Puzzle 78: Themed Puzzle 3, There Are No Words. What more can I say that hasn’t been said?

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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You can probably tell by now that there’s no freestyle puzzle today. That will appear on Friday instead of today as originally planned. There is a new crossword, however.

I’m going to dispense with the usual routine here because the situation calls for it. As is well known now in the crossword community, a giant in the puzzlemaking world was lost tragically and too early. I never met Mr. Reagle. In fact, I have no personal connection with Mr. Reagle… well, actually, that isn’t quite true, because everyone who ever did his crosswords, as I did, has felt a personal connection through his style. I have nothing to go on except for what I’ve read about him and, well, his work that I’ve done many a time. No other constructor has let his or her personality shine through in their grids and clues better than he did. To hold the pen or pencil while solving a puzzle by Mr. Reagle is to shake his hand. To move your eyes back and forth between the grid and the clues is to have a conversation with Mr. Reagle.

I was impressed with his volume of output as it was — a Sunday puzzle every week for 30 years — but to do the things he did in a Sunday-sized grid consistently every week for 30 years (put out junk he certainly didn’t!) is something I’ll never wrap my head around. But I hope this puzzle that I have constructed serves some small part as a tribute to the man. The best thing you can do is to visit his website, and to enjoy his creations.

What you should also do, if you haven’t already done these things, is to go and do Sam Ezersky’s and Brendan Emmett Quigley’s treatments of this same topic. Both are very elegantly done.

Usually, the video I post has some tangential connection to a clue in the puzzle, or to the concept of the puzzle. However, this one relates directly to the honoree in a subtle way that I think he would appreciate and that I hope you can figure out as well.

So long until Friday…

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Puzzle 77: Freestyle 50. Starting off on an equal footing.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.63

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 unusual formation (for me anyways) with today’s puzzle. I don’t usually have double stacks adjacent to fifteens like I do here (you’ll see when you open it). I also staggered a 10/11/10 stack down the middle — that was more out of necessity, given that I started constructing in the top several rows and had to stack the downs that way out of necessity. I was planning on the 11 running down the middle at 18-Down, but I wasn’t planning on having the 10s at 7/29-Down. I actually got very fortunate that those three fit together like that. (It was good, since 7-Down was on my seed list anyway!)

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is at 29-Down. I never knew there was that connection.

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 on Tuesday!

 

Puzzle 76: Freestyle 49. Stack ’em up and knock ’em down.

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!

So, a 68-word grid I promised, and a 68-word grid I have delivered. I said it would be a bit uncharacteristic of my usual black square shape… and you’ll see why upon opening it. It’s a pair of quad stacks of nines. Because I want to maintain a minimum or an absence of junk, it was a little harder filling manually than was usual, but I did because I like a challenge. Obviously, everything else stemmed from the quad stacks, but I had a little leeway as the northeast and southwest are somewhat closed off. 15-Across, 63-Across, 34-Down, and 13-Across (of course, I live there and I’ve been to that park many times, so I had to shout it out some time) were my starting points for this grid.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is in 39-Down. Of all the places I thought it would have come from, Washington, D.C. wouldn’t have been on that list.

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 75: Freestyle 48. Not just scratching the surface.

Last Friday’s Anagram Crossword solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.50

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!

I promised a 68-word grid either today or Tuesday… well, it’s definitely going to be Tuesday. I have a Friday freestyle for you, anyway. This is a rare grid that maintained its block shape from the start. That doesn’t mean that I really forced anything into a space where it shouldn’t go, by any means; it means that things went along so fluidly (probably a little bit of luck involved too) that I didn’t feel the need to make any changes. I got a little cute with some of the clues — in a good way, of course — so I really have no idea how easy or hard this one is going to be. I never estimate the difficulty of my puzzles anyway, because there have been some puzzles I thought to be easy that turned out hard, and vice versa.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is in 39-Down, that it didn’t originate from where I thought it did. Maybe some of you knew the answer anyway, but it was new and interesting 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?

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

Puzzle 74: Freestyle 47. Reach for the sky!


I’ve been waiting for an excuse to post a Jessie Ware song! I don’t normally talk much about the videos I post, but she’s my favorite artist of the past ten years.

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28

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!

I was able to stack two pairs of seed entries to start this puzzle (1/14 and 62/66 Across). I’m very excited whenever I get a chance to stack seeds, because I don’t want crossings to suffer no matter how good the stack. 1-Across came from a game show (I don’t remember which one); I’d never heard of it before then, but I immediately added it to my seed list. If it’s good enough for a game show (on GSN, I think), then it’s good enough for my word list.

Sometimes, when you stuff seed answers into the two main stacks, the rest of the puzzle may suffer; I didn’t want the upper right and lower left to meet that fate, so I paid particular attention to keeping those corners lively as well.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the idiom at 26-Down. Once you solve it, translate it if you don’t know what it means. It’s pretty cool.

I’m working on a 68-word freestyle right now whose grid is a bit of a deviation from my usual construction style, but you’ll see it soon… maybe Friday, maybe a week from today, I don’t know.

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 73: Anagram Crossword 4. Add letters and stir.

Last Friday’s freestyle 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!

In case you missed my first three Anagram Crosswords, they can all be found right here. The hardest part of constructing these was building up the database. That’s still going on. After that, constructing it is the same as constructing any other crossword for me, but with a much narrower word list… except, when cluing, sometimes I catch myself thinking of a clue for the actual entry instead of the anagram for that entry. (Don’t worry, I checked them all… there aren’t any “regular” clues here.)

I’ll be back with another freestyle crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle 46 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?

As always, share this link! Pass it around!

Puzzle 72: Freestyle 46. Good things come in small packages.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.33

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!

Thirteen of my indie crossword friends and I are in a BuzzFeed listicle thanks to crossword maven Caleb Madison! Check it out and see how well you do (if you haven’t seen most of these clues already anyway)!

As I’ve said before, you know when I felt like a challenge whenever you see a 7×7 puzzle like this one. Only two 8s are in the grid due to placement of helper squares. These 7x7s can get really boring if you’re not careful, so I was careful… plus, I enjoy finding the fresh entries in the shorter lengths because that’s not where the solver is expecting the really nice entries. I know that’s how I feel myself as a solver.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle was in 38-Across. Now, I’m not a big film fan at all, but this was awesome to encounter.

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!