Tuesday, December 29, 2020

PUZZLE #81: Themeless 21

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PUZ
SOLUTION to the last puzzle

It's Themeless 21, and the last puzzle before 2021, so why not make it a 21x? I wrote a few versions of a 2020 recap for this post, but they all boiled down to "if you're a solver, constructor, streamer, tournament runner, or any combination of those, thanks for making the crossword community the way it is." So I'm just going to say that.

As far as this puzzle goes, shoutout to Adam Nicolle, Sid Sivakumar/Brooke Husic, Ricky Cruz, and Evan Birnholz for their excellent work on 21x themelesses, which very much paved the way for this one.

Also, the pdf has a new look—many thanks to Nam Jin Yoon's excellent new puz-to-PDF tool for the new layout! 

See you in 2021,
Paolo


Sunday, December 20, 2020

PUZZLE #80: Malaika's Midi (by Malaika Handa!)

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Hello! Excited to be posting this guest puzzle by Malaika Handa, a rockstar constructor who recently started her own site (which just launched recently, but is already providing incredible content). Many thanks to her for sending it my way—you can see below that our interests and voices overlap in a lot of ways, and I'm honored to have this puzzle on the site! A few words from Malaika:

It is so exciting to be featured on Grids These Days! I love the chaotic-good energy of this site / Paolo and hope this puzzle channels some of it. Speaking of chaotic ideas, for some reason I thought it would be fun to cobble together a collection of every mathematically possible 7x7 crossword. (A pretty hefty project given that I've only been constructing for three months... But it's good to aim high, right?) If you're interested in contributing one, email me at handamalaika at gmail dot com!

I for one am excited to see the 7x7 project develop, so be sure to check out the link. If it's anything like this puzzle, the project is going to be bangers only.

Hope you enjoy the puzzle!

[UPDATE: Thanks Steve Mossberg for pointing out the download links led to the wrong puzzle! Fixed now]

Friday, December 4, 2020

PUZZLE #78: Themeless 20

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PUZ
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!

-Paolo

Monday, November 16, 2020

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

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PUZ

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!
Paolo

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


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

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

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PUZ
SOLUTION to the last puzzle
SOLUTION A to this puzzle
SOLUTION B to this puzzle (CLICK AT YOUR OWN RISK)

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

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PUZ
SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Some bullets:

Hope you enjoy the puzzle,
Paolo