Puzzle 627: Freestyle 568. It’ll do in a pinch.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.40


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So hopefully this is late enough after your Thanksgiving repast that you aren’t still tired from the carb overload. There are a lot of things I wouldn’t recommend doing on a carb overload, and this grid is definitely one of them. I’ve got five — count ’em, five! — pairs of helper squares, including two in the corners, so, crossword purists, look away!


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 626: Freestyle 567. In line for a promotion.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25


Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!


I hope all you American folks have a beautiful Thanksgiving. My family usually has 40 to 50 people together for Thanksgiving, but times are different this year and we’re only celebrating with our immediate families. So enjoy this holiday for what it’s worth so that we can all go back to what we usually do next Thanksgiving.


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 625: Freestyle 566. What a knockout!


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36


Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!


This grid went through a really unusual process. When you see two 15s crossing each other, you’d figure that’s where I started. Far from it. But this grid started its life with double stacks where the triple stacks are, triple stacks where the double stacks are, and only one 15. But that 15 was not the seed — what’s now 14-Across was. That one was too good not to use immediately.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 624: Freestyle 565. Just going through the motions.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25


Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!


Don’t worry. The title of this post and the seed entry in this grid are not part of a subliminal message about how I’m feeling constructing these grid for you. Quite the opposite. Sometimes people read into things that aren’t there, and there definitely isn’t anything there. You can see the two helper squares in the corners, and that means one thing: I had one hell of a time constructing both the upper right and lower left. To blame were 23-Across and 48-Across: they were quite limiting, and when you’ve got a triple stack of 11s as it is, three letters with limited options or only one option fixed in place makes things exponentially more difficult.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 623: Freestyle 564. Back in the high life again.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28


Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!


As you might be able to tell from the jagged block structure, I definitely had to play a game of Whac-a-Mole with the top center and bottom center. Every time I moved a pair of blocks, it’d work in one section and not the other. If I then moved a different one, it’d work for the other side and not the first side. I always seem to be able to wield the virtual shoehorn, though.

After you’re done, highlight the white space below for a question (it might be a spoiler, so I’ve hidden it in white):

You will also notice something about this grid that came by accident, but has what I believe is an unusual property for my grids (not for crosswords in general). Do you know what I’m referring to?


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 622: Freestyle 563. Please… don’t mention it.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.46


Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!


Usually, the first seed in a stack like this is the center, but I think you can figure out why the seed was 31-Across this time. As usual, when there’s a 15 like 7-Down cutting through the stack, I didn’t plan on having a 15. I had the damnedest time figuring how this stack could fit the rest of the grid, and breaking a 15 through the center of it was the only way it would work out.


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 621: Freestyle 562. No problems here.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72 (11×21)
Mean word length: 5.42


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Here I go with the crazy shapes again! I promise this one won’t mess up your puzzle-solving app if you do it that way. This one’s just a regular rectangle, squished a lot more than a normal grid. I do have a sheepish confession to make, which I’ll put in white so you can highlight and read it after you solve the crossword:

I had a 21-letter answer in mind for this from the start. The problem is, I didn’t initially realize that it’s similar to the 21-letter answer I used for the infamous diamond-shaped grid a few weeks ago. I didn’t realize this until after I constructed the whole thing. So I apologize for the similarity, but it was an honest oversight.


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 620: Freestyle 561. Take your pick… please!


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.22


Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!


This is my one day to get all preachy about something other than crosswords on this site.

If you haven’t voted, and you live in America, and you’re old enough, you’ve got to make an effort to vote. It’s not whom you vote for, it’s that you’ve voted. If you’ve paid attention on this site, I don’t get into politics whatsoever. I stay as far away from it as I can. So you know that I genuinely don’t care for whom you vote. (And the only one who will ever know for whom I vote is my wife.) Vote for me, for all I care. But this isn’t about politics; this is about governance.  As it’s always said in these words or similar words, vote… or you have no right to complain about whom was elected.


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 619: Freestyle 560. Can it wait?


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.22


Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!


The seed entry for this grid came about in an unusual way. When I was writing the clues for a recent grid, I came upon this word you’ll see at 60-Across and initially used it in the clue for a particular entry that I was researching. I really don’t like rewriting  clues once I’ve got them in place. But I really liked the word to put in a grid, and I figure it would have raised some alarm bells that this new, weird word was just in a clue a week or two ago and now it’s in the grid.


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 618: Freestyle 559. Can I see some ID?


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.40


Have something you wanna say? Got a question? Want to do a guest freestyle? Want to collaborate on a freestyle? Want to just say hello? Hit me up by email!


Usually stacks in the corner don’t work out too well when there’s already a stack in the middle. For sure that was not the original plan. Believe it or not, though, after I stacked the middle, it pretty much wouldn’t work any other way. It was a last resort. A big stack linked to another big stack by another stack is usually really unwieldy, but, in this case, it worked twice, to my amazement.


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!