Puzzle 698: Freestyle 635. Go till you’re blue in the face.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31


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You’re probably tired already of me talking about moving out, but as the big things are disappearing from the house, the storage unit is filling up, and the closets, cabinets, and drawers are slowly being emptied, it has become very real for me. As we signed the lease for the apartment, it has become very real for me. I’m sorry I’m not talking about the crossword much here, but this has been a dominating part of my brain for the last few months. Not too dominating, obviously, because I’m posting this for you.


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Puzzle 697: Wordominoes 11. It’s three, three, three ways to form words!


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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I’m back with the world’s only puzzle format with triply checked letters that has a portmanteau name that refers to dominoes! (Let me know if it isn’t, and I will edit this statement suitably.) 10 x 10 seems like the right size for a grid, but, maybe if I’m in a certain mood, I’ll make a giant 16×16. I know my eraser would get a workout constructing that one. I’m on a time crunch right now with everything going on about our moving adventure, but everything should settle down in a few weeks (until our house-building adventure begins in earnest, anyway) when we get settled in our apartment. (It should not affect my output at all, though, so don’t worry about that.) Man, am I looking forward to that day.


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Puzzle 696: Freestyle 634. What’s the hold-up?


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.40


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This is the second of three consecutive Olympics in East Asia. I always watch as much of the Olympics as I can. Invariably, that means that I stay up a little later than I should each night because of the dumb time zones.  Seriously? Why can’t everyone just be at the same time? Come on, physicists, work on that, would you? Oddly enough, fatigue seems to fuel this kind of creative work for me, so that’s not been any obstacle to me.


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Puzzle 695: Freestyle 633. Haven’t lost a step.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.42


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If you didn’t figure already, yes, it is really, really hard to come up with a triple stack of 10 letters when three letters are already fixed in place. There’s a reason I usually go with 8-letter stacks in these situation. It’s because it is a big pain. Yes, I did this to myself by making this decision from the start, so I’m not asking for your sympathy.


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Puzzle 694: Freestyle 632. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31


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I don’t usually have two bonus 15-letter entries when I do these stacked grids, but it was a single down answer pair that was to blame for that one. What’s now 17-Down and 29-Down had to be exactly that length. That forced one of two things — either an awkward “Utah” shaped chunk of blocks in the top and bottom or a pair of extra 15-letter entries. You know me and good long fill — I couldn’t pass up having two more 15s. So that was where I went.


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Puzzle 693: Freestyle 631. Give me the real story.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31


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Not only did I seed this grid with, obviously, the two central answers, part of the grid was specifically blocked to accommodate the rare clue/entry seed. I always have seed entries, of course, but I don’t often have clue/entry pairs as seeds. Any guesses as to what this is? Maybe I’m pumping this up more than it should, but I think it was too good not to pass up.


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Puzzle 692: Freestyle 630. It’s better than nothing.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36


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Full disclosure, I am a very busy man nowadays. We have sold our house and are in the process of moving out. Since this is our first house, this is our first time moving out of a house. I’ve moved out of an apartment, but this is way, way different. This whole process will in no way get in the way of putting out two posts a week here, though. This is, as the cliché goes, keeping me sane in the midst of the zoo that has been going on for a couple of months now.


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Puzzle 691: Freestyle 629. The hits just keep on coming.


Last  Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.44


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After a streak of non-conventional-looking grids, this is as conventional as it gets. Four corners, four triple stacks of the same length, strings of diagonal blocks. Of course, I hope you’ll agree that the fill and clues themselves aren’t so conventional. There aren’t that many blocks for a 72-word entry, and there are only six three-letter entries, so you’d think it’d be harder to construct, but long strings of diagonal blocks definitely make it easier than lots of straight lines of blocks, unconnected singletons, what have you. Diagonal strings make for staggered stacks, and those are always easier to build than aligned stacks.


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Puzzle 690: Freestyle 628. You’ve got a long way to go.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.29


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I could easily have turned this into 72 and made it much easier on myself, the astute solver might notice. But why? I literally just bemoaned this situation in the last post, and this section is even tougher. Well, the simple answer is that I was already at the limit of three-letter entries that I want to include in a grid, and I really didn’t want to add two more. The upper left and lower right were, needless to say, really challenging.


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Puzzle 689: Freestyle 627. It’s a long way off.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25


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Building the middle out on this grid forced me into a tough situation in the corners — a potential 6×4 empty swath of white. That’s not the easiest space to fill in, which is why I plunked down the block in the very corner. Then I plunked down a block in the other corners — partly because I like the way it looked, but mostly to avoid a dupe in the upper right, believe it or not. I think you’ll see what I mean once you solve it.


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