Saturday, March 21, 2020


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!


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!


Friday, March 13, 2020



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!


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!


Sunday, March 1, 2020


Solving Music: Vaudeville Revival - Without Your Knowing

Sunday size puzzles are back, y'all. This puzzle happened because I realized the wordplay in 113-Across was possible, and it was so cursed I needed to curse all of you with it. Glad I found a revealer to tie it all together. Since I went into this knowing I wasn't submitting this anywhere, I decided to really niche up the theme answers, which paid off really well imo. I kinda rushed the fill in some places, so there are some rough patches, but I'm ultimately happy with being able to pull together a 21x in twoish days, given that I have 21x puzzles sitting in my puzzle folder that are killing me to finish. Kinda wish my luck for the blog puzzles would carry over to my regular venue submissions, but eh.

Btw, the solving music today is by Vaudeville Revival, the band of a friend of mine. Go check out their album "Free Dirt" on Spotify; it's pretty good stuff.