Statistics Saturday: Some Unsatisfying Crosswords


Three by three grid with a blacked-out cell in the middle.
ACROSS: 1. Welcome or door. 4. Article. 5. David Gerrold short-story collection “With A Finger In My _”. 6. Cute eating on the Internet. DOWN: 1. Taker of lone small steps. 2. Superb paper! 3. Enchanter of Caerbannog.

Four-by-four grid with one single open cell in the top row, second column, and a matching one in the bottom row, third column.
This is also Atari 2600’s Pong multiplayer mode.

Ten-by-two grid with the upper-left and the lower-right cells blocked out.
This one makes me realize I need a new comb. Or any comb at all. My hair is not in a satisfactory condition. Sorry.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index fell two points in response to news that Boeing had completed the first successful flight of its new 787-10 Dreamliner passenger airplane because it sure seems like we’ve been reading about the Dreamliner for ever and how is it only now having its first flight? We don’t follow aerospace news closely but jeez, they’ve been working on the Dreamliner since like the Ford administration. The heck, guys?

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In Which The Local Indie Totally Rips Off My Unread College Left-Wing Newspaper From Two Decades Ago


So back a couple weeks ago I talked about something from my undergraduate days when I was doing the humor page for my campus’s unread leftist weekly. I did a joke where I printed a crossword puzzle with entirely nonsense clues. And then the next week posted a note that because of an editing error the wrong clues were printed and here was the correct version, and then I reprinted the original clues and puzzle which no human could possibly have solved. And then the next week I printed a note saying the error had somehow been made again and here was the real and truly correct puzzle. And I reran the exact same set of nonsense clues with a puzzle. Because that is the sort of Dadaist nonsense that’s extremely funny when you’re a 21-year-old nerd.

And then just before Christmas the local alt-weekly put up this correction.

A crossword puzzle headed with the ``Oops!'' graphic and a warning they mistakenly ran the wrong clues with the previous week's puzzle.
From the Lansing City Pulse of the 21st of December, 2016 which I only just got to because it was a more exhausting week than you imagine.

I’m not saying the Lansing, Michigan, free city paper necessarily swiped a gag that ran in the Rutgers College weekly that at least our parents were pretty sure they liked all the work we put into it back in the mid-90s and that’s been forgotten except by me and my then-Editor-in-Chief who desperately wanted to believe there was some kind of answer to the puzzle. I’m just observing this happened.

This all was plenty to delight me but then I looked at the solution to the mistaken crossword puzzle. I just wondered if they printed the solution for the correct puzzle or not. And they didn’t. They printed what would have been the solution for the wrong puzzle, except that all those answers were blank. Just like I noticed the week before that.

The crossword solution from the mistaken week. It's entirely blank, the way the answers the week before had been.
From the Lansing City Pulse of the 14th of December, 2016 just in case you don’t believe me and them about the crossword puzzle having gone wrong. You have seen this before.

And whatever the mistake was they didn’t just reprint the solutions to their puzzles from the previous week. They had a different sudoku solution and so far as anyone has told me one that’s even right.

A big old crossword puzzle with no obvious sign that it's entirely wrong.
From the Lansing City Pulse of the 14th of December, 2016 if you’d like to try doing a crossword puzzle with all the wrong clues for some reason.

I want it clear, I’m not trying to shame or blame or insult anybody at the alt-weekly for this. I like the paper, especially when the local architecture critic goes nuts, and without it I’d never have any idea how many high-concept bars serving stuff smothered in duck fat were opening around town. I understand how everything’s done by too few people in not enough time and accidents slip through. I’m just delighted to see the aftermath is all.

Here’s the comic strips my mathematics blog looked at yesterday, in a theme format I haven’t gone changing recently but keep thinking I should.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index rose six points to finish the day at 103 despite fears that they’ve done the 103 thing so often people are going to start calling it hack work.

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Meanwhile In Nihilistic Crossword Puzzles


I know the crossword puzzle editor for our local alt-weekly likes being playful and playing thematic games. You know, like making the clues off in some amusing way, or making the answers be the right answers only modified by some gimmick. And then there was last week’s puzzle which went for a full-on statement of the hopelessness of it all. This is why I top out at staring at Jumble a while and then declaring I could solve that easily if I wanted to.

Crossword Solution from Page 25: a blank miniature of the original crossword.
This reminds me of when I was doing the humor page at my campus’s unread leftist weekly. I ran a crossword puzzle and a bunch of clues I made up on the spot, so if any word possibly fit that anything it was wild luck. I don’t know. The editor-in-chief wanted to know what the answers were even though everybody on staff told her it was a joke and there were no answers. So the next week I ran the puzzle again with a note that because of an editing error a mistake was made in the clues printed and please enjoy this corrected one instead. And reran the exact same puzzle and exact same clues and the editor-in-chief wanted to know what any of them were and everyone warned her that of course there were no answers to any of this. And then the next week I included another bit saying that because of a really unfortunate editing error the mistaken clues were printed and here were the correct ones and please see page 22 for the answers. It was a 20-page issue. And then mercifully the semester ended and I graduated and the editor-in-chief didn’t know where I went to grad school. I’m joking. She had my parents’ home address and so could get me from there.

Also apparently there’s a French Playtime group going on when I wasn’t looking. This is what I get for only looking at the community events after they’ve already passed: I have a ready-made excuse not to have to do anything.

In less hopeless tasks, here’s last week’s mathematics comics. Yes, Barney Google is among them, though Barney Google himself doesn’t appear. He hasn’t been in his own comic strip in literally weeks now. Really, he’s getting to be a bit of a bother popping in so often these days.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

While the index rose by four points traders are taking no cheer in this news because they remember way back when there was that big runup to over 150 points and now any bit of good news is taken as a warning that bad news is going to come and it’s just going to make it all the worse when it does. 2016 has really been a heck of a year, hasn’t it?

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Statistics Saturday: Actual Crossword Puzzles Versus In-Class Activity Crossword Puzzles


Any Actual Crossword Puzzle

Not an actual crossword puzzle.
Not an actual crossword puzzle.

Every In-Class Activity Crossword Puzzle
It's very sparse, and asymmetric, and disconnected, and poorly organized, and the number '9' word is missing altogether.
Not an actual in-class activity puzzle but surely a worthwhile way to get kids to remember their state capital is Trenton, right?

Twelve Things Only Rarely Mistaken For Pinball Machines Or One Another


  1. Washcloths.
  2. Date nut shortbread cookies.
  3. Snails which race in the Indianapolis 500.
  4. Stained glass.
  5. That crossword puzzle plagiarism scandal.
  6. Deceased New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
  7. The “Cover Up” pricing game on The Price Is Right.
  8. Integration by trigonometric substitution.
  9. Those seats in the movie theater lobby that demonstrate how the new premium-experience movie theater is kind of like the ordinary movie theaters, only the seats can shake I guess, so you understand why that’s a worthwhile upcharge when you go to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 For Some Reason?
  10. Isobaric lines.
  11. Band stickers for guitar cases.
  12. Hipster coffee shop Wi-fi password “GoneWireless”.