All posts by Tim Croce

Puzzle 373: Freestyle 333. OK, good enough…


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.40


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Look away, helper square detractors… there are (gasp) TWO in each corner!! I just found that the eight letters of 5-Across stacked well with the last eight letters of 14-Across and, since 14-Across is ten letters, that’s where the double helper squares come in.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 372: Freestyle 332. You’ve got to stand for something.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28


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I’m lucky that the top center was adaptable in this grid, because I went through many, many permutations of letter combinations and block combinations in the bottom center before I found one that worked. Originally, this was a 70-word grid, with the block between what’s now 5-Down and 27-Down once gone. In fact, that was the crux of the issue with not being able to get the bottom center to work — it was a begrudging act to add that block, because I really liked the original 8-letter entry at 5-Down. Sometimes you’ve got to make sacrifices in one part of the grid for another part to work. It’s just that pesky little rule of symmetry…


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 371: Freestyle 331. Winter is coming…


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.60


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!


Back to the double-stack instead of triple-stack technique in two of the corners. It opens options up so much in those corners without forcing sections that are too wide-open or otherwise hard to construct.

From the “write what you know” category: the clue for 35-Across. I have not only visited Barcelona, but been to Park Güell. Barcelona on the whole is really cool and fully recommended, but this was one of the highlights. So many interesting little features… this is a shining example of the work of this architect whose work is seen so many times around that great city.

 


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 370: Freestyle 330. Don’t call it a comeback.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.49


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!


I had to do everything I can to keep as few 3-letter entries (I did good to keep it to 12) in this grid as I can given that I have two 11-stacks — I can’t resist the lure of the 11-stack as a crossword constructor, because I have so many 11s in my seed list. But that inevitably creates a rash of 3-letter words, most of which, I’ll be honest, tax me to think of original clues — mostly because so many 3-letter entries have been used so many times in previous crosswords. Crossword constructing is, as life is, a balance, though.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 369: Freestyle 329. Life is worth it.


Last Friday’s Wordominoes solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.63


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The tried-and-true 8×3 format is back. It’s a wee bit harder to build because I locked in the crossing central 15s before I went into the corners.

I don’t mean to bring the mood of the post down, but there’s a more important topic today. Whenever I saw that anything Anthony Bourdain was involved in was playing on TV, I switched to that station. Everything he touched turned to gold. I don’t know the circumstances behind his passing beyond that it was a suicide, but it just goes to show that you shouldn’t hide it or be ashamed to speak out about it when your health — mental or physical — is far from what it should be. He was incredibly talented at everything he did professionally, and got to travel to many dozens of countries around the world to do it, but he was not immune from the depths of depression. No one is. I know it’s easy for me to say as someone who has not experienced this illness myself, but get help, huh? It’s worth it.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 368: Freestyle 328. Go to your happy place.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.33


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!


I won’t lie, this grid wasn’t very difficult to construct. The trickiest part was constructing the upper left and lower right stacks and making sure the pairs of stacked seven-letter words intersecting them worked with them. And, even then, that wasn’t so bad to deal with. So I was able to get a lot of seed entries into the corners without an issue.

I don’t usually talk about cluing in this space, but one of the constant challenges, much as I try to avoid those types of entries, is thinking up original clues for old crossword standbys. You’ll find one such entry in here that even I have to say that I’m pretty proud of…


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 367: Wordominoes 5. What goes around comes around.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!


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!


I love constructing these Wordominoes grids. The construction process is so interesting, mainly because every letter is triply checked — each letter is in an across answer, a down answer, and in a cage — and the process is entirely by hand. There’s no software for this. Like a normal crossword, of course, I have a seed entry (which is, in this case, in cage 1) that I build the grid around, but I have to also make sure it works in the grander scheme of the rows and columns. If these strike your fancy, and you missed the others, here are the previous four for your solving pleasure.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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