Sunday, January 31, 2021
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
difficulty: damn hard (Saturday+)
Nonstop '80s pop bangers in this grid! Also, three guesses what the seed entry is this week, and the first two don't count. Sometimes I think, "hey, shouldn't I make these puzzles in advance and cue 'em up?" Actually, I probably should - but if I did, we wouldn't get these "ripped from the headlines" themelesses.
Big "dubs in the chat" so to speak for Brian Thomas for test solving and fine-tuning some clues. Applet under the cut... enjoy.
(*PDF will get uploaded later today, my computer restarted in the middle of preparing it)
Sunday, January 24, 2021
One of the best crossworld mini-trends of 2020 was the mini-surge in "pangram midis" - Sid Sivakumar kicked it off, and then Nate Cardin and Enrique Henestroza Anguiano tried to one-up him by making progressively tinier puzzles all the way down to 7x7. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Gordon/Longo "petite pangrams" Kickstarter which operated along similar lines. Anyway, this puzzle is a pangram, which you should keep in mind for some of the harder crosses here.
Puzzleme applet under the cut.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Thursday, January 14, 2021
I can actually pinpoint the exact day I met the crossword puzzle that changed my life. It was the start of my senior year of high school; I had been hanging out with friends on the Lower East Side, and I had fished The Onion out of one of those green newspaper boxes to read on my commute back home. Eventually I worked my way to the crossword in the back of the issue. I don't think I actually finished the puzzle - too tricky for my undeveloped adolescent cortex - but I did manage to figure out the entry smack-dab in the center of the grid, and I did a double take.
"What the hell?" 17-year-old Q thought. "You can put CIRCLE JERKS in a crossword puzzle? That's..."
"...pretty cool, actually."
Nine years later, when I started writing down ideas for puzzles for my crossword blog, the first one on my list was a tribute to that puzzle which had put me on that path. So imagine my surprise last Thursday when I visited Brendan Emmett Quigley's website and came face to face with the very puzzle that had blown my mind as a teenager. Solving it a decade later, the puzzle is definitely showing its age (remember these guys? no? me neither)... but the impact it had on me as a teen cannot be understated. Certainly you can trace a fairly straight line from that to the fairly risque clues I'm writing now.
Anyway, long prelude to a pretty straightforward (if weirdly-sized) puzzle. Thanks to Steve Mossberg and ckstern for their feedback/test solves - and of course, to Brendan for inspiring not just this QVXword, but all the QVXwordz, now and forever. I hope you all enjoy it.
Applet under the cut.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Folks, this may be the first Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo-themed puzzle, but... actually, it's probably going to be the last Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo-themed puzzle. To be honest with ya, I didn't realize that 33-Across was such an accomplished guy before I made this puzzle - he was apparently a huge deal in the West Coast hip-hop scene.
Oh, this is a 14-by-14, by the way. But to compensate, it's a really hard 14-by-14. Like, really, really hard. I hope you enjoy it in spite of that. Many thanks to Brooke and Paolo for test solving; applet under the cut.
(P.S.: I also have today's USA Today puzzle, "It's Your Thing.")
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Surprise: it's a bonus puzzle! This one was made in collaboration with Ryan Fitzgerald of Crosscord to coincide with... something or other. Immediately after making the PDF I realized "50/50 Chance" would be a better title for this one. Not because the work was a 50/50 split, but because... oh, you'll get it when you solve it. (Or not. Maybe that's what the 50/50 chance is - that you'll understand what the hell these themers mean.) Applet under the cut, enjoy.