All posts by Tim Croce

Puzzle 356: Freestyle 318. It’s nice to get a second chance.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.42

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The things I learn when I write clues for these grids. This time, it was the origin of the saying “No good deed goes unpunished”. Sounds quite biblical, doesn’t it? That’s what I always thought. Nope… turns out its source is quite many years later than that, in the answer to a clue herein.

Oh, and a travel recommendation — of the two things mentioned in 41-Across, everyone and their mother has been to the latter, but, trust me, make it a point to go to the former. It is well worth it. With the marijuana mention in the last post and now this, you can just call me the Rick Steves of crossword constructing.

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!

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Puzzle 355: Freestyle 317. Let’s not get carried away!

Last Friday’s Before-and-Aftergrams solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31

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It’s 4/20, man! Put on some jam bands and spark up some cruciv-herb!

I love when two seed entries (like 14- and 17-Across) stack so well. Especially the longer ones. Having two entries you really, really like in one stack and still not having to be hamstrung that much to stack a good third entry is a nice feeling. I might like to own a 17-Across one day for the sheer novelty of it… I’m absolutely blown away that those things actually exist. I’m also blown away that things like 11-Down actually exist too, but for a way different reason. I should actually say that I’m blown away that people would pay money for 11-Downs… but I’m not one to judge, I suppose. To each their own.

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 354: Freestyle 316. This may be of interest to you.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36

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!

Are you playing HQ Trivia? Add me! My username is efcroce.

I don’t have much to say on this one. I took my typical style of intersecting two conversational entries at the middle square and went from there. I could have gone political with one of my clues (see if you can figure out which entry), but I stay as far away as possible from politically charged clues in my grids. We get bombarded enough with all the political baloney as it is, I don’t need to contribute to that climate by writing any politically one-sided clues.

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 353: Before-and-Aftergrams. A twisted product of a twisted mind.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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How about a variety puzzle for some… well, variety? I promise, though it’s Friday the 13th, the nothing freaky will happen to you when you do this puzzle. Before you decide which version to open up — because opening the easier version could give away some things that you wouldn’t want given away if you wanted the moderate or harder version — I’ll explain the difference between the versions. (That’s why the links are below the explanation in this post today, unlike other posts.) Like quite a few of my previous variety puzzles on this site, they involve anagrams, but this one doesn’t involve straight-up anagrams. Here’s how I developed the premise for this puzzle. I discovered that there are some words whose letters both end some words and start some other words even though they aren’t really etymologically related to them (ok, not exactly a groundbreaking discovery, but work with me here). For example, the word ADO ends the unrelated word AVOCADO and starts the unrelated word ADORABLE. So I blended the two words together to make AVOC(ADO)RABLE. I took all the remaining letters outside those parentheses, AVOCRABLE, and anagrammed them into a two word phrase, VOCAL BEAR. Now, here’s the difference between the versions.

In the easiest  version, you would get the three-word set VOCAL BEAR ADO. (The “common” word could be the first, second, or third word.) You would then need to figure out that ADO is the word that ends one word and starts another, and rearrange VOCALBEAR, combined with ADO, into the words AVOCADO/ADORABLE.

In the moderate version, you would get the two words VOCAL BEAR with the notation (7,8) (indicating the first solution word to be 7 letters and the second solution word to be 8 letters) in the left column, and you would need to figure out which word in the right-hand column (whose words are arranged randomly) goes with the phrase to be able to be anagrammed in this fashion. In this case, you would find that right-hand column word to be ADO, and the first word (which is always the word that ends with the “common” word) would be AVOCADO and the second word (always the word that starts with the “common” word) ADORABLE.

The hardest version is the same as the moderate version, but there is no notation giving the lengths of the solution words.

I think, no matter which version you choose, that there are some tips and tricks that you’ll figure out as you go along to untangle this puzzle. I’m willing to give you some if you really get stuck (just email me), but I have faith in you!

Get the easier version PDF here!

Get the moderate version PDF here!

Get the hardest version PDF here!

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 352: Freestyle 315. You’ll flip about this.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.62

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!

So I had the staggered stack in the middle, obviously, from the start, but what I did not have originally were the 12-letter entries cutting through them. What was even farther from my mind was that one of the 12-letter entries was from my seed list and just happened to fit there (21-Down). There was originally another pair of squares which originally had the grid at 70 (7-Down was going to be five letters long), but I noticed I could break through cleanly in those two spots and that was that.

What you see as the clue for 37-Across, I swear to you, was the fourth full iteration for that entry. I had three completely different clues, and had second (third… fourth?) thoughts on each one of them before I arrived at this one. I’m pretty happy with that one (obviously, I kept 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 Friday!

Puzzle 351: Freestyle 314. Just give it a chance.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.47

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 went through a rehaul in the upper right thanks to both second thoughts on my part and the efforts of test solving. Looking back, I’m wincing at why the heck I even sent out the original corner in the first place. Let’s put it this way — those two entries aren’t even in my word list anymore. And, worse, they even intersected each other. I probably would have been hanged in the crossword blogs (well, one in particular, for certain) for that crime.

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 350: Freestyle 312. We’re getting the band back together.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28

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!

For all those who look for a connection between the musical post and the grid, there really isn’t one here. I just wanted to post that because I think that that song has the quintessential hair-metal rock song title. I don’t often seed a proper name on the top row (like I did here at 6-Across) or the first column — and, to boot, I’m not at all a news watcher. But there it is, in all its glory.

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!