Thursday, April 8, 2021

#22: Evaneference (Themeless #9)


Holy fucking shit, Evanescence are playing Donkey Konga for the Nintendo GameCube!

difficulty: very hard (Saturday)

Been a while since one of these themelesses came out. This one is kind of a spiritual successor to Themeless 6 in that there's a bunch of long propers scattered throughout the grid, but it's a tad easier than that one. Still really hard, particularly if you don't remember the '90s, or if you're unaware of the hottest New Yorker since Lucas "Uses Venmo" Chi. (Don't click those links until after you've solved the puzzle, LOL.)

Thank you to Norah Sharpe and Brendan Quigley for playtesting this bad boy. (Yes, THAT Brendan Quigley. I know, how cool, right?) Applet under the cut; enjoy.

Friday, April 2, 2021

#21: 21


difficulty: medium-hard (Thursday?)

No April Fools puzzle for 4/1,* but hey, it's 4/3/21, and look, it's puzzle #21, and it's titled 21, and the theme has something to do with the numbers 2 and 1, and there are two (2) dupes in one (1) of the entries. All of which was completely intentional, f'sure, f'sure. Anyway, this theme wouldn't fly in any major outlet, but it's very cute, IMHO. And it's a pangram! Anyway, hope y'all digit (number joke). Applet under the cut.

*Although, with last week's Something Different and the most recent Monday Mini, this site has had plenty of April Foolery for 2021.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Chain of Fools (Monday Mini #11)


I thought this one would be straightforward, but test solvers indicated it was kind of ruthless. Oh well. Applet under the cut. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

#20: Something Different


difficulty: @#$!? (n/a)

I was going to publish this on April Fool's, but figured I could do better.

So what's a "Something Different" puzzle? Well, it's not really all that different from your standard American crossword, except that the long entries are hot nonsense like MOJITO SPEEDBOAT or UH OH! MY BRA IS GONE or DR. MARIO'S GOT A GUN. (Some of the short entries are nonsensical too, but in less delightful ways.) To compensate, all the clues are pretty straightforward definitions. The end result is kind of a trip: e.g., how often do you see a quadruple stack of fifteen-letter entries? (Or two, as is the case here?) That's the magic of a Something Different, baby.

Anyway, let me know what you think. Applet under the cut. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Cut Cut (Monday Mini #10)



Tenth mini, ten clues, which was neither deliberate nor a sustainable pattern. Maybe I'll do a 50x50 for puzzle 100? Don't count on it. Anyway, according to Ariel this one is "fun mean." Enjoy. Applet under the... wait for it... cut.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

#19: Shiny Happy People

difficulty: easy, for once(?)

Blame Malaika for this one. No wordplay, just a nice straightforward themed puzzle. I think it's pretty easy, for once, but YMMV (particularly on the northeast and southwest corners which have no theme content).

Applet under the cut. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

#18: Not the Centerpiece of an Illuminati Ritual (Themeless #8)

difficulty: regular hard (Friday NYT)

Been seeing a lot of talk on Twitter about how to make themeless grids, so here is One Weird Tip that's worked out really well for me: whenever possible, put your seed entry at the bottom of the grid, and then work your way from the southern and eastern borders of the grid towards the northwest. This way, you don't frontload your best clues/entries, and you don't get saddled with crap like REASSESSES crossing SASS towards the bottom of the puzzle. (This particular puzzle was seeded with 68-Across, if you were wondering.)

Anyway, enough behind the scenes chatter. Enjoy! Special thanks to Norah Sharpe and Ken Stern for playtesting this bad boy. Applet under the cut.