Sunday, June 21, 2020


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; 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!


Wednesday, June 3, 2020


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!