With all the 1990's and 2000's episodes surfacing, we have a lot more puzzles to look at. When I compare the late-game puzzles from the 90's to the later ones, it feels like the ones in the 90's may sometimes be themed towards the week, but not towards the end of the game or anything like that.
On the other hand, there are a lot of Round 4 (sometimes Round 5) puzzles from this millennium that are clearly written for the end game, sometimes just themed to gameplay in general, or even just to the end of the day/week. For instance from Season 31: DON'T GET BUZZED OUT, WINNING A NARROW VICTORY, FINISHING IN FIRST PLACE. Another one that I can think of is OUR BIG WINNER from Season 33 (a Round 4 puzzle despite playing to 6 rounds), and there's also HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! from last year (which was swapped to Monday). The list goes on.
The problem is that it's hard to establish the season in which this practice began, but I think it was after the debut of Toss-Ups. These puzzles aren't used as frequently as themed $1,000 or $3,000 Toss-Ups at the time, and there are still lots of unthemed puzzles used in the late game. I can't find a pattern, but there's something to this.
My DPG puzzle solos: IMDB, LYNX, OKAMI, JUMP CUT, VIC VIPER, and ASDFMOVIE.
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