Saturday, August 11, 2018

puzzle 67: "my shot (freestyle 10)"

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this one comes from the category of puzzles i'd almost forgotten i'd constructed. it's also, as one test-solver pointed out, a puzzle whose mini-theme feels less created than discovered. here's hoping y'all find it as amusing as i do.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

puzzle 66: "t men"

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a simple theme this week, and a bit of a weird grid, but hopefully it's not any less fun than usual. and it is nice to have a themed puzzle again. there's a few more of those coming up, including another collaboration or two. i enjoy doing them, and would love to keep doing those, so if you're interested, definitely let me know.

Friday, July 27, 2018

puzzle 65: "total football (freestyle 64 with jenna lafleur)"

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incredibly proud to have a collaboration w/ jenna lafleur, solver, streamer, and constructor extraordinaire. unlike me, she's at boswords this weekend (with copies of both this puzzle and last week's), and i have full faith that she's going to kill it. and if you're there as well, maybe say hi to jenna, and good luck on all the puzzles—i'll be solving from home, but with the list of constructors, i can't see these being anything less than a bunch of excellent puzzles.

some more thoughts + background on this puzzle from jenna herself:
freestyle construction has always seemed like a pretty daunting task to me, but recently i figured i should try giving it a serious shot. i emailed chris with the seed entry and asked if he wanted to collab and/or give advice. he replied with some very helpful tips that helped me get a start on the grid, which we then filled in and clued via several different modes of communication—a google hangout, then twitter dms, and finally back to email. this puzzle has some clues in it that i'm really proud of—hope it's an enjoyable solve!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

puzzle 64: "go to sleep (freestyle 54)"

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those of you that solve fireball crosswords might find this feels like a peter gordon themeless, in that it combines two of his trademarks: unusual marquee entries, and seed entries that have something superficial in common. no prize for guessing which two entries fill those roles in this puzzle, but it was interesting to build a grid around making sure the first of these entries was crossed fairly, and then trying to fill in the other half around a rather interesting pattern. i think this one ended up pretty decent; there's a few entries i don't completely care for, but given the constraints, i think they're worth the fill in this case (though i certainly don't plan on using them again anywhere in the near future).

in other news: i will not, as i had planned / hoped to, be at either boswords or lollapuzzoola this year, which is extremely disappointing for me for many reasons. i would still like to have a presence there, so if you can help with printing puzzles, it'd be greatly appreciated.

edit: the clue for 35A should properly read "like the valkyries"; the current files should be correct.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

puzzle 63: "jailhouse rock"

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not much to say about this week's puzzle, except that jenna lafleur will be solving and livestreaming crosswords later, including this one. details at her twitter; you should watch (after solving, of course). and no worries if you can't watch it live: she puts up the recordings afterward.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

puzzle 62: "in memory of"

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sorry for the (unplanned) absence of a puzzle last week, but hope y'all enjoyed the LAT + NYT puzzles i had in the meantime. quite a few of y'all emailed / tweeted / texted / carrier pigeoned / smoke signaled support, commentary, and feedback, and it's much appreciated, as always.

somewhat ironically, one of things i mentioned in my commentary on the NYT puzzle was that i always try to keep things as clean as possible. and yet, this puzzle has a few answers that i'm not particularly enamored with. but, it's a trade-off, and i can live with those in return for cramming in a few more quasi-theme entries and such, in much the same way that (as a solver) i can live with a bit of meh fill in service of a particularly exceptional theme or flashy freestyle, but don't care for it when it could (and, in my opinion, should) be easily improved.

in other news, i am (finally) including solutions to puzzles, and will add solutions to old puzzles in the near future.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

puzzle 61: "cortez (freestyle 49)"

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amusing coincidence: i was already planning on using this awesome cover of cortez the killer for music for some puzzle, and then wikipedia tells me the number 58 has significance to the story of cortez, and this puzzle has 58 words, so there's the title for you.

but yeah: a 58 word freestyle. granted, the grid is slightly smaller than a normal grid, and there's a few more black squares than i'd like, but it came out well. reminds me a bit of this kameron austin collins puzzle, which also has a really low word count, lots of black squares, and which remains one of my favorites from him.

in other news, there's a lot coming up in the next few weeks. first, i have the thursday (6/28) puzzle in the la times. then on saturday (6/30), i'll be filling in for rex parker for a day. and on the tuesday after that (7/3), i'm making my new york times debut, and i have high hopes that it will not tuez. after that, there's a few more with as yet unconfirmed dates other than "sometime this fall", but i'll definitely let y'all know when and where.

oh, and also: boswords is open for registration. it was a blast last year, and i should be there again this year.