Puzzle 182: Freestyle 150. Stand clear of the door!

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.56

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Usually, in a freestyle grid, you’ll see a standard triple stack of some length somewhere in the grid, filtering into some shorter fill on the outside or the inside of the grid. This one has none of that — it has a very unusual look from the start. Lots of scatter in the pattern and not much order. Much of the reason for this was that I wanted to focus on getting a couple of 14s in the grid, but I didn’t really want to do the standard grid spanner bracketed by an L-shaped group of blocks. The seed entry was put in at 14-Down originally, but only a few letters from that original entry survived into the final product — it’s funny how the construction process can work! The only negative upshot is the larger (but not obscenely large) amount of three-letter entries than usual. I was careful with those, though.

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Puzzle 181: Freestyle 149. There’s a lot going on here.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.39

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With the Olympics going on during the construction of this puzzle, their influence is quite obvious in this grid. Right off the bat, the first two across answers were seeds based on Olympic coverage, and the entry in 2-Down was kept in the grid because of the Olympic trivia in its clue. I’m always happy to find 8-letter seeds, both because my 8-letter seed list is low and I find the 8/6 structure you see in this grid most conducive to construction. I’d like to think that I’ve managed to make all 12 of the 8-letter entries in this grid colorful.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 180: Freestyle 148. Step by step, putting it together.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31

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No bonus points here for figuring out what entry started this grid… it’s pretty obvious. It may well even be a gimme to many. But there are some entries that you just can’t resist when they’re 15 letters or less, no? Actually, the origin was not just that entry, but that entry crossing another entry stacked under yet another entry (which ones they are may also be pretty obvious).

I had to add that extra block in the lower left and upper right. It really pained me to do that, because I don’t like adding single blocks that add six (or more) three-letter words to the grid count. I hate it, actually. But I would rather do that than stretch a corner and get a really bad fill or some really bad concessions.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 179: Freestyle 147. Are you not entertained?!

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.43

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18-Across and 51-Across were the origins for this grid, obviously. I don’t think I’m giving anything away with this, but I say “obviously” because you don’t just happen upon fitting 18-Across in a grid. You pretty much have to start with it. The bit of trivia in 3-Down I’ve known for a while, but it took until now to fit it into the grid — it’s one of my favorite little bits of music trivia. I’ve seen one of the musicians referred to by that clue many times… I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 178: Freestyle 146. You have to earn it.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.49

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1-Across and 59-Across were the foundations for this grid. I know a lot of folks like to put marquee answers at 1-Across, but I don’t really do it that often. Not that I put cruddy answers there, it’s just that I don’t want to start with one… I know many folks start where 1-Across is, and I like my solvers to work a little harder to uncover the magic seed entry, y’know? This grid was 70 instead of 72 out of necessity — I built the upper left stack first, and the letter combo I got in the fifth column just wasn’t working unless I extended it all the way down to where it was. (I had the option to keep it a four-letter word, but… well, you’ll see. I had those first three letters of the stack, and I didn’t really want to make that four letter word necessary in the grid.)

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 177: Freestyle 145. Everybody’s doing it.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.50

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I’ll have you know that I resisted making what are now 17-Across and 51-Across grid-spanning entries for the longest time. It was only when I realized that splitting those entries in two would (a) put 40 blocks in a grid, which is too many for me, and (b) unnecessarily close off two corners of the grid in one way or another (because of the middle stack and the vertical grid spanner that were already in place) that I left the grid open there and made it work. I say “made it work” as if I had to force it to work with some awkward entries, but that isn’t really the case.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 176: Freestyle 144. Don’t take this out of context.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

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!

You’ll notice that, in the 10-stacks on the sides, I have three 3-letter entries in a row intersecting them (27/32/35A, 39/42/45A). Normally, I try to avoid that, but I’ll tell you what was to blame: both 4-Down and 38-Down. The way the upper left and lower right stacks formed, those two down answers had to be eight letters. Also, it wasn’t too advantageous for the spaces now split by 25/27-Across and 45/46-Across to remain eight letters long, so I had no choice but to leave in those strips of black where they are. It all worked out for the better, though (but I suppose you all will be the true judge of that…).

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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

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