Tag Archives: freestyle

Puzzle 574: Freestyle 518. I had you going…


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.25


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The construction of this grid, for a long time, felt like one big game of Whack-a-Mole. I laid out the central stack, but it seemed like there was always one slot where no entry would work. I would fix that spot so that something would fit there, and it would cause another area not to work. What saved me, what broke that maddening cycle, was the entry at 23-Down. It hadn’t been in my word list; it wasn’t in any online dictionary, though it’s definitely a thing. It just washed over me in what felt like a biblical revelation. If that entry hadn’t worked, I have no idea what I would have done.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 572: Freestyle 517. Keep this one on file.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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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!


My son learned how to say the word “baby” today. Well, at least, this is the first time we’ve heard him say that word. I feel like, because he’s on the edge of still being one, this is the sign that he’s started to go meta on us. Either that, or he’s ripped some hole in spacetime somewhere in the universe that I hope is nowhere near Earth. What does all this have to do with today’s grid? Nothing. This is sorta like when a host has to vamp when they can’t think of anything else to say and they have time to fill.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 570: Freestyle 516. I did not see that coming.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 66
Mean word length: 5.79


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Whenever you see a lower word count than you’re used to from me, know that it probably means one thing: I had to lengthen an entry or two to make it work. That means I had to remove a pair or two of blocks, and, for some reason, I couldn’t add any blocks somewhere else. Of course, the lower the word count, the higher degree of luck I had to experience, and that’s what definitely happened in the upper left. One across entry in that area that I like, but was forced into, severely constrained me. I don’t like the “hold your breath and pray” spots like that, but when it works out, it’s extra nice.


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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 568: Freestyle 514. You’re in the ballpark.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.19


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Back to sanity with 72 entries here, after two in a row under 70. Guess I got out of line. Almost always, when I’m building these stacks, I find two adjacent answers that stack well and find the third entry that way. This time, I had two 12-letter entries in mind, so I had the top and bottom entry and needed to find an entry that sandwiched in between the two. And now I remember why I don’t do it that way. It was a pain, to say the least, to find an entry that goes between two others. I don’t do it that way in a normal stack, why would I do it that way here? I don’t know. Long story short, I’m not doing it that way again…


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 567: Freestyle 513. Sit for a while.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 68
Mean word length: 5.50


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Two in a row under 70 entries! What has gotten into me?! Obviously, this one was made for the grid art. I don’t usually make grids like these because the flow isn’t optimal if you get stuck, but I gotta mix it up now and again. I could have easily made it 70 or 72, but I don’t like to go with 40 or more blocks. That’s when it really starts to get clunky to me, so I try not to cross that threshold.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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Puzzle 566: Freestyle 512. Here’s the kicker.


Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 66
Mean word length: 5.73


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Astute observers who solve this grid might notice that this 14-15-14 stack in the middle could easily have been converted to 13-15-13, and they’d have good reason to notice that — because that’s how it started. I got lucky when I noticed that I could change the 13s to 14s, because my original stack with the 13s just didn’t quite work. With the 13s, it was one letter or one block off one way or another from working; after I shifted the blocks a bit here and there and changed the main acrosses slightly, it took some creative thinking in terms of the intersecting entries to make it work. (That’s not to say I made anything up though.) That’s why it’s 66 instead of 70 entries.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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

Puzzle 565: Freestyle 511. It’ll never fly.

(for some reason, it isn’t letting me embed YouTube links for the time being…)


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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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!


Children at this age can be so cruel sometimes. I was sitting on the floor playing with Nathan when he came in for a hug. “How nice, you have a hug for Daddy!” Nope. Turns out he was using me to try and boost himself up onto the couch. Is that all I am? A stepstool?

Another challenging (to construct… hopefully to solve as well) 7×7. Luckily, I picked up a few more 7-letter entries for my seed list since I last constructed one of these, so I was able to sprinkle those in all around the grid. There’s one square that I feared may become a Natick situation after I constructed the grid, so I included a bit of a contextual hint in one of those crossing clues. I think that made the problem go away.


Thanks so much to all who’ve left a tip! It’s much appreciated, believe me.


Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.


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