[Edit: In-browser solvable version is now at the bottom of this post.]
With an unclaimed prize for the last one, I thought I’d offer it again. C’mon people, its for charideee!
Back to a 15×15 grid this time. Felt like this one was alright. Not too hard,… let’s see if it gets the RTs.
It did, just.
Again, no-one sent me a solve within the week. Hey ho. I obviously don’t have enough cruciverbalist followers… yet.
I’d had a brief chat on Twitter with Everyman, who kindly gave me some feedback on my July puzzle. He said he particularly liked some of the clues, didn’t quite get a couple of references (but got the clues anyway). Also gave me a few words of wisdom, so thanks Colin!
Buoyed, I offered a prize again (a whole fiver!) for August’s puzzle, if it got to 5 retweets. It did after a couple of days, but no-one solved it within the week. The grid was symmetric, but denser and larger (17×17). Maybe that made it harder, but also I think that a few of the clues needed a bit more work, to be more pleasing, but, hey, no-one’s paying me to do this. 🙂
I had some feedback on my June puzzle from a twitterer who I’d been talking to about possibly submitting a crossword for a magazine he was starting.
– Don’t have references that are too obscure
– Avoid 2s
– Symmetrical grids are preferred.
– Indirect anagrams are a bit frowned on.
He also told me he liked quite a few of the clues, and my style (which was different from his). That was nice, and encouraging. So with that in mind, I knocked up my July puzzle. No prize offered this time. This one felt more like a “proper” cryptic to me, with a tidier grid, and clues that conformed to The Rules better.
I was on a roll, so only a week after the last one, I made a crossword with a county cricket theme. Niche? Sure, but why not.
The grid’s a bit skew-whiff, but I was having fun fitting in as many references as I could. If you’re bowled over by it, do let me know.
“Whaddya mean, ‘Cryptish’?”
Well, since I’d been breaking some rules, I thought maybe I can’t call my crosswords “cryptic”, so I’ll have a new name. This’ll do.
However, I did decide to try to stick to The Rules (as I was learning them). “Avoid 2s” was another one.
Here’s my next attempt. Smaller, 15×15 (which is a common size, apparently).
I decided to try out offering a small prize for the first correct solution via Twitter.
This was my first attempt at setting a cryptic crossword. For any non-jugglers reading, it’s only fair to point out that 1A and 65A rely on specific knowledge. Everything else is okay though.
Except… oh gosh, what a mess, I made some mistakes in the clues. (Look, I was rushing a bit to finish it off before the convention started, ok? Hmmm… no, it’s not okay – Be more thorough! Alright.)
72A Typo. Should be “Darshna”.
83A “Platonic” is simply incorrect. A misapprehension I was under. Oops.
41D Should read “atom” not “molecule”.
Also, my friend Hairy is much more experienced than me at cryptics, and he told me “Oh my god, you can’t have the definition in the middle of a clue!”. Alright, I learned something! But he did tell me he particularly liked some of my clues. 21A was his favourite.
Okay, maybe this blog would be a good place to host my crosswords.
I’ve done crosswords for years, but only idly, and I’m really only recently getting to grips with cryptics. I enjoy a binge-solve with a few friends a few times a year when we meet up, but don’t go overboard on solving that many myself. (I don’t buy newspapers, which doesn’t help when the only sane way to solve crosswords is with pen & paper.) For the last couple of months, I’ve been printing off and solving the Everyman from the Guardian.
But earlier this year, I decided to set a cryptic crossword for a juggling convention I go to. I enjoyed doing it, and also enjoyed watching my friends’ struggles/frustrations/delight at solving it. Also, whilst there, I met an Italian crossword setter (Hi Armando!) who showed me that there was such a thing as crossword software, to help create a puzzle. I’d made my one purely by hand, so, coo, that was a revelation. Hmmmm… maybe setting crosswords is something I could get into….
“I’m looking for a videographer based in Bristol for a project” posted Jon. I replied “Hello”, waving, and we met up at the juggling club. He told me of a few ideas he had, one of which was to make a juggling video in/around Bristol. So the next time there was a day with tolerable weather, out we trolled, juggled, filmed, and ended up with this:
But another one of Jon’s ideas was for a Kickstarter project. It sounded like a fun and interesting idea, so we met for a coffee to kick the ideas around and see if it was a goer.
Turns out it was, which meant we had to start planning all the details, and the launch video. Then we had an idea for the video which, although a fair bit more work, seemed to fit in with the project itself. And once we’d thought of it, we couldn’t unthink it. So late November and the first half of December turned into several filming mini-expeditions.
After a bunch of idea-kicking and detail-tweaking, we came up with the first draft of the KS project, and sent it off to a select few friends for feedback. We got some good pointers, and I’ve just come back from coffee chez Jon’s where we nailed down all the last minute changes, which we’ll be sorting out over the weekend.
We launch on Monday! Wish us luck, and keep your eyes peeled for the link…
Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to (also)
upload their videos to JTV. JTV is what its users make it, so you all
I’ve tried to give honest and clear feedback on all the videos. I hope
you’ll take any negative comments as constructive criticism, but
generally the entries were really helpful tutorials, so well done
Okay, in no particular order, here we go…..
Samuel TheJuggler USA
The Rebel Cascade http://juggling.tv/16165
Clear. Bit of autofocus annoyance. Script felt a little ad libbed.
Siteswaps would have been nice, if only as onscreen text. But
explanation covered most things, and I think I could learn it from
this video. Overall, fine.
Quinn Lewis USA
Inline 3 http://juggling.tv/16169
Clear. 1 autofocus issue, but a joke made it forgivable. 🙂 Very good
step-by-step instructions. Attention to detail (Hand positions, grips,
etc). Coloured balls useful. Not only do I think I could learn the
trick from this video, but I think I *want* to learn the trick.
Overall very good.
Pieter-Jan Hoornaert Belgium
Penguin Swipe http://juggling.tv/16171
Clear, well lit. Audio slightly echoey, but not too distracting. Good
step-by-step instructions, and bonus variations at the end. I think I
could learn it from this video. Overall, very good.
Bernardo Molina Guatemala
Bounce Juggling: 5 Balls Active/Force http://juggling.tv/16167
Clear. Step-by-step was good. No mention of alignment, or a side-on
view, which would have been useful. Standing at a slight angle to the
camera – why? Overall, I think I could learn it from this video.
Louis Cason South Africa
Chest Rolls http://juggling.tv/16201
It’s spelled “forehead” :-). This was a fun video to watch, with lots
of different shots, and a bouncy tune. But I would have liked much
more detail on the actual placement of the clubs into the chestroll:
Where do you grip it, where do you aim for, what is the timing, etc.
(I think this was partially covered in one voiceover section, but it
wasn’t very audible.) Could I learn it from this video?
Maybe-probably? Overall, fun, but average.
Luis Alberto Barcenas Resendiz Mexico
“Jakos” Diabolo Trick http://juggling.tv/16183
I don’t speak Spanish (well, only some basic words), but I speak
diabolo, so I understood what was going on, pretty much. About half
way through I started thinking “this is going too quickly” – and then
step-by-steps came in, with slomos and freeze-frames, which was very
helpful. The framing was slightly off, so Wicho could have been
standing a bit closer to the camera, if it had been angled up a
little. But I think I could learn it from this video. Overall, “good
and a half”.
Samuel TheJuggler USA
Camera not straight. Autofocus issues. Traffic noise a bit
distracting. Explanation felt a little rambling, and the script
regarding the actual flourish was definitely lacking clarity and
depth. The flourish definitely needed a different camera angle too.
I’ve only seen the flourish taught under a double spin, previously,
and I think the LLRR throw pattern here would be a more difficult
entry pattern. I think I could learn it from this video, but I would
have had to put in a lot of effort in re-watching to understand the
detail of the trick. Overall, below average.
Nathan Wakefield USA
Triplex Scissor http://juggling.tv/16180NOTE: This is a special exposition entry from
the IJA Chair. Not to be considered for prizes!
Clear. Good step-by-step instructions, and basic onscreen graphics.
Good explanation. Might have been nice: Different colour clubs; high
and low angle shots of the trick. I think I could have learned it from
this video if I didn’t already know it. Overall, good.
Pieter-Jan Hoornaert Belgium
Helicopter Hit Combo http://juggling.tv/16190
Clear. Audio slightly echoey, but not too distracting. Good
step-by-step instructions. Would have been nice: Different colour
clubs; Side view of the trick. I think I could learn it from this
video. Overall, very good.
Lucas Gardezani Abduch Brasil
Matrix – Contact Staff http://juggling.tv/16173
Clear. The voiceover describes all the elements. But I felt that the
talking-to-camera shots don’t add anything to the learning experience,
and I would have liked to see some closeups, and maybe more slomos
instead. I think I could learn it from this video. Overall, “good and
Gabriel Edgardo Santander Argentina
Mills Mess with Three Balls http://juggling.tv/16195
Clear. Use of globalls helped visibility. Step-by-step instructions
were good, and clear. Would have been nice: Different colour balls. No
mention of the change of direction from crossed arms! This is the
*most difficult part* of Mills Mess, which confuses everyone trying to
learn it, and it was not covered! I wanted to like this video, but it
lacks one essential detail, so overall, poor. Sorry, Gabriel!
Multiplex Plano http://juggling.tv/16206
I don’t speak Spanish, but I felt like I understood what was being
said. Good use of graphics, and although there was only one camera
angle, Martin made the best of it by standing on the left, the right,
sideways, back and front to add variation. Although it did not stop
the message getting across, unfortunately autofocus was very annoying
throughout this video. I think I could learn the trick from this
video. Overall, good.
Tony Steinbach USA
Frantic Cascade http://juggling.tv/16208
Fun to watch. I first saw this pattern about 15 years ago, but never
knew the name. (Is it your name, Tony?) Wind noise slightly annoying,
but voice was clear enough. Good step-by-step breakdown, appropriate
different coloured prop use. Audio was missing on the outro, but that
doesn’t affect the tutorial. “Throw the clubs so high they go out of
the camera frame” made me laugh. I’ve previously messed around with
this pattern a little bit, but never nailed it fully. Now I think I
could learn it from this video. Overall, very good.
Martin Bentley South Africa
Weird Multiplex Body Throw Thing http://juggling.tv/16209
Firstly, that’s a terrible name. It’s not even a name. Okay, you
acknowledge this, and ask for info, but come on, give it a name! (I
suggest “Multiplex neck-trap split”.) Audio is echoey, but not
terrible. White balls show up well against the green background, but
not when they are below it (although this is not a major problem.)
Good slomo to show the trick, and good step-by-step instructions, and
good changing of body position to show the different parts of the
trick. I think I could learn it from this video. Overall, good.
Willow Solow USA
Poi Juggling – the Synch No-Beat Cascade http://juggling.tv/16210
Clear. Bad: White poi with white tee-shirt. Good: Step-by-step
breakdown; angles; graphics. Fun to watch. Would have been nice: A
little more detail on adding the third poi. I think I could learn it
from this video. Overall, good.
Kęstas Matusevičius Lithuania
Back Drop with Staff http://juggling.tv/16213
This tutorial at first seems too short… is it? Well, it seems to cover
all the basics of the trick, even if it does so very quickly. (Isn’t
that called “efficiency”?) Good: step-by-step breakdown; different
colours on the staff ends; front and rear views of the throw. I feel
like it could have had slightly more detail on where to aim/throw the
staff, and on the foot catch. But I think I could learn it from this
video. Overall, “good and a half” (Not quite earning a “very”).
Brian Koenig USA
Mastering the Flash – A Resource for Numbers Juggling http://juggling.tv/16215
Phew, this was a long one. Actually, quite an exhausting watch.
Although the grips section covers a lot, and well, I feel like notated
pictures could have got the message over quicker, thus making it more
re-watchable. Likewise the warmup section felt a bit long. However, it
was personable and helpful. Overall, good.
Łukasz Uczkiewicz Poland
Unnamed Pattern (Hands and Feet) http://juggling.tv/16217
Give it a name! 😛 Clear. There’s a lot going on in this pattern, so
the long demo runs of each stage was helpful. Onscreen text was clear.
Some slomo would have definitely helped, I think. Overall, good.
Bri Crabtree USA
Boss Hat Technique http://juggling.tv/16216
Fun to watch. Good angles, everything was clear. I particularly liked
the title pane at 3:33. 🙂 The voiceovers matched the images very
well. I’m already a hat juggler, but I think this video would
definitely help improve a novice hat-juggler’s technique. Overall,
Logan Goethe USA
Mike’s Mess Club Tutorial http://juggling.tv/16218
Good clear vocal instructions, but I felt like close-up slomos of the
arms might have helped. Minus points for vertical video. Would have
been nice: Different coloured clubs. I think I could have learned it
from this video if I didn’t already know it. Overall, “fine and a
Keith McNeil USA
Four Object Saturn http://juggling.tv/16207
Audio was pretty echoey, or noisy, and I found this distracting. Blue
rings with blue top was not the best choice. However, it felt like all
the points were covered. Tantalising glimpse of the trick with glo
props at the end – could have been shown larger & for longer. I think
I could learn it from this video. Overall, fine.
Samuel Minton USA
The L Stack http://juggling.tv/16204
Bonus points for putting the JTV logo in the video. 🙂 I’ve not heard
the name “L-stack” before, but I’ve known this trick almost since I
started juggling. I think it’s normally just called “club-on-club
balance”… but maybe “L-Stack” is a catchier name. Slomo and onscreen
graphics were used very well to illustrate the points. I would have
like more detail on the hand position for the catch & placement of the
balanced club. And precisely where on the other club it is placed, and
what angle to hold the supporting club at. I think I could have
learned it from this video if I didn’t already know it. Overall, good.
Movement throws (and catches!) http://juggling.tv/16211
This is the video that I find most difficult to review. Because I feel
like I don’t know what it is. It doesn’t feel like a normal juggling
tutorial video – which is not necessarily a bad thing – but I’m not
entirely sure what I’m meant to take from it. I feel like this is
potentially a very good and interesting 1, 2, or 3-hour workshop on
Maurizio’s movement theory of juggling. But as a “juggling tutorial
video”, for me, it doesn’t work. I stress the “for me” part. Overall,
…. I abstain from giving an absolute judgement, because I think I
might be wrong. Sorry, Maurizio, but you confused me!
So, my “very good” finalists are…
Quinn Lewis, Pieter-Jan Hoornaert (Penguin Swipe), Tony Steinbach, &
It is a very tough decision, and I feel bad for the three who I have
to discard, but after thinking it over for a long time, my winner of
the JTV prize is…