# Puzzle 63: Freestyle 39. You’ll want to sit down for this one.

Last week’s Letter Banks: Movie Edition solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

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!

I’m very pleased with the number of seeds that stayed intact in this puzzle: 14-, 17-, and 35-Across and 13-, 34-, and 45-Down. Believe it or not, 6-Down was not a seed entry but was found through the magic of the Internet while I was constructing this grid. It was one of those things that was a familiar object with an unfamiliar term… I love when I find things like that. Also, the crossing of 6-Down and 38-Across was not intentional, but it was a happy accident that I kept as soon as I noticed it.

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is the fact at 1-Down. Don’t these people have lives?!

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

# Puzzle 62: Freestyle 38. Decisions, decisions…

Last week’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

Word count: 70
Average word length: 5.34

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!

Here we are again with the stairstep formation down the middle, just like the grid a little while ago. Also, I could have gone for the full quad stack in the lower right/upper left, but I didn’t want to bring it down to 68; as you’ll see, there really wasn’t any other place to put that pair of blocks to make it 70, considering what I wanted to do with this grid. I didn’t want to make four extra three-letter words for myself, but I did what I had to do.

Due to the slightly compartmentalized nature of this puzzle, it came together pretty quickly — I’d say around two hours total to construct the grid. I had a framework of seed answers in this one, at 14-, 30-, and 53-Across and 4-, 16-, and 25-Down, and they didn’t force me to make any compromises in the fill (if they had, I would have taken out a seed answer or two to make the fill work).

My favorite thing that I learned from this puzzle is everything I gathered from reading about 21-Down and the fact in the clue. You just couldn’t make up the stuff that happens in nature even if you tried, no?

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

# Puzzle 61: Letter Banks: Movie Edition. Grab your popcorn, folks.

Last week’s Split Decisions Two Ways solution

Get the PDF 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!

If you’re a movie fan (I know you’re already a fan of wordplay), this one is definitely for you. If you’ll remember my Letter Banks puzzle from a while back, it’s a concept introduced by Will Shortz a while back in which shorter words or phrases hold all of the letters needed to spell a longer word or phrase. It’s not really an anagram… if you’re not familiar, click through and it’ll all be explained to you. Instead of single words, the letter banks in this puzzle are for a movie title and one of its stars. This is the first time I’ve really forayed into the movie realm, so this is right up the alley for all you movie buffs out there.

For something a little extra, some of the letter banks are appropriate to the movies and stars to which they correspond. (The others don’t really mean anything at all apropos to their titles.) See if you can figure out which ones they are. I didn’t try to do this for all of the examples, but there were some I stumbled upon that I couldn’t resist.

I’ll be back with another crossword puzzle, of course, on Tuesday. The answer to  Freestyle Puzzle 37 will appear there too. But I hope this will tide you over until then.

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

Last week’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

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?

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

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF 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!

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.

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

Last week’s freestyle solution

Get the PDF here!

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?

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

Last week’s Wordominoes solution

Get the PDF here!

Get the PUZ here!

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?