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  • Writer's pictureJacob Cohen

#75: Thermo Capsules; Crossword (plus bonus LITS/Aqre Hybrid)

Hello, and welcome to Issue #75 of Puzzles for Progress! As I mentioned last week, it'll also be the last on the weekly schedule, and the last before February 2022.

Since I won't be making puzzles as often, I thought it would be a good time to recommend some of my favorite free puzzle sources on the internet, all of which are much better than mine! I solve and enjoy a lot of puzzles these days, but in the interest of not intimidating you (too much) by a long list of links to click, I've tried to keep it short. With that said:

For logic puzzle fans

- The publicly accessible Cracking the Cryptic Discord server is, in my view, the best place for fans of sudoku and logic puzzles, almost transcending the great CTC YouTube channel itself. It's a large server, and the quantity and quality of puzzles posted in the Discord archive or in the testing channels (where many a PfP puzzle has been tested) is insane.

- That Discord is also home to the Genuinely Approachable Sudoku (GAS) and Genuinely Approachable Pencil Puzzle (GAPP) series, which offer one easier sudoku and one easier logic puzzle made by some of the world's best constructors. On the Discord, you can earn party hat, dinosaur, sloth, crab, and bird emoji for solving. If you want to do the puzzles without the commitment of joining the server, here's a link to the latest GAS puzzle pdf, the latest GAPP puzzle pdf and a full spreadsheet linking to all puzzles from both.

- It hasn't updated since 2015, but MellowMelon's site may be my favorite for logic puzzles. I'm a particular fan of his puzzle packs, which do an incredible job fully introducing you to a puzzle type and all the logic that can be possible with it. My favorite pack is probably Fillomino-fillia 2.

For word puzzle fans

- It's not as massive as the CTC Discord, but the Crosscord is a similar place for crossword fans. Many of its members have published puzzles in The New York Times and other prestigious venues.

- I always enjoy Adam Aaronson's crosswords, which are all-around very good! Here's a direct link to his latest puzzle. The fill is always fresh and interesting, and yet the solves remain smooth–it's very rare for me to have one or two squares at the end I just can't do. Highly recommend!

- The 7xwords project, an effort to make a 7x7 crossword with every legal black square layout, has just now been completed! Given their size, the puzzles are definitely low-commitment to try, so why not pick your favorite layout and do so!

- For anyone looking to get into cryptic crosswords: Square Pursuit, by Steve Mossberg, is home to a great series of approachable cryptics, which I find myself recommending over and over; all puzzles come with a "helpers" version listing the cryptic device used for each clue. Here's a link to the latest one. There are US-style crosswords as well.

Back to Puzzles for Progress

Right, I almost forgot why I was here! (I didn't. I have a template. But, you know, dramatic effect.) I thought I'd round out the year with two classic PfP genres: the Capsules and the crossword. I actually made two Thermo Capsules, but unlike my other Capsules variants, they should really be thought of as classic Capsules–the thermometers don't drive the logic. The reason I made two is that the second one is very hard! So I envision the first one, which is similar, as a bit of a warmup. I also made an 11x11 themeless crossword, which has some clues I'm proud of! I don't have much else to say about it.

Enjoy solving!

Print the puzzles out from the following pdfs:

Or here they are, all on one page:

Alternatively, solve the puzzles online using the following links:

Thermo Capsules A: (Penpa)

Thermo Capsules B: (Penpa)

Crossword: (Crosshare)

Crossword: (downloadable .puz file)

Here's a hint on the second Thermo Capsules, rot13ed: Jurer pna gur ahzore va ebj gjb, pbyhza fvk tb va gur arvtuobevat M-funcrq ertvba? Fvzvyne ybtvp jvyy nccyl gb vgf flzzrgevpny pbhagrecneg va ebj fvk, pbyhza gjb.

And, as always, the answers:

Bonus LITS/Aqre Hybrid

As a reward for reading this far: that's right, yet another puzzle! The aforementioned CTC Discord hosted a puzzle Secret Santa event recently. I was assigned PolmanPoppins, and gifted him a LITS/Aqre hybrid with his name in the grid. He graciously suggested I post it here as well, so I will! Normal LITS rules apply; in addition, as in Aqre, no more than three shaded cells may appear consecutively. (No such rule applies to unshaded cells.) Have fun!

Solve online with

Anyway, that's it for Puzzles for Progress this year! I hope you've had nearly as much fun solving the puzzles as I have making them, and am deeply grateful for all your support. I don't say it much, but PfP is a fundraiser for Nothing But Nets, so if you have some money to spare, I'm sure they would appreciate it a lot. Thank you all!


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