Guest Freestyle #1 by Jason Mueller. Time for something new and exciting!

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31

As promised yesterday, I’ve got a guest freestyle puzzle today! Jason Mueller’s the name, and this 72-word freestyle’s the game. (I have no idea what that means.) Jason emailed me a few weeks ago with this freestyle puzzle for my consideration. I solved it right after I got the email, and replied that I very happy to have it on the site.

Jason tells me that he is (as of this blog post) unpublished, but will have his major publication debut on Sunday, May 31, in the LA Times. (Impressive enough, but a Sunday debut is even more impressive, still!) This is a pretty darned polished freestyle construction with some fun entries in it. In fact, the one running across the middle is… well, was… on my own seed list. He is from Missouri, an alum of the University of Missouri, and was captain of their quiz bowl team. I am very happy to present this freestyle from Jason, I look very much forward to his LA Times debut, and I look forward to many more of his puzzles to come! Nice job, Jason.

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Puzzle 48: Freestyle 29. “It’s like a creature out of Greek mythology!”

Last week’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!

Before I say anything else, I want to plug something new and exciting from Club 72 headquarters: there will be a guest freestyle puzzle tomorrow! I got an email a couple of weeks ago with a submission for a guest freestyle for my website. His name is Jason Mueller, and he’ll be making his major publication debut soon… but I’m very happy to put a guest puzzle of his on this site tomorrow. Check it out!

If you’ve been following me, you know that I’m a big “Seinfeld” fan and like to put in a reference whenever I can (and whenever it’s reasonable) in my offerings. Well, in this one, the “Seinfeld” reference is the seed itself. (It was going to happen eventually!) That episode is also the source of the quote in the title of this blog post, in case you were curious.

Every puzzle has its tribulations, and this one was no different: I got three-quarters around this puzzle’s construction when I realized I had a silly dupe. That forced me to tear out quite a bit of what I had done already, especially in the middle, and reconstruct. I still got a few entries from the old seed list into the puzzle, including 1-Across (obviously), 45-Down, and 61-Across.

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! After the guest freestyle tomorrow, there’ll be a new freestyle puzzle on Friday!

Puzzle 47: Themed Puzzle 2, “A Few Choice Words”. @#$*!

Last Friday’s Alphagrams solution

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Get the PUZ here!

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!

Since I posted my first themed puzzle for this site, I guess you could say I got a mild case of the themed puzzle bug and put this one together this past week. I don’t want to spoil the theme of this puzzle too much, but I will say that I had a lot more fun constructing it than I thought I would going in. I will also say that I started constructing this puzzle by hand, but went to the app because of time constraints. I dialed down the clue difficulty a bit, but not too much, because this is a themed puzzle and I didn’t want it to have too much of a freestyle feel to it.

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 freestyle puzzle on Tuesday!

Puzzle 46: Freestyle 28. Approach with caution.

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.49

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!

The slightly compartmental nature of this puzzle allowed me to include quite a few seeds: 15-Across (explanation below), 57-Across, 12-Down, 37-Down, and 43-Down. Whenever you see an unusual block arrangement, like that odd pair of offset crosses, and/or you see a “cheater” square (I hate that term… I prefer “helper” square) to accommodate a corner, that means that I was really trying to get a stack to work. That was the case with the upper left section of this puzzle. That’s a pretty small corner in the upper right and lower left; I usually don’t like to make them too tight, but at least that allowed me to put in some colorful sixes.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is, by far, the factoid at 15-Across. In fact, it was a seed entry not because of the entry per se, but because I wanted to include that clue for it.

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 themed puzzle on Friday!

Puzzle 45: Alphagrams. Take a letter for me, would you?

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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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!

Hey, imagine that! An actual variety puzzle today! Back to the old steady topic of anagrams for this one today. It’s a little different than the others, though… I’ve got the missing sentences with two words, but the difference is that one of the words is the other word minus its first letter and anagrammed. (I’ve got an example inside the link.) You’ll see 26 sentences, and that’s because the first letter of the longer word will be different for each sentence… I think that might help you.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to Freestyle Puzzle 27 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, share this link! Pass it around!

Puzzle 44: Freestyle 27. Do the math!

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.44

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!

Another 7×7 freestyle offering. These are, as I’ve said before, the hardest high-word count freestyles to make, but they’re the most satisfying. I had one and only one seed to start the puzzle, and that was 15-Across. Other mini-seeds emerged during construction of this puzzle, including 16-Across, 38-Down, 64-Across, 66-Across, and 67-Across.

The construction started in the upper left with the seed, and drifted over to the upper right; once I had the top half done, I moved to the lower left, figuring that 38-Down would be the most restrictive entry in the lower half of the grid. After I did the lower left, it took me a surprising amount of time to finish the last quadrant, the lower right, even though the entry point to it (49-Down) wasn’t particularly restrictive. For me, the hardest corners to construct, actually, are the ones with the most options; even if I come up with what I feel like is a good corner, I will always be questioning myself, “Couldn’t this be better with these letters, though?” Sometimes I just have to cut the constructing cord and say, “OK, that’s it… I’m satisfied.”

Also, a word about cross references: I go by the credo that just because you can make a cross reference doesn’t mean you should. 36-Across and 37-Across are a prime example; they’re even next to each other in the clues, but I resisted temptation. Cross-referencing, as a solver, is a bit of a distraction if I see it too much, though it can be very elegant if the connection is very close. I cross-reference with caution.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is a close decision between 53-Down and 8-Across, both fascinating in their own very different ways.

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!

Puzzle 43: Freestyle 26. Set your sights high.

Last Friday’s themed puzzle 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!

In my everlasting crusade to procrastinate about publishing a variety puzzle stay current in the cruciverbal arts, I have another “because reasons” freestyle puzzle on a Friday (just like this one two weeks ago or this one from a while back). This one I saw on social media three days before this post. I got that old magic feeling when I noticed it was fifteen letters long, and off I went. I had three other seeds besides 8-Down, which were 24-Across, 35-Down, and 40-Down. I did throw in a couple of mini-seeds at 32-Down and 11-Down as I was constructing along — those two were in the northeast corner, which was the section I completed last.

You might have noticed, because the perspicacity of the cruciverbal community knows no bounds, that, if an entry can be read as either a proper noun or an uncapitalized word, I will almost always clue the entry as an uncapitalized word. I usually shy away as much as possible from “either you know it or you don’t” entries for place names, people’s names, etc. because uncapitalized words almost always have more cluing options than capitalized ones. In this puzzle, however, there’s an exception; I don’t know why I clued a particular entry as a proper name, maybe because I was amazed at the tidbit that I chose to use in the clue for this entry. See if you can spot it after you’re done.

Oh, and one more anecdote about this puzzle. I showed Christine the finished grid with the entry at 8-Down. Later that night, just before bed, she asked me (highlight the blank space for what she said, as it’s kinda sorta a spoiler alert), “What was that name you showed me earlier? Wicka flicka dicka?” No bad intentions, she just honestly couldn’t remember it. We couldn’t stop laughing after that one.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is definitely the fact at 41-Across. I found pictures of the inside of it on a very interesting blog post of someone who lives in Guam — just search [guam (entry at 41-Across)] to check it out, as I don’t want to give it away in the name of the hyperlink.

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!