Saturday, December 29, 2018

PUZZLE #44: Themeless 11

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Did someone say "last puzzle of the year?" Here's a themeless to end with, based off a cultural artifact that is very 2018 (NOTE: spoilers, so only click through after solving; also, if you're wary of explicit language, there's quite a bit of that in the link, so proceed with caution). The minitheme's appeal might be hit or miss, but once I got the idea, I couldn't not make it into a puzzle. In any case, I tried to fill the rest of the grid so that there's something for everyone. Have a happy solve, and a happier new year!

Best wishes,
Paolo


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

PUZZLE #43: Themeless 10

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Solution to the last puzzle

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! Here's a themeless for the occasion, as my gift to you. It's solvable with friends and family, or curled up next to a roaring fire with a warm blanket and the company of yourself. Whatever gets you in the ~spirit~

Also, my nine-year-old cousin saw me cluing the puzzle, and offered some clue suggestions in the process. He wants you to know that the clues for 29-Across, 55-Across, and 27-Down are all him. Kid's got a future in puzzles, I tell ya.

Hope you enjoy!
-Paolo


Sunday, December 16, 2018

PUZZLE #42: Winter Air (and results to Puzzle #41)

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Last time, I hit you with a combination variety puzzle and meta. The format was a "Double Play," where every square contained either one or two letters. The completed grid is below:


Now for the meta aspect— solvers were told to look for an apt pair of songs with equal-length titles. There were four key clues:
13A [HINT FOR THE FIRST SONG], ABBA THE VISITORS
32A [HINT FOR THE SECOND SONG], THE BEATLES LET IT BE
6D [WHAT THE FIRST PART OF EACH HINT NAMES], ARTIST
30D [WHAT THE SECOND PART OF EACH HINT NAMES], ALBUM

So, the apt pair of songs is a song off the ABBA album "The Visitors," and the Beatles album "Let It Be." Solvers took to researching the albums, and 56 intrepid solvers found the correct pair of songs: "One of Us" (ABBA), and "Two of Us" (The Beatles).

This week's randomly-selected winner is... Patrick Jordan! For his efforts, he gets a free subscription to The Inkubator (which will release the first puzzle mid-January, so there's still plenty of time to get in on a subscription if you haven't already). Thanks to everyone who solved, gave feedback, or welcomed me back; I really appreciate it all.

Now, for this week's puzzle. Am I a fan of the puzzle's theme? I'd say so. Am I fan of the puzzle's theme inspiration? Not at all. Therein lies the crossword-maker's paradox.

Hope you enjoy the puzzle!
-Paolo


Sunday, December 2, 2018

PUZZLE #41: Double Play (Variety puzzle + CONTEST)

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Hello again! After three months of silence to the day, Grids These Days is back, and with a fresh puzzle to start the new month.

This week's puzzle is a variety crossword that I'm going to call "Double Play" (it's a modified version of squeezeboxes, seen if you scroll down on the linked page). The gimmick is pretty straightforward: each square in the grid contains either one or two letters, like in the example below:



There are two versions: normal (multi-word tags are included) and harder (no tags)—choose whichever version you're feeling. Also, this is a metapuzzle! When you're finished filling in the grid, you should be able to come up with an apt pair of songs with equal-length titles.

When you have the correct answer, send it to pascopuzzles [at] gmail [dot] com. One randomly-selected solver will win this week's prize, a free subscription to The Inkubator crosswords, a fantastic woman-edited, woman-constructed project by Laura Braunstein and Tracy Bennett (or, if you already have a subscription to the Inkubator, a gift subscription for a person of your choosing OR an extension to your subscription OR talk to me and we can make something work). Send in your answers by 11:59 p.m. ET on December 14, 2018 for a chance to win. Enjoy, and best of luck!

Feels good to be back,
Paolo

(P.S. you should follow @gridsthesedays on Twitter)


Sunday, September 2, 2018

PUZZLE #40: Performance Spaces

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Quick post today— I've been spending a lot of time around creative/artsy/performance spaces lately, so this crossword seemed fitting.

Hope you enjoy the puzzle!
-Paolo



Sunday, August 19, 2018

PUZZLE #39: Moving In

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Autobiographical puzzle, since I just flew out of San Diego yesterday. Feels weird, but I'm ready to start ~collegiate~ living.

Also, congrats to Stella Zawistowski, winner of Lollapuzzoola 11, as well as her co-finalists, Glen Ryan and Sam Ezersky! Solving powerhouses, the three of them. The tournament may be over, but if you missed it, you can still solve the puzzles here.

Hope you enjoy the puzzle!
-Paolo


Sunday, August 5, 2018

PUZZLE #38: No Love Lost

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

First, some sad news: McDonald's cancelled their sponsorship with me because, in their words, "why did we even spend money on brand integration with a teen's crossword blog in the first place." No matter-- sponsorship or not, I'm gonna keep making puzzles, and I defy any big-budget company to stop me.

I originally had a different puzzle slated for today, but I got inspiration yesterday that I had to follow through with. Hope you enjoy the puzzle!

-Paolo

P.S. Lollapuzzoola 11 is happening in two weeks. Insanely good puzzles guaranteed, so be sure to sign up.



Sunday, July 22, 2018

PUZZLE #37: "And Now, 71 Words From Our Sponsors"

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

I don't know how to announce this, so here goes: I've agreed to do introduce brand integration to Grids These Days. Running this site has been a great and rewarding project, but I'm going off to college soon, and artistic satisfaction doesn't pay tuition bills. I know it might be a weird and confusing transition, but rest assured I'm taking pains to make it as unobtrusive HOT AND FRESH DOLLAR MENU DEALS as possible. Let me know if FREE FRIES EVERY FRIDAY WITH DOWNLOAD OF THE APP it becomes MOUTH-WATERING EXTRA VALUE MEALS distracting.

-Paolo


Sunday, July 8, 2018

PUZZLE #36: Marvelous!

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Hello, solvers!

New puzzle this week! I have some [SPOILERY] links to check out after you finish:

1.) This Will Nediger puzzle, which I like to think of as this puzzle's spiritual twin. I've had this puzzle idea kicking around for a while, though, so think of it more as cool parallelism than me Timothy Parker-ing.

2.) And this video, which I consider to be one of the best movie promos of all time.

3.) This one isn't a spoiler, but check out Peter Broda's latest vowelless crossword pack, Made Without AEIOU. I've solved the first two, and they're *chef's kiss*

Enjoy!
-Paolo



Sunday, June 24, 2018

PUZZLE #35: Bank Statement

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Easier puzzle this week, with a pretty open grid. Also, this isn't theme related, but this is just to say that I'm doubling down on the opinion expressed in 9-Down.

In other puzzle news: These Glutton for Pun puzzles and this arctan(x)word puzzle are excellent, and you should check them out immediately.

Hope you enjoy!
-Paolo


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

PUZZLE #34: Many Happy Returns

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Hello again!

It's been a minute since the last puzzle. Sorry for the inactivity— I was busy with boring things like graduating high school. That whole deal is over now, though, so I have some time to spare for crosswords. So, without further ado: here’s a hard puzzle with a theme I like, and a revealer that I think is pretty fitting.

As always, enjoy!
-Paolo

P.S. There's still time to grab the Indie 500 solve-at-home set -- all of the puzzles are great (as is expected), including the meta suite. Check it out if you can!


Sunday, May 6, 2018

PUZZLE #33: Themeless 9

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Hello, solvers! It's been a while since the last themeless-- hope you enjoy this one!

-Paolo


Sunday, April 29, 2018

NO PUZZLE TODAY

The title says it all; I just had a chem final yesterday, so all my time for the last week has been consumed by that. Really sorry, but life got in the way. Puzzle #33 will be released next Sunday.

If you need puzzles to solve in the meantime, let me direct you to Women of Letters, a crossword packet by an A-list of female crossword constructors. Plus, every purchase of the packet helps women-centric charities. Hit that link up immediately!

See you next week,
-Paolo

Sunday, April 15, 2018

PUZZLE #32: "What's Poppin?"

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

"Mary Poppins" is the musical my school's doing this year, and opening night was this past Friday. It's been a blast from start to finish-- anyway, the show's been on my mind in the four months since rehearsals began, so here's a puzzle themed around my personal favorite song from the show-- I get chills every time. Once you're done, listen to it here (SPOILERS, but beautiful and melodic spoilers).

Hope you enjoy!
-Paolo


Sunday, April 1, 2018

PUZZLE #31: Shelling Out

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Happy Easter/April Fool's Day, solvers! This puzzle's in celebration of one of the two; no points for figuring out which one it is. I gridded the puzzle while watching "Arrival," and clued it while watching "Pride and Prejudice," so expect an eclectic tone for this one.

Hope you enjoy!
-Paolo


Sunday, March 18, 2018

PUZZLE #30: The Name Game

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SOLUTION to puzzle #28
SOLUTION to puzzle #29

Welcome back, solvers!

A few things I want to point you to today:

  • The 2018 Indie 500 has opened its registration! I probably won't be attending in person, but you bet I'm on top of the solve-at-home registration + meta suite. 
  • The Queer Qrossword project has released a pack of 22 puzzles, all for the low, low price of a $10 donation to an LGBTQ+ charity of your choice. Having test-solved one of these, I can confidently say that at least one puzzle in the pack is straight fire. No doubt the rest are too, though-- there's a lot of great constructors, and the pack is definitely worth your money. Check it out if you're interested!

Tried for an easier puzzle today. Hope you enjoy!
-Paolo




Sunday, March 4, 2018

PUZZLE #29: Phantom Thread

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...and this is the second of two Best-Picture-Nominee-themed puzzles (the first one being linked here). Again, hope you enjoy!

-Paolo




PUZZLE #28: Call Me By UR Name

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Hello! In celebration of Oscar week, I wanted to post a puzzle inspired by a Best Picture nominee. I couldn't choose between two of my ideas, though, so I just did both of them. This and the next puzzle are the fruits of that effort.

And, speaking of awards, you know you want to check out the glitziest event in the crossword year, the Orca Awards. Click through to see an overview of some incredible crosswords, and some incredible crossword people.

As always, the embedded puzzle is after the page break. Hope you enjoy!
-Paolo



Sunday, February 25, 2018

PUZZLE #27: Off to a Rocky Start

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Sorry about the long break between puzzles; I've been working on a few puzzle projects, and planning a few changes to the blog, which I hope you'll be excited about. Plus I was on a school trip over the last two Sundays, so I haven't had a lot of time by my laptop to publish anything.

Speaking of changes to the blog, here's one I'm particularly excited about: you now can solve puzzles directly in your browser, thanks to an embedded applet courtesy of Amuse Labs. You can see the applet below the break. Let me know how it works, and if there's anything I can do to make the solving experience easier.

As always, hope you enjoy!
-Paolo


Sunday, February 4, 2018

PUZZLE #26: Themeless 8

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Hello, solvers! A few notes:

  • The only time I've listened to the song at 6A in full was when I was confirming the fact in the clue. It was a last resort-- all the sources I looked up had different information, and I don't trust lyric websites-- and I wouldn't do it again. The things I do for this site, I swear.
  • Also, I'd be remiss if I left out this Chris King puzzle, which was the highlight of my puzzle-solving week year.

Hope you enjoy the themeless!
-Paolo


Sunday, January 21, 2018

PUZZLE #25: Propositional Phrases

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Welcome back, solvers!

A quick puzzle recap: over the off weekend, the Mystery Hunt happened. This was my first year actually participating (as a remote solver for team Palindrome), and it was an experience. I'm still tired after the three-day straight puzzle deluge, so I won't write a lot about it. Main points: the theme (Pixar's "Inside Out") was incredible, and the puzzles themselves were so much fun to work on. I'm hoping to be able to head down to next year's Hunt in person, just to get the full experience. For more specificities, you can check out this article about the hunt.

Onto today's puzzle: definitely a modern one, but hopefully there's something for everyone to enjoy. Also, the theme's much less elaborate than a Mystery Hunt puzzle, so it's got that going for it as well.

Hope you enjoy!
-Paolo



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

PUZZLE #24: Personal Space

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Surprise, it's an off-week, non-Sunday puzzle! Today's puzzle is about a subject near and dear to my heart, and I hope you enjoy it. Fair warning: if you don't get the theme when you're done, it might take some Googling. Or, to cut the hassle, just click here (SPOILERS for the puzzle, of course).

Also, check out this link, which talks about part of an initiative by Erik Agard and Will Nediger, among others, to reduce the (horrific, IMO) gender imbalance in crosswords and puzzles in general. Check out the linked Facebook group for more information, especially if you're a female-identifying/otherwise underrepresented individual who wants to construct puzzles. My line's always open as well-- email me at the address in the sidebar if you're interested in collaborating.

As always, enjoy the puzzle!
-Paolo

Sunday, January 7, 2018

PUZZLE #23: Themeless 7 (and an announcement)

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LAST PUZZLE'S solution

It's been a while, solvers! First, apologies for the unannounced Christmas/New Year's break; school happened, then I had to play catchup for a little. So you don't get burned again, but I can still stay sane, I'm going to ease up on the schedule a little: as of today, Grids These Days will be publishing every other week. This is hopefully going to be a temporary measure-- going biweekly would let me build a puzzle backlog up again.

In other news, shoutout to the American Values Club crossword for allowing me to trick them into joining the team. You'll be seeing some of my puzzles there in the future; if you like the pop culture deal of this blog, smash that subscribe button. You won't be disappointed.

Onto today's puzzle: another themeless, with a very clear seed entry. After you're done solving, click here (SPOILERS) to see the origins of that entry, and its usage since then.

Also, a non-spoiler thing that's still very cool, that test-solver/very good constructor Chris Adams pointed out: Pyeongchang, the site of the 2018 Winter Games, is adopting the internally-capitalized name PyeongChang. The reason: to avoid confusion with Pyongyang. It's factoids like these that make the blurbs on this site worthwhile.

Enjoy the puzzle!

Best,
Paolo