Puzzle 666: Freestyle 604. Maybe it was… SATAN?!


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.40


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The upper left and lower right are shining examples of how helper squares can be a great benefit to fill. Yeah, they added a couple of three-letter entries, which I initially didn’t want, but the alternative fill (especially in the bottom right) without that square would have been absolutely full of mediocre to bad entries that I would not have abided.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 665: Freestyle 603. This came out of nowhere.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.40


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


There is a very subtle but very definite connection between the central across entry and the central down entry in today’s grid. How subtle, you might ask? It’s so subtle that I didn’t even notice it until literally minutes before I wrote this post. It’s so subtle that I may just be stretching this connection a little too much just to make a post out of it.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 664: Freestyle 602. Swipe right on this one.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.51


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This grid underwent a very insect-like metamorphosis from start to finish. I did not at all plan on all those long downs intersecting the big stack. I was planning on keeping the cocoon around the stack in the middle, but, one by one, I kept having to pop open the center until all the long downs appeared, and then two more 15s appeared… before I knew it, it had turned from a cocoon into a butterfly, with its legs and wings all over the place connecting to the thorax in the middle.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 663: Anagram Crossword 9. There’s no fooling you.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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It’s my first post since April Fools’ Day. I didn’t do anything too wacky, wild, or crazy, but I felt like I had to do something to mix things up at least. And mix things up I literally did. I admit that it doesn’t take me as long to write the clues for these grids, because the point of the puzzle is more the anagramming than the clue-to-answer thing that’s the case with standard crosswords. I thought briefly about creating a variant of these crosswords in which you have to anagram one word in each clue to make sense of it, then anagram the answer to put in the grid. That would be really nasty of me, and I’m not so sure it wouldn’t be a little unfair in some spots. Maybe I’ll have that as an option the next time I do one of these — you can solve the regular one, or you can solve the one with an anagram in the clues as well. Don’t mind me, I’m just thinking out loud.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 662: Freestyle 601. I’ll go with it.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36


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Write what you know, they say. But can you really tell what I know from this set of clues for this grid? I have a two-year-old, so I know about viral YouTube videos. That song I referred to in a clue is burned into my brain. On the other hand, I don’t like Harry Potter at all. I happened upon that clue by random chance. I like Broadway musicals. But I don’t drink wine at all. I’m just a sea of contradictions!


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 661: Freestyle 600. Go for the gold.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.19


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Six stacks of two long answers instead of four stacks of three. Same number of entries stacked, but spread around the grid more. This is definitely a better way to go. The upper left, the last one to fall for me, was for some reason a struggle for me more than the others, even though it might not look like the letters leading into that section were that constraining. It may have been just that there were any constraints at all, I don’t 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.


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

Puzzle 660: Freestyle 599. I promise, you won’t regret this.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


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!


Not much to say about this one. I could really have easily made it 72 by splitting the middle column into 5-3-5, but the 3-letter entry that would have resulted would really have bothered me. Yes, for want of eliminating a mediocre three-letter entry, I made things quite a bit more difficult of myself. I don’t know why, in retrospect, because it isn’t that bad, but it bothered me enough at the time that I didn’t accept it.


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 659: Freestyle 598. Take a sad song and make it better.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.39


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!


Hope you like the number seven, because there are a ton of seven-letter entries in here. I finally got enough sevens in my seed list to make one of these, because it’s fairly easy to seed each corner with an entry and go from there. I tried the two entries now at 57-Across and 61-Across in every other corner, in every order, until I finally made them work where they are now. For some reason, I thought I’d have an easier time than I did to find a third entry to work with those two in a stack.


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 658: Freestyle 597. Take one down, pass it around…


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36


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This isn’t giving anything away, because it’s obvious in the clue, but I cannot deny that this seed entry was strongly influenced by the time of year… as were a few of the clues too. From a constructing standpoint, I try to avoid if at all possible the row of four three-letter words, because it just bothers me to look at, but I couldn’t really avoid it this time. Despite the pretty pinwheel pattern in the center, that’s definitely not how I planned it… it just happened to work out that way.


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 657: Freestyle 596. It’s madness, I tell you.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.42


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This is the happiest time of year for me, as a college basketball fanatic. Hearing my team’s name being called on Selection Sunday for the first time in five years will be exciting. As such, I’ve been a little distracted. Fear not — during timeouts, and at halftimes, I was still able to find plenty of time to crank this one out for you. Well, maybe “crank out” isn’t the right verbiage to use, as this is anything but perfunctory for me. Maybe you’re experiencing the same thing I am, maybe not — and if you are, maybe you can work in a solve while the upsets and buzzer beaters roll in.


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!