Puzzle 17: Freestyle 11. Snow time like the present!

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 71
Mean word length: 5.75

I’d like to express B I G thanks to Sam Ezersky for shouting out my puzzle from last Friday. I highly recommend that you do two things on this page: do his very cool freestyle puzzle, and, when you’re done with it, read his notes on the construction of that puzzle. It’s a very nice anatomy of the thought process that goes into constructing a freestyle puzzle. Well done!

As I’m writing this, there is a travel ban for all non-essential traffic in the state of Massachusetts due to a major winter storm. There is not, thank goodness, a ban on all web traffic in Massachusetts, though… so I feel safe in posting this today without being ticketed.

As you can see by the odd-numbered word count, I stretched this one to 16×15 again to fit the answer in the middle. Constructing a 16×15 while still keeping the word count under 72 is, as I’ve said before, a bit more difficult to do — more difficult than you’d think for just adding one column — so I only do it when there’s a 16 that I really really want to put in a puzzle. It was a little easier, actually, that I had two vertical 15s in this puzzle, because it enabled me to close off the corners a little more and still keep the word count down; I didn’t originally plan on having those 15s, but it worked out better with them than without.

The major seed for this puzzle, obviously, was 37-Across; I didn’t need to tell you that. Other seeds were 1-Across and 16-Across. They were going to go in the upper left stack no matter what, once I discovered that they fit well together. The 15s weren’t really mini-seeds, because they only happened to be one of a few that fit the pattern when I took out the pair of blocks to make them 15s. Same with 34-Across… it was one of only a few that fit in that particular spot as I was constructing it. Yes, 60-Across was a mini-seed… other than that, I didn’t really have any others.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle was that the company in 13-Down made military trucks as well as what I knew them for.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? Is it any wonder I’m tired? Did Dr. Watson ever say, “Wassup, Holmes”? Wouldn’t you like to hear an all-ukulele Nirvana cover band called the Grass Kurts?

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


3 thoughts on “Puzzle 17: Freestyle 11. Snow time like the present!”

  1. Tim, I really enjoy your work. Whenever I see your name or Barry Silk’s, I know I’m in for a battle. Your clueing is particularly fun (and fair). Thanks and appreciation for your talent and skill! All the best, John McCluggage


  2. Hello! Always enjoying your freestyles, and I was glad to have one that was at “normal” NYT weekend difficulty, instead of the usual “Saturday-plus”. Query: why you would need to keep the word count under 72 in a 16×15? Doesn’t that make this grid essentially a 68? (Personally I prefer a 68 to a 72, because I would rather have longer/”fresher” entries than shorter/”cleaner” ones, but that’s not a debate for Club 72…)


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