Puzzle 366: Freestyle 327. Saving the world one helper square at a time.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31


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Like the 14s, the 12-letter words make me do strange things with 15×15 grids. In fact, the two I seeded this grid with made me go a little more wide open in the corners than I wanted to. Those upper-left and lower-right sections were harder to build than it looks, but I managed.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 365: Freestyle 326. Show some restraint.


Last Friday’s Split Decisions Two Ways solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.49


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I felt like going for interlock instead of the stack for the long answers in this one — another offload of 14-letter entries, which I seem to come up with faster than I can use. (That’s ok… rather have more options than less.) With these kinds of grids, I don’t want to say that construction is easy, but once you get the interlock to work, the construction goes along a little smoother than usual.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 364: Freestyle 325. I’ve got no issues here…

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.22


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1-Across was the seed entry for a very specific reason. It’s about the 2018 Olympics, which were already three months ago. I think that’s just enough time such that you haven’t been thinking about the Olympics for a while, but you’d probably go “Oh yeah, I remember that name!” (if you initially forgot, of course) once you filled in the entry. I’d probably do the same thing if I were solving this grid like the rest of you.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 363: Split Decisions Two Ways 5.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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I’ve had a few people ask about the Split Decisions Two Ways puzzles, so I’m back with another one! If you’re not familiar with the original Split Decisions puzzle, created by the great George Bredehorn and passed down to the also great Fred Piscop (who creates them for the New York Times variety page occasionally), it’s a crossword that involves pairs of words that differ by only two consecutive letters; you’re given the letter pairs only and the puzzle is to figure out the pairs of words from the letter pairs. My version gives a bit of a twist to it, as the “split decision” boxes are to be read both across and down. Don’t worry, there are instructions if you don’t know what I’m talking about! Here’s a history of my past Split Decisions Two Ways posts if you find this one intriguing…


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 362: Freestyle 324. I can hardly express this in words…

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28


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I’m back to earth from last week’s crazy 64-word grid. Some of you may have been worried about me because of that and I appreciate your concern. Not only am I back to earth, but I’m back to a mainstay of my constructing — four eight-letter stacks. I came upon a recent run of eight-letter seeds, so there you have it. You can find them at 1-Down, 37-Down, 16-Across, 18-Across, and 39-Down. Go crazy, folks!


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 361: Freestyle 323. You’ve got to know when to hold ’em…

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 64
Mean word length: 5.97


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Thank you for putting up with my total fanboying from the last post… more about the grid on this post. I went a little crazy on this one. I originally planned on 66 — I even got quite a ways through the grid (the middle and then upper left and lower right done) before I discovered that I could take out a pair of blocks and still build the grid pretty smoothly. I didn’t expect to make a four-wide or four-tall stack — I almost never do that on this site (though I did it four times in this grid).


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 360: Freestyle 322. We’re the last true believers.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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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!


You’ll have to excuse me for this tangent, but I just can’t help it. There’s a little bit of a departure on the song selection today… it has nothing to do with any of the clues in the grid. I’m posting that song because my wife and I were at that concert where the video was taken, last Saturday in Boston. I am a huge fan of Jessie Ware. She is my favorite musical act.  I listen to her whole discography every Monday at work to help ease me into the work week. It’s hard to explain, and I’m sure many of you have experienced the same feeling, but there are only a handful of musical acts that have given me a “religious experience” upon listening, and she is at the top of that list. I even remember where I was when that experience happened — I was listening to her second album, Tough Love, on my iPod on a flight to Salt Lake City a few years ago when it happened. I got completely lost in the aura of the music and was transported into another dimension.

We were standing right up front, stage right, at the Paradise Rock Club (there aren’t any seats at the venue), a very cool place to see a concert. The sound quality of the video (which I didn’t take) is a tad off in spots, but you’ll get the gist of the performance. I’ve been into her music since soon after she released her first album in 2012, and this is, at long last, the first time that I’ve gotten a chance to see her live. I don’t mean to gush, but seeing her walk out on stage for the first time was surreal; the whole concert experience was very, very special. Her musical style, not to mention the way she presents it, of course, just hits all the right notes for me. Her voice in concert was just as I have heard so many times listening to her albums — simply ethereal. She and her band were so on point, she worked the crowd so well during the songs, and she was funny and entertaining between songs. It was, all-around, all that I thought it would be and much, much more.

I guess the (coincidental) inclusion of 37-Across in this grid was appropriate, as I really did have to come back to Earth after leaving that concert venue that night. (See, I did relate it to the crossword grid after all!)


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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