Puzzle 606: Freestyle 547. Get your butt in here!


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.46


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It’s amazing how much emphasis and priority is placed on finding someone to blame for a problem instead of the much more important exercise of finding how not to re-create the problem. The central seed answer is based on that — no one wants to crack and admit a goal is impossible, just so they won’t be the first one on a team to be blamed when it goes sideways. I’m so glad there’s an actual term for that.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 605: Freestyle 546. There isn’t a cloud in the sky.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.42


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I wanted to seed a grid with an 11-letter entry, but I didn’t want any 11-stacks. Remind me never to do that again. It was a great challenge to make it work, because now, all of a sudden, I was dealing with multiple long entries spread out across the grid and intersecting my stacks in the corner. It was much more difficult than I had anticipated. It’s a lot easier to construct a grid with most of the long entries concentrated in stacks than scattered about. Mind you, it still came out like I wanted it to, but I had to get lucky in a couple spots.


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Puzzle 604: Freestyle 545. I have confidence in you.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36


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A lot of this grid was composed on a shaky 90-minute drive in the back seat of a car out to an apple orchard in rural New York. The last few minutes, finalizing one corner, was after driving into the orchard on a really bumpy, uncomfortable road. Nausea set in, and it got really hard to type in the letters every time we hit the bump. Hazards of the work, I know. I set a goal of completing the grid before getting out of the car, and dammit, I did.


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Puzzle 603: Freestyle 544. You’ve come a long way.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.39


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The double stack of 15s is not something that I do too often, and I don’t know why. Really, after finding pairs that stack well, the toughest part was linking the twin 8-stacks to the top center/bottom center. It is exponentially easier, of course, to stack two 15s than three.

It’s funny the disparate sources from which I gather my seed entries. Especially the bottom two 15s in this grid — one of them was randomly seeing a tech term I found funny in a Wikipedia article (I was probably going down the old Wikipedia rabbit hole) and the other was the first line of a country song I heard on the radio. My ears and eyes are constantly tuned into this sort of thing.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 602: Freestyle 543. You deserve a pat on the back.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.34


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33-Across was one of the first things I ever put in my seed list for this site, more than five years ago. I started with 36-Across, but what I do with these stagger stacks is choose a 15- or 13-letter entry, then go down my list of 12s to see what stacks well with that middle entry. Finally, since this stagger stack Tuesday thing has given me a good excuse to use two 12s without wrecking the flow of the grid, this entry has seen the light of day in one of my grids. Not that I’d ever partake of this particular entry myself.


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Puzzle 601: Freestyle 542. We’re packed and ready for action.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25


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I don’t usually have a grid-spanning entry anymore without having another one cross it at the center. That said, it’s a lot less limiting without another 13 or 15 letters set from the start. Also, I could have avoided a little difficulty in the center by making double stacks into triple stacks; it was harder than it looks to make the 8/21-Down/33-Across area work.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 600: Freestyle 541. Let’s catch a show tonight.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.34


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I normally don’t like to have stacks of three in the middle of a grid. But, thanks to the center right of the grid, which proved to be nothing short of a bear to make fit (luckily, the left center was flexible to accommodate), I was forced into those stacks of three to make it fit. I think you’ll forgive me though.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 599: Freestyle 540. You’re on the right track.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36


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The siren song of the stack of 11s has lured me in again, with its promise of long, beautiful entries and the hidden danger of the three-letter entries that come with them. Since it isn’t a good idea to be blindfolded like Ulysses and tied to my phone — that wouldn’t work out too well for me to get a clean grid — I forged through, and, unlike Ulysses, dodged the bad fill on the rocks. Wish me luck when I deal with Scylla and Charybdis.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 598: Freestyle 539. Take nothing for granted.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.36


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I always get in a terribly cynical mood every even-numbered year about this time because I’m tired of seeing all of the political advertisements on television. This time it’s leaked into one of my own grids. I have hardly ever been so sure of including a seed entry, straight across the middle, spanning the whole width, in one of my grids as I was with this.


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Puzzle 597: Freestyle 538. Get over it, huh?


Last Friday’s Move Over One, Will Ya? solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.19


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I was a bit sad about this one, in that I had to get rid of a nice entry in the lower left. You know that feeling where something you know you shouldn’t deal with keeps nagging at you, but you want to plow through the situation hoping you can just ignore it? That’s exactly what happened in that section. I really liked what was there at 40-Down, but that necessitated something that I really didn’t like at 65-Across. I just couldn’t bring myself to keep it, though, when my eyes kept wandering  involuntarily back to that bad entry. It’s like Jim Carrey’s character in “Liar Liar” whose hand keeps writing “blue” all over the desk and himself with the blue pen even though he really wanted to force himself to lie.

Ladies and gentlemen, you just witnessed a miraculous rarity. I just made a successful, relevant movie reference. Folks, the last movie I saw in the theater was “The King’s Speech”. That was in 2010.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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