# Puzzle 44: Freestyle 27. Do the math!

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.44

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Another 7×7 freestyle offering. These are, as I’ve said before, the hardest high-word count freestyles to make, but they’re the most satisfying. I had one and only one seed to start the puzzle, and that was 15-Across. Other mini-seeds emerged during construction of this puzzle, including 16-Across, 38-Down, 64-Across, 66-Across, and 67-Across.

The construction started in the upper left with the seed, and drifted over to the upper right; once I had the top half done, I moved to the lower left, figuring that 38-Down would be the most restrictive entry in the lower half of the grid. After I did the lower left, it took me a surprising amount of time to finish the last quadrant, the lower right, even though the entry point to it (49-Down) wasn’t particularly restrictive. For me, the hardest corners to construct, actually, are the ones with the most options; even if I come up with what I feel like is a good corner, I will always be questioning myself, “Couldn’t this be better with these letters, though?” Sometimes I just have to cut the constructing cord and say, “OK, that’s it… I’m satisfied.”

Also, a word about cross references: I go by the credo that just because you can make a cross reference doesn’t mean you should. 36-Across and 37-Across are a prime example; they’re even next to each other in the clues, but I resisted temptation. Cross-referencing, as a solver, is a bit of a distraction if I see it too much, though it can be very elegant if the connection is very close. I cross-reference with caution.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is a close decision between 53-Down and 8-Across, both fascinating in their own very different ways.

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