Puzzle 567: Freestyle 513. Sit for a while.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.50


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Two in a row under 70 entries! What has gotten into me?! Obviously, this one was made for the grid art. I don’t usually make grids like these because the flow isn’t optimal if you get stuck, but I gotta mix it up now and again. I could have easily made it 70 or 72, but I don’t like to go with 40 or more blocks. That’s when it really starts to get clunky to me, so I try not to cross that threshold.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 566: Freestyle 512. Here’s the kicker.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 66
Mean word length: 5.73


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Astute observers who solve this grid might notice that this 14-15-14 stack in the middle could easily have been converted to 13-15-13, and they’d have good reason to notice that — because that’s how it started. I got lucky when I noticed that I could change the 13s to 14s, because my original stack with the 13s just didn’t quite work. With the 13s, it was one letter or one block off one way or another from working; after I shifted the blocks a bit here and there and changed the main acrosses slightly, it took some creative thinking in terms of the intersecting entries to make it work. (That’s not to say I made anything up though.) That’s why it’s 66 instead of 70 entries.


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 565: Freestyle 511. It’ll never fly.

(for some reason, it isn’t letting me embed YouTube links for the time being…)


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28


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Children at this age can be so cruel sometimes. I was sitting on the floor playing with Nathan when he came in for a hug. “How nice, you have a hug for Daddy!” Nope. Turns out he was using me to try and boost himself up onto the couch. Is that all I am? A stepstool?

Another challenging (to construct… hopefully to solve as well) 7×7. Luckily, I picked up a few more 7-letter entries for my seed list since I last constructed one of these, so I was able to sprinkle those in all around the grid. There’s one square that I feared may become a Natick situation after I constructed the grid, so I included a bit of a contextual hint in one of those crossing clues. I think that made the problem go away.


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 564: Freestyle 510. Hitting the mark.


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!


Our son is walking now and getting cleverer by the day, so I really have to limit my time for constructing these to when he’s asleep, when mama has him, or when he’s in his play area and not restless to get out of it. I take my eye off him for five seconds strictly at our and his own peril — once I saw that he had figured out how to pull the covers out of the wall outlets with his small fingers, that pretty much did 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 563: Freestyle 509. Skew your expectations.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72 (it’s not 15×15, but it’s… sorta similar)
Mean word length: 5.81


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!


To get the full effect of this freestyle, you should see the PDF. It isn’t any different on the PUZ — you’re not losing anything as a solver with the PUZ — but the PDF is more striking visually. Why? Well, call it a minor thought experiment turned into reality. This is what happens when “let’s see what happens” actually happens. It’s still a freestyle grid, but this arrangement enables me to have much fewer blocks and, thus, a much longer average word length (thus making more potential space for interesting entries) than what would normally be possible. It’s still only six more squares than a normal 15×15, so the physical area is about the same, but the dynamics of constructing totally changed for me with this grid. It wasn’t really any harder for me to construct, and it still kept the grid at 72 entries; normally, it’s impossible to have 22 black squares with 72 entries.


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 562: Freestyle 508. Changing for the better.


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!


I’m glad you’re entertained, at least in part, by my grids during this difficult time. I know we’re all Zooming more than that kid in the old Mazda commercial (see, a multigenerational reference!) these days. And, as I found long ago, social media is a really, really bad way to spend your time when you’re bored. However you’re solving, whether you’re solving alone, or, preferably, Zooming, Facetiming, Twitching, or whatever you young kids do that boomers don’t like, I’m glad you’re doing it here (and I hope you’re doing it at lots of other places on my sidebar!).


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 561: Freestyle 507. Just let it all out.


Last Friday’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!


I will say that 14-Across was the seed for this whole grid, but I don’t think I really had to point that out, did I? It’s got a very serious and important purpose, but it just sounds… so silly on the surface, doesn’t it? And sometimes, when we’re all quarantined, holed up in our house, we just have to get a little silly.


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!