All posts by Tim Croce

Puzzle 406: Freestyle 365. You’ve got to accept change.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.49


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Semi-closed off corners make it quite a bit easier to construct a freestyle grid, and this was no exception. This was another one of those 70-word grids that felt like 72 after I finished constructing. The seed for this one was obviously 1-Down, and this one was a long time in the making — I remember a few-years-old crossword in the New York Sun that had the clue “(1-Down answer), e.g.”, and that word has stuck with me so much through these years that I would take it from that clue and put it as an entry.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 405: Freestyle 364. Take it wherever you can get it.


Last Friday’s Wordominoes solution

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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!


It isn’t often that a seed entry in one of my grids is a proper name, but it certainly was here. It was motivated by a public incident, shall we say, that overshadowed another’s accomplishment. My motivation in including this name is not to let this person’s achievement, which was very well-earned, slip out of public consciousness. (Vague enough for you?)


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 404: Freestyle 363. Time to lower the boom.


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!


So the arrangement of the black squares in this grid was intentional. I wasn’t going to move any of them. The reason for the arrangement is that it’s the same block arrangement as my second published New York Times crossword. Why my second? Well, I took a little heat for that one on the blogs (whether deserved or not, I will leave that open-ended) and thought what new grid I could come up with using that same shape. Something’s telling me I don’t think I’ll take the same heat for this one as I did for that one.


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 403: Wordominoes 6. Be prepared for the domino effect.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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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 could write a book of these things. In fact, if I ever get enough time, I think I may. As I’ve said before, these are really interesting to construct. Why? They must be done by hand, and it works my brain approximately 150% harder having to keep in mind that each letter in the 10×10 grid appears in three answers instead of two. Hopefully it keeps your head spinning for just the right amount of time before it falls for you. Past feedback for this kind of puzzle has indicated just that kind of experience, which is what I’m aiming for… stare at the grid for a while wondering how you’re going to solve it, then make a teeny bit of headway, which drives the wedge in and leads to more and more headway until the grid is filled. If you like this one, and you missed the older ones, they can all be found 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 402: Freestyle 362. Plans have changed…


Last Tuesday’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!


There are a couple of answers in the grid that may look like seed entries, but they’re not. It’s always nice to have a few bonus entries that you don’t plan on fitting into a grid but still find their ways in there. It’s always a good sign when that happens. There were four seeds, but I’m going to leave it a mystery as to which ones they are…


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 401: Freestyle 361. Let’s play it close to the vest.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.39


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 design allowed me to put some flourish all around the grid. I interlocked eight long marquee answers with each other, and put stacks in each of the four corners, but only one of the long entries intersected with each stack. Thus I could still operate in the corners to make the stacks without too many constraints.


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 400: Freestyle 360. Stop and smell the roses.


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!


If you open this grid and your first thought is something about Tetris, I wouldn’t blame you. (They’re not all tetrominoes, yeah, but you get the picture.) But know that each one of those squares was put in or moved in the effort of preserving entries that I was attached with. I have said it many times and I’ll say it again — I will sacrifice aesthetics ten times out of ten for content.


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!