Puzzle 120: Freestyle 89. Covering all the hard-to-reach places.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.59

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This may or may not be a minor spoiler, but I made a compromise that I didn’t think I would ever make in a grid on this site — a partial phrase. It took me 89 grids to include one, and it probably will be at least that many until I put another one in. It was too good of a stack for me to abandon the whole thing because of it. Partial phrases are, as you know, the bane of my existence.

The three seeds were the genesis of the two stacks: 15-, 61-, and 62-Across. 61- and 62-Across stacked so well that I had a LOT of choices to make 58-Across work. Again, the oft-ignored 12, 13, and 14-letter entries get their chance to shine!

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 119: Freestyle 88. Long live the Thin White Duke.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28

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In the middle of constructing this grid, I heard the news about David Bowie’s passing. I had to at least acknowledge it, so I included 57-Across in the then-not yet constructed corner. Luckily, it worked seamlessly. The origin of this grid was the stack of 15- and 17-Across (you can probably tell that, because I put in a helper square before 4-Across to make that stack work); both entries were in my seed list. 41-Across was also in the list, but, believe it or not, I didn’t even set out intending to use it, or any other seed, for that matter, in that slot. It just happened to go there; of course, as I described above, 57-Across was the starter for that section of the grid. 32-Across was also a seed entry for that section of the grid.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 118: Freestyle 87. Here till the cows come home.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25

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Four from the seed list made it into this grid: 14-, 16-,  and 57-Across and 11-Down. (I’m very surprised that 21-Across is a debut, as far as I know.) I attribute the unusual shape of this grid to one simple thing: I stacked 14- and 16-Across and shaped everything around it. You know that I like the double stack, and I have two of those in this grid. Why stack three collectively mediocre entries when you can stack two entries that are both nice?

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 117: Freestyle 86. Just messing with your head.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31

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The whole reason for this grid is 17-Across. When you encounter a fresh entry that you just know will be a debut, it’s prudent to just jump on it, right? The entire grid is shaped the way it is because of that one entry… funny how that happens. I did manage also to get two other entries from the seed list into this grid (1-Across and 58-Across). Also, three clues with cross references is a lot for me, I think — normally, as you might have read, I don’t like to use cross references unless the two referenced answers are really, really close in relationship.

23-Across is one of those kinds of words that I’ve come across not rarely, but never really noticed a familiar connection with its etymology. I was very surprised to find that connection, and I’m glad I learned it.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 116: Freestyle 85. Stay in school, kids.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.56

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The seed entry for this grid was actually suggested by a solver who emailed me. It was, obviously, the grid spanner in the middle, and I was absolutely shocked that it hadn’t appeared in a publication before. The clue that I used is a sort of mishmash of two clues that he suggested. Thanks a bunch, Patrick! As you’ve all come to find out, aesthetics doesn’t usually matter to me when building a grid, so, when I wanted to stack a 13-letter seed entry on top of the central grid spanner, I didn’t really hesitate to use the Utah-shaped clusters in the middle. Also, I didn’t really mean it that way, but I guess I was in a question-mark-clue mood when I was cluing this grid. It isn’t overladen with ? clues, but there are a little more than usual.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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Puzzle 115: Freestyle 84. Resolve to keep doing indie puzzles!

Last Friday’s themed puzzle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.44

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Happy New Year all! After you’ve recovered from your hangover, or exhaustion, or whatever, start the new year off with a challenge! (Note: you can solve my puzzles with a hangover, but that just might prolong your headache!) Most people make resolutions for a new year… I never do, because why wait only until the calendar turns every year to decide to make improvements in my life? But if you must make a resolution, do as the title says and keep doing the puzzles put out by my fellow independent constructors along with this one. Keep clicking on the links on the left (or the bottom if you’re on mobile)! There is some unbelievable quality coming from those links and you would be remiss not to soak in all of their goodness.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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

Puzzle 114: Freestyle 83. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.65

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 rare foray south of 70 in the word count for this one, but I had to look at it twice just to make sure. It didn’t really seem like 68 when I was constructing it; it had been 70, though. I started constructing in the upper right and, originally, 4-Down was a 3-letter entry. I discovered that I could take out a block to extend the length of 4-Down to its current 9 letters and break out that section to give the grid better flow between the sections. From there, it went surprisingly easily for a 68-word grid. The seeds were 18-Across and 52-Across, of course; surprisingly, 27-Across wasn’t a seed, and just came along with the construction.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better?

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