# Puzzle 98: Freestyle 69. I’ve got the world on a string.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.51

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I liked the double-stack format so much that I did it again for this one! This time it was planned from the start. It was a little more challenging this time, though, because the pairs of double stacks are intersecting each other. Sometimes it gets ugly when long stacks have to intersect like that, but I’d like to think that I took care to keep the bad stuff out. (I suppose you’ll be the judge of that, though… right?) Seeds for this puzzle were 17-Across and 31-Down… obviously, I built the two pairs of intersecting stacks and worked from there.

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

# Puzzle 97: Freestyle 68. It’s a gas, gas, gas!

Last Friday’s Schrödinger’s Words solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.62

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Of course, the thing that’ll hit you in the face when you look at the puzzle is the wide-open middle. Actually, it had been a little LESS wide-open than that. There were five cascading 9’s stacked in the middle originally in my completed grid, but my crossword scruples kept eating at me on one of the 9-letter entries (at the position that’s now 27-Across). I had even clued about half the entries… but I just couldn’t take it anymore. Luckily, I could change it fairly easily — but that involved lengthening the answers in the middle stack. So, instead of 9-9-9-9-9, the stack then became 10-10-9-10-10. Redoing the corners was no big deal, either. Sure, the grid becomes more like three mini-puzzles in one, but I liked the challenge of the wide-open middle stack such that I didn’t mind that sacrifice. I hope you won’t mind it either.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is at 6-Down. It’s amazing, the size of that thing (and what it was used for was pretty cool, too).

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

# Puzzle 96: Freestyle 67. And the beat goes on.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.42

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The reason for this grid was 18-Across. It hadn’t even been on my radar until I went shopping, and saw the book misplaced (or, likely, put there by someone who decided they didn’t want to buy it anymore and was too lazy to bring it back) on the impulse-buy rack near the cash register. It was as if the crossword gods said, “Here. You want a seed entry? Well, here’s one for you right here.” What an amazing story (the actual book, not the story of how I found it).

If you suspected that this grid started life with triple-stacked entries in each corner, you’d be right; how that pair of blocks ended up in the upper right/lower left was purely an accident. I had what are now 15-Across and 18-Across in place, and went to place the cursor in that position without realizing I had the “blocks” button highlighted. So I accidentally put a block there… then I decided, “why not?” and kept it there. It worked out for the better anyway… I hadn’t really been getting anywhere with that corner anyway. I liked that format so much that I put a similar pair of blocks in the upper left/lower right, too.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is at 54-Across. Regardless of where you stand on the eating-meat issue, you’ve got to admit that’s pretty funny.

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

# Puzzle 95: Schrödinger’s Words. A crossword with superfluous letters… sort of.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Hey, look! A variety puzzle! Ironically enough, actually, I came up with this idea as I was writing clues for a freestyle crossword that you’ll see soon. I was typing in a word pretty fast on my tablet and must’ve made a typo, because autocorrect kicked in. It wasn’t a groundbreaking discovery, for sure, but I noticed that the word to which the typo was autocorrected had the same spelling as the original word I wanted, but minus its first two letters. So, just like that, I had my idea!

If you’re familiar with Schrödinger’s cat, you’ll understand the title for this puzzle. I’ve given you a grid of interlocking with the only clues inside the grid itself: a bunch of letter pairs. The puzzle is to fill in the grid such that each word is a word whether it’s spelled with or without the given letter pairs. The example I gave inside is this: if you’re given __ __ __ __ (IT) __ within the grid, you could fill in GRAVITY, since it’s also a real English word without the IT (GRAVY). There are multiple ways to fill in some of the words, but the interlock is such that there is only one unique correct solution.

I would call this puzzle on the tough side, but I’ve been wrong before. I think it’s a good challenge for all of you wordsmiths out there.

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

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 66 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

# Puzzle 94: Freestyle 66. Kick-start your solving experience.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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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!

1-, 16-, 36-, and 57-Across and 13-Down were my starting entries into this one… fairly standard construction process for this grid. 3-Down, incredibly enough, was not a seed entry, but came along during the process of construction. It’s awesome when an entry like that just fits even though you aren’t planning to use it when you’re starting the grid. I will say that things were looking pretty bleak in certain sections until 24-Down and 34-Down — note, both are only 5 letters long — came into my consciousness and saved the whole grid, basically. It would have been doable, but I would have been forced to include some pretty unsavory (crosswordese-wise) entries to make it work. I probably would have torn apart almost the whole grid if I hadn’t been able to use 24- and 34-Down.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is at 22-Down. 519! That’s an incredible number.

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

# Puzzle 93: Freestyle 65. Aiming to live up to your high expectations.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.57

Before I say anything else, there’s a new pretty sweet indie puzzle out there: feast your virtual eyes upon HIGH:low, by K. Austin Collins! Support your local indie puzzler! This one’s gonna be great, if the first puzzle is any indication.

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!

My original intention for this grid was to have that upper right and lower left corner semi-“fenced off” — that is, 6-Down was originally supposed to be five letters long. I formed the stack in the upper right  first — but 6-Down didn’t make sense as a 5-letter entry (it would have been ugly), and this stack was too juicy to let go. Luckily, the entry could be extended to nine letters — that made the lower right a lot tougher to construct, but, whatever, it all worked out. My seeds in this one were 16-Across, 18-Across, 1-Down, and 50-Across; I tried several seeds in the lower right, but I had to make do with the fill I came up with.

The helper squares in each corner may look a little strange, and they may not look necessary, but they are; I finished the grid and discovered that I had one set of three dupes and another set of two dupes. Those two helper squares, believe it or not, took care of all of the dupes, and I didn’t have to change the stacks! See if you can piece together what the problem was.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the musical at 51-Across. It sounds ridiculous reading about it… which is a good thing, by the way.

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

# Puzzle 92: Freestyle 64. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Last Tuesday’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!

I started this grid looking for two fifteen-letter entries from my seed list that had the eighth letter in common. Since 12-Down was another seed, I started in the upper right. The structure of this grid evolved in a funny way: it actually started  the way you see it now (minus the helper squares at the end of 1-Down and 42-Across, of course), but the evolution of the grid dictated that I switch around the blocks on the diagonal. I didn’t quite like how it was coming out… so I ended up switching around some of those diagonal blocks again, and it ended up back how I started it! Sometimes certain things were just meant to be.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is at 1-Across. Looking back, I guess I’m not surprised at that, though. Also, 30-Down was a new bit of technology that I came across very recently; I managed to fit it into the grid, though I didn’t originally intend to.

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