Brief hiatus for finals season…

Hey all,

I’m terribly sorry to do this, but there will be no puzzle this week and the next. I’m not April Fool-ing or anything this time either ūüė¶

From now until May 8th, I will be overburdened¬†by my many final exams, projects, and other loose ends I need to tie up before I can say I’ve finished my fourth semester successfully. Making puzzles while taking 20 credits has worked out well so far, but when every class requires my full attention at the same time, something’s gotta give, much to my frustration.

Once again, I apologize for this inconvenience, but I’ll be back with a new, sparkly puzzle on May 11th! Thank you in advance for your understanding!

UPDATE:¬†I’m pushing it back just one more day to Tuesday, May 12th. Weekend, despite not imposing any finals, was another doozy. Looking forward to finishing up the cluing for Puzzle #35 and having it then…thank you again for your patience!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid

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Puzzle #34: Freestyle 11

Puzzle #34: “Freestyle 11”

Difficulty: Tough

Downloads: ¬† ¬†¬†PUZ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†PDF¬† ¬† ¬†Last Week’s Solution

 

Good morning, solvers!

Updated 2:21 PM:¬†I am an idiot. I was wondering why in my statistics page I hadn’t seen downloads for today’s puzzle…well, that’s because I accidentally slotted this post to appear at 8 PM today instead of 12 hours before! So sorry about that; I hope none of you have gone into any crazy puzzle withdrawal as a result, since there obviously is a scarcity of crosswords these days. Anyway, back to¬†today’s post–Grid Kid out.

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PSA: Y’all should check out this Wednesday’s New York Times puzzle when you get the chance; it’s a collaborative effort between myself and one of my oldest crossword friends,¬†Alex Vratsanos! This puzzle had been in the making since 2011, and we finally were able to execute it smoothly enough for publication under Will Shortz. Hope you like it!

In other puzzling news, have you tried BEQ’s gem from last Thursday? If you like my stuff, then you’re going to LOVE this–extremely well done! Another recent goodie–and I meant to share this last week–is this interesting Tim Croce freestyle from his Club 72 website; as a constructor who very much enjoys unearthing 5-, 6-, and 7-letter fresh answers, I found this puzzle to be a delight!

That¬†actually sets up a perfect segue for this week’s puzzle. I wanted to go freestyling again because I’d been themey¬†for so long before Puzzle #32. So I used this week’s publication¬†as more of a chance to get back in the groove of making my favorite type of puzzle! The easiest ones for me to make are those that have a bunch of 7-letter entries; while, yes, 7s are simple to work with when not autofilling, I also happen to have more 7s in my “manual wordlist” than any other¬†length,¬†besides 15s. So I figured a grid built around a bunch of 7s would be most desirable.

As you may be able to tell, I started off in the bottom-right corner, with 41D, 42D, 60A, and 62A as my collective seed entry group. While I could have easily put a square in the box with a 54 in it, I wanted to challenge myself once again with quads. This may have eliminated a bit of the “zip” factor of this puzzle, but I really tried to go for smoothness; nothing about the top-left is extremely “wow”-worthy (maybe 5D?), but 4D is a lone blemish, which isn’t even that bad.

You may notice that a large amount of these entries are simple two-word “things,” almost like an adjective-noun pairing: 17A, 23A, 29A, 34A, 38A, 53A, 55A, 33D, 39D…I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think all of them are perfectly acceptable entries–some zippier than others–but I almost wish there was more of a variety. At least nothing sounds too arbitrary.

One other comment I’d like to make about this puzzle is that there are 21(!) entries that have never appeared in a NYT puzzle before…you can see a diagram here, as per XWordInfo. I’m hoping this means that the puzzle is fresh and lively. I always try and cram in¬†as many unique answers as possible. That being said, the solver’s enjoyment is the most important aspect of construction, so if something is unique but unenjoyable, it means nothing to me. After all, do you really want to see the alphabet run¬†HIJK debut in a NYT crossing JAM? No way. HICK/CAM is 129401294 times better.

Enjoy the solve, and let me know what you think!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid

Puzzle #33: Cutting Across

Puzzle #33: “Cutting Across”

Difficulty: Mostly easy

Downloads: ¬† ¬†¬†PUZ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†PDF¬† ¬† ¬†Last Week’s Solution

 

Good morning, all–

Short post here, because I stayed up well into the night to finish writing these clues, and I am about to fall flat on my face. Gotta do whatcha gotta do to meet deadlines, though! (I’m just the worst procrastinator.)

You all seemed to enjoy last week’s puzzle a LOT: you brought much more viewers to my site, had very nice things to say, and gave me a good overall vibe! I’m honored, to say the least, and I’ll try and bring you more just like it! For now, we’ve got a brand new puzzle with a simple theme…it has a tough act to follow, but I still hope it’s a goodie. Oh, and a shoutout to my friend, Jeffrey, for inspiring it! I will say that this one is pretty heavy on the indie, with quite a few 4-, 5-, and 6-letter entries that have never made it into a mainstream paper…but I hope they’re enjoyable! With the exception of 25D (sigh), I actually liked a good bit of the oddball-ery thrown in this grid: 27A, 53A, 40D (surprised this hasn’t shown up anywhere!), and 66A, which references my all-time favorite song by the band in question, though I know some of you will despise it as an entry. Oh, and I was particularly proud of my clue for 3D, if I may say, and I hope y’all get it with a nice “aha” moment; hopefully it isn’t too much of a stretch and/or obscurity. Anyway, let me know what you think of this puzzle, through ratings, comments, emails, or whatever, and I’ll be back next Monday for a new one!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid

Puzzle #32: Freestyle 10

Puzzle #32: “Freestyle 10”

Difficulty: A fun challenge

Downloads: ¬† ¬†¬†PUZ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†PDF¬† ¬† ¬†Last Week’s Solution

 

Good afternoon, solvers–

Thank you all for waiting so patiently, and I hope what I have today is worth the multi-hour delay:

This week, I bring to you my first-ever 66-word themeless! This thing took practically forever to make, especially since I do not use any kind of autofill when I construct…I may have reworked the grid over¬†17,000,000 times.¬†Initially, I had a stack of four 7-letter answers crossing the triple 8s…then I tried making 7-Down and its counterpart into 12-letter answers…whew! Lots of room to work with, surprisingly, which is why this took so goddamn long.

The seed entry was actually 1-Across, and not 62-Across, which was quite the added bonus! In fact, so much of this puzzle’s good fill comes from luck, where I just said, “I wonder if I can fit all of these entries in the same quadrant and still allow for high-quality¬†fill!” It worked out over half the time…which is a LOT for this manually-constructing cruciverbalist. Great examples include experimenting with 42-Across, crossing 62-Across with 36-Down, and crossing 20-Across with 14-Down (that top-right was miraculously smooth!).

Anyway, in case you haven’t figured it out, this might just be one of my favorite themelesses I have ever constructed. Even made the cluing a heckuva lot harder than normal, just to parallel the formidable-looking grid that I set out¬†to fill with the smoothest and zippiest answers possible. I hope for more success like this in the future, and that you enjoy the final product!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid

Puzzle #31: In Honor of Today

Puzzle #31: “In Honor of Today”

Difficulty: Medium-tough

Downloads: ¬† ¬†¬†PUZ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†PDF¬† ¬† ¬†Last Week’s Solution

 

Happy April Fool’s Day, puzzlers!

As some of you astute solvers decided to point out, this was the plan alllllll along…kudos for figuring me out in advance! I guess I should’ve been a little more subtle with the whole “maybe I’ll post one on Wednesday” thing. Anyway, I hope your patience will be rewarded now¬†with this 20×19 grid!

In other news, this past weekend’s ACPT was just a delight, and I was so appreciatively¬†with those of you that reached out to me there. There were a few of you that I may have missed, for which I’m sorry, but there are many other tournaments to look forward to, along with next year’s ACPT! What a blast, though; I finally cracked the top 100 too, and am shooting for top 75 next year! Already getting excited for it, along with seeing many of you again ūüôā

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid