All posts by Tim Croce

Puzzle 244: Freestyle 209. Keep your composure.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.51

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!

What an adventure I had with the bottom half of this grid. The grid you see is (almost) what I initially came up with — but it wasn’t what I stuck with the whole time. Clear as mud? I’ll explain. I constructed everything according to plan… then I had second thoughts about the lower left because of a crossing I was wary of. So… I reconstructed it entirely and came up with something I liked. Problem was… it contained a rather obvious dupe with an entry in the lower right. So… I tried to reconstruct the middle right to deal with the dupe, but I couldn’t really come up with anything I liked. So I changed the lower left back to where it was and changed one of the clues to make that aforementioned crossing “Natick-proof”. Then… a little while later (read: last night, just before preparing the document to upload), an entry was still nagging me. Specifically, it was a plural name, and I NEVER like plural names. I had a sudden insight on how to change it, so I did that and changed the relevant clues last-minute to get what you’re about to solve in this grid. I suffer for my art!

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

Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.

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

Puzzle 243: Freestyle 208. It’ll suck you in.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31

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!

Clearly, I didn’t decide to give up helper squares for Lent. One of them was used to avoid an awkward plural, one was needed to even fill a section at all, and one was to make a major stack better. So none were in vain.

24 3-letter entries is a lot for me. I mean, it’s a real lot. It’s a lot for a 15×15 grid, period. It’s hard to eliminate junk when you have that many, but I’ve filtered my word list pretty well to the point that I don’t even have to be tempted by a bad entry to glue together a section. Junk is in the eye of the beholder, I guess, but we all have to have our standards…

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

Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.

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

Puzzle 242: Freestyle 207. Get a grip!

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.34

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!

This is the first grid on this website that I’ve run through the test-solving process. I would sincerely like to thank the folks who have given of themselves to pre-solve my grids and put them through the wringer before you see them. For example, thanks to comments I received for this grid, quite a few clues were changed, and I tore out an entire section (save for one answer that was liked) and rebuilt it. Frankly, it made the section a lot better, too. I thought the original was OK, but was on the fence about a couple of entries in the section. The comments drove home the point in my own mind to fix it up.

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!

Puzzle 241: Freestyle 206. Read the sign!

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.34

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!

The interesting effects of 14-letter entries rear their heads again. Yet again, 14-letter pairs make a grid look like a menacing dental implement. The bottom half was done first (I know, I know… what an iconoclast I am!) — I originally had a different 14 in mind for the top, but — believe it or not — I was actually forced into 33-Across, which, in turn, forced me out of that original 14.

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 Tuesday!

Puzzle 240: Freestyle 205. Everybody’s hands go up!

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25

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!

If you’re getting buried in this massive snowstorm like I am here, feel free to commiserate. If you’re anywhere else in the world that doesn’t really ever get snow, feel free to gloat. Just don’t send pictures. To put a positive spin on all this, this is the perfect occasion to stay in and work on my grids. Some people curl up with a book, some people binge-watch on Netflix, and I construct crosswords. Good thing my wife accepts me for 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!

Puzzle 239: Freestyle 204. You got it, girl!

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.22

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!

This grid is a prime example of why I take care to call them “helper squares” instead of “cheater squares”. There are three pairs of them in this grid — and I needed all of them not to get me a fill, but to get me a better fill. Besides, the grid is all about the fill when we’re talking freestyle crosswords. No one goes to a sports game to watch the refs, they go to watch what the athletes do; no one does a freestyle puzzle to see the black squares, they’re in it just for what’s in the white areas.

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 Tuesday!

 

Puzzle 238: Freestyle 203. Keep me in the loop.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.54

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!

What was that I said a couple of posts ago about not liking to stack 4-high or 4-wide swaths of 7 or more letters in a grid? Forget I said that, because I did it again here. It was originally going to be 72 words with what is now 20-Across and 55-Across split into two words, but I constructed the upper left and saw that 20-Across could be extended. Actually, I saw that it would work better if 20-Across were extended all the way to the edge, so I did. It made my job a little more difficult in the upper right and lower left, but I managed.

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!