Puzzle 60: Freestyle 37. Stacked up in your favor.

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Average 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!

First off… if you like wordplay (of course you do!) and you like movies, then the variety puzzle I have Friday will be for you. Be sure to come back on Friday for that.

On to today’s grid. The pride of this puzzle for me is the eight-letter stacks… they both came together very quickly and they both worked out very well as I saw it. The seeds in each stack are the top entry and the bottom entry… when I saw what could fit between each of those pairs, I was very pleased that they could work out like that. When I stack eights or nines like that, it usually works out that I have to stack sixes or even fives crossing them vertically, but here I have sevens. I started with those horizontal bars of three blocks in the sixth and eighth rows, but I actually had to move them to the center to make it work out. Lengthening the intersecting stacks to make them work out is not how the process usually goes!

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is at 59-Across. Here was my process for writing this clue. On a whim, I said, “I wonder if they’ve made milk of this stuff yet.” I looked it up. Wouldn’t I know, I found that there IS milk made of this stuff.
A close second is the fact in 9-Down… it was the only country I could find where this is a requirement.

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!

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Puzzle 59: Split Decisions Two Ways 3. Look both ways before you cross the words.

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!

If you missed the first two SD2W puzzles, you can find the first one here and the second one here.

I love constructing these puzzles. I have almost as much fun building them as much as building regular crosswords. I could genuinely write a book of these. It’s fascinating to start at one central entry and see just where it goes before it’s hit the edge of the grid. (I have to set borders to these grids beforehand, because the grid “skeleton” would go on and on if I didn’t.) The process to make sure it’s a unique solution is a little slow, but very important — I don’t want to leave the solver with any doubt that they have the one and only right answer.

If you’ve never seen Split Decisions puzzles, check out the link I provided in my first SD2W puzzle (link above) for an example — these are like the original Split Decisions but, as the name indicates, each of the “splits” works across and down instead of just along one direction. The directions are all included in the PDF.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 35 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

As always, share this link! Pass it around!

Puzzle 58: Freestyle 36. Put this on your schedule.

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Average 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!

The construction of this grid came very quickly for me. As you can see by the unusual black square configuration, I built the puzzle around several seeds that were there from the start. Those were 8-Down, 17-Across, 23-Across, 47-Across, and 30-Down. Those were all in my seed list, so it was pretty fortunate that I could interlock four of them like that. It’s sorta unusual that none of the answers in the main stacks were seeds, because that’s where they usually are.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the parenthetical fact in the clue at 58-Across. At first I thought it was the band name, then I learned it was his name… then I learned that it wasn’t a stage name.

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 57: Freestyle 35. Give this the once-over, will you?

Last week’s Wordominoes solution

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Word count: 70
Average word length: 5.57

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 main impetus that drove the construction of this puzzle was obviously 6-Down. Believe it or not, I was inspired to use that phrase in this grid by RuPaul (remember RuPaul?), who uttered this phrase in a promo clip for a show about body painting on the Game Show Network. (You can’t make this stuff up!) Other seeds include 3-Down, 11-Down, and 57-Across.

The northwest was an adventure to construct in and of itself; it wasn’t that it was a particularly hard corner to build, but I think it was cursed. No less than three separate times did I construct that corner, go on to another part of the puzzle (or to cluing), and then discover that there was an egregious dupe. I ran this final version through Crossword Compiler just to make sure there were no bad dupes. (Besides, I realize I had one in my last puzzle that I really should have noticed.)

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the word in the clue for 4-Down. I looked into it to make sure, and learned that it was an actual thing that people really said.

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 56: Freestyle 34. Going to great lengths.

 

Last week’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 72
Average word length: 5.14

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!

20-, 35-, and 51-Across and 16-Down were the impetus for this puzzle. This has more blocks in it than I’d like — 40 is the absolute highest I’d probably ever go for a 15×15 freestyle — but it was all thanks to the 11-letter word down the middle that forced the infamous 6-block triangles. It was amazing the amount of different block arrangements I tried before settling on this one — I even briefly considered breaking my word and going 66 words before gravitating all the way back down to 72. As you can see from the grid, there were plenty of opportunities to go to 68 or 70 words, but I settled on this one because it gave me the best opportunity for good fill. I am nothing if I am not a man of my word!

You may also note that I have a few more question-mark clues than normal. What does that say about me as a person? I don’t know, I guess I was just in a punny mood (I swear, I get in these punny moods sometimes and I just can’t help myself! Just ask my wife and my coworkers.)

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the fact in the clue at 35-Across. In my metaphorical travels as an engineer, I became familiar with this. Seriously, when you’re done with the puzzle, look this thing up… it’s incredible.

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 55: Wordominoes 3. Time to employ some circular logic.

Last Friday’s Anagram Crossword solution

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The triply-checked grid strikes again! In case you missed it, my first two Wordominoes puzzles are here and here. Each letter in this grid goes in an answer across, down, and around. As with a regular crossword, I started with the longest answer (16 letters, in this case), and also just like a regular crossword (but unlike my first two of these grids), I didn’t finish with the same cage configuration that I started with. It’s a little harder to change around the lines after you’ve constructed much of this kind of puzzle, but it worked out very smoothly for me this time and I didn’t have to tear out much of the grid at all. (For the record, it was in the upper right.)

I’ll be back with another freestyle crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to Freestyle 33 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 54: Freestyle 33. Have a ball!

Last week’s freestyle solution

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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!

The entire puzzle took its shape from four entries: the two stacked at 14-Across and 17-Across and their symmetric opposites at 60-Across and 63-Across. The first stack I started with was the one at the bottom — once 25-Down fell into place from that stack, that pretty much dictated the structure of the whole grid. That’s the way I’ve been operating lately: I find two entries from the seed list that stack, lay them out in the grid, and let it all develop from there.

Before I started this site, I admit that I didn’t really like writing clues. I never mailed it in when cluing a grid, for sure, but it was much more of a slog than building the grid itself. Now, I actually enjoy the process… I hope that shows through in the solve. I think it may be because I know I’m self-editing through the entire process; also, I’m more familiar of my specific audience. I don’t have to tame anything down, either.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the word at 32-Across. I sheepishly admit that I’d never heard that term until now.

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!