The 2014 Orca Awards – Best Gimmick Crossword

orcaWelcome back! It’s now Day Five of Orcas Week, our annual celebration of exceptional crosswords from 2014. Today we present the award for Best Gimmick Crossword, a puzzle that employs a unique twist or novel concept.

After today there are just three more Orcas to be awarded. For those keeping score, here’s a glimpse at the entire Orcas Week lineup:

You’ll see today’s nominees and winner after the jump. Continue reading

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

NYT 4:47 (Amy)    (4.13 avg; 41 ratings)
LAT 9:08 (Gareth, paper)    (3.59 avg; 16 ratings)
CS 7:00 (Ade)    (3.71 avg; 7 ratings)
BEQ 6:15 (Ben)    (3.65 avg; 10 ratings)
Fireball 6:17 (Amy)    (3.20 avg; 5 ratings)
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The 2014 Orca Awards – Best Meta/Contest Crossword

orcaIt’s Hump(back) Day of Orcas Week, our look back at some exceptional crosswords from 2014. Today we honor the “meta” or “contest” crossword, the “puzzle within a puzzle” that has become very popular in the past few years.

Remember that we’ve already given out three Orcas and will award four more later this week. Here, again, is the complete awards schedule:

  • Sunday, March 1: Best Easy Crossword (won by Lynn Lempel)
  • Monday, March 2: Best Sunday-Sized Crossword (won by Peter Broda)
  • Tuesday, March 3: Best Freestyle Crossword (won by Patrick Berry)
  • Wednesday, March 4: Best Meta/Contest Crossword
  • Thursday, March 5: Best Gimmick Crossword
  • Friday, March 6: Bob Klahn Award for Best Clue and Margaret Farrar Constructor of the Year Award
  • Saturday, March 7: Best Crossword

It’s enough to make you leap out of the water. Continue reading

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

AV Club 6:03 (Amy)    (3.75 avg; 12 ratings)
NYT 3:19 (Amy)    (3.20 avg; 30 ratings)
LAT 9:45 (Gareth, paper)    (3.20 avg; 15 ratings)
CS 7:58 (Ade)    (2.38 avg; 8 ratings)
Blindauer 18:01 (Matt)    (3.79 avg; 7 ratings)

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 30 and go register for the Indie 500 crossword tournament, to be held in Washington, D.C. You could make a puzzly weekend of it and stick around for the Washington Post Puzzle Hunt on May 31.

Also, if you haven’t been subscribing to the American Values Club crossword, you can get caught up by buying all 52 of 2014′s puzzles for $10 here.
Continue reading

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The 2014 Orca Awards – Best Freestyle Crossword

orcaWelcome back to Orcas Week, the event that makes Shark Week look like Shark Weak. Our annual awards ceremony celebrating outstanding achievement in crossword construction continues now with Best Freestyle Crossword, the award for the most outstanding themeless puzzle from 2014.

As a reminder (and in case you’re not apt to scroll further down the front page), this year’s Orcas are doled out over a one-week period according to this schedule:

  • Sunday, March 1: Best Easy Crossword (won by Lynn Lempel)
  • Monday, March 2: Best Sunday-Sized Crossword (won by Peter Broda)
  • Tuesday, March 3: Best Freestyle Crossword
  • Wednesday, March 4: Best Meta/Contest Crossword
  • Thursday, March 5: Best Gimmick Crossword
  • Friday, March 6: Bob Klahn Award for Best Clue and Margaret Farrar Constructor of the Year Award
  • Saturday, March 7: Best Crossword

To see who wins today’s award, click this “Continue Reading” link now → Continue reading

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MGWCC #352

crossword 3:51
meta 5 minutes    (4.65 avg; 23 ratings)
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jonesin' 4:20 (Amy)    (3.50 avg; 3 ratings)
NYT 3:25 (Amy)    (3.63 avg; 23 ratings)
LAT 4:32 (pannonica)    (3.82 avg; 17 ratings)
CS 11:39 (Ade)    (3.90 avg; 10 ratings)
Xword Nation untimed (Janie)    (4.88 avg; 4 ratings)
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