Puzzle 24: Freestyle 15. It’s all the rage.

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.54

As I showed you a few posts ago, I have a standard shape that I start with when I want to construct a regular stacks-in-the-corners formation. I usually end up deviating greatly from that formation because, well, that’s how the vagaries of construction go. But the formation I started with actually remained intact this time: I wanted to go with a 70-word structure for this one, and all I ended up doing was adding the two pairs of cheaters.

Obviously, the genesis for this one, the only seed I started with, is at 1-Across. I did have a couple of mini-seeds: 48-Across and 56-Down. 38-Across, I guess you could say, was also a mini-seed.

I constructed this one about a month and a half ago… so this one is antediluvian as far as independent crosswords go. The way I go with this site is that I just pick the one I feel like running to match whatever mood strikes me. (I always have several to select from.) I don’t know why this one lasted that long in the pile before making its way to the top, because I really like this one, but that’s the way it worked out.

After solving, the intrepid solver in you may have noticed that I could have easily taken out the cheater squares above 56-Down and below 10-Down and easily still had a valid fill. I noticed that too (obviously), but 56-Down was one of my mini-seeds, so I decided I’d rather have that entry with the cheaters than not have that entry and not have the cheaters.

My favorite thing I learned from this puzzle is that 57-Across came up with the idea of the “zipper” first, but his “zipping” method didn’t really work out as well as the zipper we’re familiar with today. He did OK for himself with another one of his inventions, anyway.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? ¿Yo me frío o lo soplo? If there were a Quantum Physicists’ Club, would it only theoretically exist? What is the reason for there being a reason for everything?

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

 

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Puzzle 23: Split Decisions Two Ways 2. The most fun you’ll have with four-way intersections all week.

Last Friday’s Two For One solution

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If you missed my first Split Decisions Two Ways puzzle, you can get it here.

Most every crossword has at least one seed entry, and this is no exception. My starting point was the square formed by the four words intersecting end-to-end somewhat in the middle of the grid. It was on purpose; I wanted a four-word square in the middle for no other reason than that I thought it would look cool. I guess it does, if I say so myself.

In this puzzle versus the first Split Decisions Two Ways, I wanted to make a conscious effort to have more interlock and less “cephalopod arms”, as I described it in the post on the first one. I think I achieved that goal here.

I included in my title to this post my original intention for the name of this puzzle — “Four-Way Intersections” — but I decided that I wanted to keep Split Decisions as a part of the title as homage to the creator of the original Split Decisions puzzle, George Bredehorn.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 14 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! Let me know how you did! What did you like? What could I do better? How do you measure a year in the life… how about love? Is lip balm addiction a communicable disease? Does Jack Frost keep his money in a snow bank?

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Puzzle 22: Freestyle 14. En garde!

Last Tuesday’s Freestyle 12 solution

Last Wednesday’s Freestyle 13 solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.31

Before I get to anything else, you might have noticed (and if you didn’t, feel free to notice now) that there’s a new independent crossworder among the ranks. Go now and check out Lena Webb, and I know you will not be disappointed! You’ll find some very interesting reads there to go along with the cruciverbal exploits.

Well, back to the “normal” schedule, I suppose. Not a normal shape to this puzzle, though. But I can explain: this was intended to be a triple-10-stack without longer vertical answers in the corners, but my seeds dictated otherwise. I was fortunate enough to have two 10-letter seeds (13-Across and 17-Across) that I discovered that I could stack, so, instead of forcing anything, I split up the stacks in the upper left and lower right and took out a pair of blocks in the other corners to be able to fit another couple of good entries there. I had to count it several times just to make sure it was at 72 words; it doesn’t really look like it is upon first glance.

Besides 13- and 17-Across, I actually had three other seeds: 44-Across and 60-Across and 10-Down. The mini-seeds at 27-Down, 55-Across, 46-Down, and 24-Across came about during construction. Also, I hope you like the clues for 25-Across and 16-Across, because I particularly liked them myself (if I can toot my own horn for a bit).

Not that I’m particularly concerned with aesthetics, but I think here’s an example of how adding a pair of “cheater” squares can actually enhance the visual look of the grid: it actually looks like a couple of swords pointing into the corners. (There’s a “cross swords”/”crosswords” pun in there somewhere.) I had to add that pair for construction reasons, of course, but that is an extra little thing that pops out to me.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is that 10-Down won a Grammy for that album: I’ve liked this musician’s work for a while now, and I didn’t know that that album, or any in this musician’s discography, won a Grammy.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? One never knows, does one, when love comes along? Do S&M clubs appreciate the song “You Always Hurt the One You Love”? Did you hear the one about the cannibal who passed his brother in the woods?

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

Puzzle 21: Two For One. Can you arrange this for me?

Last Friday’s Vowelless Word Search solution

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This is an anagram puzzle where the answers are right in front of you… sorta. I’ve composed 25 sentences with two consecutive words missing. Those two consecutive words are, together, an anagram of one of the other words somewhere else in the sentence. I’ve provided an example in the PDF, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

If you like this puzzle, something tells me you’ll like these puzzles from Todd McClary’s website.  Check out all the puzzles, but the ones I’m referring to are called “Rice Milk”. They’re in the form of a limerick (hence the title); you have to find the two missing words/phrases, which are anagrams of each other.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answers to Freestyle Puzzle 12 and Freestyle Puzzle 13 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! Let me know how you did! What did you like? What could I do better? Who do you need, who do you love, when you come undone? If you’re a nudist, is there any place where the sun don’t shine? When you’re writing an essay about craft beer, does it start with the first draft?

As always, share this link! Pass it around!

Puzzle 20: Freestyle 13. Does something stick out to you in this puzzle?

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.43

Perhaps, by now, you’ve figured out why I’m posting another crossword today after the one yesterday. It’s because (spoiler alert if you haven’t done it yet; highlight to read text) I had this puzzle ready to go, but the extraordinary events of the Super Bowl and the way my beloved New England Patriots won, coupled with the realization that SUPER BOWL XLIX and MALCOLM BUTLER had the same number of letters, meant that I just had to create a puzzle to commemorate the occasion (end spoiler alert).

The unusual configuration of this puzzle owes to a couple of 12-letter seed entries that I wanted to put into this puzzle. 12-letter entries sometimes force the constructor into a multitude of 3-letter answers, which I don’t want to do; I don’t think you’ll ever see me put a 12-letter entry in the fourth row or column. But those two 12s were in a list of seed entries that I keep as a note on my phone; I couldn’t just leave them be, right?

This time, I actually had three seed entries from that aforementioned list: the two 12s at 22-Across and 47-Across, as well as 33-Down. There was a mini-seed at 10-Down; it had made its way into my word list while on a OneLook.com excursion (yes, I have some of those from time to time), but I most certainly did not expect it to work when I laid it in there. That was the last section I constructed in this puzzle, and I had already gone through several unsuccessful options in that area. 62-Across was also a mini-seed for the bottom-right corner.

This puzzle comes in at 70 words, but I had a couple of opportunities to make it 72, which you’ll see from the grid; whenever I’m at 70, though, I’m almost always unwilling to make it 72 if the addition of a pair of blocks would add 4 three-letter words to the grid. I’ll only do it when there’s no other option and the fill would get really ugly otherwise.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the quote at 21-Across (yeah, not much in terms of trivia here, which I suppose may be a good thing)… it obviously amused me such to the point that I had to use it in the clue.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? How come I can’t tell the free world from a living hell? Can a hipster’s car run on coconut oil? Does Mr. Peanut live a double life as a pimp and just forget to take off his costume for his day job?

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

Puzzle 19: Freestyle 12. Dancing sharks not included.

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.19

You may wonder why I use the term “freestyle” instead of “themeless” to describe my puzzles, and this is a prime example. There is a sort of a theme running through this… not strong enough to make a true themed puzzle, but strong enough that I can’t call this “themeless”. I think it more accurately describes the process of creating this kind of puzzle… “themeless” brings to mind, for me, the image of a rudderless ship out adrift.

I definitely want to mention that there will be another freestyle puzzle posted tomorrow, for reasons that you may see upon solving this puzzle; also, I have a variety offering that I want to post this Friday.

You may notice that there’s a slightly lower mean word length than what I’ve been posting lately — which means more black squares (38) than normal — and there’s a good reason for that, which you’ll find out by doing this puzzle. There was a definite need to place all of those black squares exactly where they are, instead of having a bit of freedom to move a lot of them around.

I definitely don’t have to tell you what the seeds for this puzzle were; I didn’t really have any mini-seeds in the construction process. It’s not at all that the fill was all forced into place, but I had to be just a bit less “freewheeling” with the fill than with my other offerings.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle was definitely the fact in the clue at 6-Down. The natural world is so fascinating to me.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! What did you like? What could I do better? What do you want from me when I just want to restart? Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Do you ever get the sinking feeling that all of your friends are beginning to believe that you’re an android?

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

Puzzle 18: Vowelless Word Search. Solve the puzzle, but you can’t buy a vowel.

Last Friday’s Freestyle 16 solution

Get the PDF here!

To switch it up here, I did a simple word search here. Wait… simple? No, not really. I can’t just do a straightforward word search, can I? Of course not. Behind this link is a word search, but my change-up is that I’ve taken out all of the vowels! I hid 65 world capitals in this word search, but I took out all the vowels beforehand and confined it to only those with four or more consonants and those that didn’t contain a Y. Also, including a word list would have defeated the point; the puzzle is not only to find the disemvoweled capitals, but also to figure out which ones are in the puzzle in the first place.

I know I’ve succeeded in creating a challenging puzzle when I showed it to Christine on the computer screen, and she just sighed one of those “you’re a mad scientist” sighs and shook her head. Yes, I think this ranges on the difficult side. But I hope you find it challenging but fair.  After all, my satisfaction in creating puzzles is not to stump people, but to only provide enough of a resistance so that there is a sense of satisfaction in solving the puzzle when that resistance is overcome.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to Freestyle Puzzle 11 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, I’d like to know, folks… comment is welcome! Come say hello! Let me know how you did! What did you like? What could I do better? Does it ever drive you crazy just how fast the night changes? Why do we drive on a highway, but get high on a driveway? If you eat at an expensive Mexican restaurant, will that make you expel premium gas?

As always, share this link! Pass it around!