Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Breaking Bad" Trivia Spectacular

Sunday will mark the series finale of "Breaking Bad," and since it's such a successful show with a huge fan base, it definitely needs its own Spectacular puzzle.
Here's something you can't do with traditional puzzles. While you're watching the "Breaking Bad" series finale at your "Breaking Bad" party, make copies for everyone, or share them on your mobile devices, and race to see who can finish the puzzle first. Only true "Breaking Bad" fans will be able to finish it at all.

Confession time: I don't actually watch this show. I've heard it's very good, and many of my friends love it. I've read all the episode synopses, though, and I agree that it's interesting, intelligent, and unpredictable, and like many of my favorite shows, it's highly quotable. In fact, it's exactly the kind of show I would normally watch, but I just can't. My best friend has been struggling with cancer for two years, and it just hits a little too close to home for me. However, once she's cured, I plan to binge-watch the whole series with her.

Just like every other StearsWords puzzle, this one is free to share, so if you know a fan who might enjoy a "Breaking Bad" trivia spectacular puzzle, pass it along. 

  • Click here to see the answer grid. *Check back on Friday, October 4 for the answer grid.

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Salute to Netflix" Answers

Netflix scored gold at the 2013 Emmy Awards. The only thing that would make me happier is seasons 2-10 of "Firefly."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Salute to Netflix

It all started so innocently...I just needed a day off. But one day turned into two, and the next thing you know, I'm binge-watching "Continuum" on Netflix and surrounded by empty Kit-Kat wrappers, and contemplating never going back to work again. Ever.

So this week's StearsWords puzzle is a "Salute to Netflix," the number one reason why I don't get things done. It's a procrastinator's dream-come-true.
Just a warning...there's so much great stuff on Netflix that this week's puzzle is bigger than usual.

  • Click here to see the answer grid. *Check back on Friday, September 27 for the answer grid.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Musical Mashup

It's back to basics this week, with a bit of word play. "Musical Mashups" celebrates the current music trend of mashing together two different songs to create something amazing.

Never heard of mashups? Check out this YouTube video of PSY/Ghostbusters:
I hope you enjoy this week's musical tribute. Happy solving!

  • Click here to see the answer grid. *Check back on Friday, September 20, for the answer grid.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Game of Thrones" Trivia Spectacular

"Winter is coming..." and so is this week's StearsWords crossword puzzle! It's a "Game of Thrones" Crossword Spectacular, based on both the George RR Martin books and the award-winning HBO series.
It's a fight to the death, between you and all that "Game of Thrones" trivia.
Happy solving!

Click here to see the answer grid. *Check back on Friday, September 13 for the answer grid.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why My Crossword Puzzle Ebooks are So Damn Inexpensive

If you were buying a traditional crossword puzzle book, you'd pay around $3-5 for about a hundred puzzles. Based on my own experience, I'm guessing a big chunk of that goes to pay the printer, and that's fair, s/he deserves to get paid for the time and materials invested.

But there are disadvantages to the traditional crossword puzzle book: You and your friends can't compare solving times; in fact, you can't even solve the same puzzle at the same time unless you buy more than one book. You can only solve a puzzle once, unless you erase all the pencil markings and start over, but you'll see the shadow of the letters, you know you will. You can't share a puzzle you really enjoyed, unless you want to erase all the pencil markings and make a copy of it. Once you've solved all the puzzles, your puzzle book is nothing more than a highly-organized pile of trash.

Digital collections, or puzzle ebooks, are more flexible; you can compare solving times, you can work on the same puzzle at the same time your friends do, you can solve the same puzzle over and over, you can share them with your friends, and once you've solved all the puzzles, the only trash can it'll end up in is a virtual one.

When I publish a "StearsWords" puzzle ebook, the only person who gets paid is me. I create the puzzles, I edit them, I publish them, and I promote them. They're mine, and I can charge whatever I want for them.

I deliberately choose $3 for a hundred themeless and $5 for fifty themed puzzles because that's just about what you'd pay for a traditional crossword puzzle book. I'm not greedy, and I think it's a fair price, based on the number of hours I put in, creating, editing, publishing and promoting them. Interested in the math? Read on...otherwise, skip the next two paragraphs.

A daily size crossword puzzle (15x15) with a theme usually takes me a few hours, sometimes a day, depending on the theme entries; the more Scrabble-y type letters (Q, Z, J, W, etc.), the longer it takes to find fill words to cross them. But a 15x15 themeless puzzle only takes me about an hour, and most of that time is spent writing the clues.

A Sunday size puzzle (21x21) can take anywhere from a day to a week, again, depending on the theme entries, and because there are more words (~142, compared to ~78 for a 15x15), there are more clues to write. The big puzzles always have a theme, and because they're meant to be a little more difficult, I struggle with the theme entries, fill words, and clues a little more.

Now, considering that I want to make about $15 an hour (I think that's fair, it's a specialized field), I'd have to sell about 500 copies of a crossword puzzle ebook to hit my break-even point. But, since crossword puzzles have no shelf life, they never expire, and I can continue to sell the older collections while I'm making up new ones. Forever.

That's the plan, anyway.

Now, go buy one of my crossword puzzle ebooks.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

StearsWords Volume 2: "Themeless Love"

StearsWords: Volume 2 (Themeless Love) is a digital collection of themeless crossword puzzles. It includes 100 themeless crosswords, jam-packed with all the trivia and word play solvers have come to expect from StearsWords puzzles. Since I don't need to have it printed or shipped, I can offer this entire collection for the incredibly low price of $3.00. You won't find a more enjoyable, affordable solving experience anywhere. Your copy of StearsWords: Volume 2 (Themeless Love) will be delivered to your email inbox as a .zip folder containing 100 all-new crossword puzzles in both .puz and .pdf formats.

Themeless Love

Did I promise an affordable crossword collection or what?

StearsWords: Volume 2 (Themeless Love) goes on sale September 1. You will love this all-digital collection of 100 themeless puzzles, suitable for printing and solving (.pdf files) or solving interactively on your mobile device (.puz files).

Themeless puzzles don't take very long to make. Since there's no theme, I don't have to spend a whole day (or a few hours) researching the entries, selecting the ones that fit the grid symmetrically, and looking for words that fill the grid without resorting to using words like APER.

This week's featured StearsWords puzzle is a themeless puzzles from my new collection.

  • Click here to see the answer grid. *Check back on Friday, September 6 for the answer grid.