Thursday, October 29, 2020

PUZZLE #75: Themeless 19

SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Some bullets:

Hope you enjoy the puzzle,

Monday, October 26, 2020

VARIETY PUZZLE: Rows Garden #1

PDF (harder)
PDF (regular)
JPZ file (for solving on Crossword Nexus et al)
RGZ file (for solving on iPad)

Variety puzzle time!

In a Rows Garden, there are two ways to enter entries: in Rows (clued in order of appearance within each row) and in Blooms (which are entered in each of the hexagons, going clockwise or counterclockwise, starting at any point). In the regular version, clues for Blooms are given as they appear in the grid, left to right and top to bottom. In the harder version, clues for Blooms are given in alphabetical order by clue, so you'll have to figure out where to place the Blooms. Here's a link to a WSJ puzzle that explains it better than I'm doing right now.

If you like this puzzle, check out Andrew Ries and Joon Pahk, both masters of the form. And, if you're more down for normal crosswords, there's one coming soon! [ADDED NOTE: If you're an iPad solver, an .rgz file is available now, courtesy of Andrew Ries! Many thanks, Andrew!]

[ANOTHER UPDATE: Accidentally uploaded a version where one of the Bloom clues was for a previous version of this puzzle; the PDFs and JPZ are now updated!]

Hope you enjoy,

Sunday, September 27, 2020

PUZZLE #74: Pentadecaphilia (by Chris Piuma!)

SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Hello! Very excited to be running a puzzle from Chris Piuma, who you might know from his (very good) Twitch stream, and his (equally good) crossword site, both of which I highly recommend. Constructing-wise, I love what he's doing in terms of experimenting with the form of crosswords—no one's doing it like him. That sense is also very much on display in this puzzle, but I'll keep stop talking about it to avoid spoilers. All this is to say, I loved this puzzle, I hope you love it too, and here's some words from Chris!

This puzzle is a companion to my guest puzzle on Adam Nicolle's site. Both were inspired by a notorious channel in the Crosscord Server. I'm super excited that Paolo is willing to share it on his site, because — and I've written and rewritten the rest of this sentence a bunch of times, but it has something to do with the puzzle coming out of a particular community, and this site (and Paolo's other crosswording work) fostering a richer and more delightful community, and my excitement at stumbling into all this lovely communitarianism, and... oh, let's just say I'm excited and honoured that my puzzle is appearing here. I hope you enjoy it.

Many thanks to Chris for the kind words—now, onto the puzzle!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

CRYPTIC #1: Character Study

New puzzle format today! I've been getting into cryptic crosswords lately, largely due to solving (and loving!) the cryptics from Neville Fogarty, David Gold, Steve Mossberg, Andrew Ries et al, as well as the #crypticclueaday tweets from Stella Zawistowski. So, here's a variety cryptic for you, complete with weird gimmick and at least one Riverdale-themed clue. 

If you're new to cryptics, there are a few guides available online: Andrew Ries has a great guide to solving cryptics, and Stella Zawistowski has written an illuminating series of posts, one dedicated to a different facet of cryptic clues. In case you get stuck/don't understand how a clue works, I've attached a solution grid with full annotations.

Many thanks to David Gold for test solving—I'm a huge fan of his blog, especially his latest puzzle, which has a banger theme + some really impressive wordplay. Check it out!

Hope you enjoy the puzzle! I have a few other cryptics I might release as sporadic bonuses on the site, so let me know what you think about the whole "cryptic" "crossword" deal!


P.S. Shoutout to Wyna Liu, the new associate puzzles editor for the New York Times! I've been lucky enough to work with her editorially at the AVCX, and she's as incredible an editor as she is a constructor/person. Looking forward to seeing what she does! (Edited to add: And Tracy Bennett!! Embarrassment of riches for the NYT)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

PUZZLE #73: "I Love It When You..." (by Brooke Husic!)

SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Guest puzzle guest puzzle! Happy to be presenting a puzzle by Brooke Husic, whose work you might've seen at the USA Today, the New York Times, and any number of indie outlets. She does great stuff regularly, so many thanks to her for gracing this site with some of that greatness!

Notes from Brooke:

Thrilled to be here again with a puzzle that Had To Be Made after I noticed the relevant pattern. Many thanks to Paolo for hosting me; he's the best. His recent guest midi on Amanda's site is amazing (I for one support more (i) anniversary content and (ii) nonstandard symmetry, and this midi has both)!!! Also, I had the immense honor/pleasure of test solving Paolo's Expansion Pack and *highly* recommend it if you haven't checked it out already!!!

If you're a citizen, register to vote!! Deadlines here!!! Registration/absentee rules here!!! Online registration available in these 40 states!!!!

Follow her on her Twitters if you're not on that already—hope you enjoy the puzzle!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

PUZZLE #72: Numbers Game

SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Hello! A few notes:

-I haven't officially announced this on my blog, but Expansion Pack is officially out! Check it out at the link above—pay what you want for the main set of puzzles, and $10 can get you all that plus a bonus 21x21 themeless!
-I also haven't linked these yet, but I've had a few guest spots out! Namely this puzzle on Et Tu Etui, and this less-dumb themeless collab with Adam Nicolle. And, more coming (hopefully) soon
-I just rejoined the NPL (nom: picasso), so if you're down to clown with that, feel free to say hi and/or tell me what an "enigma" is
-Please tell Sid you want to see this happen, because I want this to happen so hard

Small puzzle today—hope you enjoy!


Friday, August 21, 2020

PUZZLE #71: Themeless 18

SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Got another themeless today! I've always been partial to 14-letter entries and 5x5 corners, so I dropped both into today's grid. Hope you enjoy!

Quick plug for my Writing the Clues First project; feel free to drop a clue or two in there, and I might use it in a puzzle! Help me complicate the answer to the "Do you write the clues or the answers first?" question.


P.S. Check out the USA Today crossword this Monday (8/24)!