Sunday, March 17, 2019

puzzle 100: "los borrachos (freestyle 100)"

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triple digits! feels weird to be typing it out, but hey, i'll take it. and not all of the puzzles have been bad, either. in any case, felt i should celebrate with an oversized puzzle with an appropriate mini-theme; it started at 17x17 before ballooning to 19x19 to accommodate both the stacked seed entries and the nice, longer fill throughout the puzzle.

also: thank you for solving! no matter whether you've been here from the beginning, or this is your first puzzle, it's appreciated. can't do this without you all; i'm looking forward to a lot more puzzles here, and i hope you are too.

other puzzle news: i am looking into all the logistics and legal stuff behind starting a puzzle subscription service strictly for freestyle puzzles. if you have any helpful information, or if you know anybody who does, that'd be greatly appreciated. i would also absolutely love to have collaborators / co-editors for this project; if you're interested in helping out, drop me a line. and, finally, any suggestions for naming this would be appreciated as well.

also: i regret to say that i will not be at acpt this year, but my puzzles will be; feel free to spread the word. in addition, i have some upcoming puzzles in places that aren't this site: nyt on 3/21, minneapolis star tribune and universal on 3/24 (both collabs w/ george barany), and universal on 4/1 (a collab w/ dallas fletcher as part of the ucerp project). really excited for all of these puzzles, and to the other ones with dates to be determined.


Monday, March 11, 2019

puzzle 99: "turn around"

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apologies for the late posting; was out of town all weekend and spent most of it driving. not much to say about this one, other than that the seed entry wasn't the center spanner (as one might think) but actually the last one, though the center one was the one that made me fully commit to finishing this puzzle. as always, enjoy!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

puzzle 98: "heartlifting"

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smaller puzzle for a smaller theme this week; as always, hope you enjoy!

in other crossword news, erik agard dropped a nice freestyle yesterday, and will nediger posted his recap of the best indie puzzles from february. proud to have gotten a nod (for winding numbers) and can say that the rest of the puzzles are just as good (if not better) and well worth solving.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

puzzle 97: "seven and seven (freestyle 53)"

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had some fun making some giant corners with this, though there's also the struggle of finding corners that work opposite the ones you built the grid around. still, lots of sevens here, and hopefully you enjoy a few (or seven) of them. there's quite a few that i like, and a handful of pairs that i find amusing, but i don't want to spoil anything.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

puzzle 96: "winding numbers"

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special solving instructions that are very important: some squares in this grid will be filled with different letters in the across and down directions. when read in the appropriate order, the across letters will spell out an apt shape, as will the down letters. i strongly advocate printing this puzzle out and solving it on paper; the puz file works, but be aware that it is programmed to accept the across answers only, and not the down answers, so it'll be harder to keep track of things, etc.

with that warning out of the way, i'd like to thank everybody who tested this puzzle. as i suspected, it had the potential to be a bit buggy, and indeed there were a few accidental traps due to the possibility of multiple answers. thanks to the test solvers, i cleared some up, but any remaining traps remain accidental, and are all my fault anyhow. but hopefully once you get to the end it's clear which squares are (or are not) part of this puzzle's theme.

otherwise: if it helps, this puzzle was made for the university of iowa's math department newsletter (which, for the first time in over three years, is not run by yrs truly).

Saturday, February 9, 2019

puzzle 95: "time out (freestyle 98)"

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not much to say about this one, other than that i had to include the relevant quote from rex parker after it showed up in the nyt crossword recently. to be fair, the puzzle was constructed and (mostly) clued before that happened; just one of those weird coincidences. still, the quote was too good not to use.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

puzzle 94: "making up ground"

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yet another puzzle inspired by recent(ish) pop culture, though admittedly i haven't seen the series in question yet. not that that will ever stop me from these sorts of puzzles. and, though it doesn't look it, it's certainly got one of the higher average word lengths i've had in awhile. part of that is the fact that only two answers ended up with three letters, and part of that is the theme; still, pleased to work in a few interesting bits of fill, both short and long.

in other crossword news: i recently wrote a detailed description of how i made one of my old puzzles (specifically, this one, in case you want to solve it first, since the description is naturally full of spoilers). i can't claim to speak for all constructors, but i think it's a nice look behind the curtain, especially for newer constructors, and the advice there should hopefully be of use.

also, crossword tournaments are coming up soon: acpt, of course, but the indie 500 and boswords have recently announced their dates as well, with registration to come soon. for various reasons, i almost certainly won't be at acpt this year, but i'd love to have a presence via puzzles. and i'd love to have these puzzles be collaborations—if you have an idea you'd love to work on, hit me up.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

puzzle 93: "ffs"

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the intention was to just make a normal sized puzzle with two seed entries...but once i stumbled across the intersection that's now in the middle of the grid, and realized i had enough entries, sunday(ish) sized it was, even though it ended up as basically two normal sized puzzle stacked on top of each other.

anyway, this puzzle also contains one of my favorite clues that i've written in a long time (and which is most of the reason why that entry was one of the seeds; the other shouldn't be too difficult to figure out).

Saturday, January 19, 2019

puzzle 92: "cutting corners (freestyle 96)"

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you may notice that two corners are cut off from the rest of the puzzle. the short explanation is that that's just what happened after putting in the two seeds and then building around them in the middle. you may also notice that the fill in those two isolated corners is, perhaps, a bit below my usual standards. and you would be absolutely correct, but at the same time there's a mini-theme there. (it's not the first time i've used isolated parts of the puzzle for mini-themes.) could i have done better? probably, but i really wanted to get the first two down answers in there. i wholeheartedly support anybody's attempts to improve it; best revision wins...something. idk. haven't thought that far ahead yet. open to (reasonable) suggestions on that front as well.

all that aside, i'm reasonably pleased with how the main part of the puzzle turned out. i especially like the top stack of tens, though the bottom stack is no slouch either.

finally: does it count as a gratuitous car seat headrest reference if it's a seed entry? key word here being gratuitous; if so, i guess i'm resetting that sign.

Monday, January 14, 2019

puzzle 91: "animal house"

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much like the puzzle from two weeks ago, this one was inspired by current(ish) netflix media and memes and things and what have you. and, for some reason, i felt the need to intersect everything. when will i ever learn that that makes things way harder than they need to be? (don't answer that: we all know that i'll never stop doing that.)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

puzzle 90: "twist and shout"

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more of a freestyle than a themed puzzle today, though i continue to be a sucker for intersecting entries, as the three main ones in this one do.

in other crossword news: erik agard just dropped an amazing freestyle the other day; definitely solve it asap. and: queer qrosswords 2 is happening! more details (and contact info) at the link, but suffice it to say that i'm very excited for this, and have no doubt that the puzzles will be just as fun and inventive as they were last year.

and, finally: the first spyscape puzzle has just come out. it's by david steinberg and edited by yours truly. puzzles will be weekly, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for constructors to be published. if you're interested in contributing, or just want to offer feedback and comments, email me at this link.