Puzzle 111: Freestyle 81. You’ve gotta draw the line somewhere.

Last Friday’s themed puzzle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.46

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 impetus for this grid, obviously, was the discovery that the long across and the long down answers share a common letter. (I still got a couple other entries from the seed list into the grid, namely 1-Across and 63-Across.) Once you open the grid, note that the original block structure for this grid was your standard long diagonals from NE to SW and SE to NW, omitting the center block, of course. You’ll have to trust me on this one, because this was a classic case of the force of words doing what it will. I almost never intend to make those semi-closed-off corners from the start, and I certainly didn’t this time.

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!

Advertisements

Puzzle 110: Freestyle 80. Keep plugging away!

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.54

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!

It’s often a thin line between being as fresh as you can in a grid and maintaining fairness. Often, I have to resist the urge to stuff one more neologism or current reference into a grid if that would make a section of it borderline unfair. I had to check myself in such a way a couple times in this grid; as nice as it is to have fresh entries, sometimes it ruins the solving experience if one section is particularly sprinkled with them, making it hard or impossible for some to solve without resorting to Google. That’s why I’m sometimes more specific than I have to be with a clue; I feel like I need to provide an extra hint to a solver who may be unfamiliar with a particular term if I couldn’t avoid putting a couple of ultrafresh entries, one or more of which might be unfamiliar to some, near each other. (Of course, I’ve got to know when not to underestimate my solvers as well!)

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 109: Themed Puzzle 4, The Pressure’s On! Don’t feel the crunch…

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

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!

I decided to change it up a bit and do an average-difficulty themed grid. I know that it’s not often that I publish a themed grid here, but it’s nice (for me, but also, I hope, for you) to do something different once in a while, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not the usual 11-12-12-11 with a revealer kind of themed grid, but it is definitely not a freestyle. It’s hard for me to say too much more without giving anything away, so I’ll just set this puzzle down gently on this virtual table here and back away slowly so you can have it all to yourself.

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 108: Freestyle 79. Not too shabby, if you ask me.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Mean word length: 5.46

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!

Appearance was, of course, the main impetus for this grid. I don’t often like to have large swaths of the grid closed off, like I’ve done with this grid in two spots. But I feel like I left the sections open enough to avoid the feel of having “mini-puzzles” instead of consistent flow.

The center 15s and the center 7 were the first entries in the grid; the priority, obviously, was to get two entries from the seed list at 7- and 8-Down without forcing it too much. If I could get the center section to mesh, then the four corner sections could be pretty much filled independently of each other. Of course, it wouldn’t have made much sense to work from the corners out, because leaving the longer entries for last usually doesn’t work too well. Originally, the upper left and lower right were going to be triple stacks of 11, but I found that to be too constraining. I was getting fills manually that way, but it wasn’t coming out too well. Adding that pair of blocks to make it 70 instead of 68 made all the difference.

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 107: Freestyle 78. Mmm, chicken cutlets.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

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!

Again I’ve gravitated toward the 8×6 formation. I guess it’s my bread and butter, my go-to grid… I seem to do best with this shape. Maybe it’s because I can always fit so many seed entries with this pattern… I got six of them into this grid. It’s funny, I started out looking to make a triple-15 stack for this grid, but I found I really wasn’t in the mood. It may sound odd hearing that, but I guess I can compare it to eating at a buffet. You can see something a little exotic that you haven’t had in a while and put it on your plate. But sometimes, by the time you get back to the table, you take a couple bites, then you push it off to the side and go back up to get the old reliable breaded chicken cutlet. The chicken cutlet you know you’ll like even though you’ve had it a thousand times. The 8×6 grid is my breaded chicken cutlet.

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 106: Freestyle 77. Starting a second revolution.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

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!

This post (well, the day after this post, really) marks the first anniversary of the launch of this website. Since I just keep plugging along on these puzzles, this sort of snuck up on me. I’m happy to have entertained you for this long, and I don’t plan on stopping at any time soon! I’ve developed a good rhythm in my grid construction pattern… I’ve settled into a groove here. Don’t confuse a groove for a rut, though.

What about the puzzle now? Ah yes, the puzzle. The two seeds were the fourteens at 20-Across and 52-Across, obviously. But I also managed to get 24-Across and 42-Down in there from my seed list. The most stubborn part of the grid was the top center/top left; it was downright intractable for quite a while. I almost scrapped 24-Across as a seed entry, in fact — actually, I did take it out to fill that corner, but it worked out that I was actually able to put it back in.

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 105: Freestyle 76. What better occasion to say “thank you” than on Thanksgiving?

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25

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!

As I write this, I’m winding down from another wonderful Thanksgiving that has reinforced just how much I have to be thankful for. It’s a good occasion to pause and meditate on what you’re thankful and grateful for. I’m also very thankful that you all keep coming back to solve my creations! I’m coming up on my first anniversary of the launch of this site, and I’m thankful for the messages of appreciation I’ve gotten in this past year. Please… feedback means everything to me, so don’t hesitate to communicate with me.

I set this up to look like a grid with a theme (hence the lower-than-normal average word length). Including a more-than-usual amount of 4-letter and 5-letter entries can get a little dicey, but I left more than enough room for some color in the grid. 23-, 30-, 38-, and 45-Across were all entries from my seed list; this grid configuration made it easier than usual to choose my seed entries with some degree of freedom. Not much in terms of flashy stacking in this one, but I hope that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

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!