Puzzle 653: Freestyle 592. I hope you’ll agree.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28


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I apologize in advance. There is a clue in this grid that is almost guaranteed to get a terrible song stuck in your head. This was no accident, either — it was for one of the seed entries. Well, actually, no, I don’t apologize. It’s been an earworm for me so many times now that I think it’s fair you get to experience (or re-experience) that too.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 652: Freestyle 591. Crack open a Bud.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25


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No, this isn’t a Cubist work of art, this is a crossword grid. I had to make a lot of really snaky spaces to make everything work with this central stack the way it is. Plus, I was going through a poor sleep streak, so I think it was just more convenient for me to just put in some helper squares than have to stare at a section of grid for too long anyway.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 651: Freestyle 590. I’m here with bells on.


Last Friday’s Wordominoes solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.34


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Just like a couple weeks ago with the 11s, I’ve offset a double stack with 14s this time. Invariably, that makes the grid look a little ugly because you have to put two squares on the side and then close it up so it doesn’t get too wide-open, so that’s why you see the two big L-shaped blocks. This grid isn’t winning any Picasso awards. But you don’t care, right?


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Friday!

Puzzle 650: Freestyle 589. All the world’s a stage.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.42


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Maybe I’ve gotta be a little more careful next time. This stack hamstrung me in the corners. The reason is that, the way the stack shook out, both 29-Across and 45-Across had to be seven letters, and there was only one possible entry that could go in either one of those slots that would work with the rest of their respective areas. Having three letters fixed in those corners is a real bear, more restrictive than it might seem. It did not prevent me from being satisfied with the corners I came up with, but it was a lot harder than it usually would be.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Friday!

Puzzle 649: Wordominoes 10. I’m in a pretty cagey mood.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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If I could make a whole book of these Wordominoes, and I had the time to do this, I definitely would. As I say, I think, on every one of these posts (check out the past posts if you’re unfamiliar with these), I have so much fun constructing these. I don’t really like to toot my own horn, but I am rather proud of coming up with this puzzle form. If you’re a crossword constructor, or an aspiring one, I am gently urging you to construct one of these. I’m very curious about a few things here — curious what you would all come up with, curious what you think of the construction process, curious what your process would even be. Heck, I’m curious what the solving process would be myself, without knowing the solution beforehand. I have to dial my clue difficulty down a bit here — I’d estimate somewhere around hard Wednesday/easy Thursday New York Times level — because part of the puzzle is orienting the words and finding out which row and which column belongs where. I can’t make it unfair, you know.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 648: Freestyle 588. What a big relief!


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.62


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It may seem like I could very easily have made this 72 and made it a much easier construction, but I’ll give you two good reasons why it wasn’t. The only two places I could have put blocks in to make it 72 (besides, of course, making it an 11-15-11 stack, which obviously wasn’t an option) were where the 16 and 39 squares are now. I didn’t put the block where the 16 is because I already had enough 3-letter entries, and I couldn’t put a block at the 39 because no six-letter entry would have worked there and the 7-letter entry I have there now was  the only thing I could come up with that would fit there.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 647: Freestyle 587. You deserve special treatment.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.22


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This was my sneaky sort of way to get some 11s down in the grid without creating an insane number of 3-letter entries. 3-letter entries don’t have to be bad, but having a lot of them increases your chances that you’ll have at least a couple of bad ones. Not to mention it’s tough to find new fresh 3-letter entries, so you have to think up clues for the same old entries, most of the time.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Friday!

Puzzle 646: Freestyle 586. It’s all good.

WordPress is being stupid and wonky, not letting me embed a YouTube music video. So this is a dumb placeholder.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.42


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I was saved by a really lucky break after I made a boo-boo of my own doing. It doesn’t happen that much, but a few times I’ve had an entry that I swore was absolutely legit until I actually get to cluing it. I looked it up and I realize that it’s a slight variation that was definitely not what I thought it was. Bit of egg on the face. After you’re done solving, highlight the following white space to see what it was. It was 48-Down, and I had PAPPAS, which I was so sure was one way to spell a word for “dads”. Turns out it’s either “poppa” or “papa”, but not “pappa”. And I wasn’t about to refer to Milt Pappas, whom old-time baseball fans would know, but who doesn’t have much notoriety outside of pitching a no-hitter in 1972 and being in the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. I got really lucky, though, as I only had to change two letters to get a much more legitimate entry that also worked with the crossings.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 645: Freestyle 585. It’s a home run.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.68


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This grid was constructed for the looks, but I can honestly say that I’m not trying that one again. It came out good, but there were a few really hard things about constructing this grid. There were the two ten-stacks intersecting seven stacks. Then, I had to hope I got lucky that I could link those two seven stacks with a couple long entries down the middle. Not only that, I had to fill two 6×4 patches of while in the corners with one down answer fixed in one of the sections and two down answers fixed in the other one. Again, it came out well, but, as they say on the interwebs, 0/10 would not recommend.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Tuesday!

Puzzle 644: Freestyle 584. Oh my God, you guys…


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31


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Hoisted by my own petard. My goal for the clue for 11-Down was to get that song stuck in your head incessantly (if you know it). I think it will, but, in the meantime, it has gotten that song stuck in my head. I struggled so much with that corner that I think you deserve to have that stuck in your head as payback.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


As always, share this link! Pass it around! New puzzle on Friday!