Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ooh, The Creative Challenge

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Take a seven-by-seven square grid. Arrange the names of U.S. cities or towns in regular crossword fashion inside the grid so that the cities used have the highest possible total population, according to the 2010 Census. For example, if you put Chicago in the top row and Houston in the sixth row, both reading across, and then fit Atlanta, Oakland and Reno coming down, you'll form a mini-crossword. And the five cities used have a total population, according to the 2010 census, of 5,830,997. You can do better.

As in a regular crossword, the names must read across and down only. Every name must interlock with at least one other name. And no two letters can touch unless they are part of a name.

What is the highest population total you can achieve? And when you send in your answer, please include the names of the cities, in order, across and down.
This should be fun.

Here's what Ross has offered: If you send your entry IN AN EMAIL, not in a comment (!), he'll use his crossword constructing software to make your puzzle all pretty. We'll then use YOUR puzzles as our art work in the "answer" post on Thursday, October 24. The email address is Ross (at) Crosswordman (dot) com.

Oh, and of course you should send your answer in to NPR using their lovely, if a bit shy, contact form.

For this week, let's look at some of the more populous cities, shall we? You can click through on any of the photos, but for the top ten cities, here's Wiki's list.

Time for
This is where we ask you how many entries you think NPR will get for the challenge above. If you want to win, leave a comment with your guess for the range of entries NPR will receive. First come first served, so read existing comments before you guess. Or skip the comments and send an email with your pick to Magdalen (at) Crosswordman (dot) com. Ross and I guess last, just before we publish the Thursday post. After the Thursday (10/24) post is up, the entries are closed. The winner gets a puzzle book of our choosing or a contribution to The One Fund Boston (or the American Red Cross, currently helping communities hit by tornadoes) in the winner's honor.

Ross committed the ultimate sin--he talked over the announcement of how many entries they got. I heard it as 184; we checked with Henry who heard 180. (Anyone hear anything different?) Either way, Joe Kupe won, so let us know if you want a puzzle book or a contribution in your name.

Take your time constructing your puzzle, but when you've sent your answer in to NPR, send it here as well. Oh, and pick a range and see if you can win in two weeks.

Here are the ranges:
Fewer than 50       
51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400
401 - 450
451 - 500

501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050         
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750
1,751 - 1,800
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900
1,901 - 1,950
1,951 - 2,000
2,001 - 2,050
2,051 - 2,100
2,101 - 2,150
2,151 - 2,200
2,201 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,300
2,301 - 2,350
2,351 - 2,400
2,401 - 2,450
2,451 - 2,500

2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,250
3,251 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
More than 5,000 and it sets a new record.
Our tie-break rule:   In the event that a single round number is announced with a qualifier such as "about" or "around" (e.g., "We received around 1,200 entries."), AND two separate people picked the ranges of numbers just before and just after that round number, the prize will be awarded to whichever entrant had not already won a prize, or in the event that both entrants had won a prize already or neither had, then to the earlier of the two entries on the famous judicial principle of "First Come First Serve," (or in technical legal jargon, "You Snooze, You Lose").  As of July 2012, this rule is officially no longer obsolete (and also I just like having fine print). 


Mendo Jim said...

Is the example a "regular" crossword?
I think Will should have offered a cash prize for this one.
I've already topped him by 5499 by adding an East Texas town (motto "Experience the Blessings")to his.
There could conceiveably be only one correct answer to this challenge, so I'll guess fewer than 50.

zeke creek said...

Too bad fewer than 50 isn't broken down into increments of 10. 51-100, please. I wonder how much the faux pas on the other blog juiced the total to 180 last week.

Word Woman said...

101-150 please. Still wondering why folks on these two blogs don't get selected more often...especially with only 180 entries.

And I wondered the same thing, zeke creek.

David said...

I'll stick with my 1001 to 1050.

They may say "We had over 1000 entries and the highest total was..." or they may say "Five different entrants had the highest submitted answer ..."

zeke creek said...

More of us may be picked than we know. We are not too excited about giving our names

Word Woman said...

Zeke creek (aka Richard Kerr?).

How's that engineering going? ;-)

Steph (aka Word Woman)

zeke creek said...

Woo, woo, good and plenty good and plenty...

Word Woman said...

Choo Choo Charlie, is it really you?

I have mentioned my new blog over on Blaine's Puzzle Blog and thought I'd post it here as well. My third post, just published, involves a keychain carabiner, the brain, and reassuring lies. Hope you will take a look. You may access it by clicking on my avatar and bringing up the blog "Partial Ellipsis of the Sun..."

I post on Tuesdays.


Joe Kupe said...

Happy to see I had the range. One Fund Boston Donation would be very nice please, thanks!

I have a number over 11,000,000 and am still trying. And that is without using a city twice as I do not think that would be allowed. Thoughts on that?

zeke creek said...

Go fo mo, jo.

Mendo Jim said...

I think the most interesting part of this challenge is what will happen if one entrant is alone with the highest total.
Does Will call a random listener who sent in a response?
Will he be constrained to call the "winner?"
Will the various questions being raised be answered in some form?
Is that too many wills?

Joe Kupe said...

OK, I am now over 13,000,000! 150 - 200 please. I do think several folks will get the one right answer.

Alex B. said...

201-250, I guess, though I can't imagine it being more than last week.

Ross Beresford said...

One Fund Boston have another $10 in honor of Joe Kupe. Don't remember duplicate cities being mentioned in the challenge, but duplication is frowned upon in "regular crosswords" so I'd expect one NEW YORK to be the max (and quite enough for anybody).

Joe Kupe said...

Seven cities and over 14,000,000! I am ready to enter I do believe!

Marie said...

251-300....quite unlikely!

Marie said...

251-300? Fat chance!