Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Themeless Crossword #2 (With Brooke Husic!!!!!)

Shanah Tovah all! Hoping to bring back the blog more consistently (aiming for every other Thursday for now!) in 5782. I think today's puzzle is a good way to bring it back, and I'm super excited to share it with you all.

Brooke is one of the absolute greats in the game right now (I am begging you to solve her Lolla puzzle if you haven't yet), and I'm so so lucky to have worked with her on this puzzle. Super appreciative of all her insight, and I really hope the vibe of our process shines through in the grid. She's also just a fantastic person - her latest "Spread the Wordlist" project is exactly what we need to lower the barriers to entry in the hobby, and her most recent themeless drop benefits a great cause. We're super lucky to have her in the crossword community, and I'm super lucky to be featuring her on the blog! More interesting than my kvelling are her thoughts on the puzzle, though:

I have admired David from afar for so long and was soooo honored when he messaged me on twitter and started the convo I was too nervous to start myself!!! I'm so happy with this demi we made together and I think you can find both of our distinct voices as well as some greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts vibes. We tossed around potential seed/clue pairs for a long time before David suggested 1A, which I absolutely love, and after we riffed on clues for it we made the grid and wrote the clues very collaboratively! I adore that 30A is in his wordlist and love his clues for 11A, 15A, and 6D especially.

Enjoy the puzzle, and send any feedback our way! Specifically, feedback along the lines of "26D is beautiful/groanworthy" is very much expected, and feedback in the form of 11A would be very kind (direct both to Brooke!). Grab the pdf here, the puz file here, and the interactive client right below. Thanks to Nina and Will for test solving! Fully recommending Nina's contribution to the Mini Meta Madness at Lolla, and check the blog later this year for my take on Will's randomized themelesses! Enjoy all, and be well!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Themed Crossword #6: What's Two Plus Two?

Getting weird with it today! Not sure whether to call this a 21x21, a 2x2x10x10, or something else entirely. Also not sure if it really counts as a meta, but if you want it to then that's fine by me! Won't say anything more to avoid spoilers. Thanks to Paolo for the test-solve!

I don't recommend the pdf unless you have perfect eyesight, but grab it here if you want; the puz file is here, and you can find the interactive client below. Happy solving!

Monday, May 3, 2021

Blocked Cryptic #12: Lost In Translation

Hi all! Back from another hiatus (sorry! motivation is a rarity these days - hope that everyone is holding up alright) to share some more cryptics. Today's is another mini one, but with some interesting symmetry and a extra-hard twist if you're feeling up to it. Taking one page out of Brooke's book for the setup, and another from Matthew's for the grid: I hope it leads to an interesting solve! Whichever version you solve, let me know how it plays out for you, and feel free to reach out with any feedback.

Lots of links so just gonna put them all up one by one below. Happy puzzling all!

Standard version:  pdf  puz  amuselabs solver

Extra-Hard version:  pdf  puz  amuselabs solver  text file with long entries

Monday, March 8, 2021

Blocked Cryptic #11: Completing the Square (META)

Another meta-puzzle! This time, in standard(-ish) cryptic form. Hard to pick a favorite, but of all my blocked grids, I think this one has my favorite design, and I hope you all enjoy. Grab the pdf here, and the puz file here. In both cases, pretend there are no numbers/clues for the central square. Thanks to Neville for the test-solve!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Barred Cryptic #7: Fillin' Groovy

Happy belated Purim to all those who celebrate! I'm not much of a baker, but I love hamantaschen, so I figured if I couldn't bake them, I'd do the next best thing and make a puzzle about them. Even those who have never tried hamantaschen before should hopefully find this puzzle doable, but it might help to look up some common fillings. Even veteran bakers and enjoyers alike, though, might be taken aback at some of the ones I've included - especially the third (sometimes you gotta introduce some new flavors to make extraction possible!!). Thanks to Steve for the fantastic feedback on the first round of clues, and for an illuminating conversation on the best and most innovative fillings :)

Since the grid is hexagonal, no interactive client, but I've got a Google sheets for online solvers to try out. Let me know how this works, as it's pretty tough to make hex grids on a spreadsheet, but hopefully it's useful for someone :) Find the pdf here and a link to the copy-able sheet here. Enjoy all, and be well!

Edit: 15 Down-Right should be 'Dip! Angry Ru's flipping out for backstreet!' - thanks to Kevan for catching this!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Themed Crossword #5: Unfit Pip Input (META)

Hello all! Today's puzzle is my first attempt at a meta, and I hope that it's an interesting one! It didn't turn out as elegant as I'd like it to, but hopefully still makes for a fun solve. Grab the puz file here, the pdf here, a solution checker here, and the interactive client below. I'm more than happy to provide any hints needed - my email is in the sidebar and my DMs are open on Twitter. Hope that you all are staying safe and warm!

Thanks to kormad and Paolo for test solving!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Blocked Cryptic #10: Proper Amazing

Hello all! Sorry for the long gap between puzzles - I recently moved back to campus which has changed my schedule quite a bit. Hoping to resume weekly puzzles from here on out though.

I know that proper names aren't always everyone's favorite in cryptics, but today's is full of them. This is thanks (in part) to this great new resource that we all (as constructors and solvers) should be grateful for. Add these names to your puzzles! Do research on them! Learn about their lives! Also, thank @ewojcik (and all those who contributed!) for this great resource!!

As always, enjoy the puzzle in pdf form, puz form, or below in the online solver. Would love any feedback on this puzzle (or on the new website index + the slew of solutions I've slowly been putting up)! Be well all.

Error to be fixed: 17a clue should be [Comeback used by Io and Ea? (2, 3)]. Fixing in PDF and PUZ file asap. Edit because im forgetful keep stanning uswnt but also stan paolo for being a great test solver

Themeless Crossword #2 (With Brooke Husic!!!!!)

Shanah Tovah all! Hoping to bring back the blog more consistently (aiming for every other Thursday for now!) in 5782. I think today's pu...