Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

puzzle 180: "do you remember (guest puzzle by ricky cruz)"

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guest puzzle from ricky cruz, who i collaborated with on a fun themeless last week. ricky says "chris wanted me to write some notes for the blog post, but in a hilarious turn of events, i did not remember. enjoy the puzzle." 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

puzzle 179: "yahtzee"

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fun fact: by file name, this is now the alphabetically last puzzle in my folder of blog puzzles; as always, enjoy!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

puzzle 178: "fishers of men"

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timely mini puzzle whose theme was lucky enough to work out symmetrically. first time i've had the inspiration to make a puzzle in quite some time, but i like it, and (fingers crossed) this will lead to me making more soon.

but yeah, sorry for not having a puzzle in a bit; i just haven't had any energy or motivation to do crosswords (or, for that matter, anything, really) in the last few weeks. still don't have much, really, but i made this, so hopefully that's a good omen. and i also got around to going through old files [aka looking at puzzles that i got rejection emails from] and managed to find some old puzzles i honestly forgot i made, so i guess i have a bit of a backlog now? at least i have more puzzles to put out without going a month between them.

[edited to add: also i guess i passed the three year anniversary sometime since the last puzzle?]

Friday, August 14, 2020

puzzle 177: "wap (guest puzzle by adam nicolle)"

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guest puzzle by adam nicolle, who's dropped a lot of great freestyles on his site recently and still has a puzzle pack available for a charity donation; see details at his site. also, lollapuzzoola tomorrow; i'm signed up for the downs only division, and haven't practiced that much, so we'll see how it goes. but it'll be fun no matter what happens.

otherwise, apologies for not having a puzzle in a bit; didn't have anything finished last weekend, but adam was nice enough to offer this puzzle. we were discussing possible revisions to this monday and basically had this finished when the derecho hit, and i ended up losing power for three days. all things considered, i'm fine; there's a lot of people around here that won't get power back for much longer, to say nothing of all the property damage. gonna try to do a crossword twitch stream some time next week to raise some money for this; details to come soon.

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.

Monday, June 15, 2020

puzzle 169: "touchword 3"

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last saturday, i twitch streamed a bunch of rows gardens puzzles, and at one point the discussion turned to different types of variety puzzles and whether we'd constructed them before. i haven't made a rows garden yet, but i have made some touchwords, and so that inspired me to put another one out.

if you haven't solved one before, the rules are pretty straightforward: instead of having words cross at the same letter, in a touchword, every letter is vertically adjacent to the same letter (either above or below, and sometimes both). also, the first and last rows are considered adjacent, so the whole thing wraps around into a cylinder, and thus everything is crossed touched.

also, three quick puzzles announcements: one, eric berlin has put out a set of social distancing puzzles, meant to be solved with a partner. there's ten puzzles plus a final puzzle that ties everything together, and having solved them last night, i can confirm that they're all well made and incredibly entertaining, with lots of nice little touches throughout that show how much care (and fun!) eric put into these.

two, will nediger also has a puzzle suite out; titled escape the grid, it's a series of meta puzzles where each one unlocks the next, and the whole thing functions as an escape room somehow. i haven't solved yet, but i'm looking forward to doing so.

and finally, the people behind boxaroo are doing colby's curious cookoff, an online puzzle hunt that hasn't launched yet (but will soon!) and which i'm told is going to be incredibly fun and well worth solving. i've already signed up, and i can't wait for when it goes live.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

puzzle 168: "questionable content (freestyle 152)"

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this freestyle was directly inspired by this tweet (spoilers, obviously) in response to my recent new york times puzzle. only one thing you can do with that tweet; would've liked to have used the same grid as that puzzle, but i'm pretty pleased with how this one turned out.

speaking of crossword tweets, here's a mini crossword (3x5) i posted on twitter recently.

otherwise, friday's livestream is still posted on my twitch; the stream went well, and i managed to solve all 31 universal puzzles from may in 1:25:37. fast, but not as fast as dan feyer, who solved a bunch of freestyles (including my most recent one) on his twitch yesterday, which was a bunch of fun to watch. looking forward to the next time he does that, as well as the next time i stream (probably friday or saturday, as seems to be usual). until then, stay safe.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

puzzle 167: "do the right thing (freestyle 154)"

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those of you who follow my twitch streams will know that last weekend, i discussed the lack of motivation / creativity i've had in creating puzzles recently, and the reasons behind that, which helps explain why last weekend's puzzle is appearing on a wednesday. but i appreciate the constructors who have been able to continue making puzzles, most of which i've been streaming, and i appreciate those who watch and show their support.

anyway, burying the lede here: i'll be streaming a speedrun of all the universal puzzles from may in the near future. inspired by rebecca falcon, i would like to raise money for black lives matter, the ongoing protests, bailout funds, and whatever else could use it at the moment. to that end, i'd appreciate it if you'd join me for the stream and pledge some money. this twitter thread has some ideas, some of which are performance-based and some of which depend on the words in the crossword, and i'd also be thrilled to hear any ideas to add to that and raise more money.

also, both paolo pasco and erik agard have offered crosswords for donations; i've already donated; i encourage you to do so as well, and to join me when i do another livestream fundraiser with these puzzles later this month.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

puzzle 166: "you're cramping my style! (guest puzzle by brian herrick)"

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guest puzzle this week from brian herrick, a brooklyn-based constructor who previously had this puzzle on the site, and who i collaborated with on a new york times sunday puzzle back in february. i enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit when he sent it my way, and i think you'll enjoy it as well, especially on this memorial day weekend.

otherwise, no twitch stream tonight; i'm not sure if i'll be able to stream monday night, but if not, i'll do so during the week, because two weeks is too long to go without a livestream. as always, updates and info at my twitter.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

puzzle 165: "staten island ferry (freestyle 147)"

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puzzle earlier this week than usual, since i have the friday NYT crossword, which you might like to solve, especially if for some reason you haven't solved enough freestyles from me lately.

as for this freestyle, it should not be surprising at all what the seed entry was, although there's a lot of other fun entries in this, and some tricky clues as well. as always, enjoy!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

puzzle 164: "book club (freestyle 145)"

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in case you haven't already solved it, i had the saturday la times puzzle; it was a bit of an older freestyle, but still a good puzzle, i think, and worth solving. and if that's not enough, here's another freestyle from me, a lot newer, but also a good one. started with the pair of twelves (one a book i've read recently, the other a book i'm about to read again) and then the sevens intersecting them in the middle; those four entries pretty much dictated the rest of the grid. after that, filled each corner independently, though some of them took more time than others. still, i'm mostly happy with the results, a few cheater squares and a short entry or two notwithstanding. as always, enjoy!

Monday, May 4, 2020

puzzle 163: "whoosh (freestyle 151)"

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in case you missed it, here's a mini 5x5 crossword i posted on twitter yesterday. also yesterday: yet another crossword livestream, which involved me solving all thirty universal puzzles from april as fast as i could while also drinking. probably could have done better on both fronts (drinking and solving) but still had fun, and i think i'm gonna do another speed run at the end of may.

i'll still continue the weekly livestreams, though, and i'll try to announce them here in advance as much as possible, although the problem is that those tend to be on friday / saturday and puzzles tend to get published on saturday / sunday. to be fair, i tried getting this week's puzzle up before the livestream, so i could announce it in advance here (in addition to my twitter). but i realized while cluing it that there was a typo, and that resulted in redoing a quarter of the grid, and so here we are. mea culpa.

at least this is an extra large grid, which is nice, although it's also another freestyle, which, to be honest, i'm finding easier to make these days. not that they're easy to make; i'm finding all puzzles to be hard to make. i just don't seem to have as much creativity in this current climate to make puzzles, but i'm still trying, and mostly i'm doing ok, although i really miss just being out and about and leading a normal life and hitting upon a serendipitous moment where you get a theme idea. like, with everything locked down and with all your socializing planned out in advance, or at least through video rather than in real life, it's a lot harder to have those random moments that create a seed of an idea for crosswords. and with so many things that would normally cause inspiration either being postponed or cancelled...well, it's a bit harder creating themed crosswords at the moment, but i'm trying.

which is to say: if you have ideas, let's collab; i'm trying to be faster in responding to things, but also i'm finding myself having a lot more emails to respond to than usual, so it kinda evens out a bit.

in any case, though, there's a lot of crosswords out there to solve. most of the ones i get for my weekly livestreams come from people i know and/or matthew gritzmacher's daily crossword links, which you absolutely need to be subscribing to if you aren't already. or just watch one of my livestreams: generally, the puzzles i solve are the puzzles i would recommend to others as well.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

puzzle 162: "roger that (freestyle 149)"

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here's a freestyle that's a little larger than usual, to accommodate the four stacked entries in the center. a fair amount of tinkering went into getting a good number of long crossing entries on that stack while still having space for long answers in all four corners; i like the results, even if it did require a few more cheater squares than i'd've liked. still, the grid looks nice, and it should be a fun solve.

if you're up for a challenge, try solving this one downs only. the pdf can easily have the across clues folded back and hidden, and if you're using puz, you can always get rid of the across clues here.

also, a reminder that i haven't yet posted the solution to last week's meta collaboration yet; i've gotten a good number of emails and messages from solvers who enjoyed the puzzle and managed to figure out the meta, and i'd love to get more—i always enjoy hearing from solvers.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

puzzle 161: "slurred lines (w/ burak tekin)"

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today's puzzle is a collaboration with burak tekin, who constructs puzzles in both english and turkish, and who lives in nyc (although his heart remains in boston). he sent me a version of this puzzle a couple weeks ago, and i happened to find the meta very easy to solve, because i had a version of this puzzle that had been sitting in my "break glass in case of emergency" folder for over a year. i didn't particularly care for my version of the puzzle (indeed, there was a reason it hadn't been posted), but thankfully burak's version took a different tack than mine, and as a result we were able to combine the best ideas from both and make this puzzle.

burying the lede, maybe, but this collaboration is also a meta; the meta answer is a song from the 90s. there's no prize or anything, but when you solve it, feel free to email me anyway—it's always good to hear from solvers, and it gives me a sense of how difficult the meta was. also, the solution to this meta will probably be posted around the start of may, so you should have plenty of time to figure this out.

also, about this collaboration, burak has the following to say:
literally years ago, when i wanted to give constructing a hypothetical shot, chris was the first person i asked for advice; in return, he sent me probably the most detailed and helpful email i've ever received in my life. after a long period of procrastination, when i finally constructed a puzzle, i again turned to chris for feedback, and he sent me probably the second most detailed and helpful email i've ever received in my life. he's a great person to work with: meticulous, encouraging, and direct. as a rookie, this was a great learning experience, and i'm already looking forward to the next feedback email!
i have nothing to add to that, except (a) i'm tempted to quote that on my resume, if i ever get around to updating it; (b) it was certainly a pleasure to work with burak, and i'm looking forward to doing so again; and (c) i'm always happy to collaborate, or at least offer advice and/or feedback; feel free to email me at any time.

and, while we're on the topic of collaborations, two bits of news. first, i have another collaboration out today: a universal sunday crossword (puz, pdf) titled "dessert dilemma", which steve faiella and myself constructed after he reached out to me with the theme idea. and second, a crossword i made in collaboration with rex parker got accepted by the la times; i'll be sure to let y'all know when that drops. (i'll also note that, of late, my overall acceptance rate for collaborations has been much higher than solo puzzles; i'll chalk that up to working with a lot of talented and intelligent people, as well as the fact that two heads are better than one.)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

puzzle 160: "twitch plays crosswords (freestyle 148)"

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bit later than i would have liked to have had a puzzle up this weekend, but hey, it's still the weekend, and this is a puzzle, and it's up now, and hopefully it's not too late to solve tonight. and if it is, well, there's always tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that, or something like that. still, whenever you do solve it, i hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

puzzle 159: "connect four"

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as with years past, a normal puzzle for a normal day.

in other news, livestreaming continues to be fun. i think i'll stream again either friday or saturday night with some indie puzzles and such from the last week; details will go up on my twitter. i'm also setting up a puzzle power hour (date tba) where i will solve as many puzzles in one hour as fast as i can. currently working on getting usa today puzzles in puz format to facilitate this; if you can help, that'd be appreciated. also appreciated: betting on my performance and/or donating to charity based on how many i solve and how many typos i make.

also, there's a petition going around asking the new york times to diversify their puzzle editing and test-solving staff and to give constructors more input over the clues in the final product; i highly encourage you to read and sign it.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

puzzle 158: "deleted scenes (w/ richard d. allen)"

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here's a collaboration with richard d. allen, a rookie constructor from north carolina who's been making puzzles for about a year now. i've had the pleasure of testing some of those puzzles, and i enjoyed working with him on this puzzle as well.

as is often the case with puzzles based on timely events, the theme may seem a bit familiar; brendan emmett quigley and sam trabucco have already posted their takes on this reveal. still, ours is a bit different, so even if you already know the reveal, this is still a fun puzzle to solve. and if you haven't solved either of the two above-linked puzzles already, well, then you have another puzzle or two to solve and see a different take on this theme.

in other news, did a twitch stream that involved solving crosswords while drinking and talking about things; i had fun, and i think i'm going to keep doing this weekly while we're all mostly at home here. recommendations for puzzles to solve and requests to join for audio commentary are always welcome. (and yes, the white claw puzzle power hour is coming at some point soon; working on getting the puzzles for that, and possibly practicing just a little bit.)

also, here's a fun mini from adam aaronson on his twitter, based on a nice pair of seed entries.

in addition to signing up for emails from me, you can also sign up for matt gritzmacher's daily crossword links, which is a roundup of all that day's puzzles, and includes a lot of fun puzzles you should be solving if you aren't already.

and finally, if you would like me to do anything crossword related—collaboration, test solving, asking questions about themes, etc.—hit me up via email, and i'll be happy to help.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

puzzle 157: "touchword 2"

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writing this post between puzzles in the crossword tournament from your couch, which (if you're not solving already) you should be; i believe puz files will be posted at some point. will have more to say about the tournament later, but so far it's good, even if i had a typo on the first puzzle because i wasn't quite acquainted with the interface yet. it's my fault for not checking, but i blame the two warmup puzzles; because they were so easy, i didn't get any practice with erasing wrong answers while speed solving, and that's pretty much what bit me. (not that i was gonna make the finals anyway, but it's always nice to have a clean yet fast solve.)

anyway, this puzzle isn't a crossword, but a variety puzzle known as a touchword. it's a format i learned about from joon pahk's outside the box puzzles. instead of having words cross at the same letter, in a touchword, every letter is vertically adjacent to the same letter in at least one direction. the top row is considered adjacent to the bottom row, so the entire puzzle forms a nice cylinder.

it tends to be a theme with touchwords to have the first entry related to touching; here, i started with the first and last rows, and only noticed that i could tie in the first entry when i got around to cluing this. lots of fun across entries here, as well as a pair that i'm not as fond of, but needed to get some of the nicer across entries in while still keeping it a touchword. both should be fairly crossed touched though.

as always, enjoy! and i'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this, and what you liked or didn't like.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

puzzle 156: "march madness"

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pi day puzzle not related to pi day; this puzzle is also not related to basketball or anything in the news. but it is timely (for some people, at least) and hopefully a pleasant break from everything that's going on.

speaking of which: i will have a lot of time on my hands in the next few weeks, and i imagine some of you will as well. if you would like to do anything crossword related—collaboration, test solving, asking questions about themes, etc.—hit me up via email, and i'll be happy to help.

on that note, i'd like to recommend this weekend's wall street journal puzzle, which has a nice bipartite reveal, and which has an idea i wish i'd thought of. still, when kevin came to me with the idea, i was glad to offer advice and help make it a little stronger, as well as offering suggestions on how to get the theme to work in print. that said, pretty much everything good about the puzzle (the theme, some of the fill, etc.) comes from kevin, but again, i was happy to help, and i'm glad it's getting published.

another fun puzzle that popped up in my email while typing this post: call me by my name by sid sivakumar and matthew stock. funny theme, and there's some great fill here both long and short, so it's definitely worth a solve.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

puzzle 155: "skylight"

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fun fact: i wanted this grid to be two squares wider, so that i wouldn't have the utah blocks in the middle or the bars of three squares in the northeast and southwest corners. this also would have meant way fewer three letter words, which, if you know me, you know that i'm not particularly a fan of them if it can be avoided. still, certain constraints from the middle meant that it was a lot easier (and a lot cleaner) to fill this grid, and i'd rather have a clean, lively grid than worry about the number of three letter words.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

puzzle 154: "field testing"

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happy birthday to me, and a reminder that today is the last day to get this month's bonus puzzles. any donation of $10 or more to the tip jar gets you both a themed 15x25 and a freestyle 17x17, which a positive integral number of people have said good things about (and many thanks to them, as well as all those who've already donated).

anyway, today's puzzle has nothing to do with today, but if you want a puzzle that does, here's a pdf to a puzzle i made for the crossword mug back in 2016. fun fact: this was the first puzzle i ever had published, and although i probably should have started with something easier, i learned a lot during the (rather long) process of making it.

as for this puzzle, it's inspired (like so many others on this site) by recent events; i apologize for starting the puzzle on a down note, but i kinda backed myself into a corner by making the lower right corner as open as it is, which meant the upper left (which i probably should have started with when i was filling the grid) was harder to fill than it should have been. still, i like how this one came out, and there's a lot of good fill, and i hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

puzzle 153: "schoolhouse rock (freestyle 137)"

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this is probably the second to last reminder for the month that any donation of $10 or more to the tip jar gets you a pair of bonus puzzles (a themed 15x25 and a freestyle 17x17). many, many thanks to those who've already donated.

otherwise, here's a freestyle that started with the lower right corner; i wasn't planning on having a fifteen cut through the diagonal of black squares, but i couldn't pass up the opportunity, and so here we are. as always, enjoy!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

puzzle 152: "picture perfect"

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mini 9x9 puzzle because why not? some nice longer answers in here, and with one third as many clues to write as usual, had some fun with a few of them.

also, the bonus puzzles (a themed 15x25 and a freestyle 17x17) are still available for any donation of $10 or more to the tip jar. as always, many thanks to those who've already donated.

otherwise, full-sized puzzle again next weekend!

Friday, February 14, 2020

puzzle 151: "finish lines"

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happy valentine's day to those who celebrate, and to those who don't, at least there's half-price chocolate at the end of the tunnel of crassly-commercialized holidays. still, no matter how you feel about it, here's a crossword puzzle.

another puzzle whose theme might fit today is this one from two years back with allegra kuney, who also has an inkubator puzzle that you should check out as well.

also, to be perfectly clear, there's no subtext or hidden message with today's puzzle, and this wasn't commissioned by anybody. but: if you would like to commission a puzzle for this purpose, i'd love to help. and if you'd like a custom puzzle for any other reason, or for any event, i'd love to help as well—email me and we'll work something out.

and, if you'd just like to throw money at me for puzzles, a reminder that there's still half a month left to get a pair of bonus puzzle. any donation of $10 or more to the tip jar gets you a themed 15x25 and a freestyle 17x17 as the reward. many thanks to those who have already donated, but if not, you've still got plenty of time.

and if that's not enough? i've heard from a number of people* that the squarefree suite makes a great gift.

(*that number is zero.)


Monday, February 10, 2020

puzzle 150: "quick study"

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reminder that the tip jar is open for the rest of this month, with a themed 15x25 and a freestyle 17x17 as the reward for any donation of $10 or more; additionally, many thanks to everybody who's already donated.

as for this puzzle, came out a lot better than i thought it would while making it, especially considering the [redacted for spoilers] and the fact that [redacted for spoilers]. still, there's a lot to like here, and i had fun cluing this while watching the oscars (and even more fun watching bong joon-ho win approximately all the oscars). as always, enjoy!

[edit: the original puzzle contained an egregious error that has now been fixed; the files are all now correct. mea culpa, and thanks to everybody who pointed this out.]


Saturday, February 1, 2020

puzzle 149: "cha cha now y'all (freestyle 135)"

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low word count themeless? yup. wasn't planned, but kinda just happened, and i like how it turned out.

also, this sunday's new york times puzzle is a collaboration between brian herrick (who you may remember from this puzzle) and myself; if you haven't already solved it, i think you'll like it.

additionally, since it's been a hot minute since i last did this, i'm opening up the tip jar for the entirety of the month of february. strictly speaking, it's always open, and the site is always free, but any donation of $10 or more this month will be rewarded with a lot of gratitude and a pair of bonus puzzles—a themed 15x25 that's pretty fun and a freestyle 17x17 that's hard as all get-out. puzzles will be sent out by tuesday, if not sooner; i'll be pretty busy the next few days with a 5k race, the super bowl, and then flying back home to caucus. i might be able to find some time (and an internet connection) during all that, but if not, rest assured that the puzzles will be worth the wait.

also, answer to last week's brainteaser, encoded in rot-13: ehtol synaxref

Sunday, January 26, 2020

puzzle 148: "scarlet letters"

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bonus brainteaser: what sport and position within that sport could have been used as a semi-cryptic title to hint at this puzzle's theme? (probably could have worded this slightly better, but you'll know the answer once you see it.)

otherwise, enjoy this puzzle; more fun stuff coming next week!

Monday, January 20, 2020

puzzle 147: "split decision (freestyle 131)"

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freestyle this weekend; some fun answers in there, and as always, hope you enjoy! as for me, been busy with a lot of stuff, including quite a few collaborations, but there's some good stuff coming up in the near future (including a soon-to-be released collaboration that i'm pretty excited for).

Thursday, January 9, 2020

puzzle 146: "a bully is always a coward"

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guest puzzle this week from adam aaronson, who you may recognize from his nyt debut a week ago. definitely a good constructor; give him a follow on twitter (where he's already posted this puzzle) if you haven't already. as for this puzzle, adam says: "after a friend reminded me of a certain classic sentence (spoilers / explanation here), i decided to whip up this twisted quip-style puzzle. hopefully it doesn't bully you too hard."

elsewhere, crossnerds just had a nice podcast episode with chris king; check it out when you have the time.

and finally, i have today's la times crossword, which can be solved online here; i think you'll enjoy that one as well.

Monday, January 6, 2020

puzzle 145: "spanner in the works (freestyle 95)"

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i have this thursday's la times puzzle, in case y'all would like to solve that. as for this puzzle, it started with what is now 32-across, except it was the full name as a grid-spanning answer. but sometimes you finish a puzzle and it just doesn't feel good (iffy fill, tough crossings, etc.)...so i scrapped the spanner, kept what i could (and what i liked), and redid most of the rest. this is the result; as always, hope you enjoy.