Puzzle #50: Cavalier Daily Crossword Puzzle

Puzzle #50: “Cavalier Daily Crossword Puzzle”

Difficulty: Easy. Seriously. I swear.

Downloads:     PUZ      PDF     Last Week’s Solution

 

Welcome back, puzzlers!

I just want to say how appreciative I am of your praise for last week’s offering. I had worked hard at making the final product as smooth and zippy as possible, so each and every comment/like/share/email was incredibly validating. It inspires me to continue to work hard at what I do here each week, as well as makes me feel that I’m “something” in this so-called “cross-world.” So thank you all; I truly cannot express my  gratitude enough!

Today’s puzzle is also “special,” in very different ways. First of all, it’s number 50. Five zero. Shit, if you asked me a year ago if I thought I’d be able to come up with fifty puzzles that didn’t all suck, I’d tell you no before you’d even finish your question. So there’s that…haven’t been booed off the crossword stage yet! Similarly, this puzzle is a milestone, because it represents the blending of my passions for puzzling and my university. In fact, today’s puzzle was not even meant for this venue, but rather for UVA’s Cavalier Daily newspaper (as the “title” suggests). I figured it’d be nice to share it here as a one-time thing…especially because several of you kindly asked me to provide an update to when my college newspaper started publishing my work! I included this crossword in particular, because 1) it’s actually running today in the Cavalier Daily, and 2) it’s not TOO UVA-centric; the theme can be appreciated by all. The cluing is much, much easier too. Like, I promise. Dan Feyer could probably solve this thing in a minute, two tops (no pressure, haha!).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this change-up of a puzzle, and I’ll be back next week with more fun!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid

Puzzle #49: Freestyle 17

Puzzle #49: “Freestyle 17”

Difficulty: HARD…but the payoff should be nice

Downloads:     PUZ      PDF     Last Week’s Solution

Happy TUESDAY, everyone–

Forgive the almost-24-hour delay; I actually had a puzzle ready as normal, but decided to postpone it to this coming week. That’s right: the puzzle that you’re solving today was not part of the initial plan…in fact, it was only just conceived in the wee hours of these past two days. It may appear to be a 72-word freestyle, but you may notice that there are a few odd pieces–compromises, perhaps–in the fill. Could this mean that there is a veiled theme lurking in the grid? That’s for you all to find out! This took me many, many iterations to fully flesh out, and if I may say, the final result is one of my favorite puzzles I’ve ever made. May you enjoy solving it as much as I did creating it–I hope the “aha” moment is meaningful to all!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid

Puzzle #48: Summer Vacation Souvenir

Puzzle #48: “Summer Vacation Souvenir”

Difficulty: Surprisingly tough

Downloads:     PUZ      PDF     Last Week’s Solution

 

Good morning, puzzlers!

As my summer break draws to a close, I figured this theme was due. Can you guess where I was (non-specific) this past weekend, that inspired me to make this puzzle?

Also, I’m pleased to announce that I will begin writing weekly puzzles for UVA’s Cavalier Daily newspaper; super exciting! Planning to take after the Daily Celebrity Crossword and design super smooth 13×13 offerings with simple, gettable themes. If, for whatever reason, you wouldn’t mind a UVA-centric puzzle, you’re more than welcome to check them out! A new one will be released every Thursday.

Oh, and one last thing: Is anyone else as excited as I am for the Buzzfeed daily crossword (specs linked, for those of you that are interested in constructing)? I just got a themeless accepted by editor Caleb Madison, and it should appear next month. Stay tuned!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid

Puzzle #47: Freestyle 16

Puzzle #47: “Freestyle 16”

Difficulty: Haaaaard

Downloads:     PUZ      PDF     Last Week’s Solution

 

Good morning, puzzlers!

I wish I could convey into text form just how amazing Lollapuzzoola was. Seriously. I loved every bit of it. From the puzzles to the people to the pizza to the place (24th overall!), I don’t think it could have gone better. Will provide a well-deserved summary of the experience in a few weeks, when spoilers are no longer an issue to the At-Home solving division (Wanna get in on that, by the way? There’s still time to register!). All I can say now a huge, wholehearted thank you to everyone that contributed to such an incredible experience; I can’t wait until next year!!

Back to reality, now…another work week. Another reminder that summer is almost over. And another freestyle from yours truly! This time, I’ve experimented with a relatively open 64-worder, which is a new record for me in terms of word count. Interestingly enough, entries like 48-Across, 56-Across, and 14-Across all were entered into the grid much later…I tackled the 5×6 middle segments before anything else! While I still prefer creating 68-to-70-word freestyles, I figured this would be a nice change of pace, and it still features my signature “lively” bullshit that several of you all tell me makes you feel super old 😛 Enjoy, as always, and feel free to give me feedback for future puzzles like these!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid

Puzzle #46: Freestyle 15

Puzzle #46: “Freestyle 15”

Difficulty: Pretty tough

Downloads:     PUZ      PDF     Last Week’s Solution

 

Good morning, puzzlers!

C’mon, we all knew I couldn’t go much longer without creating/posting another freestyle! Let’s do a quick rundown in bullet form:

  • This one’s a 68-worder I made by actually designing the grid first; usually I begin by filling one corner, placing blocks around it so that the symmetrically opposite corner can also be filled without trouble, and then making lots of fill/block tweaks as I go along.
  • Okay, I lied slightly: originally, there were blocks placed at the 27 square and its counterpart, and the symmetric pair of cheaters (next to the 33 square & diagonally near the 40 square) didn’t exist. However, as soon as I filled in the first five letters of what would be 4D, I knew I could extend that answer to its current 11-letter state by removing the aforementioned 27 square block.
  • While I reeeeeeally didn’t wanna put those two cheaters there (OMG THEY ARE SO UGLY!), I was satisfied enough with how the fill was shaping up in the top-left and bottom-left sections. Win some, lose some, I guess.
  • The seed entries were 1A, 17A, and 40A. Yup, that’s it. 4D, 24A, 26D, 59A, and even 51A were all lucky bonuses.
  • I apologize profusely for 50A. As soon as I filled in 26D, I knew the letter at which those two entries met would present an obstacle, in the location it was in. However, I’d like to think it was a lone blemish…happy enough that 59A made it in that section, because that was such a last-minute thought, even though I know I’ve wanted to use it in other puzzles before. Have any of you constructors out there come across something like this too? The triumph was too real.

See y’all at Lollapuzzocho this weekend!

Sincerely,

The Grid Kid