Puzzle 530: Freestyle 478. Did you just assume my hemisphere?


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.34


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I hope all who celebrate have a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah. And if you don’t celebrate either, I hope you’re having a good day anyway!

I definitely had the option to bring it to 72 words. I know I say constantly how I don’t mind adding a pair of extra squares to make the fill better, but (a) the fill came out good as it is, if I do say so myself, and (b) that would have brought the block count to 40, which is not a line I’m really willing to cross for 70 or 72 entries.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 529: Freestyle 477. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.39


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Back in “crunchy 7s” territory with what I maintain is the hardest 72-word pattern to fill well in a freestyle grid. I had to make so many tweaks even after I initially finished the grid because there were little nits that bothered me very much. It’s not often that I spend any significant amount of time to get rid of helper squares, but I originally had a completed fill with a pair of them directly above and below the center square. It kept gnawing at the back of my brain that there had to be a better way to fill than what I had — I had even started cluing and it kept gnawing until I gave in. Turns out that little voice in the back of my head is right once in a while.


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 528: Freestyle 476. Get up to speed on things.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.19


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 think this is turning into a pattern that’s probably going to continue for the time being — stagger-stack Tuesday. Wish I could figure out a more alliterative or clever name for it, but it looks like those odd 12s and maybe 14s will find a home here most every Tuesday. Those are the grids that always turn out the most interesting-looking formations.


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 527: Freestyle 475. Don’t take anything for granted.


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!


It’s tough to explain things like this without going on and on, but, when you open the grid, do you see how 5-Down intersects 22-Across? I generally hate to have that happen. I usually don’t want that vertical stack in the corner to have to connect back to the horizontal stack. It can really limit your options because that’s just one more letter you have to worry about  interconnecting. Unfortunately, I had no choice because of the upper left, so it’s just a matter of hoping it works.


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 526: Freestyle 474. Deal with it.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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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!


I’m not really gonna preach here, but I’ll just say that the toxicity of the Internet provided me with the central, original entry for this grid. In these staggered stack grids, I never plan on having any long downs, but it always seems to become necessary once I figure out said stack. That’s okay, I guess, because that gives me a little freedom to close off a corner a little and make the grid easier to complete there.


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 525: Freestyle 473. On the rebound.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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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!


A sleep regression phase has hit for our son, which means, naturally, that it’s also a sleep regression phase for Mama and Daddy. I cannot explain this, but I am incredibly productive writing clues that I’m happy with when I’m sitting up late at night overtired trying to get Nathan to sleep. I swear to you that I wrote about 50 clues the other night between midnight and 2:00 am, when he went to sleep for the night. I have trouble constructing an actual grid when I’m overtired, but the clues I can fly through. Go figure. It seems paradoxical, because usually you can’t really function as well when you’re overtired. I have no idea what’s going on.


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 524: Freestyle 472. Sleep like a baby.


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!


Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of my first posted grid here on this site. I’m proud to say that. I’m also proud to say that I’ve had a new original grid or other kind of puzzle every Tuesday and Friday, without fail, since that first one. And that ain’t gonna change anytime soon. In honor of that, every clue in today’s grid starts with the letter V! (Kidding… I wouldn’t do that to you.) Hopefully it’ll even last long enough for Nathan to get a co-writing credit on one of these things. That’d make me one proud daddy.

Write what you know. A central tenet for writers, and an almost-central tenet for this grid (the seed answer is one above the center row). We have had a baby for over 9½ months now, so we certainly know about that. The clue is ironic given that none of us have slept like a baby the last few nights. At least I got a crossword grid out of our state of near-delirium.


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!