Friday, December 4, 2020

PUZZLE #78: Themeless 20

SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Writing this in the seven hours before my math final paper is due, so this is gonna be quick (unrelated, if you know a lot about the Petersen graph please comment below).

Boswords Fall Themeless League just wrapped up, and it was a great time with a great set of puzzles. The puzzles are still here for purchase, and with such a stacked constructor lineup, there's no reason not to snatch them up.

Anyway, tried for a low word count grid today—hope you enjoy!


Monday, November 16, 2020

PUZZLE #77: "And the Bartender Says, 'Why the Long Puzzle?'"


Then the bartender says "Why the short posts?" and I say "School, mostly." 

Major shoutout to Chris King for letting me bite his style for the pdf version of this puzzle (semi-spoilers in the link). And, unrelated shoutout to Chris King for writing one of the coolest metas I've ever seen.

Also I haven't tested this with other solving programs, but do know that Black Ink will almost definitely crash if you try to open this puzzle. If you run into that with your program, the applet should be workable (if a little jumpy).

Hope you enjoy!

[5:07 Pacific Time: UPDATED to fix a misspelling in the grid!]

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

PUZZLE #76: Flawless Victory (by Quiara Vasquez!)

SOLUTION to the last puzzle
SOLUTION A to this puzzle

Hello! Very excited to be bringing this puzzle by Quiara Vasquez, who you might know from her guest spots here, here, or here. She has an incredible voice, and it definitely comes across in this puzzle. Also it helps that this is a definite feat of construction (but I won't say any more for risk of spoiling). 

This is the most fun I've had talking over/setting up a puzzle on this site—it's an unconventional one, but I hope it brings some joy in a stressful time. And, many thanks for Sid Sivakumar for help with formatting/other technical matters. 

And, some words from Quiara!

It's Election Day, and you know what that means: staying up til 4 in the morning and watching democracy die in real time. How will we know who won this presidential contest as the results slowly trickle in? I'll tell you how - you'll solve this puzzle, which is doing what the lamestream media FiveThirtyAin't and calling the election at 11:00 a.m. EST. Move over, Marist Poll. There's a new "poll star" in town - and all eyes are on her.

Now, some of you crossword enthusiasts in the audience might have caught wise to the "trick" of this puzzle, which, in addition to flawlessly predicting tomorrow's headline, also pays homage to a grid of yesteryear - one of my all-time favorite puzzles, actually, albeit a controversial one. To say any more would prematurely expose the technical wizardry of my creation - it's best seen for yourself.

(Minor technical note: this puzzle's brilliance was too much for the PuzzleMe applet, so you'll need to check the solution file for the full effect.)

Hope you enjoy!

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)