No two-letter words.
    4. No unchecked letters: Every square appears in two words, across and down.
    5. No more than 16 percent of the grid can be black squares.

As far as I know, there’s really no complementary set of rules for puzzle solvers. As a result, we thought it might be fun to connect one of Will’s infamous puzzles to hints from the recently re-launched Yahoo! Search. This puzzle is made for those of us who didn’t come into this world with the natural “crossword gene.” And to up the ante a bit, if you complete it by October 26th, you’ll be in the running to win one of five trips to Hawaii.

Give it a try and let us know what you think. Extra credit if you solve it in under three minutes…

Chris Thun
Yahoo! Search

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