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3/5/2016 1:01:19 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
I know this is a weird question, but I'm hoping someone knows, or maybe an editor will answer.

I've been using an erasable ink pen for a couple of months now, and so far it has worked great. It leaves almost no trace that I've even erased anything. I've used it for several of the past few months issues of Penny Press variety puzzle magazines.

However, I just started the March issue of Variety Puzzles and Games and immediately I noticed a difference when I erased. Now, it leaves a dark gray smudge over the area and looks quite unappealing.

So I'm curious if maybe the ink and/or paper used in this particular issue is different than the past issues. If so, I hope it goes back to the other kind, because erasing in this issue is very ugly.

Thanks!
edited by JohnJSal on 3/5/2016

3/5/2016 10:26:31 PM

Bernadette1959
Bernadette1959
Posts: 245
John, by coincidence, I almost came here the other day and asked if PennyDell had changed the kind of ink they were using. My problem was not smudging, but the magazine print being erased along with my pencil marks.

I'm hoping it was just a fluke.
edited by Bernadette1959 on 3/6/2016

3/5/2016 11:33:15 PM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
I really hope so too. I love using ink for the puzzles, but only if I can erase it. And this particular issue is making the erasures look horrible.

P.S. And yes, I noticed that the magazine ink was being erased too :-(
edited by JohnJSal on 3/5/2016

3/6/2016 1:55:45 AM

Josh
Josh
Posts: 170
They list the printer on the bottom of one of the early pages of each issue. Recently I've noticed the full-size magazines are being printed by a new printer, which assumedly means changes. I'd compare the names on them as that change was pretty recent.

3/6/2016 7:34:17 AM

Bernadette1959
Bernadette1959
Posts: 245
Josh, you certainly are observant. I never noticed the change in printers, never even thought to look!

I had to go back and edit my above response to John. I'm not currently solving out of Merit Variety Puzzles for March 2016, I'm solving out of PP Variety Puzzles and Games for NOVEMBER 2015. (I've been pulling crostic puzzles out of various issues herelately.)

I just purchased the April issue of Merit yesterday and I'm going to try a few puzzles later today to see how or if the ink holds up. smile

3/6/2016 2:23:38 PM

Purple Pisces
Purple Pisces
Posts: 878
For me, I used to have an issue with the black print smudging with the erasable pens, but lately it hasn't been an issue. Things have been erasing beautifully! I assume you're using the Frixion pens? Sometimes I notice that the plastic/rubber eraser nubs will collect a little bit of black print or paper lint and will smudge if they aren't clean. Or maybe it could be an off batch of ink?

3/6/2016 5:28:02 PM

Josh
Josh
Posts: 170
Bernadette1959 wrote:
Josh, you certainly are observant. I never noticed the change in printers, never even thought to look!


Because of the way I buy the magazines, I use the print dates as a helpful way to discern if it's an issue I've already purchased. Since the printer's listed with them, just sort of goes hand in hand smile

3/6/2016 9:29:53 PM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Yes, it's the Frixion pens. I love them! I did just put in a new ink cartridge, but that doesn't explain why it would erase the magazine's ink. I emailed them and asked. Hopefully a response will shed some light.

3/6/2016 10:31:43 PM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Josh, you're right! All the past issues were printed by Quad/Graphics, and this latest issue was printed by RR Donnelley.

Very disappointing if it stays this way.

3/6/2016 11:53:30 PM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
I'm pretty sure it's the ink. It even comes off on your fingers like newspaper print now :-(

3/7/2016 9:23:13 AM

Bernadette1959
Bernadette1959
Posts: 245
I solved a couple of crostic puzzles in the new issue of Merit Variety and unfortunately encountered the same problem with the magazine ink coming off along with my pencil marks. And I'm just using a regular pencil eraser, not one that is supposed to erase ink.

PennyDell must have received a lower bid on printing costs and went with a new company, and the tradeoff is probably a lower quality ink being used.
As a consumer, I'm getting so tired of the quality of goods in this country going down, down, down. I guess the next new printing venue may be China.

I'm just going to try to be very careful when I erase from now on. I already have a bit of a problem always reading those small numbers under the spaces in the crostics, even with my glasses on. wink

3/7/2016 11:40:19 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
This is really disappointing. I hope the change doesn't last. I'm going to email them about it, and hopefully other people will as well.

Their magazines were always such good quality, but with this change it feels like a cheap newspaper and it actually makes me feel less inclined to do some puzzles, for fear of having to erase and make a mess of the page (and my fingers).

3/7/2016 2:20:11 PM

Amy Lowenstein
Amy Lowenstein
Posts: 1599
I have some old magazines to work on, but now I'm almost afraid to order any newer ones. At least I can xerox my puzzles if need be, and erase on the paper onto which I've xeroxed puzzles. But one shouldn't have to do that! I hope, for everyone's sake, that Penny/Dell brings back good quality paper, good quality printing.

--
Amy

3/7/2016 4:19:31 PM

Josh
Josh
Posts: 170
Amy Lowenstein wrote:
I have some old magazines to work on, but now I'm almost afraid to order any newer ones. At least I can xerox my puzzles if need be, and erase on the paper onto which I've xeroxed puzzles. But one shouldn't have to do that! I hope, for everyone's sake, that Penny/Dell brings back good quality paper, good quality printing.



They just made the switch in the past couple of months, so I suspect if you order a value pack right now you'll predominantly get books printed by the old printer. Might be a good time to grab one if it's a concern.

I don't tend to use erasable writing utensils as a rule... just write darker over the old info. Messy and not nearly as neat/clean, but gets the job done wink That said, you all are inspiring me to rethink that with the recent discussions!

3/7/2016 4:31:57 PM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Here's the response I got so far. Not very informative yet, but I replied with more information and will hopefully hear something further.

If anyone else is having this issue, I encourage you to write a short email as well. I believe they all go to the same person (Betty Andrews), so she will definitely see that it isn't just one person complaining.

The emails are:

customerservice@pennypublications.com
bandrews@pennypublications.com

-----------------
Thank you for your recent email regarding the ink and paper used in our Variety Magazine titles.

I am not aware of any recent changes that have occurred. However, I have passed your comments on to our production department for review. Please let me know if you continue to see this in future issues.

We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to serving you in the future.

Sincerely,
Betty Andrews
Reader’s Service
edited by JohnJSal on 3/7/2016

3/7/2016 10:15:36 PM

Bernadette1959
Bernadette1959
Posts: 245
Josh wrote:
I don't tend to use erasable writing utensils as a rule... just write darker over the old info. Messy and not nearly as neat/clean, but gets the job done wink That said, you all are inspiring me to rethink that with the recent discussions!


Josh, I used nothing but pens for almost all of my forty years of solving and it's only been in the past year that I've started using pencils. Pencils never seemed to write dark enough for me, no matter how soft the lead in them. I finally made the switch, though, because I read on this forum that some solvers used clipboards and I had never, ever thought of using a clipboard. I started using one last year and just love it!! The pencil writes nice and dark on the hard surface and I can erase and my puzzle page looks much neater. (I used to be an "overwriter" as well. LOL)

3/7/2016 10:37:57 PM

Bernadette1959
Bernadette1959
Posts: 245
JohnJSal wrote:
Here's the response I got so far. Not very informative yet, but I replied with more information and will hopefully hear something further.

If anyone else is having this issue, I encourage you to write a short email as well. I believe they all go to the same person (Betty Andrews), so she will definitely see that it isn't just one person complaining.


I will send them a note as well, John. Thanks!

3/8/2016 12:31:26 AM

JohnJSal
JohnJSal
Posts: 135
Thank you, Bernadette! The more of us they hear from, hopefully the better the outcome.

I've also noticed that when I do puzzles in this issue, I seem to be sniffling more and my eyes itch a bit. I REALLY hope I'm just being paranoid and that I'm not allergic to the new ink! :'(

Like Amy said, I'm hesitant to buy any new magazines. I was going to subscribe to VP&G, but now I'm waiting to see. Maybe I will just order a big backorder pack and hope they are from the other printer, which I think they would be this close to the switch.

3/10/2016 6:46:17 PM

Purple Pisces
Purple Pisces
Posts: 878
I received the latest issue of Dell's Logic Problems in the mail today and noticed that it was printed by RR Donnelley, while past issues have been printed by Quad Graphics. After reading this thread I'm kind of nervous!! I know a few smudges aren't the end of the world, but was very happy with the quality of the paper and ink used in past issues. Will post any differences I notice, if any, after I get the chance to test things out.

3/11/2016 3:58:40 PM

Purple Pisces
Purple Pisces
Posts: 878
Last night I tested out erasing pencil marks and erasing with the Frixion pens and had the same results as John and Bernadette! upset I sent an email with my concerns so hopefully it will help. I told them in the e-mail that I can't speak for other puzzlers, but I wouldn't mind paying a little more for a higher quality print.

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