Ada Cross, Crossword Detective will be a series of murder mysteries featuring a detective (Ada) and her colleagues. Ada's job is to make sure that the crosswords that get published in various outlets are up to snuff, but recently, something strange started happening: she has received crosswords from nonexistent newspapers, and the crosswords seem to be connected to murder cases that are being investigated. The reader solves the puzzles along with Ada and follows along as the mystery unfolds. In addition to the text and the puzzles, the stories will be illustrated by Hayley Gold, who writes the Across and Down webcomic and who drew the image of Ada standing over the corpse for this campaign (and eventually for the cover of the book!).
Each story will have six installments. The first installment will introduce the case and end with the first puzzle. The second will start with the solution of the first puzzle and continue with the plot, ending with the second puzzle, and so on until the sixth and final installment, which will have no puzzle but will use the last puzzle's solution to solve the murder and wrap up the case. Each installment will contain a few pages of 8.5×11" story text plus a crossword.
The puzzles will be roughly 15×15 and will be of the "meta" type, meaning that each puzzle will have an extra solution hinted at by the crossword, similar to Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest and some of the Fireball Crosswords. The meta solution may be something that the theme entries have in common, or something strange hidden in the grid, or anything else. The solver will be given a category (e.g., "The meta answer is something one might get at a carnival" or "The meta answer is a movie") as well as the number of words and letters in the meta answer to make sure that s/he gets the right answer. The five meta answers will then form a larger puzzle (the "penta"), and the solution to the penta will tell the solver and Ada who the murderer is.
There will be eight stories, meaning a total of 48 installments and 40 puzzles. The plan is to deliver one installment per week to subscribers over 2016 and then publish the collection as a book.
Let's bring Ada Cross to life!
Risks and challenges
Since the project is entirely creative, there are no significant risks except that I might not be able to come up with a good enough set of puzzles or write a good enough set of stories, and the big challenge will be delivering them on schedule. I hate being late for things, so my plan is to have much of the work done and and ready to go well in advance of January 2016, but there is always risk of things taking longer than planned. If we have to delay because of time writing the thing, you will still get a year of puzzles, but that year will just have to start a little bit later. Again, it is very much my intent not to let that happen, but you should know that I can't promise anything for certain because I do not have all of the stories and puzzles already written (and because Kickstarter forbids me from guaranteeing anything).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)