This puzzle was written on the heels of an announcement from my friends Martha and Kyle Ingols (42itous and not here in the National Puzzlers' League) way back in February. I first gave the puzzle to them, to be shared with their friends and family, and Martha's father Dick Plotz (aka Geneal) suggested I write a version with cryptic clues that could go in the Enigma. It took me a little while to "cryptify" the puzzle, but eventually it came together, and the puzzle appeared in this month's edition of the Enigma. I am including both the original version (with straight clues) and the revised version (with cryptic clues) so you can decide which one to solve. I would like to acknowledge Patrick Berry for the Rows Garden puzzle type, and Martha and Kyle for providing the inspiration for this puzzle.
This week, I've decided to try out a new addition to the site. You can now rate the difficulty (1 to 3 stars, like the system in Games Magazine) and overall quality of each puzzle. I haven't yet figured out how to make lists of puzzles sortable by these stats, but I'm hoping that will come soon. I have seeded the puzzles with my own subjective ratings of their difficulty, but leave the quality ratings up to you. Oh, yeah -- there's also a new puzzle. It's a Some Assembly Required. Enjoy.
Edited to add (5/30/13): There was an error in the puzzle. On the first page of the puzzle, the number for piece 5 was on the wrong end of the piece. I have fixed the error and uploaded a new file. Thanks to Tyler for catching the error.
Not my best effort, I'm afraid. I liked the crossing of the seed entries in Row 1/Band A, but the fill elsewhere suffered. I try to stick to words of 4 or more letters when writing a Marching Bands puzzle, but this time -- well, you'll see.
This is a new (to me) puzzle type, shamelessly ripped from the pages of Mike Selinker and Thomas Snyder's excellent book Puzzlecraft. It's like a spiral puzzle, in that the same letters are used going forwards and backwards in different words, but it has a different topology, as you will see. Thanks for the inspiration, Mike!
As hinted at previously, here is the second of my paired Pathfinders. As a form, the Pathfinder is rather interesting to me. When I set out to write a Pathfinder, it usually comes together fairly quickly, at least as far as variety crosswords of this complexity go. And yet, I still feel like I'm stuck in the learning curve. I have a hard time filling the outer edges of the grid in interesting (to me) ways, and I seem to fall into similar patterns of overlapping 5- and 6-letter words. It would be nice if I can show some improvement in the future. At any rate, I hope you enjoy the puzzle.