Puzzle 68: Freestyle 43. I don’t mean to be upfront.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.46

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The seed answers for this grid were 21-Across, 49-Across, and 3-Down. This was a little bit more difficult to construct not because there are two fewer words than usual, but because there are more three-letter words than usual. I had to be very careful that there weren’t too many, if any, clunkers in the threes. It had been a 72-word puzzle, but then I happened to discover that I could take out a pair of black squares (where 18-Across and 56-Across are now) and make perfectly good 15-letter entries from the 8s that were already in place! I don’t usually willingly reduce the word count, but this made the vocabulary in the puzzle definitely more interesting… so why not?

Oh, and I couldn’t resist… I live in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, so I just had to namecheck Berkshire County, England with the clue at 50-Down.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is in 35-Across. I was looking at a map and happened to notice this town, and my foreign language classes from way back kicked in.

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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5 thoughts on “Puzzle 68: Freestyle 43. I don’t mean to be upfront.”

  1. OK, Tim . somebody’s gotta’ do this, so I guess it has to be me!

    Iwo? What, Jima not good enough for you??

    Ephor, really?


    Dye vat is a fixture???

    Food Web?

    Lucked OUT, not upon

    Vague Booking?

    Orang (why no “abbr.” – where is -utan )



    And I don’t think broadcasters can “drop” the “W” from it’s name/call letters. They may for marketing purposes, but for the FCC, it’s a “W” in the East in a station’s call letters and a “K” in the West.

    And “ich” . was this necessary?

    Initial Orders . Boo

    And for the life of me, I can’t figure out how “rutted” means depressed. I thought the stags were mighty happy doing this.

    I’m going to ignore trap with a blanket, La prima donna nella Bibbia, and it may be over after a few minutes. Boo.


    (But. I did love Badge Bunny. :-))





    1. Haha… sorry, I’ve gotta defend myself point by point here…

      “Jima” is, in fact, the Japanese for island. I had to avoid the same old boring clue. Plus, it’s casually referred to as “Iwo” anyhow.
      Ephor… OK, I didn’t like putting that one in there either. My hand really was forced with that one.
      “Dye vat” has been clued in NYT as “Textile factory fixture”… a Google image search shows a lot of dye vats that appear to be fixed in place.
      “Food web” is in the dictionary and gets almost 4 million hits as a phrase on Google; I remember distinctly learning the term in science class. It’s an interconnection of many different food chains.
      “Luck upon” is also listed in the dictionary as an idiom under “luck”, meaning “come across by chance”, and I’ve certainly heard it used in regular conversation.
      “Vaguebooking” is the posting of an intentionally vague Facebook status in order to shamelessly beg for attention by prompting Facebook friends to inquire for more specifics. There’s a vaguebooking blog in which the most shameless attempts are submitted by users. It’s a neologism that’s gained quite a bit of currency.
      “Orang” has appeared many times in other crosswords; it’s got 169 million hits on Google and it’s in the dictionary.
      The station was once marketed nationally as “Superstation WTBS”, then went to “Superstation TBS”, and eventually got to just TBS.
      Haha, no, it wasn’t necessary with “ich”… I included the sarcastic parenthetical comment because of that.
      Yes, “Initial orders” may have been a bit too cute, I admit.
      “Rutted” is in the sense of having ruts in the ground, as a road… “depressed” as in lower than the surrounding surface. It’s a question mark clue, and there’s a connection there, so I’ll stand by it.
      Glad you liked 3D, it was one of my seeds!


      1. OK, OK … I knew you’d have your reasons. But just sometimes, can’t you give a girl a break? You’re too hard, too often!! 🙂


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