Session 1: Week 1
Let’s kick things off with a favourite of mine. I love thematic puzzles and Scrabble is a type you can incorporate a strong theme. Scrabble has been flourishing thanks to inclusions of it in recent puzzle GPs and LMI’s Casual and Word rounds. In my early days of construction, I tried using a crossword software, thinking it would optimally pack my words into the smallest grid it can. It didn’t. The results were appalling. To this day, the packing process is done by hand. In its purest form, the most common rule gives all instances of a particular letter, and the author has to make sure there is enough to reach a unique solution with that condition alone.
Nikola Zivanovic’s Scrabbles tend to use another rule: that is all given letters belong to only one word. This creates a new solving experience since with the former rule; after you’ve exhausted the given letter, you’re on your own at packing the remaining words into the grid. With Nikola’s rule, you rely on interconnections all the way and the process will be a lot less intuitive.
Weirdly, I rarely apply any of the aforementioned rules in my numerous Scrabbles. I’d give some letters but no further conditions so I minimize the labour of having to check if the implemented restriction reaches a unique answer. Sometimes it does. But at what cost? I’ve spent hours proving uniqueness and the experience was far from pleasant. Why would I expect a solver to enjoy this if I don’t?
A similar thing happened with this puzzle. After proving uniqueness for about 90 minutes, I was not happy with the puzzle and scrapped the entire grid. Then for the first time, I used Nikola’s rule and the end result is much more palatable. This theme was inspired by a TIME special article celebrating 100 years of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement in 1920.
Puzzle 1: Girl Power (29 points)
Place the all listed words into the grid so they read from top-bottom or left-right. No unlisted words may be formed and all the words must be interconnected. Some letters have already been placed. These letters can only be used by exactly one word only.
Word List: (Only enter the CAPITALIZED BOLD names)
Madeleine ALBRIGHT, Maya ANGELOU, Marie ANTOINETTE, Jane AUSTEN, Coco CHANEL, CLEOPATRA, Hillary CLINTON, Marie CURIE, Simone DE BEAUVOIR, Babe DIDRIKSON, Amelia EARHART, Jane FAWCETT, Rosalind FRANKLIN, Indira GANDHI, Ruth Bader GINSBURG, Martha GRAHAM, Judith HEUMANN, Billie HOLIDAY, Marsha JOHNSON, Frida KAHLO, Jacqueline KENNEDY, Estee LAUDER, Wangari MAATHAI, MADONNA, MATA HARI, Margaret MEAD, Golda MEIR, Angela MERKEL, Gabriela MISTRAL, Maria MONTESSORI, Florence NIGHTINGALE, Nancy PELOSI, Frances PERKINS, Eva PERON, Sally RIDE, Eleanor ROOSEVELT, Joanne ROWLING, Mary SHELLEY, Bessie SMITH, Gloria STEINEM, Junko TABEI, Valentina TERESHKOVA, Margaret THATCHER, Greta THUNBERG, Serena WILLIAMS, Oprah WINFREY, Virginia WOOLF, Malala YOUSAFZAI
Answer Keys: Enter the letters in the marked columns from top the bottom (from A to C). Ignore any spaces.
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