Sunday, August 15, 2021

PUZZLE #97: Themeless 31 (with erik agard!)

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

collab season continues apace! feeling lowercase vibes for this post in honor of this week's co-constructor, who you might recognize from editing the USA Today/solving faster than humanly possible/being on the whole one of the nicest and most talented people in crosswords. this site owes many many things to him, so this was, to say the least, a great moment and an immensely fun collab. more from erik below!

what can i say about paolo that isn't already being said hundreds of years in the future by the puzzle historians teaching courses on his work? maybe just that i look up to him for being one of the most grounded, consistently kind people i've met. i'm thankful for the chance to write some clues for this puzzle and i hope i did it justice.

thanks to david gold and adams aaronson and nicolle for test solving; hope you enjoy the puzzle!


Sunday, August 1, 2021

PUZZLE #96: Themeless 30 (with Kate Leiserson!)

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Another collab! This time with Kate (i.e. kateschmate of crosswords schmosswords), who's been using her site to publish a series of what we at Grids These Days call "bangers." Many thanks to Kate for her fun/fresh/thoughtful work on this puzzle—she's a joy to work with, and it shines through in the puzzles she has a hand in (when I opened the file she sent on my phone, there were clues that made me stop mid-walk and say "oh wow"). More from Kate:

What has two thumbs and doesn't mind using them to poke at crossword legends on Twitter and ask for a collab?! I like to think that our collective work on this puzzle was what in the woodworking world we call "a good fit" (technical term). This is like the ball pit of grids - working on it was pure fun. I'm so chuffed having had the chance to work with Paolo, and I hope the result is a delight for solvers!

Thanks to Kate for everything (and Adam for test solving)! Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

PUZZLE #95: Themeless 29

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Quick post—lotsa crossword news going on, really sweet overall! 66 words, 0 themes, hope you enjoy!

-Paolo

P.S. Excited as always to have today's 7xwords puzzle!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

PUZZLE #94: Themeless 28

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle (+ explanation of the meta)

There's a full writeup (in the link above to avoid spoilers in case anyone's still working on it). Thanks to everyone who submitted, and everyone who sent kind words in your answer emails—it always means a lot. Out of 50 entries, the randomly selected winner is Malaika "7x7 overlord" Handa! Congrats to Malaika, and everyone who solved!

And, an announcement: I'm excited to be joining the Atlantic puzzles team as assistant crossword editor! What does that mean for the future of this site? Who knows, really. Free time's going to be a big limiting factor, but my goal is to keep posting for a little while, since (a) I have a lot of unclued grids I'm sitting on, and (b) I just wanna get to Puzzle #100. 

Big-stacks themeless today. Hope you enjoy!

-Paolo

Sunday, May 23, 2021

PUZZLE #93: Progress Bars

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Meta this week; first off, many thanks to Adam Nicolle and David Gold for test-solving! Second, no points for guessing what thing from this week inspired the puzzle. Email your answers to pascopuzzles [at] gmail [dot] com by 11:59 A.M. Pacific time on Saturday, May 29, 2021 for a chance to win a crossword subscription of your choice. Best of luck, and don't forget to look at the information below!

The meta answer is nine letters long.

These clues might be helpful:
"Cosi fan ___"
Grand ___
Honor
Olympic equipment pieces
Online admin
Saw
Shade of purple
Silent performers
Strain

Hope you enjoy the puzzle, and happy solving!
-Paolo


Sunday, May 9, 2021

PUZZLE #92: Themeless 27

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Another themeless today—aimed for a medium-ish difficulty on this one, for ~variety~. Hope you enjoy!

Also, I don't have a tip jar on this site + I'll always be posting puzzles for free, but if you want to show appreciation, consider a donation to any of these funds for AAPI Heritage Month. Only if you're able, of course, but there are a lot of funds that could use donations

-Paolo

Sunday, April 25, 2021

PUZZLE #91: Themeless 26

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SOLUTION to last week's puzzle

Typing this with the online ACPT in another tab, so this is also gonna be a short post, but: been a fun first ACPT, great puzzles, great people, great presentations, highly recommend!  

This is the puzzle I brought to the Virtual Puzzle Table, so some people have already gotten the sneak peek of this puzzle. If you haven't solved it yet, check it out! If you have solved it—idk, solve it downs only or something? (Many thanks to official ACPT comedian Adam Nicolle for test solving!)

Hope you enjoy,
Paolo

(luckily there is no chance sid will have to do this)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

PUZZLE #90: Themeless 25

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Quick post, can't type a ton, but there are a lot of great puzzle things going on that you should check out!

Themeless today—hope you enjoy!
Paolo

Thursday, April 1, 2021

PUZZLE #89: [post title here] DO NOT PUBLISH EARLY

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

[post here]

[rest of post here]

[sentence that reads naturally in post but is in fact heavily sponsored]

[end post here]

Hope you enjoy,
Paolo


[replace with good picture]

Sunday, March 28, 2021

VARIETY PUZZLE: Who's Zoomin' Who?

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GOOGLE SHEET (to copy the Google Sheet, click on "File" then "Make a copy"—that should create a version of the sheet that you can edit)
SOLUTION

Variety puzzle time! This one's a Packing Crates, a puzzle type invented by Patrick Berry and seen in the WSJ, where you have to place answers in Rows and rectangular Boxes. And, after spending a year seeing people's faces in little boxes on my little screen while I go to my little classes, this type of puzzle feels especially appropriate.

Credit where credit's due: first, many thanks to Ricky for test-solving—his input really improved this puzzle over the first draft. And, if you like puzzles like these, check out the variety suite Patrick Berry just dropped. All the puzzles are great (of course), but the Packing Crates was a real standout. It's also where I got the idea to make one of these, but he doesn't need to know that

Email me if you have any questions/need help! As always, hope you enjoy!
Paolo



Thursday, March 25, 2021

PUZZLE #88: "They Don't Allow You to Have Bees in Here"

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

There are a lot of great Lucille Bluth quotes that pop into my mind on a regular basis, but the titular quote rises to the top for me. Truly an all-time great character—RIP to one of the best to ever do it

Thanks (and apologies) to David Gold for his blessing on the theme!

Hope you enjoy,
Paolo

Sunday, March 21, 2021

PUZZLE #87: This Time It's Fursonal

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

BEFORE GETTING INTO THE POST: It's been a rough week, so here are some resources that are worth the time/money (HERE and HERE). Donate if you're able

Themed puzzle this week; tried to get it to play easier than normal. Before you email me: no, I'm not a furry, no, I don't have anything against furries, they rule, and yes, I thought of this theme on the fifth anniversary of "Zootopia."

Hope you enjoy,
Paolo


Sunday, March 14, 2021

PUZZLE #86: *sad honk* (remix) (with Malaika Handa!)

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Collab with Malaika! We also have a puzzle on her site, which you should check out first. I'll be here.

You probably know from her site, my site, and interviews that she's very good at this whole crossword thing, but it also can't be said enough how fun she is to collaborate with. There's something to be said about being in a Google doc with someone and watching them drop multiple fun, clever, funny clues for an entry in a row. My favorite clue in the puzzle full-stop (26A) is all her, as are the rest of the good clues. All this is to say, the vibes on this puzzle were great, I'm a huge fan of this collab, and I hope you are too!

If you're having trouble solving digitally, here's a hint (ROT13'd because spoilers): gur yrggre K jvyy uryc svyy va nal fcnprf

Hope you enjoy!
P & M (on twitter @malisolves)

P.S. She also made "I Fold," which is one of my favorite solving experiences of the year. Check it out!


Sunday, February 28, 2021

PUZZLE #85: Themeless 24

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Another themeless! I went down more rabbit holes than usual cluing this, and they were the kinds of rabbit holes you find and then really want to share with other people, so here's a doc with a few links to stuff I found cool (spoilers for the puzzle, so only click after you've solved).

Hope you enjoy,
Paolo

P.S. If you like cryptic crosswords but don't like the "word" part, try this all-emoji cryptic crossword I posted a few days ago. I'm also hearing from a lot of people that this was their first complete cryptic solve, so especially check it out if you're a cryptic beginner!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

PUZZLE #84: Themeless 23

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Bullet points because I'm writing this while trying to figure out what "statistics" are:
  • Thanks for all the love the last puzzle has gotten!
  • Late to post about this, but read these Kameron Austin Collins notes if you haven't already.
  • Some puzzles from new indie sources that I've really enjoyed: this indie debut from Ryan McCarty, and this themeless banger from Mollie Cowger.
Normal themeless today, no tricks, but I feel like it leans into "modern" more than usual. Hope you enjoy!
Paolo

Saturday, January 30, 2021

PUZZLE #83: Entry-Level Stuff

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Happy Saturday! Gonna get right into a disclaimer:

This puzzle is best solved on the blog post applet (after the break), but there are .pdf and .puz files available if that's not an option for you. And, special thanks to Adam Nicolle for test-solving this week's puzzle!

Hope you enjoy,
Paolo

Sunday, January 24, 2021

PUZZLE #82: Themeless 22

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SOLUTION to the last puzzle

Happy 2021! Late for the first post of the year, but I got caught up with the Mystery Hunt (fun! great!) and registering for classes (meh). Some notes:

  • Check out the new crossword feature at The Browser if cryptics are your vibe! I'm lucky enough to be one of the contributors, and the puzzles that have already come out are setting a high bar. 
  • The 7xwords project is underway, and all the puzzles so far have been bangers. I'd be remiss not to point out this one and this one, which were especially fun
  • Contribute to this form to help diversify wordlists!
Back to normal-sized themelesses; hope you enjoy the puzzle!
Paolo