Tag Archives: themed

Puzzle 637: Themed Puzzle 10, “Canceled”. I’m simply overwhelmed.


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 78 (themed)
Mean word length: 4.79


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Happy New Year to all! And look out, here’s a themed Club 72 grid! I’ve made both the PUZ and PDF versions available, of course, but I really do think it’s better hand-solved on the PDF. I’m not just saying that because I prefer hand-solving myself, either. I’ve ratcheted down the difficulty a little bit — a little bit — hard enough as that is to do for me. It’s an instinct for me at this point, one that I had to really fight, not to go the usual whole hog with clue difficulty.


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!

Puzzle 559: Themed Puzzle 9, “Take the Top Down”. Take my advice.


Last Friday’s themed puzzle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 91 (18×16)
Mean word length: 5.10


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!


Before I go anywhere, please note: if you’re going to use the PDF, I had to put the grid on one page and the clues on a separate. Plan accordingly!

I was planning on having a freestyle grid in this spot (shocker… I know). I even constructed the whole thing. (You’ll see that one a week from today.) But I had this idea that’s been tumbling around in my head for a little while, and I finally figured out how to make it work. Believe me, this was a big monkey off my back that I was finally able to do this. You’ll see that it’s 18×16, and making it that size is pretty much the smallest grid I could have used to make it work. Consider it a rush order without a reduction in quality (well, at least according to my biased opinion here), because this whole thing came together, from conception to last clue written, in two days. Have fun with it!


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!

Puzzle 557: Themed Puzzle 8, Spreading a Message… and Nothing Else. Keep it to yourself!


Last Friday’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!


Yes, I’ve still kept it to 72 entries on purpose, but I’m still calling this a themed grid today. My aim was to make it the best of both worlds — keeping a theme to it, but maintaining my usual themeless feel both in the fill and in the difficulty of the clues. The theme constrained things, obviously, but I got lucky in a few spots to be able to keep it at my goal of maximum 72 entries. I didn’t have to do anything drastic with the fill to make everything work. Nothing extravagant here, just trying to contribute to an overall message, so to speak.


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!

Puzzle 441, Themed Puzzle 7: “You’re Pushing It!” Don’t push your luck!


Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here!


Word count: 85 (17×14)
Mean word length: 4.56


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You’ll need to indulge me… I came up with an idea for a theme, so I’m switching it up a bit today and giving you a themed grid. It’s hard to explain here, but it’s sort-of a meta. You’ll see when you solve it, I guess. I admit that I clue my themed offerings at a bit easier level than my freestyle grids, and this is no exception. After you solve it, there’s sort-of a spoiler alert (it doesn’t really give anything away, but I felt like I should include it here) that may be necessary, so I’ll include it in white-colored text here (highlight this space to reveal it):

There’s an “Easter egg” message in the clues. I admit, it’s not the most original way to hide a message, but I’m not going to actually tell you how to find it… so I’m going to at least make you work a little bit to find the message.


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!

Puzzle 345: Themed Puzzle 6. Great minds think alike!

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 74 (themed)
Mean word length: 5.11

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 making of this grid was one wild ride. I had every intention of putting a freestyle grid today (let’s be honest, most of the time I never have any other thought…). But I thought on Wednesday, what the heck, I’ve got a theme idea here, let’s go through with it. And I was done with it, clues and all the next day… the theme worked like magic. It was a constructor’s dream. I was almost out of breath, though! I dialed down the difficulty of the clues a bit, but I think you’ll have fun with this one.

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!

Puzzle 113: Themed Puzzle 5, Have Yourself a Punny Little Christmas! A puzzle for the present time.

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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I hope all who celebrate have had a wonderful Christmas! Sometimes, as a crossword constructor, you have to just get back to your roots. What do I mean by that? A pun theme. Not only that, since Christmas falls on a normal blog post day, a Christmas pun theme! Sometimes a crossword constructor just has to get a little silly. So, after the buzz of the holiday season, as you’re easing away from all that bustle, you can wind down with this grid. It’s not intended to be nearly as difficult as you’re used to from me — heck, you can solve it with the family if you want!

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

Last Friday’s freestyle solution

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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 78: Themed Puzzle 3, There Are No Words. What more can I say that hasn’t been said?

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Get the PUZ here.

You can probably tell by now that there’s no freestyle puzzle today. That will appear on Friday instead of today as originally planned. There is a new crossword, however.

I’m going to dispense with the usual routine here because the situation calls for it. As is well known now in the crossword community, a giant in the puzzlemaking world was lost tragically and too early. I never met Mr. Reagle. In fact, I have no personal connection with Mr. Reagle… well, actually, that isn’t quite true, because everyone who ever did his crosswords, as I did, has felt a personal connection through his style. I have nothing to go on except for what I’ve read about him and, well, his work that I’ve done many a time. No other constructor has let his or her personality shine through in their grids and clues better than he did. To hold the pen or pencil while solving a puzzle by Mr. Reagle is to shake his hand. To move your eyes back and forth between the grid and the clues is to have a conversation with Mr. Reagle.

I was impressed with his volume of output as it was — a Sunday puzzle every week for 30 years — but to do the things he did in a Sunday-sized grid consistently every week for 30 years (put out junk he certainly didn’t!) is something I’ll never wrap my head around. But I hope this puzzle that I have constructed serves some small part as a tribute to the man. The best thing you can do is to visit his website, and to enjoy his creations.

What you should also do, if you haven’t already done these things, is to go and do Sam Ezersky’s and Brendan Emmett Quigley’s treatments of this same topic. Both are very elegantly done.

Usually, the video I post has some tangential connection to a clue in the puzzle, or to the concept of the puzzle. However, this one relates directly to the honoree in a subtle way that I think he would appreciate and that I hope you can figure out as well.

So long until Friday…

Puzzle 51: Meta Puzzle 1, “Where Did I Go?” Can you place me?

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!

As I said on Tuesday’s post, I went on vacation last week… somewhere. I don’t want to get too much into the construction of this puzzle, because I want you to solve the meta before I say much of anything. Next week, I’ll post the solution to the grid as well as the explanation of the meta answer. Just for fun, I’ve scrambled the solution to the PUZ… I know you’re all not the answer-lookin’-uppin’ types, though.

No spoilers in the comments, please… if you’re so inclined and you’re not sure, email me via the link above and I’ll tell you if you’re right.

You’ll also notice that the grid is odd-shaped at 15×17… I’ll just say that it is and it isn’t a part of the meta. I’ll explain that as well next week.

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 freestyle puzzle on Tuesday!

Puzzle 47: Themed Puzzle 2, “A Few Choice Words”. @#$*!

Last Friday’s Alphagrams solution

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Get the PUZ here!

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Since I posted my first themed puzzle for this site, I guess you could say I got a mild case of the themed puzzle bug and put this one together this past week. I don’t want to spoil the theme of this puzzle too much, but I will say that I had a lot more fun constructing it than I thought I would going in. I will also say that I started constructing this puzzle by hand, but went to the app because of time constraints. I dialed down the clue difficulty a bit, but not too much, because this is a themed puzzle and I didn’t want it to have too much of a freestyle feel to it.

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 freestyle puzzle on Tuesday!