Tuesday, December 22, 2020

PUZZLE 35: THE BUBBLEGUM ANCESTOR PUZZLE

 

Solving Music: Geoxor - Stardust

I normally don't like to do simple themes like this one, but I have not been able to get enough of my favorite anime, Bubblegum Ancestor, lately; I just had to make a puzzle about it. If you haven't seen it, you can go check it out here and see what everybody has been raving about.

As always I try to make sure that even more obscure entries are crossed fairly, so if you for some reason haven't watched Bubblegum yet, you can still take a crack at this puzzle. Hope everyone enjoys this one, especially Ricky Billingsgate:


Monday, December 14, 2020

PUZZLE 34: LIMITED EDITION (themeless)


Solving Music: Vaudeville Revival - The Garden


Wanted to try a funky grid shape for this one; I've been interested in trying to make themeless grids with classic themeless structures in the wrong places, and this attempt at stagger stacks outside the center is the first that's panned out. I've been tempted to try a triple-stack of 9s in the middle (which would force two 3x3 areas of blocks on the sides), so maybe you'll see a grid with that layout soon.  Probably worth noting that this puzzle is a bit name-heavy, but the crossings should all be fairly gettable. If not, then good luck!

In other news, if any of you are avid Cracking the Cryptic viewers, you'll probably have heard about the Modern Art Puzzle Pack made by the CTC Discord server. I have a sudoku in that pack! It's available for free over on the CTC Patreon page; go check out all the amazing logic puzzles if you get the chance!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

PUZZLE 33: BIG DUBSKIS (themeless)


Solving Music: Aesop Rock - Jumping Coffin
(This is from the new Aesop Rock album, Spirit World Field Guide, which just came out this past week; HIGHLY recommend listening to the whole thing)


Really happy with the center stack on this one; all three of the entries in that stack are ones I've been trying to get in a puzzle for a while, so it's pretty sick how it ended up working. Enjoy the puzzle!

Small change to blog posts, btw: I'll no longer be including a solution image at the bottom of the post to simplify the blog post process on my end. If you're a PDF solver, you can easily check the solution by revealing the puzzle in the PuzzleMe applet in the post. If that creates any issues, go ahead and comment to let me know; I'm happy to keep including the solution images if they're still needed.


Saturday, November 7, 2020

PUZZLE 32: I DON'T MAKE THE RULES

(The colored squares aren't necessary for the theme, so feel free to solve in Across Lite)

Solving Music: Hachioji P, Giga - Gimme×Gimme


Really happy that this puzzle panned out at all, to be honest. The theme felt like it wasn't going to all tie together, but I managed to find some theme entries that fit together! Even if the theme isn't lost on you, check out the solution image on this one; you'll get to see the proper formatting and everything.

That's all today; enjoy the puzzle, y'all!

SOLUTION:

Sunday, November 1, 2020

GUEST PUZZLE BY QUIARA VASQUEZ: HALLOWEEN THEMELESS

 
Solving Music: Oingo Boingo - No One Lives Forever


Quiara's Notes:
It was fun pitching a crossword towards what I presume is more of a zennial audience (e.g., the 62-Across clue). I miss getting sloshed on October 31st. :v

It's been a while! Today's puzzle is by Quiara Vasquez of "making a 90s Will Shortz emote for the crossword Discord" fame; it's a really solid Halloween themeless with some really wonderful clues. Editing this puzzle was particularly enjoyable; Quiara's constructing voice is very unique and fun, and I hope to see a lot more from her soon.

I've been losing constructing steam a bit lately, but I am still working on stuff. I actually have two finished puzzles that are ready to be posted here to the blog and another couple that are close to being done, it just takes a good amount of mental energy to get these blog posts set up (getting the download links for the .puz and PDFs is a bit of a lengthy process) and I haven't been feeling that energy lately. But rest assured I will, in fact, be popping off in November. I'll have another puzzle up later this week (and it's themed!), so look forward to that.

By the way, I've had a couple of sudoku puzzles solved on Cracking the Cryptic recently! Here are the videos of the solves:

I was thinking of putting those sudoku puzzles here as a blog post at some point, so that may be coming soon; if you want to solve them now, CTC has solving links in the descriptions of the YouTube videos.

SOLUTION:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

PUZZLE 31: A ROAST! (themeless)

 

Solving Music: Yung Bae - Honey


Don't have much to say on this one. I figured after whatever was on TV last night, some people might want a bit of a break, so hopefully this puzzle will do. In addition to this puzzle, I had the New York Times puzzle yesterday; if you weren't able to solve it and would like to, shoot me a message over on Twitter, and we can make it happen. I also highly recommend Paolo Pasco's USA Today from yesterday (make sure to click the calendar icon and go to the 9/29 puzzle titled "Move On"); very smooth and fun puzzle.

Also, Adam Nicolle just launched a $25 (CAD) indie subscription called luckystreak xwords+ over on his site; it's a year subscription with a total of 50 exclusive puzzles. As someone who also likes puzzles on the Gen-Z wavelength, I highly recoomend that y'all go get in on that.

That's all I've got today; hope you guys have fun with it. I'll probably be listening to the new 44D album tonight and trying not to implode. Maybe playing some Among Us as well. See y'all soon, enjoy the puzzle!

SOLUTION:

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

PUZZLE 30 (w/ Christopher Adams): PIZZA TIME (themeless)


Solving Music: LoveLeo - HEAD OVER HEELS
(video's weird but the song is a bop just trust me)


Collab! Most of this grid is actually Chris's fill; I did the 9-stacks in the corners, and when I told Chris I was using 1-Across in the puzzle (since he had told me about his personal take on it recently), he was eager to help with it and got me out of trying to fit long entries in the center that were never gonna work. Big kudos to him for getting some nice fill in the NE/SW, as well as for his really great clues (8, 32, and 51-Down are all him).

If you haven't already seen it, Amanda Rafkin hosted a guest puzzle from yours truly over on Brain Candy last week; go give it a try (and definitely check out Amanda's puzzles too, she posts pretty often)! Also, I just got word today that I have an upcoming New York Times puzzle two weeks from now (Tuesday the 29th), so be on the lookout for that. I'll definitely share it when it gets closer to then.

Thanks again to Chris for getting this one to where it is; enjoy the puzzle!

SOLUTION:

Sunday, August 30, 2020

PUZZLE 29: IT'S A NATIONAL HOLIDAY



Solving Music: LamazeP - Love Song


IT'S HATSUNE MIKU'S BIRTHDAY JUST LET ME DO ONE TRIBUTE PUZZLE OKAY
(EDIT: DAMMIT MIKU'S BIRTHDAY IS THE 31ST!!!! people on Twitter were celebrating it so I thought it was today but that's because it's already the 31st in Japan. whatever, this blog runs on Japan time now I guess)

I made this puzzle a while back and never got to cluing it; when I realized today was Miku's birthday and I didn't have anything prepared for it I had to finish this up and post it; the fill is admittedly rough, but I hope the theme carries it.

(Oh yeah, I should probably mention that this has a similar theme to a collab puzzle that'll be on this blog at some point in the future. That puzzle actually gave me the idea for this one, so when that collab drops just keep in mind that this one is the rip-off. kthx)

Speaking of collabs, I recently did a guest puzzle over on Et Tu, Etui?, which is probably my favorite indie puzzle site rn. They do self-aware shitposty puzzles, and they're so bad that they're hilarious (example: today's puzzle has NAM clued as ["Man up!"] and ARYA clued as [___ Stark? "Yes" (dialogue in "Game of Thrones", I guess)]). It's the kind of humor I've been wanting out of puzzles for a while, and I'm so happy someone's doing it, and that I was able to guest over there.

Enjoy the puzzle! (please)

SOLUTION:

Friday, August 14, 2020

PUZZLE 28: DOUBLE DIGITS (themeless)

Solving Music: Mafumafu - Jigsaw Puzzle

(Warning: The music video for this song has some flashing images; if your eyes are sensitive to that kind of thing, this video of the song doesn't have any of that.)



As you can see up top, I'm trying out the PuzzleMe applet for these posts now! Hopefully this is way more convenient for folks who'd like to solve these puzzles in-browser. Let me know if you have any issues with the solver.

Sorry for the weird hiatus, btw; I've been busy with some other puzzle stuff, including a few collabs that should be showing up here and on others' blogs in the near future. There should be more puzzles here in general in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for them.

I wrote this puzzle exclusively so I could use 1-Across; I've been playing a ton of Project DIVA lately, and 1-Across is a neat technique that I thought would work well in a puzzle. If you're interested in Hatsune Miku and other Vocaloid music, I highly recommend Project DIVA; it's really addicting, and the newest game, Project DIVA Mega Mix, is available on Nintendo Switch.
Also! Lollapuzzoola is tomorrow; if you're gonna be participating in that, make sure to join the Crosscord server on Discord; we'll have a channel set up for Lolla talk, and we'll be playing some Jackbox games after the tournament (anyone's welcome to join in for Jackbox, even if you aren't participating in the tournament)! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

PUZZLE 27: CLOUT STRIFE (themeless)



Solving Music: Vaudeville Revival - Back to Bed
(This is my friend Luke's band; their new album "The Death of Los Angeles" is out now, and you can give it a listen on Spotify!)


Been a while since I've done a classic corner-stack setup, and with 1-Across and 65-Across being the same length, I thought it'd be a nice set to work into a themeless. This ended up being a really fun construction; lots of good bonuses, and not as much glue as I've been using recently. I've once again opted for some brutal cluing, so let me know how your experience goes.

By the way, if you haven't heard, Boswords is coming up this Sunday! The tournament will be held online this year; signups are only up for a few more days, so if you're interested, definitely head over to the website soon. At the time that you're reading this, the first practice run has probably already happened, but there'll be another one happening on Saturday before the tournament kicks off on Sunday. The tentative tournament schedule shows things running from noonish to 5 PM Eastern time, but it's probably good to plan a few hours around that just in case. I'm currently making arrangements to have a Boswords hangout area in the Crossword Discord (newly named "Crosscord") where people will be able to talk about stuff during and after the tournament. Click the link to Crosscord at the bottom of this blog post to join the server, especially if you're gonna be here for Boswords; hope to see you there!

Enjoy the puzzle!

SOLUTION:

Thursday, July 9, 2020

PUZZLE 26: THE BIG CHUNGUS (themeless)



Solving Music: Eve - As You Like It


The title has absolutely nothing to do with any entries in the puzzle. It's more representative of what the puzzle is: a 21x Cruzzles themeless, a big chonker of a grid crammed with gaming references and memes. It is the Big Chungus of puzzles. I'm so sorry.

This was a very fun one to construct; I took a similar strategy to what Byron Walden did for his themeless for the Couchword tournament. The puzzle was seeded with the four 14-letter words pinwheeling in the center: 52A/73A/10D/48D (the second half of 48D actually changed to improve fill, but it's all the same). All four were taken from the 14s section of my wordlist, which is the sad place where entries that are *almost* 15s go to die. I figured a chonky themeless would be the perfect place to finally use some of those 14s, and it definitely worked out. This is gonna play way harder if you aren't up on your pop culture; the center-right chunk in particular is filled to the brim with games/cartoons/comics stuff. Hopefully it's not all too niche.

Gonna use this space here to plug Grids For Good (let's be honest though, if you're following this blog, you've probably seen it shared around already). It's a collection of 42 puzzles from 44 constructors, available by forwarding them a receipt for a donation of $10+ to a COVID-related or racial justice organization (they have recommendations for orgs on the site). It's a great cause, so I'd highly recommend getting in on that soon (especially since some of those puzzles are metas with a contest deadline of the 18th).

Happy solving!

SOLUTION:

Sunday, June 21, 2020

PUZZLE 25: NAME A MORE ICONIC DUO (themeless)



Solving Music: fusq feat. MYLK - Blush


16-wide grid today; even though it's oversized, it's still well above the usual themeless word count, but uh, this isn't the usual themeless. You'll see.
We gridded this on-stream over on my Twitch a while back; I let the viewers pick a seed entry from my wordlist for the center slot, and we managed a really solid set of entries for the stair-stack. I think the fill isn't the most solid, but it should be pretty apparent why that is. Hopefully there aren't too many rough crossings, but this is almost definitely gonna play on the intense side, I imagine. Hope it's a good brain-scratcher.

[EDIT 6/22 12:08 AM] Looks like I didn't know how to spell "Jersey". The image above and the puzzle links have been updated to fix the typo in the clue for 59-Across. Do I need to make an apology video now?

Thursday, June 11, 2020

PUZZLE 24: UNITED WE STAN (themeless)



Solving Music: Hall and Oates - Out of Touch


Fair warning, this puzzle is gonna skew hella male. I was hoping to get some longer answers that weren't dudes' names, but the cards were just not in my favor this time. (I could've even had SOCIAL ACTIVISTS in this puzzle as a nice relevant answer, but then I noticed an offensive entry and the fates were not having it.)

That said, pretty happy with this one. Hopefully the central entry is still relevant enough; it's a phenomenon that's made my month, and I'm sure it has for others too. I recently gridded another themeless on my Twitch stream, but I'm still debating whether it's passable enough to post here; chances are it'll be the next puzzle here.

Also as a heads up, a week from today (on Thursday the 18th), I've got a puzzle in the New York Times, so give that a shot if you can.

Lastly, I wanted to share a couple more BLM resources.

First is the Racial Justice and Equality Game Bundle on itch.io; for at least five dollars, you can get MORE THAN A THOUSAND VIDEO GAMES. That's INSANE. Like "$9,000 worth of games for $5" insane. This isn't even like those shoddy "1000-games-in-1" packages you get at Walmart full of Bejeweled clones; a lot of these are legit games. Honestly, let me just go to the site and list off some of the ones I've heard great things about: A Short Hike, Night in the Woods, Celeste, Nuclear Throne, Pikuniku, Quadrilateral Cowboy, GNOG, OneShot, Super Hexagon, No Pineapple Left Behind, and way more. Also included are packs of assets for game development (graphics, guides, etc.). It'd be ridiculous not to drop $5 on this; all profits are being split 50/50 between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Community Bail Fund. It's only available for the next 3-4 days, so if you want in, get it soon.

Second is another Carrd site, this one more focused on protester safety, black history, and mental health resources. Go check that out, and share the link as well. The Carrd I shared last time is the one I've seen shared around the most, but I think I've only seen this one once, which is pretty sad. Spread the word.

Enjoy the puzzle!

SOLUTION:

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

GUEST PUZZLE BY WILL EISENBERG: I NEED A HERO



Solving Music: Childish Gambino - Feels Like Summer


It's a guest puzzle today! Will reached out to me about a guest spot here, and I was more than happy to oblige. This one has a really nice theme with some quality fill and cluing, Will has very much embraced both the vibe of the blog and his own constructing voice. This was very fun to edit, and I look forward to the opportunity to do so again. (You can go follow Will on Twitter here.)

Will has asked me to use this space to promote the donation page for Unicorn Riot, an independent group of artists and journalists focusing on decentralized reporting. It's not an organization I'm familiar with, but I'm more than happy to share that donation link. Navigating the media space has been really rough the past couple of weeks, and one of the most important things you can do is keep yourself informed through a wide range of outlets and continually change your opinion based on what you learn.

I've been very hesitant to promote different groups/funds/etc. because I'm not competent enough to say I'm vigilant about checking which organizations are worth promoting and which are less than ideal or flat-out hurt the BLM movement. I've also been exploring my ideals about the most effective ways to create change and push the BLM cause forward. The risk of promoting to an audience a resource I'll realize a week later I shouldn't have is ever-present, and honestly scares me more than it should.

That said, I've seen the link to this Carrd site shared around by people all over lately; it's regularly updated and has links to tons of resources, including donation links to groups in all areas of the BLM fight. Among the resources is, for those who can't comfortably donate, a link to this YouTube playlist of videos whose monetization proceeds will go toward BLM-aligned organizations. I've taken the route of leaving the video open in a muted Chrome tab so the site doesn't devalue the pageview. (I've read that the process might be hindered by viewing these vids in a playlist, so check for the best way to use this resource. And don't take my word for anything. Check if these organizations meet your standards, and act accordingly.)

This is probably as much as I'll say about the current movement in any social space (continued sharing of links aside). The paragraphs above are absolutely necessary in this cycle where an audience is an extremely valuable tool to have, but I'd like this blog to primarily be a place where everyone who needs it can take a mental break and solve some puzzles. So enjoy the break.

Thanks again to Will for reaching out and providing a guest puzzle. Happy solving!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

PUZZLE 23 - THAT'S KINDA CRINGE (themeless)



Solving Music: 40mP - Torinoko City


New themeless today! This one was gridded on-stream over on Twitch; definitely a lot of fun to get feedback from other people, as usual. The spanner hit me after coming across it on Twitter, and from there I got some wonderful stacks going in the NW/SE. Hope you enjoy.

Btw, if you want a bonus puzzle, I made a funky word search that got some traction on Twitter the other day. Try it out if you'd like.


SOLUTION:

Saturday, May 23, 2020

ANNOUNCEMENT - Crossing Words: an Animal Crossing Puzzle Suite




Hey guys! I've been spending the past month or so putting together an Animal Crossing suite, and today it's finally out!

Crossing Words is a suite of five puzzles themed around Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It's got four themed puzzles and finishes off with a tough themeless. Difficulties roughly correspond to Monday-Friday NYT difficulties (though Puzzles 3 and 5 are probably a bit tougher than most NYT Wednesdays/Fridays); I highly recommend solving these with friends/family to get the most out of these. I also recommend printing out the PDF and solving on paper (though .PUZ files are provided); some of these puzzles contain visual elements that don't translate to digital solving 100 percent, and I guarantee it's the best way to solve the suite.

The suite is completely free, but I've left the option to pay what you want available if you feel so inclined. This is my first experience with Gumroad, so if you have any difficulties downloading, let me know over on Twitter and we can get things worked out smoothly.

I've had a lot of fun putting the suite together (the visuals especially were fun to create), and I hope it's an enjoyable solving experience for you. Have a good time!

In case the embed down there is broken, you can go directly to the Gumroad page here.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

PUZZLE 22 - ...BRUH (themeless)


Solving Music: Starwolf - Mysterious Love


Pretty standard themeless today. I started this puzzle off with the intention of making a grid to submit to the Times, but there were too many good options for nerdy fill that presented themselves, and I gave in. I think as a result, this puzzle has hit a happy medium between the super-niche stuff I've been putting out lately and general-audience fill. Less "you-know-it-or-you-don't" and more "unfamiliar but gettable" is the goal. Hope y'all enjoy.

SOLUTION:


Monday, May 4, 2020

PUZZLE 21 - LOOSE ENDS


Solving Music: Kero Kero Bonito - Trampoline


Pulling a puzzle from the backlog today; this was originally made as an NYT submission a few months back, and was turned down (rightfully) for being too "cerebral" for the general audience (definitely using that word more often). When I got that feedback back, I realized that yeah, this theme's probably too tricky to try submitting for any general audience, so I slated it as a blog puzzle. You guys can take cerebral.

Since it's an older puzzle (one made for submission, at that), there's not nearly as much nerdy stuff as y'all are used to here. Thus is the way of the backlog.

Apologies for the lack of puzzle the past couple weeks; but there's a reason! I've recently been busting out puzzles for Crossing Words, an Animal Crossing-themed puzzle suite that I'm releasing later this month. The suite will have 5 puzzles, roughly corresponding with Monday-to-Friday difficulties (the final puzzle being a themeless). I'm not 100% sure how I'll be handling the release; I'd like to implement a pay-what-you-want system, that way anyone can solve the puzzles for free while still allowing for donations. No idea what services allow for that model, so we'll see. There'll be a fancy release post here on the blog when that drops, so be on the lookout for that!

Enjoy the puzzle, y'all.

SOLUTION:

Saturday, April 18, 2020

PUZZLE 20 - KERO KERO (themeless)


Solving Music: KNOWER - Time Traveler


This puzzle was entirely gridded on-stream on my Twitch. I don't know if I'll stream again anytime soon, but I'll share over on my Twitter if I do. Live-constructing is very interesting, because it very much shapes the end result to have people in chat commenting on it. I don't think this puzzle had as much chat influence as Sid Sivakumar's live-constructed puzzles, but there are definitely some entries here that wouldn't be here otherwise. 53-Across, for example, is dear to me, as I became familiar with the Epic of Gilgamesh in college, but I wouldn't expect anyone else to be familiar with it. But someone in chat was familiar with it, so I decided to keep it in. It was definitely a fun experience; it isn't anything I'll start doing regularly, but I might be inclined to do it more often.

SOLUTION:


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

PUZZLE 19 - MIGHTY MORPHIN (themeless)


Solving Music: Moe Shop - Highlight


This grid pattern.
If you haven't noticed, I'm really really really really fond of stair-stacking in themelesses. It was only a matter of time before I had two crossing 11-stairs, and I finally managed it. Construction-wise, this flowed super smoothly; if you can get the stacks to cooperate, all the corners turn out to be smooth sailing. Sure enough, this exact pattern and its reflection have been used about 5 times in the New York Times alone (I imagine several times more in other outlets and indie blogs).

This puzzle in particular, if my own test solve is any indication, is going to be quite a difficult solve. I had a super rough corner in this puzzle that was unevenly combined with less-mindbreaking sections, and in that one I should've eased up the cluing there to make it nice and even. This puzzle has that all around, so I decided to not ease up here. Oh, I did ease up in one clue: 24-Down was originally [Jaguar, e.g.]. I had to fight the urge to leave that one in. Hope you enjoy.

EDIT [4/15 1:01 AM]: The clue for 28-Down was originally [Partner of agape and eros]; turns out this is incorrect! The image above and the puzzle links have been updated with a new Skullgirls-related clue.

SOLUTION:


Friday, April 10, 2020

PUZZLE 18 - NINJA HUNTING (themeless)


Solving Music: dark cat - Maple Adventure


It's a return to stair-stacks; I love doing these 11 stair-stacks a lot. This puzzle in particular was fun to construct because of all of the nice long answers throughout the grid. Only one of them (54-Across) seems mediocre to me. I usually constrain the answers crossing the stack, but this time I tried leaving things more open, and I feel it paid off. Hope you guys agree.

Also, update on the move to CrossFire: it's not as great as I'd hoped, but it's got some significant advantages. The NE of this puzzle was mostly done with the auto-fill, which is way more flexible in CrossFire than in Crossword Compiler. The downside is that it seems to block off possibilities that I was able to find by hand (21-Across, for example, was an adjustment I had to make to compensate for the computer not registering the 9D/24A crossing as valid for some reason). Also, it's way more of a pain to remove words from wordlists in CF than in CC. My guess is that I'll be switching completely over to CrossFire purely because the advanced autofill and displaying of forced squares speed things up so much, which kinda trumps all the downsides.

Enjoy the puzzle, y'all.

SOLUTION:


Saturday, April 4, 2020

PUZZLE 17 - JOIN THE NAVY


Solving Music: Ronald Jenkees - Rhodes Deep


I meant to post this one like a week ago, but kept putting it off. Real sorry about that. You'll probably be getting another puzzle in the next couple days; I've got a themeless I'm really happy about in the works, and I now have CrossFire at my disposal to help me finish it. Crossword Compiler has done some real good for me, but after seeing so many cool features in CrossFire that CC doesn't have, I finally bit the bullet and bought it. I'll be spending the next month or so weighing the pros and cons and seeing what appeals to me more.

This was a fun puzzle to grid; the theme came after the revealer came up in a conversation, and after finding a crown jewel themer *and* having it mirror the revealer, it was a dream come true. I hope y'all enjoy it as well. Stay safe.

SOLUTION:


Saturday, March 21, 2020

PUZZLE 16 - LOOK AT THIS GRAPH


Solving Music: Mansionair - Astronaut (Something About Your Love)


...Yeah, it's probably not that hard to figure out exactly what this puzzle's theme is just by looking at the grid. If you don't know what the theme is just by looking, then great! Go solve it! You can read this after. I'll wait.

So yeah, it's pretty obvious what events led to this theme idea. I wanted to get some good long entries in there to add some more value to a relatively theme-light puzzle; hopefully that was a success. I was very worried the center wasn't going to work out, but some tech lingo and a "The Office" reference saved my butt. A lot of puzzles here rely on the niche stuff to work; case in point is 52-Down, which I like in itself, but only happened because it was the only possible way to finish that section without a heavy refill. It's what makes blog puzzles easier to construct than venue submissions.

I finished filling this and did a good amount of cluing during this weekend's Crossword Tournament on Your Couch, a Facebook event set up by some wonderful crossword folks to ease the pain of having the ACPT delayed till the fall. You can go solve the tournament puzzles at that link; I also believe the videos of the tournament are available on the Facebook page. (Congrats btw to Tyler Hinman, Will Nediger, and Sam Ezersky/Madison Clague for winning the Chesterton/Futon/Loveseat Divisions respectively!)

Also, quick reminder that my first NYT Sunday puzzle (and third puzzle overall) will be published in a little more than a week, on Sunday the 29th!

Enjoy the puzzle, and stay safe!

SOLUTION:


Saturday, March 14, 2020

PUZZLE 15 - NOW THIS IS EPIC (themeless)


Solving Music: The Breeders - Cannonball


Themeless, yay!

I seeded this one with 15-Across; a bunch of this puzzle's long Acrosses are also from my themeless seed list, so I'm pretty happy with the 10-stacks and the central entry. Not much else to say about this one; I hope it's a lively enough puzzle to solve at home; there should be more in the coming weeks.

Speaking of the coming weeks, for those who didn't see my announcement in the post for the other day's Snake Pit puzzle, I'll have two crosswords in the New York Times this month! I have a Wednesday puzzle this week on the 18th, and my first Sunday puzzle will be out on the 29th.

Enjoy the puzzle!

SOLUTION:


Friday, March 13, 2020

VARIETY PUZZLE 3 - SNAKE PIT #2

[PDF]

Solving Music: Pogo - There You Are


Another Snake Pit! With recent events going on, I'm gonna try to get some more puzzles out than usual around here, seeing that people are in need of entertainment from home at the moment. I saw on Twitter a demand for themelesses, so I'll probably be focusing on those. I haven't been posting my older puzzles here a lot, but I might pull from those to amp up the volume some.

Also, you can solve me in the New York Times *twice* this month! I have a puzzle coming out on Wednesday, March 18th, and a Sunday puzzle on March 29th. I'll probably be posting this reminder a few more times in my upcoming posts, as I expect more people solve the crosswords here than the varieties.

Enjoy the puzzle!

SOLUTION:


Thursday, March 5, 2020

PUZZLE 14 - HANDS OFF! (themeless)


Solving Music: Aesop Rock - Tetra (Instrumental)
(The instrumental alone is great, but take a listen to the full song if you have a chance.)


Real niche puzzle today; I've tagged it as hard, but it might not be if your pop culture game is strong. This was made in about four hours' time total, which is bizarre to me. I was up very late last night, and was expecting to get this started yesterday and finished today, but the puzzle just kinda happened. As an impulse puzzle (and one finished in such a short timeframe) the fill isn't the cleanest or the most colorful, but I'm satisfied enough with it to post it.

I've been wanting to put 57A in a blog puzzle for a while, and when I realized that the English translation of it (1A) is the same length, I knew I had to use those as seeds in opposite slots. 57A is a really good anime that everyone should watch. <SPOILER> As the clue references, it's an anime about three girls that decide to make anime, and it goes into super interesting details on the art of animation while still being really dynamic and visually interesting. Also, the female characters are actually drawn more realistically instead of being sexualized like in a lot of anime, and their voices are average, which is such a breath of fresh air. </SPOILER> You can watch it on Crunchyroll for free (albeit with ads and being unable to watch the newest episode till the next week).

Oh yeah, there's a crossword in this blog post too. Hope y'all enjoy it!

SOLUTION: