Sunday, August 2, 2020

puzzle 176: "chekhov's gin (freestyle 123)"

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this puzzle started with the upper left; i thought about having the two nine letter entries there start and end the grid, but the letter patterns looked nice enough that i figured i'd try stacking them. got lucky in that not only did it work out, but i was able to get a third entry in there to complete the themed stack. unrelatedly: the clue at 8-down works as both a straight clue and a cryptic clue.

last weekend's boswords tournament went well; i finished fifth overall, behind four people that i expected to finish behind. many congrats to paolo pasco for winning; we'll see if he repeats in two weeks at lollapuzzoola, where i might be solving downs only (gulp). in any case, you should sign up for lolla and get the boswords puzzles if you haven't already.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

puzzle 175: "it takes more than skill (freestyle 162)"

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freestyle puzzle in advance of boswords, which is happening tomorrow; i have no expectations that it'll go as well as last year's tournament did, but i'm hoping that it'll go better than the crossword tournament from my couch, where i made way too many typos. fingers crossed for clean solves tomorrow, and hope to see y'all (virtually) there as well.

as for this puzzle, it's entirely seeded from discussions we've had on the crossword streams i've done recently. there's a lot of fun stuff throughout, though, and i like how this turned out; many thanks to trent evans for testing this.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

puzzle 174: "that hurts!"

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easy themed puzzle this week; those massive corners (with intersecting theme answers) weren't easy to make, nor necessary, but with a bunch of shorter fill, wanted something longer, and i think they came out (mostly) nice.

in addition, i have today's universal puzzle, which is also easy and themed and had some nice larger corners and longer fill answers and should be fun. also, a reminder that the boswords tournament is taking place online next weekend, and that the grids for good collection is still available; both are well worth your money, and you should do that if you haven't already.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

puzzle 173: "raise your shield (guest puzzle by sid sivakumar)"

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timely guest puzzle from sid sivakumar, who has a bunch of awesome puzzles on his site and who is one of the constructors for this year's boswords tournament, which is taking place online this year on july 26th and which just opened their registration. lots of other awesome constructors as well, and it'll definitely be a fun time.

also a fun time: the grids for good collection, which has already raised over fifty thousand dollars for a bunch of charities and is well worth every penny you donate (and then some). sid and i both have puzzles in that, as do a bunch of other awesome constructors, and you should get those pronto if you haven't already.

otherwise, as always, be well, stay safe, and make sure to 66-across.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

puzzle 172: "vibe check (freestyle 159)"

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freestyle in advance of both the holiday and a guest avcx freestyle this weekend; it's my second freestyle puzzle (and third overall) with the avcx, and i'm always honored to have puzzles published there.

anyway, had some fun making this one; absolutely no points for guessing what the seeds were, but even after that, there's a lot of good fill (and clues) in this rather aesthetic, slightly lower word count grid. shout out to adam aaronson for testing this and helping me tweak some clues (and in particular, listening to the song that's one of the seed entries to help me confirm the clue there).

in other puzzle news, i have a puzzle in the recently announced grids for good collection, which is well worth making a donation for; details at the link. otherwise, as always, be well, stay safe, and enjoy the holiday weekend.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

puzzle 171: "don't call it that (w/ jenna lafleur)"

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another collaboration, this time with jenna lafleur, who you may remember from this freestyle; unlike that puzzle, this one's themed, and the theme comes from jenna, who notes:
i first had the idea for this puzzle in late 2017 due to what seemed like an unusually high amount of [spoiler] that year. i roped chris in sometime around august 2018, and the puzzle sat in development hell for a while as we tried to wrangle a theme set together that would work symmetrically and be able to be clued fairly. hope you enjoy!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

puzzle 170: "both sides now (w/ george barany and noam elkies)"

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diagonal symmetry seems to be all the rage these days, but this isn't exactly hopping on the bandwagon: this puzzle, in its earliest incarnations, dates all the way back to 2012 (!), though i didn't get involved with this puzzle until early 2016. either way, this one's been a long time coming. it's possible that, if the chronicle of higher education was still doing crosswords, this one might have seen the light of day before now; it was accepted there but unfortunately didn't make it into print before the chronicle ceased publishing crosswords.

unrelatedly, this puzzle's second co-author (noam elkies) is much more known for his work in mathematics and has an erdos number of two, via john horton conway; if this crossword counts (and i don't see why it shouldn't, although it'd be slightly more legit if this was actually published somewhere), then i have an erdos number of three.

also, i'll be streaming some crosswords and rows garden puzzles tonight on twitch; it'll be a fun time, and if you can get kevin bacon to join me, so much the better.